Pages

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hog Wash

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.

15 comments:

FetishGhost said...

I've given up on living the life of "high expectations" for a while. In the meantime there's plenty of room to have a good amount of fun. It's a full summer season of doing street demos at dusk on the local restaurant row.
Even got a red beret to let everyone know I'm an artist! Wink wink...

Tracey Broome said...

Absolutely! I'm with you there, if I'm having fun, the absurdity of it all is tolerable :) My daughter and her friend go down to the bars and restaurants on Friday nights and play music, and use the money they make to treat themselves to dinner and ice cream. Not a bad way of living....

cindy shake said...

E-gads. what a bummer :( sounds like you have narrowed down what the issue really is -and it's not a matter of the quality of your work, it's matching the work to the venue.

I don't sell any of my wall sculptures or high-end sculptures at the Farmer's Market and I even have to scale down my pieces in price and materials for the Market. Knowing customers are more prepared for bunches of $3-$8 veggies my work becomes a "luxury" item. I don't like being in that category. I do make tons of contacts and it's become excellent face time with my gallery customers that I normally don't get a chance to meet. But truly after I back out the cost of my new wireless terminal, credit card and bank fees, advertising costs, gas, steel, TIME etc. I don't want to think about what I net...

Dennis Allen said...

ain't no money in poetry
That's what sets the poet free
I've had all the freedom I can stand.
Guy Clark

Anna said...

Ugh. I had an experience just like this. Only my second show ever so it was really discouraging. AND IT WAS HOT. "will you take $30 for this?" Uh, NO. Good LORD. Definitely a difference between art and craft...and those who don't get it will obviously not be buying from my table either.

Have fun stocking up and here's to the art appreciating public! (and their kids.)

Tracey Broome said...

Who was it? One of you guys once said on my blog that you don't do shows that have the words music or something else in the title. Agreed, It will have to say ART from now on or I'm not going to be there and it might possibly have to say fine art :)
Cindy, I know what you mean, the cost of being an artist is crazy these days. Great quote Dennis, and Anna we all have these shows, another great thing about bloggers, you read their stories and you don't feel so alone! And you get lots of sympathy!

JUDI TAVILL said...

amen and amen.
I really thought I just SUCKED...
I am going to your Etsy site and you had better let me see photos of your inventory...I am fairly certain I NEED a barn.

Lori Buff said...

Yes, stay away from anything that has music in the name or is sponsored by a beer company. People are not there for the art. They can be fun, just not for potters trying to sell our work.

Tracey Broome said...

Judi, my goal is to get some photos done today for Etsy, I am out of clay and can't go get any until Friday so the barns are few in inventory right now. Lori, the music and beer festivals are the most fun though!

Michèle Hastings said...

last year at the celebration of seagrove potters a little girl about 4 years old came into our booth and fell in love with a little wood fired sake cup that was price at $50... sometimes kids have better taste than their parents! i have been trying to make simple little animals that are affordably priced for kids... unfortunately they seem to evolve into something more elaborate by the time i am done!
did your animal ornaments sell at the festival?

Tracey Broome said...

Not a one, the pigs were priced at $8, basically giving them away, everyone picked them up and said "eight dollars? boy that's high".....
just shoot me :)

SUSAN WELLS said...

Yea. Say good bye to the out door misery. Galleries and Festifall are your friends.

Tracey Broome said...

Absolutely!

Tone I.Lyngstad said...

Hello, I am one of your followers who seldom comments on blogs.Now I find it,s time :)Just have to say your art is really fantastic, love your barns!
And I agree so much about those kind of markets, it,s complete waist of time.
I find your blog surprisingly fresh in the language, if I can say so..like it :)))
Greetinsg from Norway
Tone

Tracey Broome said...

Hi Tone!! So nice to hear from you all the way from NORWAY! Thank you for your kind words!!