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Sun Jan 29, 2012, 10:03 PM

Report on Canyon Arts Festival, Gold Canyon, AZ

Not that any one arts-and-crafts show is indicative of anything relative to other shows, but I thought I'd post this here for general discussion or whatever.

I participated yesterday (28 January 2012) in the 12th Annual Canyon Arts Festival in Gold Canyon, Arizona. This was my fourth time in this juried show. I did 2007 and 2008 but was very unhappy with the location so skipped 2009 and 2010. Last year, they changed the location so I gave it another chance. The new venue proved a huge success last year, and with additional publicity -- and splendid Arizona weather -- yesterday was even more successful.

Attendance more than doubled; visitors started strolling through about 8:45, 15 minutes before official opening, and there was still a significant buying crowd until 3:30, half an hour after official closing. Traffic was backed up more than a mile down US Hwy 60 approaching the venue, and parking was at a real premium. At times the walkway between the two facing rows of booths was all but impassable.

I was so busy I did not have time to eat the lunch I brought and didn't take enough time to keep myself fully hydrated though I'd brought plenty to drink. With temperature in the mid 70s and cloudless skies, I should have made more time to drink, but between answering questions from potential customers and closing deals with buying customers, I seemed to be talking all the time.

I also didn't have time to take photos or talk to any of the other vendors besides those immediately around me. Everyone seemed to feel the show had been a success and all did at least as well as last year, with most showing significant improvement in sales. And this was even though there were about 30 additional vendors.

Although I'm still not satisfied with my display, I doubled my sales $$ from last year with no increase in prices. I just plain sold more stuff.

What's significant about this show is that it's always the fourth Saturday in January, so it comes after the holiday season, yet sales seemed to be much higher than at other pre-holiday shows I did. What it all means about the economy I have no idea.


TG

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Reply Report on Canyon Arts Festival, Gold Canyon, AZ (Original post)
Tansy_Gold Jan 2012 OP
Nay Jan 2012 #1
Tansy_Gold Jan 2012 #2
n2doc Jan 2012 #3
chervilant Jan 2012 #6
Tansy_Gold Jan 2012 #7
Nay Jan 2012 #8
Tansy_Gold Jan 2012 #9
Wheezy Jan 2012 #4
Tansy_Gold Jan 2012 #5

Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 06:43 AM

1. That's wonderful, Tansy! I have two friends who have just reserved booths in our local long-time

"Arts in the Park" art fair, and they are on pins and needles, wondering how they will do. One man is a painter and has never shown his paintings; his wife works with me, and I encouraged them to start showing his stuff because he has real style.

Do you have a photo of your booth, at least? I'd love to see your work.

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Response to Nay (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 08:16 AM

2. I always take my camera

And Saturday I never had a single moment to take it out of my purse. We were that busy. There are photos of some of my jewelry at my Etsy site -- link is in my sig line -- except that I had to remove the three Angel Feathers that I sold Saturday. I'll get more up this week.

This is an agate from 4th of July Peak in western Maricopa County, AZ. It was collected and sliced by my 78-year-old neighbor and his dad about 30-40 years ago. He's no longer able to see well enough to do lapidary, so he's been giving me the last of his collection. I cut and polished the cabochon, then wrapped it in silver wire. It didn't sell over the week-end, so it will be going on Etsy today.




The two keys to success in this business, even modest success, are to make what sells and to stick with it. That may seem like a kind of "DUH!" statement, but in the past two years I've watched three artist friends lose their homes to foreclosure because they insisted they would not sacrifice their "art" for mere money. Make sure the inventory has quality, affordable options to the high ticket items, whether it's in the form of prints of original paintings or photos, or smaller pieces. Have reasonable expectations, especially for a first event, and don't be discouraged. Listen to the people who have done well for a number of years and see how what they say can be applied to your individual and unique situation.

My next event isn't until 1 April, so I have time to replenish my inventory. In this age of cheap plastic crap from China, I'm a fierce advocate for the quality hand-made.


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 10:02 AM

3. That a beautiful piece

Surprised it didn't sell. Agree, especially with anything like art, furniture, or jewelry, it's far better to buy 1 quality piece than 10 pieces of crap.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 10:29 PM

6. BEEEE-AAA-YOU--TEA--FULL!!!

The cab suggests Georgia O'Keefe to me...

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Response to chervilant (Reply #6)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 10:48 PM

7. Yes! Right down to the little hint of a blush of pink




I never would have thought of it, but you're absolutely correct. I must say, though, that I did detect a sort of suggestion of the essential female (if you get my drift) in the cab, and that is certainly a hallmark of O'Keefe's work as well.

Good eye!

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 06:42 AM

8. Great minds run in the same direction -- I've already told them to make small pieces at lower

prices in addition to large, and not to be depressed if they didn't sell much their first time out. Your jewelry is absolutely beautiful! I can't believe that piece didn't sell.

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Response to Nay (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 08:11 AM

9. Not everything sells its first time out

I have some pieces I've been displaying for several years. They attract attention but for some reason no one actually buys them. All the jewelry I sold Saturday was new, meaning made since the last show I did, but not all of the new stuff sold. At a show I did last spring, I sold nothing new, but sold three pieces that were at least four years old. You just never know what people will buy.

And as a vendor you have to learn not to take it personally. Sometimes that's very hard to do. But people aren't going to buy everything and it's not because they don't like it or they don't like you as an artist. Eventually the right person will come along at the right time with the money in hand, and the piece will go. Then you have to learn not to be so attached to the piece you can't say good-bye!

The main thing, though, is to keep perspective. Very few people get rich doing this, and the ones who do only get there through a lot of damn hard work. And it's easy to go broke doing this, too. In the past couple years I've watched several fellow artists go through bankruptcy and foreclosure and total loss of everything because they somehow or other got an inflated sense of their artistic worth and lost all sense of practicality.

I do this because I love rocks, I love sharing what little knowledge about them I have, and because it's fun.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 10:42 AM

4. That's great news!

I live not far from there. I'll put the fair (4th Sat. of Jan) on my calendar for next year!

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Response to Wheezy (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 10:55 AM

5. If you're in the general area

there are two additional events coming up.

1 April 2012 (Sunday) -- Artists of the Superstitions Members' Spring Show at the Gold Canyon Golf Resort "Big White Tent."

21 April 2012 (Saturday) -- Soroptimist International of Gold Canyon Show at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

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