Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Rookie's Meanderings

There is so much to learn in the world of ceramics. Not just in the methods and techniques of creating ceramic work, but also in relationships, networking, collaboration, sales, business etiquette, and the list could go on forever. Being a relatively new and young ceramicist myself, I am learning so many new things every year, in all of the said realms. What I would like to focus here however, is the art of the craft fair.

Entering this world can bring about many new learning experiences, whether they are learned the hard way, or whether they are shared by kind individuals you come across along the way. There are so many things to learn about! What kind of canopy should one get? What color should the top be? How should the booth be set up? Where did they get those nice display shelves? Is there an easier way to transport all this work? How should I price my items? I could fill volumes with the questions I have asked myself about the world of art fairs, and the answers I have found.

I have learned many things by trial and error--for example, recycled plastic shopping bags may not be the most elegant way to present sold work to a customer (though of that I am still guilty, I must admit). This summer I learned something else though, something which inspired me to write this blog. I learned that there are so many nice people in the art fair world that are most willing to offer helpful advice and conversation. I have had many insights and learned many things about how to improve upon what I am doing--all from fellow artists generously sharing their experiences and information.

This also led me to the realization that many who attend these art fairs are not competitors or rivals of any sort; rather they are comrades, friends, and smiling faces who want you to do well, who want the world of art to continue thriving. Every art fair, gallery opening, and art function I attend I find myself learning something valuable. For that I would like to extend a big THANK YOU to all those friendly artists who make creating and selling artwork that much better.


  1. So well stated, Ashley. I have to agree with you completely, the artists that I've encountered at the shows have been so gracious and helpful and when I first started, it was a groupd of women that ran the La Quinta Arts Foundation that gave me my start and guided me on developing my voice. It has been a lot of trial and error and I've learned so much along the way - when I look back at my first booth at a big show - oh, what was I thinking!? is the first thing that comes to mind. But as I've grown and my work has evolved I still find myself gleening little tidbits from the artists around me. Hopefully, this will prompt some insight from other artists and we can all learn a bit more. And as for a canopy - white, white, white! And the one thing that connects me so much more closely with my audience is the story. It doesn't matter how small the piece, how it may not be my favorite, but everyone wants to hear the story of the piece, what the inspiration was, where did the shape come from, how did I create it - and I have learned to perfect my storytelling as it is not only the audiences connection to me but me to them and when I see that "look", well that means so much to me.

  2. I have a feeling I'll be learning things for a long time to come! And I already look back at things I've done and thought to myself "what was I doing?!?" --and i'm just starting!