I had a fabulous day at Art on the Avenue on Saturday. How funny that I used to write detailed recaps of every art market I sold at, and now I don't even bother to bring a camera with me. The photo above is the only picture I have from the entire day. And while I still consider myself to be fairly new to the art market scene and there's a lot I'd like to do to improve my display, now that I have 11 art markets under my vendor belt, I can look back and see how far I've come from the early days of my pegboard and zip tie display system!
I've learned over the past year of vending, that both the best and worst parts of selling at art markets is the unexpected. There will always be unanticipated situations - crazy weather, forgotten supplies, an overstuffed car, spotty cell phone reception, parking frustrations - and you just have to do your best to improvise and move on. But no matter what you do to prepare yourself for the next time, I guarantee that at the next event the problems you face will be completely different.
For example, there was no way I could have anticipated that my booth space at Art on the Avenue would be right next to the kiddie scarecrow building area. This area was full of straw (for stuffing the scarecrows) and screeching kids hopped up on funnel cakes. These kids were in a freaking scarecrow-building frenzy. You guys, kids are hilarious. They're also CRAZY and LOUD. Seriously:
But the screaming kids were not the problem. It was the straw. There was straw dust everywhere. It was floating in the air. It created a layer of dust that coated everything in my tent - my artwork, my tablecloths, my hair, my sinuses. You all know I have messy hair to begin with, but after an eight-hour straw shower, it looked like this:
How can you sneeze if you don't have a nose???
Not only that, I seem to be incapable of going out in public without humiliating myself. Remember how my fly was down during Richmond's Handmade Holiday last year? I may have one upped myself this weekend. During a slow period in the middle of the day, this happened:
Larry: You have a booger.
Me: WHAT?! Why didn't you tell me sooner?!!!!
Larry: I didn't see it until now.
Me: NO WONDER I HAVEN'T HAD ANY SALES IN THE LAST HALF HOUR!
Gross. Sorry about the booger, folks. Let's just file that one under Things That Are Awful.
But the unexpected is always the best part of selling at art markets, too - I always meet such interesting people - bloggers, other artists, and friends both old and new stopped by to chat. Strangers struck up conversations and complimented my work. One person told me she recognized my whale print from Young House Love. Several people came into my booth to tell me that they had some of my artwork hanging in their houses. I even ran into an old kindergarten classmate, who I don't think I've seen since high school graduation. (Hi Emily!)
I always leave these events equal parts exhausted and elated. Right now, I have both that Whew! Deadline over! feeling of wanting to sit on the couch for the next week, combined with the I'm so inspired I want to do it all right now! feeling of being excited to get back into the studio and create new stuff. But before I can either rest or create, I've got another market on my agenda for this coming weekend...
Next up: My shop will be at the Fairfax Fall Festival this Saturday, October 13 from 10-5. Free admission, 400 vendors, food, music, and fun for the kids! I'll be in Booth #248. Also, check out my friends' shops: Toya of New Family Naturals (Booth #289) and Steffanie of Old Town Suds (Booth #305).