Monday, November 4, 2013

Glassie Monday - Art Fairs

This past Saturday I spent the day at the Sugar Plum Faire in Glendale, Wisconsin.  Glendale is a SE suburb of Milwaukee.  A very nice area  - the school was located right across the street from the Southridge Mall.
Here are a few pics from the event:

Each piece is made using wine bottle glass. I break the wine bottle then heat the pieces to 1400 degrees. It takes about 12 hours for the heating and cooling.  Once they are done cooking...there are no sharp edges on the pieces. Making them perfect for wearable art.  Each piece is unique.  I never know what shapes I will have once I hit the bottle with the hammer. 
I have a artist friend that paints on glass! I wanted to buy a special wine glass for my friend - I bought the Friendship Tree Wine Glass!  
Perfect for fun evenings drinking our favorite wine!

A few weeks ago I posted a list of Do's & Don'ts for artist that are thinking about starting to sell their art at fairs..
At each fair this holiday season I am sure I will remember a important tip! Well sure enough I are this weeks tips added to the list.

  • Move your car to an area where customers do not park. If people can not park - they will not attend the event.
  • Talk to your fellow vendors...ask questions about other fairs..get their opinion on what works and what does not. Many vendors love to share info...some do not.
  • If the fair was a good fair - let the organizer know. They have worked very hard and a positive comment can make their day. I also ask if I can please have the same spot next year. I have never had a organizer tell me no :)
  • Respect your neighbor - stay in your area and never have your items in fridge in their space.
  • As for how much items to bring to sell....I have learned over the can NEVER be totally prepared for all please do not try.  After many years...I bring what I can and always explain to the customers where I will be next.  If the customer really wants a item..the customer will be willing to go out of their way for the item.  When I have a customer like that...I always add something free to the order.
  • Have money change - take CREDIT - I use SquareUp - A excellent charging system! I love it! No annual or monthly fees and only 2.75% charge per transaction. There are many companies that offer charging  service. My favorite is SquareUp
  • Outside fairs: Be prepared for any type of weather. WIND: needs weights to hold down your tent and also have a system to hold down your signs.  Make sure your display is wind ready.  Rain....have sides for your tent and be prepared to down size your selling space. In nice weather you can enjoy the whole area your are given, but in rain you need to be about a foot inside the tent.
  • Be careful when accepting SPECIAL a artist your opinion and the person requesting the special order may not be the same.  Be careful that you can meet their expectations and always ask for a $$$ down-payment.  When a customer gives you a down payment you know they are serious about the order.  Numerous times I have taken special orders with no down payment and they change their minds. 
  • Always bring your confirmation and fair information with you to the fair.
  • BE prepared to rearrange your booth at every fair.  No two fairs are the same. Being prepared will save you much grief and reduce your stress.
  • Make sure your items are marked. People expect to check prices.

    • Leave your car parked where you unload and load. It is so flustrating when you arrive early unpack -move your car so the next person can unload. Then that person refuses to move their car so the next person can unload. They leave their car in the closest spot the entire day. That person will then take their sweet time to pack up and not allow anyone else to be able to park close enough to make packing up easy. (This happened today YIPES!!! )
    • Do not pack up early! Very disruptive to other vendors! Customers think the show is over when in fact it is NOT!
    • DO NOT OVER EXTEND yourself.  I have done this and so have many of my friends. Set a do-able schedule and stick to it.  This is so important....I personally took almost 6 months off from doing fairs..because I was totally burnt out
    • DO NOT judge yourself or your art by the customer you have at your booth.  Art is the opinion of the person that designs it.  You are a artist...stay true to yourself. 
    • Be on time for the fairs....never set-up late. This causes much drama for the artist that already are set up and were timely.
    • Never promise a customer something you can not deliver.


    1. Your designs are awesome and those are great tips!

    2. These are some great tips and I love your designs.

    3. What a great way to recycle old bottles! I really like the Friendship Tree Wine Glass you got for your friend!

    4. Those are just beautiful pieces, I love them all... thank you for sharing

    5. Those pieces are lovely and those are great tips for the budding designer.

    6. I love the wine glass, you are so very talented. So fascinating to know what goes on behind the scenes with glass art.

    7. Beautiful peices. I used to do craft shows they are such hard work.

    8. I love your pieces! We still use the custom Sam Adams recycled, flatten bottle you made for us last year! It is perfect for change, and such! I love your tips!

    9. I love, love, love wine glass art! This is especially pretty.

    10. Definitely great tips for artists wanting to sell at fairs.

    11. i've never seen anything like this- beautiful! i actually visited the chihuly glass museum today in seattle- glass art is so amazing

    12. Wow what pretty and unique things! Thanks for the tips too, very interesting info!

    13. very pretty, reminds me of Fall!

    14. Stunning jewelry! I am fascinated that the wonderful pieces are made from wine bottles. I would not have guessed. Great list of things for vendors to remember too!

    15. Your jewelry is absolutely beautiful. What awesome idea to use wine bottle to make such works of art.

    16. What stunning pieces of glass art! You are very talented, and clearly have a passion for what you do :) Thanks for the great tips, too.

    17. Excellent tips, and yes, every person is certainly not a customer but there is always someone for everything! I love your work!

    18. I've never heard of SquareUp. I will have to check that out more. :)

    19. This looks great! I'll have to check it out!

    20. These are so beautiful! Excellent tips for art fairs too!

    21. First, thanks for sharing these beautiful things. It was also good for you to share business advice for artists. Often in business people are good at what they do, but not at running a business. It was good of you to provide this assistance.

    22. Very cool! I'm a big fan both of recycling and wine. ;)