Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wrapping Up

by Patty Lakinsmith

The year is soon coming to a close - can you believe it? I had my final show of the season last weekend and had a great time. Winery setting, lots of festive decorations and souls, and many friends and customers dropping by. It was my best show there in 4 years, and it really felt great. I got into this business as the economy was heading South, so it seems like each show has been a little worse than the last, but maybe this is the turnaround.

Whether it is or isn't a reversal, I always like getting out there with my work, talking about inspiration, and spreading the good word that beads can be made instead of imported. I do so appreciate my time alone at home, to imagine, and create in solitude, but there is a side of me that needs to get out from time to time and connect with others who appreciate art. Kind words and genuine curiosity about what I do with hot glass go a long way with me, and are nourishing in their own way.

It was fun to be part of several super top secret gift wrangling operations for the companions of some of the shoppers in my booth. The objects of longing glances were noticed, winks were exchanged, and notes were passed concerning certain surprise gifts that would be appreciated more than surprising. I love that.

Here's as much of my 4' x 12' booth as I could get in a reasonable photo:

My space constraints didn't allow me to get behind the table (which poses some challenges for customer engagement), so it's up against the wall and vertical. My earrings and check out stand are to the right, out of the picture. If you follow my blog you know that I'm on a constant quest for the perfect booth setup, and each show has different demands. Much as I love what others do with the artfully cluttered merchandising approach (maybe you know what I mean), I'm determined to scale back on the props for both visual and logistical reasons. I also don't feel terribly confident staging such displays, and worry that they might look silly. I'm also trying to find displays that show the work well, but are also fast to set up and tear down. So, here's where I'm at for now with this show. And yes, it all fit in my Prius. (happy face)

From here on out I'm going to be focusing on getting ready for the holidays, preparing for a little pre-Christmas fun in the snow, and making some lists of some things I want to accomplish next year. I'm thinking that some serious prioritization, and possibly some radical changes to my normal routine might be in the works.

How about you? How is your year winding down, and what are you dreaming up for next year?


NuminosityBeads said...

I know what you mean about constantly trying to improve your booth display. Now that I've been branching out into mixed media/altered art in addition to lampwork and jewelry it is becoming increasingly challenging for me to set up with out it looking like a jumble or at cross purposes. I keep thinking sleek is better but my personality of eclecticism always seems to win out in the end. I'm heartened to read that a few folks sales at shows are getting better. I'm noticing an upswing too. My shows are done for the year and I've headed south for the winter, inventory-less, leaving it all behind so I can start over making all new pieces and also trying to be organized for the next season of sales


Diane said...

I also do shows, and for the main reason that you noted--to get out in the real world and connect with people and fellow artists, and my year was definitely better than last year, but I've been doing this for 20 years, and these shows are for sure not what they use to be--still fun though!

MaCarroll Beads said...

I find it amazing how people can come up with so many creative displays. That, in itself, is a completely separate job that is so time consuming. I don't do shows (perhaps, one day when I'm retired from teaching), but Bill does and it is always a TON of work! Great display, Patty!!!

Alice said...

I do shows, but don't always like all the work it takes preparing, doing the show, and packing it all away afterward.

I need to figure out lighting, but the place I set up does not have outlets in my spot. And I'm always rearranging my table and looking for better ideas for displays. It's a never-ending process.

Next year I want to be more organized, take more classes, and make more jewlery.

Your booth is just lovely! Thanks for sharing!

SummersStudio said...

I've got one market left to do this year (this weekend). I so look forward to having 2 months off before starting again in February. I've done 11 markets and 4 shows this year! Like you, I am always searching for the perfect display with quick set up and tear down. It's like searching for the holy grail, I'm afraid.

TesoriTrovati said...

Thanks for the booth shot! I am ever on the quest for a perfect set up. Of course I only do one show a year but next year I plan to add two more major art shows to my list (if I make it in!) I like your lighting. That is always a challenge to me. On my list for 2011? Create my line of jewelry to sell in the new year. And that will hopefully allow me to pull back even one more day from the day job to focus on making it work!
Enjoy the day!

Patty said...

I guess many of us are on the same mission for efficiency, then. It's kind of fun, isn't it? I can't imagine why we would be so obsessed if it weren't.

Since a couple of you mentioned my lighting, I'll mention a little mmore about it. It's actually a 3 light track light strip from Home Depot, the kind that you have to wire the plug onto. It's attached with black duct tape (because I'm elegant that way) to some black PVC that can mate into 2 vertical pieces for bead shows where you have an 8' table. It's also the lights that I suspend over my torching table to light my work area. For this show I added a couple more cheap hardware store metal lights to fill in some dark areas.

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