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pottery at craft shows/fairs in canada

updated wed 9 may 01


Gesine Rodger on tue 8 may 01

I have been reading with interest the lack of potters at craft =3D
shows/fairs. I am a potter in Southern Ontario, Canada, and also =3D
co-ordinate a very successful outdoor show, "Artfest" that's what I call =
it and most exhibitors sell very well. (80% are repeat exhibitors from =3D
year to year).

Out of approximately 130 juried exhibitors I take 1/3rd fine art and the =
balance "better crafters" of which 7 or 8 are potters who do very well. =
I do not allow anything on a stick. I have found, if you have a good =3D
product, not too cheap but a fair price, the potter does fine. I do not =
have a "sea of blue" in the show. I have found that functional pottery =3D
does sell better than artforms and the very expensive ware. I also find =
that if a potter just sits behind his/her pots and does not communicate =3D
with the public he/she does not sell. This, of course, applies to =3D
anything the artist/crafter sells. I understand the rule of thumb is if =
you pay $100.00/per day, you should take in $1,000.00/per day.

As co-ordinator and potter I run a very fine line in what sort of show I =
present to the potential customer. If the show is too artsy and the =3D
art/craft too expensive it will certainly limit the sales. We do not =3D
take flea market stuff as that immediately brings different customers to =
the show. Those people look, as they walk passed the booths make =3D
comments like "for that $50.00?" etc.=3D20

I attend approximately 10 shows throughout the season and do very well =3D
(I glaze with a warm beige and decorate with a pale blue and pale =3D
green). My pots are also competitively priced. I have been in the =3D
craft-show circuit for about 20 years. I do not make artforms. As a =3D
matter of fact, I am strictly functional, and I do not sell seconds and =
do not give deals and, people still buy. I don't care if they walk away =
and not like my pots and prices. I even send them to other potters if I =
don't have what they want. =3D20

I am also aware that several potters here from Canada go into the U.S. =3D
and sell their pots. So there is a market out there for us at both sides =
of the border.

Look at the show and see how much "junk" there is in it before you apply =
to the show. =3D20

I guess the point I am trying to make is, we can make a living and don't =
have to compromise ourselves to sell our pots. We don't want to be part =
of a show where the co-ordinator just keeps on taking us in to "fill" =3D
another space. You know the "MORE" exhibitors the better the show. =3D
Bull - that does not make for a quality show and I personally don't want =
to be in it. =3D20