Thursday, August 13, 2009

Show Time

A couple of artists new to the G Street Art Fair recently asked me how MUCH “inventory” should they make for various fairs and shows and how did I know what types of things to make. I thought these were great questions that even established artists ask themselves before every show. For me, I ask myself these questions months before any event to better plan my busy production schedule. Though there is never the “Creative Crystal Ball” to determine what customers will be buying and how much they will pay, there are some tried and true standards I like to use. Working backwards, I first know by booth space and venue. For example an indoor venue means lighting is everything and I bring halogen light strips that I zip tie to the top of my grid wall panels and for outdoor events, I bring larger works and colorful plants and a large windsock/flag to beautify the booth. It is important to consider how much inventory can actually FIT into the booth. I will consider the size of each piece for hanging on my chrome/steel 2’ x 6’ grid wall that I zip tie together and forms the back and corner of my booth as well as any free standing and table top space available. I like my booth to look “complete” by having just enough to fill the space, look interesting to visit and not look too empty or too full where customers cannot see the art or maneuver inside the usually tight area. Due to space limitations, I rarely bring extra inventory, everything is hung or displayed and my customers have become used to knowing that everything is displayed and I won’t be bringing any “new” pieces the second day if the event is a multi-day show. Probably the most important consideration I like to plan for is a variety of prices on my pieces. I try and have a little something for every budget. My lowest priced pieces are usually ornaments at $12-24 up to several hundred dollar wall sculptures or large, outdoor plant stand Garden Chimes. 

I also know that there are customer favorites and try to have plenty of those items on hand. The 6 Wind Salmon I had last time sold out before 10am so I doubled the number I made for this Saturday and have over a dozen hanging ready to go. Ravens are always a big seller and I will have plenty of inventory on hand of those as well.  The weather is playing a major part of my planning for the G Street Art Fair on Saturday –it is supposed to rain all day… Sort of OK for me because most of my inventory has been weathering out in the garden the last two months and the patinas love the rain! But some of my nicer, enamel painted, interior wall pieces might end up going to the Gallery instead of the booth on Saturday so they keep dry. We’ll see, not having to pay a Gallery commission on my sales this Saturday makes me a little greedy...

Check out the fungus among us! Taking a break welding this afternoon, I was tidying up the steel pile and noticed several different mushrooms growing on the ground here in Anchorage. I also found these pretty lavender (bottom row, center) colored ones growing in the compost pile. The orange one (top left) was growing under the picnic table and the little round puffer ones (top center) were in the front yard. I was surprised at the variety of mushrooms I found just wandering around the yard and started taking pictures. I think I need to make som of these out of clay this winter... All this Fungus reminds me the Fabulous Fungus Fair Formal will be at the Alyeska Resort, Labor Day weekend, there is a link to the schedule of events and fun fungi photos.

Fool(ed) Tauzer Schnauzer hacked up some grass on the carpet. Nothing too major, but just a reminder that dogs can 

be gross. I reached in the pantry for the Resolve carpet cleaner but couldn’t find the spray bottle so I grabbed what I thought was

the refill jug and poured it on the carpet… YIKES!! WHY WAS THE NEUTRAL COLOR CARPET TURNING PURPLE????!!! Because I WAS POURING DRAIN CLEANER ON THE CARPET!! Daddy-O came to my rescue after he heard my shrieking and we doused the carpet with water and sponged it up. It’s actually not too bad, nothing that a throw rug won’t hide and the spot is REALLY, REALLY clean now.


Patricia Griffin said...

Great post about planning inventory for a show. Hope you take a photo of your booth at the G Street shindig. And I hope it's a great show for you!

Linda Starr said...

I hope you take a photo too. Gary was just talking about a rope light for an interior show, we have rope lights on our outdoor patio, but they're not halogen - do they need a transformer or an invertor? Love the idea of having a wind sock or banner too - great ideas, thanks

Beautiful mushrooms, at first glance I thought they were clay, can I be inspired by your photos too? Draino on the carpet that's kind of scary.

Have a great show.

cookingwithgas said...

take pictures- I would love to see your booth set up.
We have had tons of mushrooms here as well with all the wet weather.
I would like someone who knows to say- you can eat these.
ACK! looks like the same if you are just going for color!

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

man, you ARE the coolest, are you not?

ang said...

drain cleaner ...hilarious!! but it's not funny at the time...happy showing this wkd here's to great weather..

Cynthia said...

I second/third/fourth booth request photos. I think this is one of the trickiest things to do. Inventory discussion is great! I'm thinking of the same thing now that the Colorado Potters Guild fall sale is creeping up in November. It's time for me to start planning what I'm going to make especially since my studio is currently packed up. I need to be super efficient.

Ohhh - such a bummer about substituting drain cleaner for carpet cleaner. I sympathize - it's something I would do. ;D

Judy Shreve said...

Good luck with your show today! Great discussion on planning inventory for a show. I find the buying public to be fickle sometimes. I also would love to see photos of your display.

Draino on the carpet -- too funny. YIKES is right. The bottles do look alike . . .

cindy shake said...

Hi Linda, the light strips/bars are the mounted kind of strips I bought at Home Depot/Lowes. They use regular 110 power and just plug in to my extension cords but give excellent pointed, bright light. The bars use 4 small, push-in and turn bulbs. I'll send you a picture. They do get a bit hot after an all-day show but the light is great.

hi All! Thanks for commenting. I too thought the other artists questions were really good. In fact, it prompted me to "spruce up" one of my displays from using upside down milk crates to welding a stand yesterday!! I'll post pics of that too. We'll see after the Show today if I am such a smartie and planned my inventory well-ha! Oh, I also wanted to mention that I had a new smallish banner made at Kinko's for the last Show in June. It was $75 but printed out on outdoor material with grommet holes and looks FAB!! I hung it inside the booth behind my little "pay" table and people could easily see who I was. Pics to come... But now the pressure is on this morning when we set up the booth at 7:30 AM -NOW I need to really make it look GOOD!! I'm actually terrible at this booth stuff- it's pretty new to me but I'll give it my best shot :o)

OH NO, my word verification this morning is BORETHON!!!! Hope this isn't a sign to come for the day... haha OK, time to load up. TTFN