Art Fairs – local arts & crafts fair

First Arts & Crafts Fair

 Finally yesterday I had my first experience of exhibiting my art at a crafts fair. After preparing literally all week and not really sleeping much the night before I rolled up at the back entrance of Alsager Civic Centre to set up my table. I was really nervous but I had a good spot in the top corner and could set up my display boards so that people could view them. The table was narrower than my dining room table that I had practised on but it was ok. So by half past 9 I was all set up and ready. I followed all the advice, I kept on my feet and talked to customers, I listened, I smiled and I have to say I really enjoyed myself. It’s so rare that I can spend so much time talking about art.

When people say ‘oh you’re so talented’ I now ask them what they like about my drawings and it’s great that people are so honest. They know what they like and can brutally say what they don’t like which is more significantly important.

Was it a success – well no! I didn’t sell anything,. Not totally true I did sell several cards but no prints and no originals. Did that surprise me, no it didn’t. I knew that people come to local craft fairs to buy a few bits, have a cup of tea and a slice of cake and socialise. They don’t come to buy a £40 print or an £80 original. There was always a deep hope that they would buy something and if the husband who came back twice to look at one of my cricket prints wasn’t dragged off by his wife I may have sold something, but predictably I knew my local artisan market wasn’t my market.

However, the positives are that lots of people took leaflets and enquired about pet commissions, they loved the prints of the commissions I already had done. They liked my style and they could tell me what they liked about it. I’ve managed to promote myself in my local community as an artist and a pet artist which is what I wanted. I had a lot of positive feedback. Little old ladies came over to tell me what they thought about my art, they didn’t just smile and walk by. I sold cards and I would have sold more if I’d had more designs available – I only had 2 cricket card designs.

The negatives are that whilst there are a lot of people you know who will chat to you for ages, it can put other people off looking, as you are too engaged. And specifically in my case it can bring out your new partners ex-wife and her fat friend who like to stand and stare at you for a good 15 minutes! Happy days!

My points to note for next time are, take more card designs, take my easel and carry on drawing so people can watch – they love watching artists draw. Take smaller prints to sell cheaper, show off commissions, have a price list – someone asked me how much for 2 dogs on one picture and I didn’t know what to say, pick a venue that has more art and less crafts.

Happy art fairing

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