Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

It took me a few long cold winters to get used to life in the Midwest, after living in Florida and doing the show circuit there for 25 years. In the south, shows start up in September and wind down in April, and by then it's too hot. In the north, it’s just the opposite: May to October, and after that it's too dang cold.
I know there are road gypsies out there that can pull off the year-round art show circuit, and I tip my hat to them. As for me and my house, I am glad to have my in season as well as my off season. It helps me stay organized with my work and stay focused on production.
So how do you spend your “off season” (if you have one). Here’s something I wrote about this very subject, which I call my winter work.

I would be very interested in hearing what other AFIers do when they’re not doing shows. Any comments?

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Comment by Jan Herman on December 7, 2016 at 10:58am

As a Floridian, I am in my "season" now. I leave Florida in May and head to the mountains where I live in my RV, work part time as a barista and focus on photography and creating art. When I get home to central FL in September it is a rush to frame my work and get organized for shows. I love this system. I just wish I could manage to sell enough to cover expenses. 

Comment by Christina L. Towell on December 5, 2016 at 9:08am

Caught up in Holiday shopping and decorating right now.  Once Christmas is over, I settle in on knitting for next year or, more usually, knitting for myself or family.  I realized this year that I need to really get on top of it next year and apply to more shows and try to have work in a larger number of shops and galleries, as well...not much going on for me this year and I'm feeling the pinch.

Comment by Richard L. Sherer on December 4, 2016 at 11:28am

My show season runs from Memorial Day at end of May until Labor Day the first week in September.  I do a little one-day show at my church at the end of April just to get into my inventory to see have to do to get ready for the summer season.  I am down to only doing 4 shows in CO/WY resort areas: Estes Park, May; Jackson, WY or Steamboat Springs, July; Golden, August; and Estes Park, September.  The winter months are spent building new trick saddles, restoring antique saddles and building inventory of art work for the summer shows.  If studio work spills over into the summer if gets really crazy trying to rebuild inventory between shows and get saddles done.  Last winter, I made the mistake of trying to do 4 saddles between January and May. The last saddle was finished in October. Add into that follow up orders for holsters, belts, etc. from art and always more straps for my trick rider clients.  If any of you are at the National Finals Rodeo, a lot of those trick riding gals are using my saddles and gear.

Photo shows two new trick saddles under construction and a 1955 trick saddle from Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls being rebuilt by my journeyman.  RRCG is one of the top professional trick riding teams comprised of young women from Australia and the US.

Comment by Roxanne Coffelt on December 3, 2016 at 10:27am

I was a CPA long before I was an artist.  I ending up really specializing in tax work, so I sort of added my art in my off season.  Taxes pay the bills better than my art.

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