Westchester Craft Show

17 October 2007

Leaving for the Westchester Craft Show  

I’m heading out today for White Plains New York and my only craft show this fall.  Set up tomorrow, open Fri., Sat.and Sun.  I’m doing some business on my way back and won’t be back until late next week.  

I’m packing.  Have the booth in the car, stock ready to add.  Pack my suitcase and then attache case.  Here is the case ready and waiting.

 

What is all that fuzz by the left zipper pull?  Looking closer I see that is already full of Pepe.  Her slightly larger brother says that he fits too.

 

Over the weekend I delivered some work to Village Artisans‘ for the 25th Anniversary show. I was one of the founding members of this artists co-op.
The venture was a retail venue in the Village where members could sell their art work. We paid an annual fee ( it covered the annual rent) the 10% of sales (to cover telephone, other expenses) and each manned the store. There were 22 of us, as I remember-full and half members. I still have friends from that group. I’m looking forward to the reunion on 8 September.
I learned a lot from participating. I learned about price points. I learned about sizing. I observed what behaviors lead to artists growth/income.
Village Artisans is exhibiting a two piece set, opera shawl and feather pleated boa dyed together, like the one in the picture but in chili red with black.
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I’m proud that the co-op still exists. It is a great way to dip your toe into selling your art work.

Sensational Shibori

21 August 2007

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SENSATIONAL SHIBORI
Presenting the most captivating Shibori designs by the best of today’s artists, including: Doshi, Carter Smith, Karren Brito, Rae Gold, Teri Jo Summer, Barbara&Wayne Chapman, Nuno, David Speck and more.
La Jolla FiberArts
7644 Girard Ave.
La Jolla, CA 92037
858.454.6732
August 20- September 23, 2007
Opening Reception for the Exhibit
Friday, August 24th ………………………….6:30-8:30pm
Food, Drink & Music
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I sent mostly one-of-a-kind pieces to this show including this Singed Illusion Vest.
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QUINNCREATIVE has weighed in on the state of craft fairs:
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Once upon a time, in the 1970s, the purpose of an art show was to let artists who did not have gallery representation sell their work to a local audience. Artists could show and sell their work, and the public had access to good, original art.

…… see complete text…….

What no one noticed was that art lovers left the shows. And the original artists followed them. Some opened galleries, some got part time jobs, some began to teach what they knew at art retreats.
Is it too late? Are original art shows a thing of the past? It depends on what artists want, what the public values, and what promoters are willing to do. We are now a consumer nation, a bargain-loving nation, and a nation who has become used to outsourcing. If your job is being done by someone in India, why shouldn’t your art be done by someone in China?
I believe the art show is now a flea market show. I’m still an original artist, and I will continue to make each piece of my art by hand. That means my work won’t be cheap and won’t be outsourced. Why am I so stubborn? Because the original purpose of my art is not to make money. It is to make meaning. I’d rather do other work (and I do) to allow each piece of art to have a voice and speak with a clear voice. So far, my work has always spoken to an audience. It is the only way I want to make art.
–Quinn McDonald is an artist, writer and certified creativity coach. See her work at QuinnCreative.com

Juror—exhausted!

29 June 2007

This was first posted on “Wholesalecrafts.com discussion board”
From: M.R. Daniels

I don’t know of one single gallery that cares a rat’s patootie if the work
is made by one person or a stduio with employees. Interested, maybe, as
bio information, but never basing purchases on it. For that reason I don’t
think it needs to be categorized. Buyers shop by media… “I need more
glass artists” or “I have to find a potter that fits our style”… not by
staff of the artist. Yes, many galleries insist on all-American made, but
that can be told in bio info and some will lie anyway. I have never heard
of a gallery that would pass on good work because the artist had
assistants.
The whole controversy over studio size and staff has me baffled. As most
people know, I ran a studio with several employees. Maybe because I come
from a theater background (where collaboration is the norm) I never saw it
as any big deal, or maybe because my husband and I were partners—he
built, I painted, and we still considered our work handmade—and yes,
even with hired help doing sanding, base painting, even some more creative
stuff on some things. Without us there directing every step the work would
not be ours.
There are studios out there who use a number of employees and are doing
fantastic HANDMADE artisan work. Milon Townsend glass, Sticks or
Shoestring furniture, Lotton glass, Buggy Whip are a few who come to mind.
All the work has the distinctive mark of quality brought to it by the
artist, and even if the artist-owner didn’t touch the piece it still
carries the vision and care that a one person studio may achieve.
If such a studio were categorized, what happens when a potter suddenly has
a burst of orders and needs to hire someone to stack the kiln or dip pots
in glaze or attach handles? Does the artist lose his One Man status?
Suppose an artist starts as a one person operation (most of us did) and
thru continued success builds (say, over a year or two or five) to a five
or seven person staff, or even twenty. Does that mean they jump
categories, or that buyers will have to discontinue them, maybe not find
them again? Once the work achieves collector interest, the gallery will
not carry them?
Historically, most successful craft studios became big. Tiffany, Morris,
Faberge, Lalique, and hundreds of others. Yet the work produced by those
studios are unmistakably the vision of the founding artist and add
distinction to the world of craft. There are even primitive folk art
studios that have a team of stitchers or builders working for them.
This is not always a bad thing!
True, defining “handmade” gets sticky because you could easily say any
factory produces handmade work… and many artists use lots of machines,
even if they are a one person studio. By the same token, there are a lot
of one person studios that produce crap.
So why not base it on quality and design? As a past juror I don’t believe
I was ever fooled by work that was being passed off as handmade in America
when it was actually imported or mass produced. That has to do with a
selective eye, not with knowing the categorical makeup of the producer.
Yes, there are shows that get scammed. So throw out the artist, and be
more careful jurying after that. Tighten up the application
standards—more pictures, more production descriptions, lists of
suppliers, references (I don’t think I ever saw any show ask for
references) whatever. But mainly, be sure your jurors know the field.
One more point: These debates will eventually bring up the fact that good
design can then be mass produced and sold at Walmart. (Can’t think of the
name of the guy who designs kitchen appliances for Target). Well, gosh,
folks, in this business isn’t there someone watching, people who know the
field? My daughter is a wardrobe stylist and knows the label on any piece
of clothing from fifty feet away. So the designer may have started out in
fine craft shows, hit it huge and now designs for Target…that doesn’t
make the work any less—just means he no longer belongs in certain types
of shows. MOMA might have his work, but Paradise City wouldn’t.
As the industry expands and more people buy fine craft (and isn’t that
what we want???) there is bound to be that sort of change in marketing.
Yes, it gets harder to circle the horses when we aren’t sure who belongs
inside the circle. But categorizing work by artificial standards is not
going to insure anything but artificiality. It all comes down to how much
you like the work, which depends on how educated you are in looking at it.

This discussion was very active in ’95-’00, started by potters as the Small Studio Alliance and then open to every one. It is now defunct but was the first inkling of todays problems–|

The Small Studio Alliance (TSSA) Expands Membership
Starting in January 1998, The Small Studio Alliance (TSSA) will be making
its membership available to artisans in all of the fine crafts that make
up the contemporary American craft arena. In addition to expanding
membership, a website is being developed, increased information activity
is planned, a new logo has been introduced and a reorganization of the
dues structure will provide financial stability.
The Small Studio Alliance was initiated in February 1995 to help clarify,
to the retail trade and to consumers, the differences between ceramic
studios which produce work primarily by hand methods and studios which
use mechanical and manufacturing processes. We were responding to
frequently heard complaints that the identity of the small one or two
person hand-crafted studio was being confused with the work of much
larger production operations, says Ron Larsen who with Angela Fina, a
Massachusetts potter, is one of the founders.
During Its first two years, TSSA received coverage in the craft press,
ran several informational ads and held a number of organizational
meetings. Frequently people working in crafts other than clay attended
these meetings and encouraged the organization to broaden its memberships
beyond just ceramics. During 1997, I helped at meetings at 2 major
wholesale shows, said member Michael Jones. At each one, jewelers,
glass workers, weavers, woodworkers and others said that such an
organization was long overdue in their fields and that the objectives of
TSSA fit them like a glove.
In the fall of 1997, a steering committee decided that starting in
January 1998, membership would be open to small studios in all of the
crafts media. Criteria for membership includes:
-The studio shall have, at most, two principals.
-The making of all work shall involve, at every stage, the
direct, hands-on participation of the studio s
principals.
-The work by the studio shall be by traditional hand methods. If
industrial/manufacturing techniques are
used, they shall be employed only to accomplish aesthetic
ends.
Special thanks to Glennis for commenting and finding this and securing permission to publish it here. Sure would like to hear from more of you!

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NAIA (National Association of Independent Artists, http://naia-artists.org/index.htm) is doing a survey, here is their announcement:

Survey Announcement
Trends Among Artists: The Changing Artistic Landscape
Over the last few years, talk among artists is that the art show market place is in
a severe state of depression. Sales have gone down while there has been a
commensurate rise in costs associated with doing shows. The question is, how
bad or good are things for exhibitors as a whole?
In order to better assess what is going on, the NAIA Survey Committee has come
up with a questionnaire, which attempts to cover many aspects of our lives as
they pertain to making a living selling work at art and craft shows. Some of the
questions delve into issues which have to do with debt load and health. Other
questions have to do with attitudes toward the marketplace and the shows. Still
others have to do with future plans.
The responses to all of the questions will eventually be collated and several
statistical tools will be employed in order to look for relationships between certain
factors. This is perhaps the most comprehensive survey of its kind that has ever
been attempted relative to our industry. In order to get the most accurate picture,
we urge you to participate in it.
The NAIA intends on taking a pro-active stance regarding any results of this
survey particularly as they apply to the economic well-being of its members. We
will do this in conjunction with our dialogue with the shows. The preliminary
results of this survey will be presented at the up and coming Director’s
Conference. The voice of the exhibitor needs to be heard and we feel this will be
an excellent vehicle for projecting that voice.
Please help us help you by participating in this project. Our ultimate goal is to
have at least 500 exhibitors complete this questionnaire. The larger the sample,
the more confidence we can have that the results apply to the larger population
of people who exhibit at art & craft shows.
A link with the results will be available on the NAIA website homepage at:
http://NAIA-Artists.org
after August 25, 2007 – once the data has been compiled.
Thank you,
The NAIA Survey Committee

At their website you can find a link to the survey and other interesting tidbits such as The True Costs of Doing Shows or info about digital jurying.
Obviously I’m not the only one who thinks there are major problems at the shows. I’m trying to think about what things have contributed to this downturn? Is it strictly external forces, like around 9/11, or have we contributed to the problem too.

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I adore Santa Monica! But the show there left me puzzling out what is hand-made today. When I first started selling textile art I puzzled this same question. I came to terms with what was in the market place and joined the community (more on the craft community later).
There were things in booths near mine that made me uncomfortable. One woman was selling silk scarves that she painted then pole wrapped– no shibori there. Just the look without the work.
Across from here a woman had prominently displayed scarves with shibori on them:
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She told me that they were cotton viole and the shibori was done in Africa. Nice shibori, cheap labor.
The corner booth was occupied by Marla Duran of Project Runway fame.
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She had ready-made shirts in rayon prints. Her clothes were probably sewn in the US.
No one can be expected to know all about every craft. The public used to rely a bit on the show jury to weed out the inappropriate stuff.
Questions that are rolling thru my head:
Are the show applications down that they have to accept these inappropriate crafts just to fill the show? I know some shows have a dirth of applications.
Is this all the public wants to pay for now, half made in the US crafts? I got endless new questions about starting with pleated fabric this time– why now not 10-15 years ago?
Now that our fashion industry is overseas, where are the small scale manufactures going to sell? Will these small scale manufactures flourish in this wide open field? Or will they need to be custom makers? Justin Limpus Parish say that most of her work now is custom mother-of-the-bride work.
Any thoughts?
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A view from the Santa Monica Pier of the handicap accesible beach! There is hope to make it to the sea for all of our lives. Gotta love Santa Monica!

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The Santa Monica show, is not a national show, it is a regional show. I mean that most of the exhibitors are from California or nearby. It is not as competitive to get in and so less seasoned exhibitors participate. Unfortunately this means that a few behaved unprofessionally.
Let me explain: on Friday morning the booth one removed from me was empty. This makes the show look bad. An empty booth is usually curtianed over by the show but this exhibitor was going to show up later on Fri. She did and set up while we were selling!
Walking the show later I came to a booth in the tents that was set up but had a piece of raggety plastic cliped over the front. Ugh! When I inquired as about the exhibitor, she was sick. She was having a negative impact on her neighbors, if nothing more than having to explain where she was. My neighbor had a bad day on Sunday: her car broke down before she got to the show. After attending to the car she took a taxi to a car rental place , left her cell phone in the taxi, did not have an adequate credit card in her wallet, had to go to the hotel….. Yet no customer knew there was a problem because she called a friend and fellow exhibitor who had 2 people in their booth and one came over and manned her booth until she got there. A much better solution.
The show closed at 6PM on Sunday and before closing some of my neighbors were bagging up their wares! I was still selling and my customers were being made to feel like they had over-stayed their welcome by this actvity.
The show promoter brings in some extra help for move out, if you sign up you can get help in the form of a man and a dolly for half and hour for $20. We signed up and when no one showed up I went to inquire. They used the PA system and told him to come to my booth. Nothing. I go back and say that no one showed up, and the show organizer tells me that one exhibitor yelled at the man (no info about yelling at the dolly) and he left! So there I was with ten large shipping boxes to move….
We exhibitors are all on the same team and benefit from cooperative good behavior. We pitch in to keep the show in good condition; we turn on lights we man other booths. Once in Boston there was a 27″ snow fall that started Friday evening and many local exhibitors who went home did not make it in on Sat. but the show looked open and all the booths were lighted and attended. The rules are pretty simple; be set up by opening, stay open during show hours and be nice to the help.

Santa Monica, CA

4 June 2007

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Information about the hours, how to get to the show and coupons for 2 free admissions are available here at Contemporary Crafts Market. Please tell me that you read the blog when you come to the show!

I’m leaving Thurs. 31 May for California. I go to Oakland, in the Bay area, to take a class with Mark Thomas and the on the 7th to Santa Monica for The Contempoary Craft Market the 8.9 and 10 of June. We are packing today to ship so I took some pictures of some causual jackets I am taking.
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This is a textured silk/lycra with two-way stretch. Simple shape, easy fit. I have 4, each a different color: this one is red pop, I have one called kumquat- bright orange base with olives and browns, parakeet – a light sharp green with some pink, blue and lavender and a very softy color called rose gold.