Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Last year I was thrilled to be asked to be an Invited Artist for the 2011 CraftBoston shows.  I've done a ton of shows over the last five years, but never any of the high end ones.  It seemed incredible (and still does) that I would ever be in the same show as Kathleen Dustin, Ford|Forlano, Bonnie BishoffKarin Noyes and Mary and Louann!  It was also very gratifying to see polymer's strong showing at CraftBoston, topped off by Kathleen Dustin taking home the Best of Show award!

My CraftBoston 2011 booth.  My home for 4 days!

Fortunately, I had lots of time to prepare. I thought long and hard about my display and decided to invest in ProPanels.  They've turned out to be very useful at all my indoor shows.  I took the full set to CraftBoston, but also use them in different combinations for other shows.  They are modular, so they fit into any kind of space.  The panels wiped out my display budget, so I made do with my folding tables, making new coverings out of a soft gray cotton.  I opted to go rug-less to keep the look rather stark and industrial.  I used gray chipboard on the panels as a backdrop for my work.  Twine necklace busts, wood pushpins and baskets add an organic touch. 

The show logistics were pretty much what I'm used to, just on a bigger scale.  Load in and out was super smooth, with walkie talkie organizers keeping things moving.  I had very nice neighbors, which is important since there's nothing worse than a cranky show neighbor.  The crowds were steady all three days, Saturday being the busiest.  Overall, I had a great show and hopefully will be accepted again next year!

My stuff waiting to be loaded into the car

View of aisle 200 during set-up

View of the main floor area right before the opening reception
Kathleen Dustin - Best of Show award winner!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

To wholesale or not to wholesale

That is the question.  And it's one I've struggled with for a while.  For some, the decision is easy.  They hate doing shows and love the ease of filling orders, shipping them off and checking off the to-do list.  Conversely, there's the artist who thrives on shows and much prefers selling face to face.

I'm a show groupie, no question about it.  As long as I can schlepp my stuff, carry 40lb weights and deal with the elements, I'll keep doing them.  For me, the wholesale dilemma is strictly a price point issue.  If you wholesale, your retail prices have to be consistent with those charged by the shops carrying your wares. Which means doubling your artisan direct price.  But will increased prices put off show buyers?  For me, the answer is yes.  I do mostly juried indie shows where it's important to keep the average price points around $30 to $75, so raising all my prices is out of the question.

After much deliberation, I've decided to test the wholesale waters again.  This time, I've created a limited wholesale line consisting of items that are cost/time efficient  and where my retail price equals the suggested retail price for wholesale buyers.  I'll leave the more complicated pieces and one of a kinds for my show customers.

Once the decision is made and your line designed, you have to put it out there. For starters, I've created a linesheet at trunkt.com, a beautiful site for handmade that aims to connect buyers and sellers. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A treasure trove of information!

Maybe all you crafty folk out there already know about CraftStew.com, but I just happened to stumble across it.  The polymer pages include a ton of links for techniques, projects, tutorials, info and all sorts of stuff.  It's so nice to have all the info in one spot!  Check them out - there are two pages on polymer  here and here.  While you're at it, take a look at all the other categories about things handmade!