Thursday, April 26, 2012

Craft Show

Well, we survived the craft show with our marriage and presumed partnership intact.

Our (my) first little snafu involved my prints. I made a sincere effort to find a local, green printer, but by the time the first one finally got back to me on how much the prints would cost (!!!!!!), and I said, no, I had no time to find another, since they all wanted several days lead time and my paintings weren't even all done yet. I really didn't want to use Walmart (we don't even shop there!), but since we had used them before (by mail), and the prints didn't look half bad, I figured they would do in a pinch until I found somewhere better. I got all my jpeg scans cropped to perfection and sent them off on Thursday night to pick up Friday after work. There was no time to go at lunch, because we had to traipse over to the craft show to drop all our big stuff of so that the morning would be hopefully less stressful.

Since I had an event to attend at 6, I went straight to their photo counter after work and picked up my prints. I was mortified. They looked awful. Everything was pink, even the pure white on my digital piece, so there was no arguing over monitor color differences and the like. In addition, they were cropped to oblivion. The border I had added to one print to help accommodate the overlap on the frame was chopped off on one side and only barely remaining on the other. I called my husband and told him they were unusable.

At this point, it's 5:30 on a Friday and the craft show is in the morning. I decided to buy my own printer. The one I found at Walmart had terrible reviews online. I started texting my brother, who works at Best Buy, asking him what printer I could buy that would print GOOD pictures. I guess he asked someone in that department, because people had good things to say about it on Amazon. I went to the event, running outside to get cell service every so often and making sure that Best Buy wasn't closing yet. Afterward, I headed to Best Buy and picked up the printer, extra ink, and the best photo paper they had, keeping my fingers firmly crossed. My first print looked terrible. I realized the paper was upside down. And the next one looked amazing! They really look exactly like the originals, down to the little bits of glue. So I was up for a little bit getting everything ready, but I loved how they turned out!

The morning-of, the only tense moment was when we were setting up.. we arrived with very little sleep and had not really done a test run. Our plan was to set up some folding doors at angles, then put some of the prints on this board that his friend Patrick had lent him. We had the doors, the board, and some plastic tablecloths. Oh, and some nails and a couple hammers. That's about the extent of the set-up/decorations that we brought. It was hard to think about decorating our booth when what we were selling were decorations. I decided on some inexpensive and festive balloons.

We were trying to figure out how to hang all the different pictures up, and of course I was being picky. I didn't want the matching paintings touching each other. I wanted to mix mine and Joseph's. I wanted the setup to look somewhat random, but I didn't want a bunch clumped to one side with a big space on the other. The other requirement was that we leave room for Patrick's paintings, but the kicker was that we knew neither how many paintings he was bringing nor how big they were. Quick call to Patrick.

We tried to nail into the board while it stood up on its side for about 20 minutes. Way longer than I like to admit. Before we finally realized that laying it down worked much better. Then it was up (no, this nail placement won't work) and down (I think we've got it, this is perfect) and up (ok, how did we do it again? because this looks terrible) and down. I'm pretty sure that the ladies next door, relaxing with their professional looking display and signage thought we were a little sad, but we got it figured out eventually. Without yelling at each other! Neither one of us are very handy (sad face).

The craft show itself didn't seem terribly well attended, but even if it was (and I'm sure some people did well, or, at least I hope they did), we both agreed it probably wasn't the best venue for us. Few people seemed to "get" Joseph's work (we were afraid of that) and I don't think many people did more than glance at our booth. There were lots of pro's, though!

1. It was an adventure as a couple.
2. It gave us both a deadline to finish several pieces, and now we have inventory if we want to go somewhere else.
3. It gave us some experience with shows in general and we will be able to do much better next time.
4. We took all our friends' and family's money (they were generally our only customers). That's a joke - I felt bad that they had to prop us up, but...
5. We felt very loved that so many people came out for us.
6. And, dundundun! Joseph sold one painting to a stranger! I was so glad that he got at least one "real" sale.

I posted another painting on etsy tonight (wrote a little about it here) and dyed some paper last night with tea. I am planning to use a typewriter font on it (I wanted a typewriter, but decided it wasn't very practical) and cutting out the words for one of my pieces. I'm thinking an elephant... or a sea horse next. We'll see.

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