I’m noticing craft shows have been extending their deadlines lately.
Last year, the Smithsonian Craft Show extended their deadline an
extra week, which was totally unheard of. CraftBoston frequently
extends their deadline these days. A friend of mine got a call for
Paradise City Art Festival of an opening day before show opened but
she couldn’t do it. I remember the year after I did my last Crafts at
the Castle, a fellowjeweler came to me asking about insider’s info on
loading in, so forth.
She had never done Crafts at the Castle, and suddenly she got a
space, after applying for years. That was the last year Crafts at
the Castle was active. Craftproducers are often giving notice that
there is space to do most of their VT shows, except for jewelry. I
think so many of us craftspeople just gave up on the craft shows. Too
many of them, too little consumers and not enough money. That is the
problem I find with Paradise City Art Festivals - beautifully
organized fairs, well-put together, easy to do, but just not enough
paying customers. Seems like the customers come to be entertained,
eat great food and great music, but not willing to buy.
I only do the high-end craft shows myself, and I limit myself to
just 4-5 shows a year. I was pretty shocked to get into the Philly
Museum of Art Craft show this year, and had to adjust my fall
teaching schedule to accommodate that show, which was totally
I bet there’s just not enough submissions, and craftspeople are being
more selective of what they are applying for. Most of my fair friends
have given up or severely limited their craft fairs. California and
AZ are not good places for fairs, according to them. 1 fair in NH,
1-3 in RI at my alumni college and 1 extra fair somewhere in the East
Coast. The other thing I noticed is that it’s mostly an older crowd
that does the craft fairs, so it’s rare to find young craftspeople
doing shows. Seems like the younger crowd prefers to do business
online. What happens when all the master craftspeople retire or die,
and are we going to find a smaller pool of craftpeople willing to do
craft shows? I honestly don’t know how long I can do them myself.
Only another 10 years or so. The other thing I noticed about
festivals, is that it is food, music, entertainment and craftsmen. I
will not do festivals for it’s the food and music/entertainment is
what the average consumer wants. If you have a food booth, you will
do business. I’ve had to be ruthless in saying,no to festivals, and
only do higher-end juried shows. I’ve been doing fairs since 1994,
and it’s a totally different world now.