Saturday, March 28, 2009

Craft Show Blues

I don't know if it's the economy or what but the craft show scene is just not cooking anymore. I am kind of at a loss as to what path my journey should take at the moment. I had a lovely afternoon with some like minded people and my friend Cheryl was there with her family and her new grandbaby. It was wonderful to be there but not so wonderful to come home and tell my hubby that yet again I didn't have a very good show.

My son's going off to college in a few months, so will I be able to validate my work without the stay at home moniker? I have my work in a store. I've had it in galleries that closed their doors and all that businesses going out of business brings with it and I've done the craft show circuit. I know I'm a little tired of the whole craft show thing so besides the Albany Shaker Museum which I love to pieces(lots of wonderful spiritual artistic types)I don't think I want to do them anymore. So now what?

Etsy? Look for new galleries? Use my wares myself and see if a walking billboard works or look realistically at the situation and get a real job? The last option is my least favorite especially now that I am always in a fog because of the big M. I'm not sure anybody would hire me anyway since I haven't worked in 7 or 8 years and people who were gainfully employed and experienced can't find a job.

I always feel like this on craft show nights, I've just never really put it into words before. Now that I've shared them I really don't feel much better about them but if you have any suggestions or ideas please share them(and please don't tell me to get a job at Walmart). My husband has a great job and even if things stay the same we will be ok but it would be so much nicer to be a meaningful addition to society's workings. Oh well this too shall pass and I will be back very soon with more pictures and less self pity.


Ascender Rises Above said...

my opinion is that etsy requires a lot of marketing; though having said that I am thinking of reopening mine. If you have a lot of time it might be just the thing to shake things up without the expensive table rental fees and dragging all the items out there; standing all day; etc. Sales seem down everywhere - only very high end and very low end seems to be moving.

Anonymous said...

I think anyone who has done craft shows knows what you are feeling. Hang in there.

Phyllis said...

I have read your last two posts. I think they touch a chord with many. These are tough times and I notice small shops here especially are struggling. I suppose if etsy is still doing well for many, perhaps that is the best option. Blogging is a great place to be during these times. I think there are many who would lend emotional support, especially as we all do spend much creative time alone and tend to think a lot. Solutions will come, but they do come with time and that uncomfortable uncertainty. I am here to listen.

drea_dear said...

Deb, first, I hope you got a good night sleep and are feeling better. I've done home show sales, and I know the high you get from a great show and the low you get from a terrible one. And I always felt like just quitting after bad shows. But I felt better in the morning.

Second, maybe your quality of work is not "craft show"? I don't know. I've only done one craft show, and I was the only fiber artist there. But what seemed to be selling where the items that would take me 5 minutes to do, and would have very little soul to them. The satisfaction wasn't there.

I've had an Etsy store for about 3 months, with a modest stream of hits, but no sales. You could try it, you might do well. It's only 20 cents per item to list, so you're not out a ton of money.

A friend of mine stepped down from her management position in the home show sales company to start "Heart Sing" - selling the things that make her heart sing. Ever since I got that e-mail from her, I've adopted that as my focus. What makes my heart sing? For Kim (my friend), it's skin care and personal accessories. For me, it's creating and thinking about the recipient with each stitch.

So maybe you try to rejoin the rat race, and you can be the calm, experienced person guiding people in the office. And in your spare time you do what really makes your heart sing, without the pressure of having to sell to live.

I rambled a bit, but I hope that helps.

Sybil Archibald said...

I think your work deserves a show of it's own in real art gallery. Maybe work on that end knowing it will bring fewer sales but at higher prices?

I feel for you though! We're all in the same boat. I know some people do really well through etsy. I just opened a store this week. I'm not sure it's the right venue at all for me. But I have a pile of old work from a much different phase of my process so I figured why not?

Elizabeth said...

This economic crisis will not last forever.
Maybe there are some new paths you can explore as a artist. Learning new techniques, read different books than you normally do to get inspired differently. Make a new portfolio for another audience. By the time this crisis is over you are totally ready to enter another gallery or show.
This way you can make this period a time for learning and reflection.

Elizabeth said...

Just had another idea. If you want to continue visibility why not make contributions to charity events who need/want to raise money. I have no idea or this will work but it is worth a try.

JudyOlson said...

Hi Deb, I have never had a good show at this time of year. Have you thought about doing the Cherry Blossom Festival is Schenectady the last Sunday in April? Always a decent show for me. Another consistently good show is Riverview in July in Lake Luzerne. Colors of Fall in September is getting better and better also. These are all shows that you don't have to apply a year ahead to get into! I am looking forward to this upcoming show season with optimism! Let me know if you want more info on these shows.

tangled stitch said...

Thank you all for your wonderful reassuring comments. I was overwhelmed by the support you have all given me. I had a wonderful nights sleep and feel better today. I have two two day shows at the Shaker museum and a college thing going on and nothing else until fall so will reevaluate after them. I also had a wee bit of interest from a gallery(we'll see if anything comes of it) and I think I'm going to do Etsy(or at least try). Thanks once again.

Lynda Lehmann said...

I know exactly how you feel!

It's hard to feel relevant when we artists work in relative isolation, and sometimes don't make enough sales to feel validated.

And now that the economy is so bad, art is NOT the thing that's selling. People can't eat your embroidery or my paintings! Or heat their homes with them, unless they burn them. Which is NOT what we want them to do! lol...

So we have to sustain ourselves with the thought that we do it for the love of it. When we have sales or other kinds of validation, that's special and we have to hold on to it.

Of course, in the meantime we will try new things, take some risks, look for new venues, etc. I know exactly how you feel, and I empathize with you.

Things will pick up.

Maybe you can come up with a new kind of product that you can apply your stitching to?

tangled stitch said...

Thanks Linda, in a great mood spent most of the day creating instead of kvetching. I'm trying to use my noggin to come up with some newness. Have a couple of ideas but am finishing my latest project.