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Monday, July 14, 2008

Naperville Woman's Club art fair...report.

As I said in my post before I left...set up for this art fair is a dream. You drive right up to your spot and can stay until you're done. The organizers (woman's club members and volunteers) are helpful and pleasant. I have one of the first spots as people enter and am shaded until late afternoon, when the sun comes in the back of the tent.

Friday night we had bad storms with lots of rain and I drove through blinding rain yet the next morning to get to Naperville from my brothers in Grays Lake. When I arrived at 7:30 AM it was still raining. I drove into the site (right up to the back of my tent) and began to figure out how I was going to stay dry while I put up the back awning. (You've got to picture this!!) I put a plastic grocery bag over my head and tied it under my chin...tore the bottom open on a black garbage bag and slipped it up over my pants to keep them from getting wet. I was quite something to see...but it kept me dry while I got my awnings up. (my rain coat was in the "rain crate" inside the tent!!)

I have to get the cart with my print crates on it out so I can begin to hang art...so I have no choice but proceed. When the rain stops the people will come out...in fact they come out rain or shin, umbrellas and all.

I work outside my tent under a 54" back awning unless there are bad storms. The next thing I did was "build my shed" as others call it. I use heavy weight plastic (which lets in light as you can see in the photo) and clip it to the awning. I have two pieces...one covers the side and two thirds of the back...effectively protecting my print crates (which I sell out of) and the area where my chair sits.

I have also clipped the plastic to the cart holding my crates and it was also clipped to my step ladder earlier when it was raining. This keeps it from blowing in. In the picture I have pulled it back but not taken it completely down...it threatened rain most of the day and had to put it up all the way again later that afternoon.

Notice my desk area. I work off of the "rain crate" and can easily pull prints from the crate next to it. I'll try to take some better pictures of my chair next time. There's a storage area under the seat where I keep bags, a "pocket hangs on the side and a table of sorts that I can attach.

Now for what we are all most interested in...sales. Saturday was bad...really bad. But on the drive home I remembered that the past two years had been bad on Saturday. The crowds were light and they weren't buying. Sunday was a much much better day. In fact if my sales had been as good on Saturday as they were on Sunday...this would have been a "really good weekend"...as it is it only gets a grade of "good".

You just never know...there was a different crowd on Sunday and they were buying. The weather was great...no rain, not hot, I even wore a jacket until sometime in the afternoon. It was really windy and some of the "easy ups" had to be held on to by the artists...but it was an absolutely beautiful day. (both weather and sales)

So far this season, despite the economy, none of the art fairs I've done have brought in less than last year. This has been a pleasant surprise. I was ready mentally for lower sales. I sold some of all that I carry with me and I'm happy to report that as with Quincy, I need to replace prints and have new works framed!

I have two weekends at home then head to Libertyville, Illinois. I will again be staying with my brother in Grays Lake...more great food, perfect lodging accommodations, and wonderful conversations. If you live close by, I would enjoy meeting you.


Links:
Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques

Naperville Woman's Club Fine Art Fair
Historic Naperville Settlement
Heading to Naperville, Illinois this weekend.

PS...make a "Point"...leave a comment

4 comments:

hbedrosian said...

Marsha,
Congratulations on your success at the art fairs, despite inclement weather and a stalling economy. This surely is a testament to your talent and perseverance!

Marsha Robinett said...

Holly,
Thank you for the compliments. But actually I think it is more perseverance than talent.

I sell mostly lower end things and I have yet to sell an original this season. It's the old saying 80% of your sales come from 10% of your shows.

I settle for lower sales than most I think...considering a $1,000 show to be a good show. By the time I deduct the expense of my product, gas, entry fees, and food...I've still made enough to consider it worthwhile...there are no motel expences,(I schedule shows where I can stay with friends or relatives.)

Jeanette said...

Weather is indeed a challenge with any outdoor venue and I'm amazed at your tenacity and willingness to continue on despite the obstacles. Of course sales help a lot. :)

Marsha Robinett said...

Jeanette,
Absolutely, with outdoor shows weather is always a consideration and it's always unpredictable.

I live in the midwest and this is the best venue to get my work and my name out there. I wish I lived in a metropolitan area where galleries were more prevalent...but I don't. I do know it gets harder each year and the day will come when I will no longer be able to physically handle it.

There are many artists out there doing this every weekend. I've met some wonderful people...and yes when sales are good it's all worthwhile.

Every year I evaluate the art fairs I exhibited at the previously season and decide which were worth while and which I will be eliminating.

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