Tuesday, August 17, 2010

There and Back Again: The Art Booth Experience

I survived my first arts and craft festival!

Ok, that wasn't really how I wanted to start my blog post about the experience, but that's what came out when I started typing.

Let's try that again...

I won an award at the Salt Fork Arts and Crafts festival! (Celebrate the successes, learn from the "failures", right?)
I was very honored to win the William Saling award titled "The William Saling Memorial Award; In memory of long-time exhibitor Bill Saling; for an Amusing, Delightful Work of Exceptional Craftsmanship" for my license plate box. William "Bill" Saling was an exhibitor at the festival for 30 years. The greatest part about winning this award was that it came with stories. Several people stopped by to tell me about Bill Saling and how humorous and entertaining he was. Evidently he was quite the well loved character. As his art, he made wood pieces including clog dancers. Bill passed away a few years ago. From one of the stories I heard, he passed away at his desk while creating his art. I managed to find some of his clog dancers online, and was even able to order one. This one... :)

I would have loved to have met Bill Saling, but I'll have to settle for reminding other people of him.

Ok, so finally... the booth. I'm a little hesitant to show you because it didn't turn out quite as I had planned. Oh, and the photo I managed to take was after a larger piece sold (the white empty board in the back left) which left a gap. I took down the that piece of pegboard after that and put some small paintings on the black shutter. It would have been nice to have down at least the back wall to have a white background, but it was tooooo hot. I had to take advantage of whatever breezes were coming through to cool down.

Overall, I did ok with sales... there were ups and downs, and overall I would have liked to sell more, but for my first show, it was ok.

Mainly I learned:

- A lot about what I need to think about for having a booth on a hill. I really hadn't planned for that, and it threw everything kind of out of whack

- I need a better way to create wall space too while also planning for the curveball from being at an angle.

- I need to put something more "impactful" visually on the front of the booth. Some of the vendors had signs you could read from two miles away. Ok, maybe only one mile away.

- Oh, and did anyone know that August is hot? :) We did get to sweat a bit. Probably didn't hurt me to lose a few pounds of water weight.

- I need to spend more time figuring out if an event is right for me. It's kind of hard to tell, so maybe it will be a trial and error for the first year. I did get some helpful advice about events where I might fit in from some people who visited my booth.

People had interesting comments:

Most of the people who stayed for a bit had very nice things to say. Here are a few of the nice things I heard: Clever, talented, fun, happy, whimsical.

Here are some of the things that I'm still working on interpreting: Different, strange, and never seen anything like this before. I'm going to take all of those things as a compliment for now.

In other art related news:

1) My wish to teach at an Art & Soul event might not be over after all. We'll see...

2) I got an invitation today to exhibit at the Oglebayfest in Wheeling, WV at the beginning of October. I'm working to figure out if I'm going to do it or not. It has mainly been a crafts event in the past, but they're working to make it more of an arts event. I probably fit somewhere in between (Artsy Craft? Crafty Art?) , so it might work for me, but I still have concerns that I might not fit in.

In other only somewhat related news:

1) I got a promotion to manager. My first day was yesterday. This is somewhat related to my art because it probably will mean I'll have less time for it. Instead of spending my lunch hour creating art, I'll probably be in a meeting. We'll see...It's feeling a bit overwhelming right now, but I'll wait to let things settle down a bit.

2) I have a lot of travel in the next couple of months. The upside is that I'll get to see friends - especially my dear friend Lea who is pregnant and has another wee one that I haven't met yet. Can't wait!


  1. looks like you had a very nice booth, shelley...so much good news too! hope you have a great trip!

  2. Congrats on surviving your first show AND your award, AND your promotion to manager! Whew! What an awesome week!!! Hugs, Terri

  3. I think your booth looks pretty awesome! Being on a hill does sound challenging, yikes. It sounds like you learned a lot from this first round and I have no doubt you'll get really good at putting things together for future shows. Very excited for you and all the good things coming your way!!! I can't WAIT to see you!

  4. congratulations on your award! yeah! you certainly deserve an award..if anyone ever did!
    i'm so proud of you. congrats on your promotion too. things are going really well for you and that makes me happy!