Well, Hog Days was a big waste of time. I was afraid it would be, but the weather promised to be beautiful so I figured why not give it a try. I made about $40, which seems so absurd to me as I type those words, how is that possible? I was there at 6am for set up, stayed until 6pm and made $40? I made the booth fee back that I had paid for the arts festival I was supposed to do, the one that got busted by the tornadoes that swept through here, so I guess I sort of broke even. And if you can live on compliments, I 'm rich. "your work is beautiful", "I love your pieces" , "I'll be back with my wallet", blah blah. I ran out of cards. What is up with that? People took my card, loved my work, but it seemed that they thought I was one of the festival attractions, just to look at, not to buy. I did talk to some nice folks and enjoyed meeting the girl that was selling beautiful gourds in the booth next to me, so it was a pleasant enough day, just a poor sales day.
Many brought with them the most obnoxious children I have ever seen at a festival. One kid stood and bashed his little body against one of my tables while my pieces quaked and his mom looked around, oblivious to the fact that she was about to be the owner of 4 barns, all over $100 and all about to be pottery shards in a shopping bag for her. It seemed that many of the kids thought my tables were set up for them to put their lemonade cups on and their turkey legs. Grrr..... There was a 1% group that actually knew what art was and appreciated my work, and interestingly, those people had really cool kids with them. I did have the pleasure of meeting one really cool kid. Laura Avery and her son Judson stopped by to say hello, and this child is one you want to talk to for hours, he is a really amazing child. It was nice to finally meet Laura after blogging with her for a while. My beautiful niece Autsin came to see me, my pal Susan also stopped by and my friend Deb Harris was set up with her pottery next to my tent so at least I had someone to share the misery with. The company was certainly far better than the sales!
This show was pretty much an affirmation for me that I have to stop doing these festivals. My neighbor with the gourds made a good point, she said "you are selling art and this is not the crowd that buys art".
I have been thinking about why a certain part of our society doesn't buy art. Just because you aren't in the 1% of the wealth category doesn't mean you can't buy art. My prices are very reasonable at these festivals, I try to have prices so even a kid with allowance money could buy something nice. I remember an artist at a craft council show in Charlotte years ago. She had a basket of little soy dishes that were priced at $3 and Wesley bought one with her own money. She was so proud that she was able to purchase what she considered a piece of art from a very good artist that was in a very good crafts show. Good for that artist for having that little basket of dishes. Wes still has that dish and she keeps her guitar picks in it. I try to do the same thing now, and I love it when a kid comes in my booth and buys a little dish. But my daughter has had a really good arts education. Most kids for a very long time now have not received an arts education, because our school system doesn't find art and music valuable enough to teach it anymore. Just look at the American Idol contest. The musicians that were really talented are not in the top two now. The top two got there on a popularity contest that had nothing to do with musical talent. Sure they can sing well, but their personalities for a certain segment of society is what got them there.
Anyway, this was the last of my outdoor shows scheduled until fall, I will apply for Festifall which is a great arts festival, and people come there to buy art. I always do well there. I will not be applying to anymore outdoor festivals unless it is a specific festival for art. It is a total waste of my time. And I will be spending the summer trying to build up inventory for the fall sales and the studio tour I will now be doing. Lesson learned.