I spent last weekend in Barrington, Illinois, at the Barrington Park District's Arts and Treasures show. I was disappointed in the turnout from the public as well as my sales results. I have been wait listed the past two years for Amdur Productions outdoor Fine Art Fair held over Memorial Day weekend, so thought this show would give me exposure to this market even though it is not a fine art and fine craft show.
One thing I noticed about the art fairs I have shown at this summer is the aging population. Many of the lookers/passerbys are very much senior citizens--85 years old, some active, some with walkers/wheelchairs. They are looking for things they have found in the past and prices from the past. The prices are pre Walmart days.... cheap cheap....
Sunday I had a request for a changeable bracelet for a watch. An undisclosed time ago, the patron had purchased a watch face for $5 and a bracelet with lobster clasps as connections for $10 more in Maryland and was surprised she couldn't find them at this show. I suggested that I could make one for her if she described what she wanted, but she thought her daughter could get one for her in Maryland. When I suggested that not as many people were wearing watches any more due to the changes in technology, she showed me her watch which was about to fall apart and/or off of her. It operated by battery so it wasn't a really old one that needed to be wound up daily.
Maybe it is sort of a nostalgia for the simpler days. I find myself telling stories from my childhood, sometimes to people who are not old enough to have heard of the things I talk about. Some of my jewelry is inspired by my grandmother, who would be almost 120 years old if she were still living. Maybe it is because I am approaching a milestone birthday. But I'd really rather be using my Square to accept credit cards on my smart phone, so I could pay my credit card bill for the supplies and fees for the shows.
What is missing at the shows are the younger people, the ones with jobs and empty spaces in their homes, who are needed to purchase items so the artists can pay their vendors and promoters so there is a show to attend. I am tired of hearing "I'm not buying today." although I do understand it. I just don't know how to react. May be it is just folly to think someone would pay for my hand made items. I know a home cooked meal is appreciated even though a lot of us consume a steady diet of microwaved frozen pizzas and processed "foods".
I am planning ways to change my on line presence, starting with blogging more often. If some of your favorite items are no longer listed in my Etsy shop, please look for photos in an album on my KRDesigns11 Facebook page. You may inquire about availability of the items however it is most convenient for you. I really need honest feedback, even if it is only some of your time to try on my items so I can see how the designs work for you. I currently do NOT plan to write tutorials for sale. I will be working on bead embroidery with druzy cabochons and stones from North America with a few exceptions. I also want to get back to creating bracelets with peyote stitch. I also have a couple of things I want to try which I will blog about, successful or not.