The Art of the Craft Show

Karen West of Egg Tooth Originals has been kind enough to write a how to for finding and having a great craft show experience.

Ah….spring time. It’s been more than 3 months since the frenzy of the holiday season. You’re all rested, you’ve had time to make new designs, and now you want to get out there and show the world what you’ve created. Being a vendor at an art and craft show is a great way to get your product out in front of an audience, get to know who your target market really is, make new connections, and build your business. Here are a few tips to get you thinking about doing your first show.

How to find shows

The internet is a great tool for finding out what shows are out there. Of course, the most obvious way to find a show is to search on “art and craft shows in x location”, but there are other sources such as chamber of commerce web sites, local event calendars, or organization web sites. There are published guides to shows, such as
Craftmaster News that are available for purchase. You might find it worth the money to subscribe for a year just to get a good list of events. One of the best sources for show information, however, is other vendors. You’ll be surprised and how willing many people are to share information, recommendations, tips, etc. Don’t’ be shy about asking.

Application process

Ah, applications. They are all different. Some are brief, requiring only a short description of the product you intend to sell, a photo or two, and your contact information. Others require multiple steps such as a description of your creation process, a resume, or information about how your art-making process is earth-friendly. You usually do not have a lot of space on applications for written sections (and jurors don’t want to read a memoir), so practice making your narratives brief and to the point. Most applications ask for a photo of your booth set-up. If you have never done a show, you may find yourself setting up your booth in your back yard just to get a jury photo.

Read each application carefully and thoroughly before you begin to fill it out. If something is not clear, ask the promoter for direction. Don’t procrastinate in returning the application. Some promoters schedule a jury after the application period closes and others fill slots as applications come in. Even when there is a scheduled jury date, some promoters may use the postmark date as a means to choose between two equally perfect submittals, especially when they are looking to balance categories of art work. And don’t be surprised that application periods close several months before the event date. An April deadline for a November show is not unusual.

Photographing for applications

The images that you submit with your application must show your work clearly without distortion or distraction. Taking a photo for an application is different than taking a photo for your website. There is a lot of guidance available on-line; you may even want to hire a photographer to take your jury photos. Or better yet, take a class in digital photography so that you can become a master of your jury photos. Some applications are very specific on how images should be titled, sized, etc., so pay close attention to instructions in the application.


Evelyn said...

This is very interesting. I'm just getting into applying for shows and I learned some things from your article. Thanks!

Zoe Nelson said...

I've been doing shows for many years, and this is valuable information!

HappyDayArt! said...

Very good information. Thank you!

Catherine Witherell

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