Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Art Fair, Part II

Well, we left off at the corner Starbucks. Let me show you a little more of San Juan Capistrano.

Main entrance to The Old Barn Antique store. It's a GREAT place. Super big, meandering isles, and lots of goodies!

I love this:

Some different areas where booths were displaying their wares...

It's kind of a hodge-podge of what people have to offer. Lots of beautiful jewelry. Then you have various hand-knit items, wooden boxes, adopt-a-pet programs, metal workers, one abstract painter, someone who made aprons in different sport team logos, one vendor who had his loom and was working on a scarf.  Avery fun, very laid back feeling to the whole day.

It mystifies me how to understand what people want to purchase and at what price. I guess in this arena, it is just up for grabs because there really isn't a theme. I have SO much to learn! I spent a good portion of the day battling my thoughts in my head. "Why did that whole group of women just walk right by our table without looking?" "Who has $100.00 to drop on a piece of jewelry at an outside Fair? Do they plan for this or is it spontaneous?" Then there was the woman who picked up this collage, admired it, talked to her friend about it and said she just had to have it:

It is slightly different than the first one I made, but I am happy with it. I was getting pretty excited while she looked at it. It makes you feel so vulnerable when you put out your creation for the world to see, let alone buy.  I quoted her $55.00. Without a word, she turned around and walked away. I was speechless. I wanted to run after her and ask, "What?! Too much? Am I being ridiculous? The guy next to us wants $180.00 for a piece of glass he bought at Michaels and encased in silver and put on a chain....What am I missing here??!!" Nice thoughts, huh? Like I said, a battle in my mind.

Later that day, a woman was admiring this collage:

It is something new I tried. The canvas is antiqued, and I printed out the lettering and transferred it to the canvas with carbon paper. Then I painted over the transfer and sharpened it up with a black pen. I added a swallow- the native and beloved bird of San Juan Capistrano.

"How much?" the nice lady asked. I decided to try a different price, even though it was marked on the back. "$35.00" was my reply. "Hmmm." she said. And then she walked away. Wow. Any advice here? Am I asking for too much money? Do I need a thicker skin? Is it the venue? Is it because it was our first time there and people need to get to know us? I am pretty green behind the ears when it comes to this stuff and I really like to get it right the first time-ha ha ha ha!!! Silly me. It's ART.

Aside from my wonderings, it was a blast to be able to talk and connect with people. Some just want to talk. People will tell you about their families, or their life path. One person asked if I was a romantic. One told me about his Great Aunt who drew for Audobon in the 20's and 30's. Aren't people fascinating?

This is a domino I whipped up for a gal who really, REALLY wanted one that said Hope. We had dominoes that said peace, grace, serenity, fly, you name it. But she had a friend who was ill and wanted to give her some "hope". She left our table and wandered away empty handed. Wendy and I thought for sure we had SOMEthing that said hope. Lo and behold, we did! I made it up just in case she came back around, which really wasn't likely. But you know what? She did!!! And she liked the domino! And bought it!! I just about gave it to her, but....

We sold a couple of wallets, no votives, no glass bowls, no collages.
But we did sell some dominoes!

Enough to cover the cost of a show in Newport Beach in June!! I am thinking it will be a great show.  The ladies from the "Art Auxillary" were walking through the fair asking people if they would be interested in joining their once a year boutique. Newport is a beach world all unto it's own, so it should be interesting to do this fair.

As much as I battle with those thoughts in my head, I always want to keep in the front of my mind WHY I do this with my friend. Or why I do art at all. 

For the sheer joy of it! I can't NOT create!! I want to encourage others through my art, to meet others, to always learn. O.K. when I sell something, the thought of getting money for what I create is beyond my imagination. It's cool! But I want it to be the icing on the cake, not the whole reason for doing what I do.
The fact that I can even show what I am doing AND blog about it AND you take the time to read my blog AND leave such sweet comments is pretty amazing.  I LOVE doing this!!

All I can think of to say at the end of this post is, thank you for being a part of this journey.


  1. Well, I am speechless.

    I can't believe no one bought a votive!!!

    Or some of that cool glassware.

    Especially no collages!

    But, on the other hand, you sold some dominoes and made enough to pay for the next show!

    That is cool!

    I'll email you.

  2. Lynn, kudos for really putting yourself "out there." I never thought about how hard that would be! It's awesome that you covered the cost of the fair...I have friends that do fairs and things and they say it's just getting to know each different location and group of people. Every time will get a little better!

  3. Wow! Great post!

    You've covered a great bit of what, I think, many of us have felt when doing shows or selling/facing the public. I'm no expert, but I can tell you, from working in retail, I think if their budget is tight, most women will buy jewelry for themselves rather than something for their home (like a cool collage or pretty votive). Not sure why, as I am the opposite. But that seems to be the general trend I see at the shop.

    As for the gal who picked up the collage, loved it and then walked away...who knows. And I think those are the things that YES, you have to build up a tough skin to. In my booth at the store, I had a sale on certain items (which I thought were cute) and I overheard someone say, "why do they always put the ugly stuff on sale?". Ouch. So, another thought, art is subjective. And the old cliche, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" really does apply.

    Now, one theory at the store, is don't under price yourself...that if people think its under priced they won't purchase. Uh, yeah. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that one. LOL. I disagree, but for one of the gals, it works.

    Try not to get discouraged. I'm glad you are doing another show. Sometimes it takes time to get a feel for what people want and what I've OFTEN found is what does not sell at one show (ie votives), might just take off at another show.

    Overall, I hope you where OK with it all. Good grief....I've written "War and Peace" here. LOL LOL. San Juan is beautiful. And yes, the public is ALWAYS interesting. LOL. Again, great post.

    yapping cat

  4. Hi

    Just popping by to tell you that I received one of your beautiful tags from Karla's swap. I love it!

    Please stop by if you have the time, I love company!

  5. Lynn, the hardest part for me, too, is finding the right venue for what I'm selling, and knowing what to sell and how to price it~ it's always a puzzle to get it right! I'm always confused by it! Beautiful items- I'm glad you had fun!

  6. Oh Miss Lynn,
    Such a great post filled with such vulnerability...& I too suffer with thoughts like that in my own shop! What is it people want, what are they willing to pay for it, why don't they like certain things I adore & why do people pop their head through my dutch door & say "it's only a baby store" & walk away? I hadn't sold any domino necklaces in months, I started thinking people don't even like these necklaces, I'm not going to make any more...then today I sold 2, to 2 different ladies. The only thing I know after owning a shop for 5 years is: There is no rhyme or reason to the shopping habits of the general public, ALL my prices are negotiable & DON'T take it personal...my new mantra!!
    Smiles Sweet Friend & your stuff is AWESOME!

  7. Hi Lynn,
    Wow, this post really hit home for me! I ca totally relate to what you were feeling. I have tried to sell my artwork off and on for 20 years!! And those exact thoughts have run through my head more times than I can count. I also agree that the joy is in the creating but darn it... it would be A LOT MORE joyful if someone would by something!!!! LOL!!! I do think you have to develop a thick skin and not take it personally. I wish I had the secret to success for that sort of thing. I would totally share it with you, but I don't. Just keep plugging along and enjoy the experience for what it is. You stuff is beautiful and I know there are folks out there who will want to buy it! Good luck at your next show !!!

    My Desert Cottage
    Valentine Design

  8. Hi Lynn
    I think we have all had a show like yours... it is discouraging but shows are just like that, it is hit or miss. Retail these days is the same for me... one day will be good the next awful, I used to be able to say what day is good or bad and I can't anymore. It is a hard time for selling, hopefully it will pick up!
    Your collages were great, good luck at the next show
    for Vintage Living