Gary's Third Pottery Blog

When the going gets tough, dragons gonna get going....

Gary's third pottery blog

WRITE TO ME! Come see me! Open studio HERE! November 25-26 (11-4 each day); Aurora Art and Design, daily until 12/24; Cooperstown Art Assoc. daily until 12/24; Ellis Hollow Community Fair, 12/10; December 10, Little Red Wagon at the Space at Greenstar. All material on this blog unless stated otherwise is copyright Gary Edward Rith 2016

Monday, December 3, 2012

that which is delightful and fun can also be behind the scenes back breaking work

I was at an excellent fair all weekend, I had not been there before, but my pal Christi here suggested I try it and I paid for a half space.  Like, 4 X 8 feet.  It was in a gym in Syracuse, a large and artsy and hip crowd, but I am on the fence about doing it again, more on that in a minute.
First off, you will recall that almost 30 years ago I apprenticed to Dean White, a prolific central NY potter and totally generous and sweet man... he was at this fair too and we talked a lot.  He is such an old friend...anyway, he makes stacks of bowls and plates, thousands every year, and if you got his bowl 20 years ago and wanted to replace it, you could simply revisit his shop and get another.
SO, my own sales were good.  Definately good, and so was the crowd.  The only reason I might not do this fair next year is the distance.  As so many other people there joked "usually this fair is in a blizzard" which if you knew Syracuse would be a December FACT.  And another fair I like a great deal right here in my very own town happens to be the same day.  So, you know, why leave town?  I can see the potential for sales in a full-size space would be quite good. They had warned us that we should have some small and low priced items for sale, and I sold a boatload of 4 dollar cat and dog magnets, believe me!
  BUT, as wonderful as the organizers are, they had way too many potters at this fair.  One artist said "there is so much quality art here, more than there are paying customers" AND the organizers had a whole bunch of us potters together in a row.  I have never been to a fair that has grouped similar media together and it is a TERRIBLE idea.  Customers just say "oh, pots all down there" and don't bother looking closely at all of us, like they would if it was a mix.  The organizers apologized for doing this and said they would never do it again.  Lastly, the packing up to go?  The crazy and worst bottleneck you have ever seen (I like to time my packing up---38 minutes and I was GONE, fastest ever!!!!! I had parked in a clever spot, easy in, easy out)  There were people, I swear it is true, having a fistfight in the parking lot, screaming at each other!  These were artists, so mad at each other, and at a Christmas fair run by a peace group!

Anyway, fairs are fun, but holy CATS you get worn out.  I do very few of them now.  It is nice to get home and find all these orders online, keeping me very busy till December 24....sitting here at the computer in the studio = OPPOSITE of schlepping your display around!
Dean White- I was his apprentice in 1985!  he told me I am the only one of his hundreds of students and apprentices who ever became a potter.
Christi Sobel, my awesome friend from Ithaca...she is an illustrator and painter.


-Rob, Simple Circle Studios said...

I know what you mean about the behind the scenes work. Most people don't give a second thought to what all goes into an event like that. They just see all the pretty things lined up in a row. And often times the payoff is just barely enough to make it worth while.
It is definitely easier to work on selling stuff on the computer. My wife has been trying to get me to focus more on that kind of stuff lately.

Lori Buff said...

Your display looks great but next year the show could be done in a blizzard and that would suck.

~ Sil in Corea said...

Right! you are a lot better off selling on-line or at a local fair. No point in schlepping all over hell-and-gone.

Unknown said...

I know what you mean Gary. George and I used to do countless shows. Now that we are seniors it's just way too tiring. We just get so tired that the fun doesn't exist for us packing, unpacking, too much work. Many sanctioned shows I did the fee was 250.00, plus many months before I would have to send photos because they were juried, with a 45.00 fee for that.
I have never sold online, I am at a point in my pottery where I am not satisfied just making things. I like to spend many hours, and days working on just a few pieces, the one's I love.
I am not complaining though, I have sold just about everything I wanted to, even some high priced items throughout the years. So we are content now, and just too darn OLD to do more than we can handle.
I was at one show where I thought George and I were going to have strokes from the heat. We had to carry the pottery a block.
I laughed and said, "Oh great, they are going to come into our tent and find two slobbering, corpses, and everyone is going to shreik, and say ewwwww. Just didn't want to check out that way if we can help lol lol......

Michèle Hastings said...

Your booth looks great! I agree, why travel when there is a local show to do.

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

I would be in pottery heaven but I can certainly see why you wouldn't want to lug your display and all those breakable items all over the countryside. Glad you didn't get a blizzard too!

Love the Spike photobomb!

bartster said...

Glad it was a good weekend for you. The travel and set up does sound like lots of work. Too bad about the flaring tempers in the parking you say how sadly ironic for a fair put on by a peace group...maybe it's a reminder of how much work needs to be done. Love the picture of "Penny Claus" and her elves that you put up on the masthead of the blog.

Busy Bee Suz said...

How flipping wonderful was it for you to be there with your mentor? I bet he was impressed with your artistic abilities.....I am!!!!
Glad you had a good weekend and even gladder you were not having a fistfight in the parking lot. Geeze...what is wrong with people????
Happy Monday!

Navhelowife said...

Love the post, and fairs are a ton of work, but the picture of the cat peering around the corner? Totally made my day!

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I am a full-time studio potter, sculptor, and dog walker, married to superhawt Missus Tastycake.