I am writing this while my memories are still fresh. I need to record this, bookmark it, and read it before I think about signing up for another show. I have said it before, but this time I am certain. Last weekend was my last show!
In the last six years I have done one or two shows during each year with varying results. All of them were indoor, holiday market, events. Last Saturday I participated in my first outdoor show. Unfortunately, the event organizers were not very organized. Communication was poor. When we arrived to set up there was a lot of confusion. Despite being one of the first vendors to sign up for a space, my location was subpar. Booth spaces were not marked out. We had to use a tape measure and pass it on to other vendors to find our spots. Granted, the entry fee was low, and you know what they say, “You get what you pay for.”
Outdoor events have their own challenges. First, I had to purchase a tent and an extra table. Setting up a booth in the Houston heat I quickly realized I should have brought a change of clothes. Outdoor shows can also be loud. This was a community event with a stage where bands performed all day long with the bass turned way up. In addition to the booming bass, we had an Open Mic booth diagonally across from us. It was often difficult to carry on a conversation with shoppers and the constant noise was very draining.
The event started at 10:00 a.m. and the first few hours were actually not bad. The closer it got to lunch time the more people started arriving and shopping. For a short time I thought, “This might work out great.” And then….
… The rain came!
The wind picked up and we scrambled to secure the tent and cover what we could. My tables were set up around the perimeter of the tent, so of course, everything got wet. It didn’t hurt the glass, but most of my price labels were washed out. In my hurry to cover things, I knocked over a red drink on my white table cloth. While the rain continued I completely rearranged the booth moving tables in and leaving a space under the tent for the few shoppers that ventured out with umbrellas. As the rain subsided later in the afternoon, people started coming out again; but most were there for the evening concert not to shop. The only bright spot was that the Open Mic booth packed up in the rain and left. This made it possible to have an actual conversation with people that stopped by.
Yes, it was a downer, but there were some highlights. During the heat of the morning one of my loyal patrons stopped by with bottled water for us and then helped hold the tent down as the winds blew. Thank you B. I also enjoyed meeting some of my Facebook fans and talking to fellow glass enthusiasts. I got a lot of compliments on the quality of my work and several requests to teach classes.
If the rains had not come in the middle of the day it could have been a profitable day. Even so, I have decided this is not the route for me. Bigger art fairs would certainly be a better fit for my work, but it’s the preparing, packing and schlepping, being on your feet all day, and then unpacking that wear me out. So where do I go from here? For sure I will continue to have a private show for fans and friends. It might also be time for me to explore galleries and art guilds. We shall see. Opportunities abound!
P.S. I have wonderful husband who has supported me in all of my show endeavors with his muscle, brain, and heart. Thank you hon, and you have my permission to print this and hand it to me if I ever utter the word “show” again!