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Art Fair Display Booths (Read 1,076 times)
 
Steve Doerr
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Art Fair Display Booths
Jan 26th, 2016 at 10:11am
 
I'm looking to upgrade my display booth for art fairs to more of a "gallery" look than a "craft fair" look.  I need to make this transition in order to be able to get into some of the higher-end shows.  I went to a mock jury session this past weekend and it was very obvious that with all things considered, your booth was what would get you in or keep you out of the show.  Thus, I'm looking for some ideas/pictures to help make that transition.  I know that Pro Panels Art Displays has some "pre-made" setups, but I would rather not spend that kind of money if I can help it.  Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: Art Fair Display Booths
Reply #1 - Jan 26th, 2016 at 11:52am
 
How about a couple of pictures of what you currently have, and possibly a description of what you saw that had you coming to this conclusion.

Having work in the trade show exhibit business, I might be able to give you some ideas but it helps to know what you already have.

I don't see how the stuff from Pro Panels Art Displays would help you seeing as how it is meant for flat  art rather than dimensional stuff.

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« Last Edit: Jan 26th, 2016 at 11:57am by Ralph Fahringer »  

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william trench
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Re: Art Fair Display Booths
Reply #2 - Jan 26th, 2016 at 12:46pm
 
I wanted a booth that was easily transported and set up so I made it modular. I have nine 3'X7' light wood frames that I attached 1/2" hardware cloth to and then covered with burlap. They can be arranged as either a 6'X6' or a 9'X9' , which fits inside my tent and are connected with 1/4" machine screws and tee nuts. The corners are hinged so the setup is a breeze as I can make up the corners first and then build the sidewalls and swing them into position as I go. The burlap has a nice texture for wood and the hardware cloth allows me to hang the shelves or anything else on the panels. The shelves are also light frames with hardware cloth on them. Transferring pics to my new computer somehow lost a lot of what I had but here is a shot of my first show in '13 with my daughter behind the table.
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Ron Carrabotta
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Re: Art Fair Display Booths
Reply #3 - Jan 26th, 2016 at 2:13pm
 
Steve,

We saw this setup at an art show a few years ago and adapted it for our use.

It's made from 2 bi-fold louvered doors, and 1" X 6" x 6' pine boards. Just knock out the louvers where you want to put the shelves and you're ready to go. Put up and take down in under 5 min. best of all everything lays flat for transportation.

Ron
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Steve Doerr
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Re: Art Fair Display Booths
Reply #4 - Jan 26th, 2016 at 7:54pm
 
William and Ron, thanks for your ideas and your pictures.  I will give some thought to your suggestions. 

Williams--can you give me a better idea as to what you mean by "hardware cloth?"

Ralph--attached is the picture of my booth that I submitted for the mock jury.  Comments included such things as: 1) too many items being displayed; 2) bring the larger eye catching items to the front; 3) they were not real excited about the tables and table cloths.  They really stressed less is more--don't put everything you brought out for display.  They said it distracts people from really finding and identifying the one or two items that they really like.  The other interesting comment came from the lady juror--she really liked one of the four pieces that I used to show my work, she even asked how much it cost.  But, when she saw my booth picture she said she would not have gone into it had she been walking by it at a show Shocked  So, you now know why I'm looking at a complete revamp of my booth.

Ralph, I do like the panels that Pro Panels offers, but they also have some shelving units that I will probably try and duplicate using wood.
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Re: Art Fair Display Booths
Reply #5 - Jan 26th, 2016 at 8:24pm
 
Woven wire that looks like very coarse burlap.  Generally available in 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" mesh.
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Re: Art Fair Display Booths
Reply #6 - Jan 27th, 2016 at 8:41am
 
Steve, those are some interesting comments .I also have made the mistake of displaying too many items and cut way back on that. I do not see that as a problem in your picture, though. I use 1/2" hardware cloth ( why it is called "cloth" I don't know?) . The burlap hides it well and allows me to hang anything on it anywhere, even things that are quite heavy. The 9 panels and shelves for my set-up are bulky ( but light) and I have stacked them on the racks of my car and on my HF trailer.  I have gotten a lot of positive comments on the booth. For small venues , I have used  two or three sections as a backdrop to put hang shelves on.
From my short experience doing shows, I have come to the conclusion that of all the attendees, only a small percentage are even looking for wood and of them only a small percentage are looking for what I offer. People pass me up and I get it. When I walk around, I also pass a lot of booths that hold no interest to me ( like jewelry) unless something really strikes me in the style or craftsmanship. Even then I have no interest in purchasing anything but I often engage the artist so I understand that from a different perspective.
Maybe my prices are high but I have sold small items for big money and I feel I can't cater to those who can't afford it. I can't afford it , myself.
I still grapple with the whole 50% commission thing and having to sell $600 worth of stuff to reach that mark at a $300 show on top of the transporting and setting up of the booth and product  but that is a different discussion.
Here's another shot of the booth with way too many items and some sloppy tables. I did pretty well at this show in spite of it all.
Bill
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Don Stephan
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Re: Art Fair Display Booths
Reply #7 - Jan 27th, 2016 at 8:54am
 
Perhaps the comments/guidelines for that show are suggesting that displayed items should stand out from the walkway in front of the booth?  And perhaps the juror is anticipating item prices with sufficient markup that selling two at the event would be a successful show?  Wonder if the juror wants only "high art" turnings and not utility items like pens and salad mixing bowls and such.  You'll have to decide if you want to be in the show once you understand better their expectations and requirements.
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Steve Doerr
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Re: Art Fair Display Booths
Reply #8 - Jan 27th, 2016 at 10:45am
 
Bill, thanks for the picture of your total booth.  I like your idea for your panels.  It sure beats trying to make the white tent walls look attractive.  Your point about not everyone likes wood or wood turned objects is very true.  I know I get frustrated when I see people walk by my booth without even a second glance, especially when I see what they have already purchased. (But like you, I will walk by the majority of the booths when I'm out for my stroll.) 

Pricing is always a point of contention with some people.  I have pens that I sell, the cheapest $50 and the most expensive about $125 and when some people see those prices they say, "I can buy one at Walmart for a lot cheaper than that."   They don't understand, or choose not to understand, the difference between handcrafted and mass produced. 

I too have had many $600 shows, and have lately had some one day shows of $1000 or more.  The difference for me has been craft fair versus art fair.  Thus, the reason for me to look at upgrading my booth.

Don--the question about more artistic turnings versus functional turnings was a question that I did ask.  Since all of my individual turning pictures were of my more "artistic" turnings and not of my functional turnings, I asked if I need to have pictures of those included as individual pictures or just having them included in the booth shot was enough.  They said having them in the booth shot was enough. 

The comment about "fewer is better" simply referred to items being displayed.  During the discussion process throughout the day, the indication about bringing additional items with you was very important--1) to replace display items as they sold, and 2) as you engage a customer about a particular style of turning or type of wood, that you could bring out other piece(s) to show them.  The key to the second point is getting the customer engaged.

In one of the conversations I had with another artists that was there, he told me a story about when he was being mentored by an experienced art fair artists about customer engagement and sales.  He basically said that when someone tells you they like your work, that if you say "thank you" you are basically ending the conversation and thus the individual moves on and there is no chance for a sale.  However, if you ask, "What is it about my work that appeals to you?" you are engaging them and getting them to think more about your work.  It also helps you to understand what they like or are looking for.  Thus, giving you a better chance of matching your work with their desires along with a greater chance of a sale.
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Re: Art Fair Display Booths
Reply #9 - Jan 27th, 2016 at 12:09pm
 
I backed out of a big show in Tarrytown ,NY, last year because I just couldn't grapple with the concept of basically giving away $1000  worth of work just to be there for the weekend. I see other vendors and what they are selling and I imagine the travel and lodging expenses and I marvel.
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Re: Art Fair Display Booths
Reply #10 - Jan 27th, 2016 at 1:39pm
 
I think Ron's idea using the louvered door is the nicest looking so far. The white paint makes the pieces jump out and having that at the back wall of a booth will draw them in for sure.

Steve, as I look at  your booth, it looks dark and cave like. As you are displaying wood items, I think the natural wood shelving makes the pieces disappear and the blue is too strong... again, overwhelming your work.


Light, soft colors help the richness of the wood come out and pull the eye in to look at what it was that made them stop in front of your booth.

It doesn't have to be bright white but even a muted off white would help.

Do you need to have the top on the booth? Unless you are outside, the top might also be causing the cave effect.

Make a sign to hang on the outside of the booth with the name of your woodturning business. Also, think of  some photos of you turning a bowl and hanging them on the sides. Something large enough to make them stop and have a look. Doesn't have to be "you' in the picture... just your hands on the gouge with chips a-flyin'.
Again, these photos need to hang right near the front of the booth so that are easily seen as someone is walking down the aisle.

If you can find a couple of photos that will hold an enlargement to about 24x36, I will print them for you N/C and then you ony need to find a framer in your area to mount and laminate them onto gatorboard with a hanger of sorts that can be wired to the top of the wall frame.

Maybe a small sign at the front that says: "Ask me how it's done!"  If they ask, you have the first hook in their wallet. Show them in your conversation how excited you are about turning and just maybe, they will catch the bug and be as excited to own an example of your talents.


Hope these ramblings help in some sort of way.  Smiley
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Re: Art Fair Display Booths
Reply #11 - Jan 27th, 2016 at 1:56pm
 
Ralph,

Thanks for the complement! For anyone contemplating using the louvered door idea, get the ones that are already  white from the store, it is MUCH easier to paint the flat boards for the shelves, painting louvered doors is a pain!

We also have a "story board" showing the progression from a piece of flat stock to a finished turned bowl, as well as showing the actual pieces as they progress through the process. (4"bowl)

Ron
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« Last Edit: Jan 27th, 2016 at 2:02pm by Ron Carrabotta »  

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Re: Art Fair Display Booths
Reply #12 - Jan 27th, 2016 at 2:11pm
 
Ron, I also like the look and simplicity of the louvered door set-up, especially the end sections. What do you use for the back ?
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Steve Doerr
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Re: Art Fair Display Booths
Reply #13 - Jan 27th, 2016 at 3:14pm
 
Ralph, thank you very much for your insight. You have some very good ideas and thoughts Thumbs Up  I have thought about doing some large pictures of my work, but had not thought about pictures of me/hands turning. It would also provide excellent coverage for large blank walls no matter what color they are. Based on your thoughts, I think Ron's shelving idea is a simple and logical idea. 

Ron--like Bill asked, what do you have as a backing behind your shelves?
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Ron Carrabotta
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Re: Art Fair Display Booths
Reply #14 - Jan 27th, 2016 at 5:51pm
 
Steve/Bill,

In that picture I had set up in the garage in order to take some pictures of our set up to submit to a juried art show coming up in May (haven't heard the results yet). In order to hide the "garage stuff", I just suspended one of the tarps from our Easy-Up behind the shelf.

Depending on where we set up, usually in an Easy-up, we just use the tarp. If we have to setup where there is no "good" background, we just clamp a sheet to the shelving.

Like I said in my earlier post, we "borrowed" this Idea from a lady selling decorated gourds at a show a few years ago. She had three of the shelf units, in a "U" shape in her space with a table in front. She didn't have anything  on the back of the shelves. The good thing was, you could see her items from BOTH sides of the shelving.

Ron
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