Art Fair Insiders

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

I know we spend our lives focused on art fairs, presenting our product, production, development of image, and the like, but I have a serious question for you.  Is your studio space in your home, or outside of it?  

Our studio space was half of the basement, but as our business has grown we find that half the house is being engulfed.... and it gets stressful to just find a quiet place away from the action..... So we have begun to consider a studio outside of our home.  Im just curious how everyone else copes with this dilema. 

Views: 965

Comment by Mel Hamrick on January 13, 2015 at 7:23pm
For quite a few years I worked out of the basement. Half the basement was full of tools and supplies and the other half was just storage for the things made or collecting supplies and such.
We bought a new house w/o a basement. I needed some place to work out of before I could even consider moving. We found one of the places that makes and sells buildings. We went and talked to them and told them the size and everything we were looking for. About two wks later they brought one to the house.
My space is beside the house. It is 32 ft long. It has a 20 foot long loft and that provides me with all the storage that I need. It's actually nice to have my work area and storage separate. My husband installed a hoist to get everything up and down to make it easier.

I love that all the fumes and everything in my process no longer creeps up from working out of the basement.

My studio is separate from my house but still at my home so I don't really have any extra expenses. I personally don't do an open studio and don't want to add to my overhead. I would consider doing something different if I ever planned to hold an open space for classes or open house showings or something.
Comment by Larry Berman on January 13, 2015 at 8:13pm

My framing workshop was my basement when I was doing 40 shows a year. I had two 4x8 framing tables running down the center of the basement with storage underneath and on the wall behind it.

My photography studio where I photograph artwork is half of my living room. I can shoot almost any size artwork and have background paper in nine foot rolls ready to pull down. I also have many other sizes of paper on shorter rolls and a rolling table for shooting smaller products. Many artists have brought their artwork for me to photograph and I have an ongoing project where I take pictures of everyone that comes to my home studio with something they brought:

My office is the back bedroom and I have three computer stations. That's where I edit all the images either sent to me or I've taken. It also has a wide screen TV and a treadmill to keep me healthy and sane.

Larry Berman

Comment by carrie jacobson on January 14, 2015 at 10:32am

First, I was in a spare bedroom. That meant no guests, ever. We are a bit hermit-like, so it was OK, but not ideal. 

Then I was in the basement, which was OK, but dark (I am a painter). 

Then I was in the garage, and in time, I had the top floor of the garage finished (a little), and had heat put in. It was light and spacious, but hot hot hot in the summer. 

Then we moved, and our new house came with a little building that had been used as a boat garage. The first year, the main light came from opening the garage door in the winter, which was pretty cold, even in Virginia. I had an extra window and sliding glass door put in. Then I had the leaking roof fixed. This year, I had the electricity fixed and upgraded, so I can have a heater and A/C. I have yet to insulate or cover the walls (I'm planning on using pegboard so I can hang stuff everywhere). 

I love love love my little studio. It takes me out of the house, gives me space to be as messy and smelly as I need to be, and allows me a room of my own. I love it. I wish it was bigger, wish I had radiant heat in the floor, wish I had skylights - but it's OK that I don't. Here's a photo. It's 13x23, I think. Maybe 13x33. 

Comment by Debbie Roberts on January 14, 2015 at 11:16am

We have a metal building on our property that we use for art making. However, we are "on the road" about 5 months each year in our rv with no way to make art.  I have been considering building some "workshop garages" available for rent on a weekly basis.  It would be located somewhere along the northern gulf coast.  We would use one garage ourselves and rent the others.  Anybody out there with this need?

Comment by Richard L. Sherer on January 14, 2015 at 11:19am

This might be of interest to newcomers getting started.  My first “studio” was a 6’ bench on the carport of my boyhood home in Phoenix, AZ in 1962. I was in my apprenticeship but I built my first two saddles there. I still use the bench.

1965-69: kitchen table in basement apartment in Laramie, WY while I worked on my doctorate.

1969-71 Kitchen table in our apartment and first sewing machine in second bedroom, Tucson, AZ.

1972: Room at private girls school where Jean taught, Tucson, AZ.

1973-78: our first house in Tucson with 10’x10’ bedroom for saddle work and the den for silver work.

1978-81: House in Las Vegas, NV with attached garage converted to family room was used for both leather and silver work. (all ov 

1981-Present: Unfinished basement in house started out with one corner used for studio and the kids roller skated in the rest. Now, almost 1600(?) sq. ft. is studio comprised of multiple leather and silver benches, 6 sewing machines and storage. I also have an outdoor bench under a pergola. It is “mi talabartaria” where I can work, listen to the birds and my Mexican corridos.   


Comment by karen O'Lone-Hahn on January 14, 2015 at 11:26am

I was in the basement and  then in a spare room for years. IN 2006 we got a little extra dough and we bought a 12' x 20' Amish shed. My husband and I finished it with insulation, drywall,flooring, lighting etc. and i have been enjoying a wonderful little workspace/gallery for years. The way that we finished the inside allows me to hold Open Studio and make pottery as well as paintings in a small space. Last year, I had my daughter paint it happy colors on the outside. I use electric heaters and a window air conditioner. I did not put in running water but it is not very far from the house and a hose. I am very blessed to have it. If you have the land, this is a nice affordable option. In 2006 we paid I think $2500 for the building (that might be what we paid for two sheds as we got my husband one half the size also for his man stuff) and it probably cost another $500-$700 to finish the inside.

Comment by Cindy Welch on January 14, 2015 at 11:27am

I am loving reading about everyone's studio.  My space in in our 4th bedroom.  However, during craft show season I have taken over the living room for staging, especially when we have a string of shows several weekends in a row.

In my studio I have some built in cabinets that we had done professionally by the guy who did our kitchen cabinets.  I use this for storage.  The top 2/3's are open shelves.  This is important to me because out of sight, out of mind.  The bottom portion is has shelves with doors on the front.  Well, one does still have the doors.

The other side had doors but I had to put my work table perpendicular to that built in and the doors had to come off to access that space, which is where I store some stuff not used often.  I also have my dvd player and TiVo there.

Across the room from the built-in's I have a well built, real wood, heavy entertainment center.  It has 3 section, 2 of which have glass doors.  Remember, out of sight out of mind for me.  The center section is shelves with no door, meant to be for components to a stereo or whatever.  I use all this for storage.  The top is flat and has a spinning device where I can hang embellishments for my paper crafting, cardmaking, scrapbooking.  I am thinking of taking this down and using my smaller one.  It has a lamp on the other end.  I have used this surface for photographing my work from time to time.  Its dark surface provides good contrast to my coasters.

My work table was custom made.  Our cabinet maker built a table base sturdy enough to hold a granite slab.  I had been using a 4 ft. plastic table and it make achieving good results difficult at time due to its flexibility.  Plus I had to take it down, including the supplies I store there, every time we had a show.

We had the granite shop that did our kitchen counters to finish a 4 ft. piece to go on this table top.  It is SOLID.  It is NOT going anywhere.  It is about 4'x2'.  If something happens and I have to quit doing crafts this table can be used elsewhere in the house as a sofa table, buffet in the kitchen (granite matches the kitchen), in the sun room or anywhere we want to put it inside.

I have thought about doing something with old or unfinished frames and such .... (re)finishing, distressing, etc.  However there is not really room in the room I am using, plus the idea of all the fumes and the fact that I have flooring I don't want to damage with spills, etc.  I would really like a shop but I am not sure that will happen.  If I decide to do this I would work a while in the garage before committing to building an out building.  We have room in the back yard for it.  It would end up being a studio for what I already to and the other if it comes to that.

Keep the stories coming!  I love reading them!

Comment by J. R. Armstrong on January 14, 2015 at 11:28am

When my husband and I moved our family to an old farmhouse 27 years ago we discovered a room that was never finished on the back of the house.  As time went by we added a window, sliding door, and electricity.  This for years has served as my studio however I have out-grown it (I make quilts).  Now that our kids are on their own I am in the process of taking over the upstairs of our house.  It gets great light and has floor space to lay blocks down.

Carrie -- darling studio!

Comment by carrie jacobson on January 14, 2015 at 11:39am

Karen, I LOVE your studio! Fantastic! 

Comment by karen O'Lone-Hahn on January 14, 2015 at 11:51am

Thanks Carrie!  I forgot to post some pix of the inside if anyone is interested…

work mode...

show mode...


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