Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No Spring Shows

In January, on one of those cold rainy days when I didn't want to go out to my studio, I sat at my desk all day and did paperwork. I added up all the costs associated with the shows I did last year, to see which ones made sense for me to apply to this year. Last year there was rain at every spring show I did, one was cancelled due to tornadoes, and the one that did have sunshine brought me the great profit of $30. The only good thing about that show was I met some future customers who did end up buying things for Christmas, so the exposure was at least worthwhile.
These shows were definitely not worth my time and expense. I lost a week with each show, considering the time spent packing, pricing, setting up, siting there talking to people that were clueless about art and why it costs what it does, having to defend my prices, explain my work. The mental exhaustion alone is not worth it. Then there is the day after, unpacking, resting up, and getting yourself mentally psyched to go do it again.  I just could not bring myself to apply to shows this year. So I am making work for galleries and I will gladly pay them to do all of that work for me. Since January, with more focus and less worry about the spring shows, I have already made more than I made at all of those shows last year, not including the CDCG and the studio tour.  I will do those two shows this year and I did apply for Festifall, because it is an easy and fun show and I usually make a profit there.
I know a lot of people have a hard time paying the commission to galleries, but the galleries do the marketing, the set up, the pricing, the selling, they buy the gift wrap, the shopping bags, they keep the shop open more days than a one day show, and it allows me time to work on more stuff. It's hard to not get all the money for the sale of a piece, but it's harder to sit at a show in the rain all day and not sell anything. I do sell my work better when I am with it, I think if I were selling the pieces at Mudfire myself, they would be gone by now, but I can't always be there and I can't be everywhere so, for me the trade off is worth it.
I still can't make myself become a fan of Etsy. I keep thinking I should open my shop back up, but I can't keep enough inventory, because I am a slow and lazy artist and don't make that many pieces. So for now, I have some very nice galleries that represent me and I need to get work to them for spring and summer and then I will start planning for the big fall shows. So you won't see me this year at Shakori, or the Hillsborough Arts festival, or Hog Days (thank God) or any of the other shows I did last year.
But if you want something just email me and I will make it for you!


Patricia Griffin Ceramics said...

Tracey - I agree with you. Galleries are worth what you give up, especially if they do a good job with promotion and gain exposure for your art... And, about you calling yourself a "lazy artist".... NOT!

Anna M. Branner said...

What kills me? The postage and packaging TO the galleries. Ugh.

beaquilter said...

what local galleries are you in? I'm curious, since I only do my kids school show to help the PTA, but never looked into galleries.

Tracey Broome said...

Patricia, I have my days :)
Anna, yeah the shipping! The work I sent to Atlanta was a chunk of change!
Bea, locally I have work at the NC Crafts Gallery and soon the Collectors Gallery in Raleigh, if I ever get anything to them, the Outsiders Gallery in Durham will have some work next week. In Charlotte, Lark and Key, The Bascom in Highlands, and a few pieces at Mudfire in Atlanta. That's about all I can handle right now!

Dennis Allen said...

No Hog Fest??? Given the level your work has risen to and the prices you need to charge, the local Broccoli Fair is not the right venue for you.I agree that concentrating on better shows and galleries will pay off.You might look at Western NC Pottery fest in Dillsboro the first weekend of Nov. Lots of great potters and enthusiastic buyers who appreciate quality work.

Tracey Broome said...

Dennis, dillsboro is a great suggestion. Seeing as how I made pig ornaments for hog days and they didn't even sell, yes, I will pass! Did I really make pig ornaments last year? Ugh!

Michèle Hastings said...

You are absolutely right about your paying a commission to galleries... they do the selling so you don't have to. Shows are exhausting.
Dennis made me laugh when he mentioned your higher prices make the "broccoli fair" not the right venue... how "bout the "artichoke fair"? maybe it's a little more upscale, lol.
... bad joke, but couldn't resist.

Dennis Allen said...

Artichoke Festival of Crepe Fest (not to be confused with crap fest) might work.

Amy said...

Tracey- glad you're doing what works for you. Say, hey- I'm going to Atlanta in mid- May and I'll be in the Raleigh area in early May and am happy to take some pieces to Mudfire there (if needed) as I'll definitely be visiting while there. :) Just an idea. Can't imagine how expensive shipping is! If interested, please just comment on my blog- thanks!