Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Let's Discuss Fine Art Shows.........

Reporting in on the craft fair from Hell....... this is fair warning and your chance to exit the door on your left.  Yes, this is a rant blog.  

It has been quite a month here at Paine Falls.  A kiln failed, wrong elements sent, right elements arrived, two shows scheduled and the dog was busy making crap circles in the backyard.  The realization I am not 30 anymore and now pay dearly for those all nighters because Kirby and I were both making crap circles in the backyard.  The Tuesday before ground zero I had two kiln loads of pots fail.  It was the perfect storm and I have a paternal gene that says; WORK FASTER YOU WILL MAKE IT!  

I didn't make it and cancelled the West Virginia show.  Decided to go with Christkindl Markt at the Canton Museum of Art.  It's a $300 show and $25 jury fee and I had already spent $100 building a new light stand as the booths are 8' x 10' (not the universal 10x10, so no canopy frames with light bars, don't even ask as it's stated in the contract, top of page 2) but it's a museum promoting fine art and craft. It was closer to home too;  an hour and half drive instead of 3 hours.  No brainer right?  I was physically ill cancelling the West Virginia show, I have not cancelled a show in 35 years, never.   I still blush red while typing that I cancelled.  If only I had had a crystal ball and a wand, yes a wand would have been great too.  

Enter set up day, Thursday morning.  I was ready!  Drive down, sunny, no problems.  The first red flag and as I look back I should have just kept driving away but I didn't.  I pulled to the loading dock and was directed to park on a hill.  But excuse me sir, I have pottery and this hill could pose a problem.  A run away cart with pottery careening out of control, wiping out a case of plastic angels.  As he was mouthing the words, NO!  What appeared to be a young homeless man came running across the green yelling; CALL THE POOOOLICE, HE HAS A KNIFE AND A GUN.  I looked over his shoulder and sure enough there was another guy coming on fast over the green and the security guard was on his cell phone calling the police.  He kept running to the next block with his adversary in hot pursuit,  I kept unloading with my foot wedged under the wheels and praying for the case of angels.  

As I unloaded the next thing I noticed; everyone unloading was old; like really old.  One guy made telephone pole Santas.  He wrestled an army of Santas out of his horse trailer onto a two wheeled dolly.  Huffing and puffing he rolled the first Santa to the cab of his truck and loaded his green oxygen tank right next to the giant red Santa.  Very festive but hope Santa doesn't pinch his hose or it could be lights out!  Is this what people do for retirement income now?  What happened to fishing or Florida or shuffleboard or bridge or bowling or canasta? 

Everything made it in and I was set up.  Just in time to drive home during rush hour.  


  


A very nice woman working the check-in gave me a map, parking pass, name badge, strict instructions on booth sitters, donuts only on Thursday, and bread crumbs so I could find my way back to the entrance.  In a dark dark room, down a distant hallway, past the alpaca knitters, past the Santa Sweet Shoppe, past the snow globe candle ornament artist and YES, next to the ......... MARBLE MAN!   He had a little cart he wheeled in and he makes little wooden trees on a tray.  You get a big bag of marbles and drop them down over the tree made of little wooden paddles, some make it to the tray, some hit the concrete floor laying in wait for little old people with canes and walkers.   He started tossing marbles Friday morning before the doors opened.  Marble man was in the cavernous hall right outside our door, the sound of cascading glass marbles bouncing off little wooden paddles and the polished concrete floor reverberated through out the grand hall.  Three days with this man and he had a demonic smile every time he dropped a bag a marbles over the little tree; he couldn't stop himself.  By Sunday the jewelry lady cracked.  She picked some stray marbles off the floor and stormed the committee office.  Wherein they sent a little old lady gray haired lady with a four pronged cane, dressed in a candy cane apron and red Hane's light up sweatshirt flashing Jingle Bells, down to "talk" to the marble man.  We all secretly hoped she open up a can of whoop ass on this guy.  After Ms Jingle Bells left, he leaned around the corner, glaring at the jewelry lady and said; If you fall, sue me.  


I had great neighbors!  There were three of us in little room and we all watched each others booths for breaks, offered up treats and shot the breeze while we waited for customers who could not; for love, nor money, nor marbles find us.  We all realized by Saturday afternoon we were screwed.  

We would exit our little room and look up and down the cavernous hall for warm bodies.  On Friday we noticed a booth right outside our door who seemed to be competing with the Marble Man.  It was 
Princesta Magic Baskets!  (not kidding)  Turn up your speakers folks, watch the video and remember this is in the Canton Museum of Art.


And the judges awarded this guy 


and a check for $150 and the promise he will be back next year!  

By Saturday noon the other artists had brought it to the attention of the women's committee that the judges had made a wee bit of a mistake as these magic baskets were mass produced with CNC machines and there were 10 guys working in garage somewhere, maybe in America, maybe not, banging this crap out at lightening pace.  Phillippe was the minion sent out to dump magic baskets on art patrons everywhere.  I do not begrudge this man making a living but an advertised, juried fine craft/art fair in a museum is probably not where I expected him to show up.  And he worked a crowd like it was the county fair or a Vegas flea market.  Customers headed to the real wood artist with beautiful inlaid cutting boards were accosted with; "Hey friend, let me show you what I make, it's amazing and you will love it. We have a patent pending on our art!"  It was impressive to watch BUT IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE A FINE CRAFT/ART SHOW IN A MUSEUM!   When the real wood artist asked the committee ladies if he was really going to be asked back and they said; "YES, we love him!"  Real wood artist said; I don't think I can come back and the committee ladies said; "That's Fine" .....and then my hair caught fire.  And then the other jewelry guy said; This is an outrage and started packing up at 2 pm on a Saturday afternoon.  Stu is a nice guy, married to a very nice woman, he has a cool display and he had a double booth so this was gonna leave a hole!  Stu is a large man who wears a wrinkled lab coat, shooters earmuffs, has lots of cats and he could be the jeweler for Dr. Demento. The co-chair came down to talk Stu off the ledge but Stu did a great job getting the co-chair on the ledge with him and she started crying.  Stu had a good platform and was very eloquent explaining why he could no longer stay. I love Stu!  And now I was pretty sure we were in the Twilight Zone of all craft fairs!  I was ready for a candy cane fight to break out and somebody was going to loose an eye!  Nope no candy cane fight.  Strolling down the hall headed straight for us to find out what the dust up was all about the local drunken potter.  Drinking from a goblet bigger than his head he asked; What's up?  Dear God if he walked past the candle lady we would all go up in a puff of smoke! Nothing says fine art show like a drunk potter.  The only sad part, it wasn't me!   The show was so bad I started packing up at 5:30 pm and decided to head over to the real art opening across town in a college gallery with friends and real artists who like each other and are happy to see each other.  (which was such a breath of fresh air) 
I went home and slept on it...... hard.  And we had our first snow event of the year, my hour and half drive turned into two hours with detours and accidents, a knuckle buster for sure.  

Sunday was pretty much like Saturday, except the 90 year old crafter down the way came down and gave me the biggest bear hug ever announcing it was her birthday today.  Her husband made embossed framed work that was beautiful but he can't drive so she is his chauffeur.  She said Jesus loved me and I shouldn't let that SOB with the baskets take one more minute of my precious time.   Thanks Hon and happy birthday.... 90, she's 90 and she drove up from West Virginia everyday to do this show.  If I'm 90 and still doing shows somebody pinch my hose! 

Did not make booth fee, first time in a very long time.  Four days out of the studio,  710 miles logged over 4 days and shell shocked from Christkindl Markt.  Monday morning I unloaded the van, licked my wounds, ran in to Cleveland to breakdown a gallery show.  I had people taking pictures in my booth, never asked just snapping away, when I questioned why they were taking pictures in my best jovial tone.  The person snapped if I wanted to copy it I would buy it.  What the Hell is going on in the world of craft - art - the world everywhere?  Today I wandered around my studio wrapping my brain around the next show in three weeks.  
Now where did I put my bulletproof underwear?  Happy Holidays...... I think! 













O



36 comments:

  1. geez so sorry for your experience, when it rains it pours. no wonder many are confused about what fine art is.

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    1. Hi Linda, now that I'm home it's pretty comical and we can we stay done LOL! Have great holidays!

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    2. When you posted you were doing Christkindl I sort of wondered why but as i only went as an attendee forty years ago i thought maybe it had changed. Nope!! You got their special treatment and i apologize for howling my way through your rant but I could see it all Soooo clearly. Drink. Drink a lot!!!! Obliterate the memory.

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    3. Hi Lauralee! You would think once you hit 65 you would just know these things...... years ago this was show I could not get into for love or money. Well I guess I showed them ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™„ . Heres hoping Winterfair obliterates all memories, otherwise it's gonna be a cold Christmas LOL!! Have a great season!!

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  2. You win. I can't top that and hope that I never can. But, man, do I get it.

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    1. I bet you can LOL! Between craft fairs and being a Browns fan I'm 99% scar tissue :)

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  3. I would say that the one good thing was that you had a great tale to tell.! I always love your take on the shows you do.
    I stopped doing shows for many reasons, but the CROCHETED CHRISTMAS TREES in the next booth were what finished me. And to think that we had a running joke going about cast ceramic trees......you know...with lights and all.

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    1. Oh Suzi, I got a beautiful crocheted Barbie toilet paper cover! And yes the drunk potter had several of those cast Christmas trees with the lights in his booth, I almost died when I walked past his booth. Stick a fork in me I am almost done! LOL! Have great holidays Suzi!!

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  4. Oh so feel for you..it is such a decision and investment to do a show

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    1. Hi gz! and we can call this one done LOL! thanks!!

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  5. The terms "fine art and craft" are obviously very loose these days. I hope you recover quickly.

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    1. I feel like it's more of the dumbing down of America. Baking cookies today because cookies fix everything! ❣️ Thanks Michรจle!! Have a great season!

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  6. As always Sandy, only you can tell a tale of disaster and have me ROFL ๐Ÿ˜‚
    ... what a letdown ... I feel for you ... it's hearing about your Christmas Arts and Crafts fair trials and tribulations that makes me appreciate having my little spot in our local cooperative gallery ... do you have any more pre Christmas shows to do? ... if not, hope you can relax a bit ... take the Kirb for a few more walks in the snow ... B

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    1. Hi Brenda!! Hey I am getting a red light up jingle bells sweatshirt and can whoop ass for my next show! One more show and I go into hibernation! Kirby rocks the antlers but today we are headed to the woods and then the paw wash, it's a spa day for him. Then I'm baking cookies because cookies make everything better! Have great holidays in your neck of the woods!

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  7. Shaking my head. I’m a book artist and a printmaker. I was unaccepted to a show because I sold prints. Yes I do... monoprints, linocuts, woodcuts. They said it was a fine arts show and prints weren’t acceptable. However today I see online that one guy here did a demo of a digital watercolor at the same show... he sells those as prints. Go figure. They also didn’t know “what to do” with my artist books. Good grief. On to the next show...

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    1. Argh! I have become somewhat of a rabid letter writer to boards, more for my sanity than anything else. Leave me my illusions on changing anything in the big wide world of art shows. I thought museums were around to elevate and educate, so do it. It really is that simple. Good luck at the "next show" . I'm going to duck and cover the rest of the week :)

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  8. Been there--so sorry that it was a bad show, but your tales had me laughing out loud. And I have met that drunken potter with the goblet. I know it because he was wasted then, too.

    Oh, the life we lead as artists. Here's to a hugely successful show next time. Also, really nice work and display.

    Lastly, I played the basket video. That was the soundtrack to your story. So fitting.

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    1. If I do many more of these show I will have a full bar above my wrap table LOL! Did you love that video, I was on the floor laughing when I found it! Taking the art world by storm! Have a great season and here's to the next show!

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  9. Your experience would make a perfect SNL skit! Sometimes you just have to find the humor in these horrible situations! I think some Of these shows are not making The Money they have in the past and they are
    Perhaps lowering Their standards. Bad decision on their part.
    I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving Sandy!
    GG

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  10. Your experience would make a perfect SNL skit! Sometimes you just have to find the humor in these horrible situations! I think some Of these shows are not making The Money they have in the past and they are
    Perhaps lowering Their standards. Bad decision on their part.
    I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving Sandy!
    GG

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  11. Condolences. I had one of those experiences a while back. I was set up next to a booth selling nail decals. I think I spent the whole time hiding my hands behind my back. That is the only time I have ever left a show early. I may have made my booth fee, but it was close. At least it was only one day, and I should have known better. The group was trying to revive their yearly fund raiser event by bringing in artists to what was formerly a beauty products/glam kind of thing. I knew one of the ladies in this group and got myself talked into it, of course.

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    1. We all have that "ONE SHOW". Nice you did the Very Pretty Lady Nail show ๐Ÿ˜‚ . I was between two jewelers and don't wear any sooooo..... What I did learn if you have shiny things people just flock to your booth, maybe this winter I'll work on glitter glazes or buy a be-dazzler. Its past and over and now back to our scheduled events! Craigslist adventure LOL! Have great holidays Melissa! ๐Ÿฆƒ❤️

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  12. I sit here in my beautiful store at 3pm, not one sale all day, raining outside, only one bat shit crazy woman came in and spent two hours explaining to me why she wasn't buying anything and apologizing over and over as I explained to her that we were closing the store because I had ten of her kind a day come in and tell me how beautiful my store is and not buy anything, or they ask if its on sale..... and I read your tale and remember the last "fine art" show I did, wedged between a man spray painting custom toilet seats and a lady with hematite bracelets magnetically attached to cookie sheets, and watched them fill their pockets with money while all day I sold one ornament for $3.00 and the person wanted a discount for it.... I know not which is worse..... I hate retail, I hate doing art shows, I hat selling things to the general public. This country has gone insane and I just want to curl up in front of my wood stove, grow my own food and not leave my property. What has happened????? What are we doing to one another????? I am so glad it was a boring day here and I went surfing on my computer and reconnected with your blog. Maybe I need to fire mine back up and do some venting too xoxo

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    1. TRACEY ❣️ I saw your post on closing the store and felt like you just opened. Argh the work, the commitment, the paper work. Ya, I closed the gallery last January, vegged on the couch for a bit and then started looking at seed catalogs, stoked the wood stove and realized I could start pruning! Best summer ever in the garden (and our weather sucked this year) and canning in the kitchen. Filled the basement and a freezer so we're gonna live! OMG custom spray painted toilet seats...... yup fine art for sure!
      I did post one blog last year as I just didn't have time or even a brain wave now that I think about it. I missed the blog and although I am not posting as much as I did, it's a great outlet!

      These are crazy times with a pass to be angry and hateful. It comes from the chief cheeto and talk about trickle down! I like staying on the compound and after the last show of the year in a week and a half I will be hunkered down with the seed catalogs, some knitting and a warm dog; who is pretty darn happy I'm home! Blog away lady it's good for the soul LOL! Have a great holiday!

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  13. Been there, it sucks! For us it was being set up across from FREE Salsa! Did I say FREE...well the taste were free and that was all it took to give anyone looking at our work whiplash! Free.... that tree is a hoot, but at a fine art show....Happy thanksgiving!

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  14. Oh geeze, free Salsa, really? Meredith have a great season!! I am already cranky and offering free eye rolls.

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  15. Been there - done that too girl. I feel for ya. You had me laughing so hard tho -I don't think I'm going to be able to breathe for the next hour and a half. You brought back memories of a show I was in years ago with a drunken Santa tho, and overheard this Santa's checklist on one little boy he picked him up to put on his knee. It was a kodak moment for sure, melting my heart - until he belched, adjusted his beard, then with a jolly laugh, asked "have you been a good boy this year?" Nodding, then looking up at him with eyes as big as saucers, the child was at a loss for words to Santa's next question: "How about that transmission your daddy told you to change out in his F-150 boy?" The grandpa next in line with his grandson sure appreciated it tho lol. That kid had been driving him crazy for the past 20 minutes! Hope you have a great holiday this year tho and kudos to all your efforts.

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    1. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚ We should all lock ourselves in a room for week and write a book! We probably need a couple boxes of Depends too.......LOL!

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  16. Hoooooly shit, Sandy!!! If you ever quit doing pottery you have a career as a feature writer!
    I did even know about a couple of things you wrote about. Was the drunk potter really drunk? I know the cop smelled his chalice on Saturday and let him pass.
    And I thought I am a badass. You are my new hero!!! ������

    So are you doing WITAN in Feb?

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    1. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Good Morning Paula! LOL, I have licked my wounds and back in the studio! YES, he was staggering! I did Witan the year of the blizzard! Pulled into that parking lot and it took me 20 minutes to pry my hands off the steering wheel. My friends did it last year and did well so never say never but not next year! Have a great season!

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  17. you're the next Erma Bombeck. You could sell your blogs. I don't like shows. I'd rather pay 50% to some gallery.

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    1. Hi Marci!! I'm thinking of studio sales....... shows are just nuts and not getting any better. I'm getting too old for this crap ๐Ÿ˜‚ . you just keep building kilns and structures! my shero❣️

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  18. "Work faster you will make it" reminds me of Leslie Knope (Amy Pehler, you know, on "Parks & Rec")-- the cheerful frantic overachiever who says,
    "There's nothing we can't do if we work hard, never sleep, and shirk all other responsibilities in our lives."
    Ha!

    I chime in with everyone else here in standing and CHEERING you for writing such funny stuff about such annoying stuff!

    A friend says he tries to change annoyance to amusement--YOU DO IT! And that inspires the rest of us.
    A good rant can really clear the air.

    But ick--I don't even go to art/craft fairs here in town unless they're really local--church basement things where ladies still sell pot holders they made themselves--at the big juried affairs, too much stuff that looks like it's...
    --well, exactly what you describe,
    and NOT like your beautiful art.

    Thank heavens for seed catalogs and dogs!!! XO

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    1. I have not seen Parks and Rec yet but my kids rave about! This winter maybe I can catch a few episode because that is pretty funny! As you can tell I love a good a rant:) . Frees up some brain space to stew about other nonsensical stuff drifting through my brain cells.

      Oh yes the dog and seed catalogs just cannot be beat!

      Hey, loved your post on your Dad. That picture was amazing! I have a much better relationship with my folks now that moved on. Sounds odd but there hasn't been any fighting or judging in years! ❣️

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    2. Heh--yeah--meaning no disrespect to my father, who I admire in many ways, but I felt that way after he'd been gone for a while too:
      our relationship was better, and I felt much fonder of him.

      I think Park & Rec got better in its 2nd year...

      Happy Thanksgiving! I'm grateful for your lively blog and your beautiful work! --Fresca (signed in as Frex)

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    3. Happy Thanksgiving Frex! So happy our blogs have crossed paths❣️

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