Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vending at Art in the Courtyard, Lowell Folk Festival 2009

Thanks to handsome Roberto of Junk Culture for taking this nice snap of me.

The Lowell Folk Festival takes over downtown Lowell, Massachusetts the last weekend in July every year. It's like our Mardi Gras but instead of parades, drinking and plastic beads, we have music, drinking and crafts. (Oh, and meat on a stick.) I was lucky enough to be juried into the Art in the Courtyard show again this year. We live right around the corner so it's old home week for me when I do it. The show sets up on Friday afternoon to vend for 3 hours. Then we break down, set it all up again Saturday and Sunday. The set-up-break-down times three is hard, but the crowds on Saturday make it worth it. If the weather holds. And we started out nice and sunny after several days of rain:

I shared with Amanda of Brick Mill Studio again, and we even had the same location as last year! There she is on the left:

Here is Amanda's table hopping with interested customers)

Tarja, a fiber artist at Western Avenue Studios, sat in the booth to my left, she was able to get some work done for her upcoming show at the Loading Dock Gallery.

I set my table up thusly:

I looked at pictures of last year's setup and though the look is very similar, I can see that a year of tweaking helped me get a nice cohesive look to my displays this time around. Also, it's so interesting to see how many new products I have developed!

I know I had talked about making goods for this show in my last post, and I'm glad to report I have never felt more prepared for a show. And as predicted, I sold a few of everything making a nice sales total for the weekend.

A huge fun part of doing shows is people watching and there were tons of people to watch. Everyone, guys especially, got a huge kick out of my felted rocks and everyone wanted to pick them up. When they realized they were wool covered rocks with some real heft they all said "Whoa!"

The scene from my booth:

Western Avenue Studios was well represented. The other Western Ave group was situated further up the Courtyard on the right:

Liz of Lush Beads and Peter Zimmerman Art Glass, (Peter shows a potential future Open Studios attendee how to get to WAS)

Heather Wang Jewelry:

and Vicki Green of Art by Verde:

Overall a wonderful if hot and exhausting weekend. The only trouble spot was the last ten minutes on Sunday when a sudden, violent thunderstorm blew in throwing lightening bolts at us and sheets of wind driven rain. Yeah, that was terrifying and made me really mad. Because the same thing happened last year! ??? Luckily I was able to pack up quickly without losing product, just a little bit of my sanity.

Now that I am recovered from the weekend, I have been working on special orders and getting ready for Open Studios this weekend. If you missed us at the Folk Festival, or if you just can't get enough of Western Avenue Art, come by and see us Saturday August first, from 12-5.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Making Goods For A Show

It's so hard to know what to make! I have such a varied and extensive product line, and I seem to sell a little of everything at every show. There are usually a few standouts that change for each venue. At one location people can't get enough of my egg ornaments, at another I can't keep my cupcake pincushions in stock. So figuring out what to devote my time to before an event is a guessing game fraught with not a little bit of anxiety.

The crafter's biggest fear? Not having enough of the thing that is a hot item. Best to have too much of something, you can always sell it at the next show or online. But I don't have enough time to make too much, I barely have enough time to make enough!

So here I am charretting for Art in the Courtyard coming up at the Lowell Folk Festival this weekend. All my work is incredibly labor intensive so I make a giant wish list of what I would like to complete on time, and then as the days tick by the list becomes more realistic and some items have to drop off.

Today I am trying to fill a 12 hook ornament hanger with little cupcake ornaments, I think I am on track to finish this task. I also want to make some more sleepy sheep, to have at least a half dozen If you have a good number of any one thing, you have a better chance of selling some.

Trust me, this is a anxiety filled task I relish :) This is my dream job for sure and this is the kind of problem I hope I always have!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I love meeting an Etsy seller!

Today I got to do something extraordinary: I got to attend a craft show! None of us vendors are ever afforded this luxury, we are always working the craft shows we would attend. Or we are too busy making stuff for the next show to have time to leisurely stroll the aisles of handmade goodies. Or even have any money to buy the truckloads of carefully crafted pretties we covet.

But today my sweet husband loaded me into the car and took me straight to ArtBeat in Davis Square, Somerville, MA. The clouds had dissipated and left us with a perfect hot, muggy summer's day, I was thrilled!

I had seen on Twitter that a long-time Flickr friend and fellow Etsy seller, heatherjeany, would be there so we scanned all the booths until we found her! I was trying to take her picture all stealth-like when she made me and a big smile broke over her face :)

I got a sweet hug and we got to chat for just a minute. I didn't want to block her booth, though Dell was shopping the whole while and we picked up some sweet swag.

I had seen the bookmarks recently on her Flickr page so I knew I needed some of those, and a few cards for sure.

Dell and I got street vendor food (I cannot resist meat on a stick and he likewise cannot pass by a fresh grilled hot dog) and then we wandered a little more watching the eclectic crowd.

Now it is cocktail hour, my very first mojitos are prepared and the red beans and rice is heating on the stove...happy summer!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Virtual Studio Tour

Videos of my overstuffed studio taken at the most recent Open Studios on July 4th at Western Avenue Studios, Lowell, MA. We have Open Studios the first Saturday of every month!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

4th of July Staycation?

Are people wishing you a "non-voyage" this holiday weekend? Come visit the artists over at Western Avenue Studios in Lowell, MA! We will be hosting our regular First Saturdays Open Studios on July 4th from 12-5. Come see our newest work and wander these historic hallways.

You can also catch me July 11th when I will be vending with Liz Stewart of Lush Beads and Candace of The Intuitive Garden at the Boston Handmade Marketplace in Somerville from 3-7. This was a great show last year with choice vendors and fun music, come on by!

If it's July, then the Lowell Folk Festival can't be far away! The dates are July 24-26. It's right here in downtown Lowell, it's free, just pay for parking and tasty eats, mmmm, meat on a stick. Walk around the closed downtown streets and enjoy rockabilly, polka, blues and all kinds of great music. I will once again be vending with Amanda of Brick Mill Studio at Art in the Courtyard Friday night, Saturday and Sunday all day. A lot of Western Avenue artists are vending there, come see us go free range :)