Monday, September 14, 2015

The fate of the festival

I fear for the fate of the art fair/festival in the state of Michigan.

Honestly, between the weather, the seriously unorganized organizers, who seem to have no clue what WE as vendors need and want, and the obviously lack of respect by festival goers, I'm not sure Michigan's art fair culture can survive.

The money is being held tighter, but the mouths are becoming more brazen, more snarky and more rude at every show.

The weather is impossible to predict in ANY state, I'm sure, but Michigan?  We have almost Winter, Winter, still a little Winter, and practice for Winter with a side of orange barrels.  And last weekend was no exception.  SOOOO glad I thought to pack my Ugg sweater boots.  It's the only thing that kept me from being a completely frozen vendor-cicle on Saturday.  

And it's supposedly STILL SUMMER. 

So here's my space for Saturdays event - I was pretty pleased with how it turned out, and plan to use this layout again - IF I remember it next year.  This was the LAST of my outdoor shows that will need a canopy.  

Not too shabby, but still not enough to win the prize - which went to my friend and fellow fair vendor Jane.  We say she sprinkles everything with fairy dust - because she sells her unique antique-y and stamped metal pendants and bracelets like gang busters, and now she's got the "Best Jewelry" prize to prove it.

But back to the whole festival question - I wonder just how festivals in this small window of time between May and October even survive.  Add the fact that more and more people seem to attend these events just to razz the vendors, be rude to the vendors, and bring absolutely no money to BUY from the vendors.  Why bother?  It's NOT just a SHOW.  We didn't go through all the trouble of arriving at the butt crack of dawn and working in the cold, sometimes even the rain, just to SHOW you what we can do.  And then have you question that we really did it ourselves.  No.  I just went to Wally World and bought it all.  And jacked the prices up 3000 percent.
It seems to be what they think.

How do we better educate them without becoming rude, snarky and insensitive ourselves?
It's becoming harder and harder for me, I'll tell ya.

I've actually cancelled my show for this coming weekend - again - seriously under organized organizers that may not even have the planned venue available on Saturday, since the township in which the festival is held decided parking lot paving -the parking lot that would need to be used by us, the festival goers, everyone - needed to be paved before festival season was over. 
 PAID festival season.
And since that snarkiness I mentioned is clearly coming out, I decided I better take a small break before the fall and holiday season of shows kicks in.
I hope those INDOOR, heated, ample parking events make up for the
CRAPPY SUMMER OF FESTIVALS that 2015 has brought me.

And with that,
Peaceful beading,

Thursday, September 10, 2015


For those of you artists that do art fairs and shows - how far are you willing to go to do them?

Do you travel?  Do you go out of your local range?  Does the cost of gas/food/lodging factor into your bottom line?

I have never gone out of my 'comfort zone' of about 30 minutes from home before.  Especially for the outdoor fairs, that involve erecting the canopy, pounding stakes, hauling absolutely EVERYTHING to the site, and just general WORK.

I LOVE doing the the 'decorating part' - and in fact, probably go overboard when it comes to my displays, and the 'coordination' thereof.  But it's all the OTHER STUFF - that I've always been grateful to have help with-NEEDED to have help with.

Until now.

Coming up this weekend - I'm branching out.  On my own.  The logistics of having hubby go and keep himself busy all day, and having a dog at home that can't be left over night, and many other factors - have me doing this one solo.

And I'm scared to death.

Most of you don't know that about me -  I'm a big chicken.  Always have been.  It has always been hard for me to try new things, go places I've never been, assert myself.  BY MYSELF.  It just isn't 'me'.

So here goes.  Another big step to check off my list. BRAVERY.  And technically, I'm not really doing it alone - my two art fair besties - Jane and Claudia - have also been juried into this show, and are making the jaunt as well.  Jane is a seasoned art fair traveler - she'll even go as far as New York STATE to do art fairs.  But we all suffer from the same challenges when it comes to art fair set up.

So wish us luck.  Rockford Art in Garden Park in Rockford, MI (a suburb of Grand Rapids), on Saturday, September 12.   9am (why do the big shows insist on starting so dang early?) to 5pm.

And do a little NO RAIN DANCE for us too, will ya?

Peaceful beading,