Good Morning yâ€™all,
As anyone that has read my posts knows, I do get long winded so get a cup of coffee.
The term juried show can be somewhat misleading. All of the shows that I now do are considered Art shows and require pictures of my work, my display and in the case of an outdoor show they want to see what type of tent I am using. Now, remember if there is a wrong way to do something, I have done it so, the suggestions I offer is simply what I am doing NOW.
Pictures of your work. More and more of the shows are now accepting digital photos over the net as they find out slides are a thing of the past. By that I mean slide projectors are no longer being sold. Kodak made this announcement two years ago.
As far as the actual pictures. Use something black for the background that will not reflect light. Make sure the only thing in the picture is your work. One picture, one turned item. I have used such common things for the picture background as roofing tar paper, black cotton sheets that have been washed to take out the sheen, cardboard that has been painted with FLAT black paint. I take my pictures OUTSIDE because it gives me a full spectrum of light that will best show the actual color of the wood.
Displays: Oh, boy howdy can that be a mess. First of all are you doing a juried show for prize money or are you there to sell your stuff. I have done shows where the booth across from me had as few as 10 items on display. He was there only for the prize money. I do shows to sell my turnings.
Some displays I have used in the past are amusing and sometimes down right funny. Last year I constructed two great looking round, slide together units. Took a couple of days and were constructed of MDF. (medium density fiberboard) they were multi level with a top shelf to show off a couple of more expensive pieces. Painted black, lookin good. I forgot where I liveâ€¦.. I live in the land of humidity, Florida. Been here for almost 50 years but I still think Kentucky. (born and raised there) When we started to set up it was misting rain and the display was a little bit tight fitting. MDF loves moisture. MDF is similar to concrete when it comes to the weight and then you add moisture to swell this stuff and you end up with something that you drag (with help) to the dump can because you couldnâ€™t pull that thing apart with two tractors. Live and learn.
Joe and Whit were dead on about using shelves. It goes beyond just getting past the flea market look, it allows more than two people in your space to at least look at what they might buy. I found another artist that was getting rid of his display frames. They were used mainly to display paintings but I changed that by attaching black shelves. The frames are approx 3X6, I have 4 of them with 5 shelves on each. They attach to the side rails of my tent and give prospective customers the entire floor to cruise.
You will need a table in the back of your booth. It will need to covered all the way to the ground or floor. This for a place to display small items and a place for your customer to write a check. You can also use the space under the table to store boxes, ice box, etc. you want as many as possible to come into your booth so, it only a couple of people will fit you may be shutting out a paying customer. Shutter closet doors work somewhat, painted black with boards painted black that act as shelves across the V shape formed by the folding doors. Really a pain to transport.
You didnâ€™t say if you were doing inside or outside shows. In many cases the show will only accept certain types of tents. Some show websites or entrance forms will tell you. Some places donâ€™t tell you and you wonder why you didnâ€™t get accepted. The heavy duty jewels are not cheap. I use a Craft Hut and you are looking at close to a thousand dollars. If you have a choice donâ€™t spend any more than you have to when you are starting. But then your lathe was not cheap, the tools etc. You get the idea. The first thing you need to find out is do you REALLY want to spend your weekends doing shows. Donâ€™t turn a fun hobby into a job you really hate.
Now, if you think you are going to get rich, dream on. There will be times when you have a GREAT show and sell a bunch of stuff. Then there are the shows when you just make your entrance fee. One rule that will help. If all the people walking by have things they have bought but, you are not selling it is a good indication you being in the wrong type of show. If no one is buying anything just consider it a bad weekend.
I should say I am sorry for rambling on but I have watched a lot of turners that have spent a bunch of money and found they hated doing shows. Ya gotta like people. Take some pictures of you at the lathe so you can explain HOW you made the stuff.
We have greatly reduced the number of shows we now do. Did approx 20 last year and worked full time. Thatâ€™s a killer.
One more hint. If a show has some type of food as part of the name, run donâ€™t walk to another show. You know, Shrimp Festival, Blueberry Festival and a great one, Watermelon Festival.
Now, join the fun. There is nothing like someone that would love to have piece of your work finding out they really can afford it, and they leave with a smile. Or the people you see year after year because they come looking for you.
I hope some of this will help and may the Force be with you.
Oh, by the way. Whit uses an igloo for his winter shows.
Keep em rollin