Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Show Post Mortem

The show is over. The car is unpacked. And I have shifted gears already to focus on the next show....ACRE in Las Vegas at the end of the month. I still want to say next month....but no....I will be boarding the plane for Las Vegas on the 29th. So there is lots and lots of work to be done.
But back to Craft Boston. Inquiring minds want to know....how did it go??? Am I right?! Well, it was mixed. On a strictly financial level, I am glad I did not have the expense of a hotel. Many artists were spending $100 to $200 per night to stay in a hotel. That means anywhere from $400 to $1000 of additional cost to be there, plus...meals, parking, etc. The general consensus seemed to be that the sales were slow. A gallery owner that I work with locally made it to my booth late on Sunday, and they said there were very few people who reported a good show.
But, I did sell more vessels here than I have at any single show before. Not as many as I hoped, but more than before. This show is also incredible for exposure. Roaming the aisles of the show are more collectors than the average show. The curator of the Fuller Craft Museum, Gretchen Keyworth, was everywhere on Thursday and Friday. And of course the staff of The Society for Arts and Crafts, who sponsored the show. I got to meet and befriend so many wonderful talented artists.
The response to my work was wonderful. Some people walk right past, of course. But those people who do enter my booth space often seemed to be drawn in. A cross between a smile and a curious expression on their faces. Is life so bad if your work makes people smile and want to come touch it?
I do not believe that it has much at all to do with the Society for Arts and Crafts efforts that the show was a slow one for many. They may want to rethink how the energy of the show is distributed. There is a big center aisle as you come in the door, and many of the activities centered around that area. It was the place to be. But, I think the softness in sales has to do more with a general softness in the market for craft, and a continued uneasiness that has existed ever since 9/11. We are at war. As much as our president wants us to go shop, there is much to be worried about. The housing market is in a slump. Gas prices are double to triple what they were when he entered office. Jobs are being outsourced overseas. Well paying, middle class jobs. I am not trying to get political here. But these things do affect people's willingness to spend. If you are not feeling optimistic about the world, is buying craft the type of spontaneous action we are likely to take?
All in all, I was happy to have done the show. It was not the best show I have done financially, nor the worst. But it was one of the best shows I have done in terms of the artists who were there, and the overall effort put forth by the organizers to make it a great show. Would I do it again? I guess that depends in part on if they will have me back!
I will be back to pricing in my next post, so stay tuned...

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