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Canopy Portability and Transportation


#1

Greetings all,

I haven’t ventured into the craft show circuit just yet aside from
going to observe to see what it’s like, etc. I more than likely will
do a few next year. With that in mind, I pretty much have an idea of
which canopy system I want. It just so happens that my husband and I
are in the market for a new/used vehicle in a couple of months, and I
was wondering–for any given show, how much transport space is
required for EVERYTHING? That is, canopy, display cases, weights,
food, etc.

We used to have an SUV, but we were in a bad rollover accident due
to black ice a few years ago, and as a result, I’m a bit hesitant
about SUVs. However, I’m thinking that since this is going to be a
way of life for me for a while, I may need to re-consider them.
That-or one of the “sport wagon”/SUV hybrids that are basically
souped-up marketing redirects for the dreaded S-word.station wagons!

I can’t imagine any of these systems fitting in just a car. One guy
I know has a van-but I’m not into those-that’s just way too big for
my needs otherwise. So, my question is, how the heck do you guys
transport your stuff when you do shows?

Thanks in advance.
Tamra Gentry
www.agjewelrydesign.com


#2

Hi,

I have large walls that I need for shows so a van is what I need.

However, if I was doing jewelry again, as I used to I would be
really tempted to get a vehicle of my liking with a trailer hitch and
one of those small trailers. You can get some pretty petite ones that
would be easy to tow and maneuver. I love the idea of not totally
unpacking after shows and then you just keep the most expensive stuff
in the car/hotel room/house with you!

Karen


#3
was wondering--for any given show, how much transport space is
required for EVERYTHING? That is, canopy, display cases, weights,
food, etc. 

Well, you design your booth to fit into your car. That’s what Bruce
Baker says. Worked for me. I’m not doing shows now, but when I did, I
fit my entire display, including tent, pedestals, and lunch, in a
compact car. It’s certainly a little easier if you have a bigger car,
then everything doesn’t have to be packed “just so,” in order to fit.

Since you’re buying a new car at the same time, sure, I’d tend
toward something larger. Just know that it can be done without a
panel van.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#4

I drive a Taurus station wagon, carry a 5’ long KDKanopy (now with a
better, replaced top), and use knock-down Abstracta display cases.
The car is only full to a bit above the windows in places. It gets
28 MPG on the highway. In my experience, the KD’s are fine if and
only if you make sure to set the top tight enough to never pool any
water. Practice this on your lawn with a garden hose, if necessary. I
have seen many of these types go down with bathtubs full of water
collected in the corners. Mine never has, in decades of use. I also
add wood cross-braces: details if you write me.

M’lou


#5
So, my question is, how the heck do you guys transport your stuff
when you do shows? 

A Ford Ranger pickup with a camper shell/topper.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado
http://home.covad.net/~rcopeland


#6
So, my question is, how the heck do you guys transport your stuff
when you do shows? 

Take a look at the artist parking lot at the next show you go to.
Lots of minivans, along with some larger and smaller vehicles. (By
the way, I want a bumper sticker I saw in one such lot-- “Oh, no,
not another learning experience!”)

I have a Plymouth Grand Voyager. With the extra seats out, there is
plenty of room for everything-- my fairly bulky pedestals, tent,
chairs, cases (assembled), even the lock-together rubber floor I
added last year. So a “non-grand” minivan would be plenty big…

I’ve had mine for 10 years (and 140,000 miles) so I don’t know what
newer models hold. I’d like something more fuel-efficient, of course
(and with functional AC), but no mula, sigh.

Noel


#7

Our stories match! We had an SUV that was totaled in a spin & rolled
on it’s side accident…also black ice caused. I will never own
another SUV. In our icy winter climate they by far are involved in
the most spin & roll-over accidents then any other body type.

Having said that, the answer is no, you don’t need another SUV. They
are too small inside to haul your stuff to a show and back and keep
you comfortable, they are not a stable car in bad conditions.

We went back to our uncool mini-van. We now have a Honda Odyssey.
(This is our 3rd mini-van). It has front wheel drive and feels much
more secure on snow and ice. It has loads of room for all our show
stuff (and we have bulky displays) plus extras. My tall husband
finds the mini-van the most comfortable car he’s ever ridden in. He
can drive for hours and not get all cramped up. (The SUV drove him
nuts). It sits lower to the ground so it’s easier to load and the
load sits below the windows so we can see out. Our Ford Explorer was
crammed to the roof with stuff when we used it for shows.

Now I understand that mini-vans are uncool-soccer mommish etc. But
they are so versatile, comfortable, stable, relatively good gas
milage, they are by far the best show car and everyday car for an
artist. I would recommend you go for a Honda or Toyota for safety
and long life.

hth
Carla
www.carlamfox.com


#8

Hello Tamra,

I have an extended cab pick-up. Everything will easily fit in the bed
and is tied down; however, if the weather is iffy, I’ve got to put my
"delicates" in the cab. That’s not easy and I wish I had gotten the
extra door for the area behind the front seats.

BTW, several years ago my daughter convinced me to buy a rolling
tool box with a pull handle. This one disassembles into two boxes,
each with a lift-out tray. The top box lid has two covered
compartments and there is a removable tool box that latches onto the
front. Very cool. I can pack all my stock, a set of hand tools, and
various paraphernalia for shows in it. Keep an eye out and consider
getting one. Mine cost US$25.

Thought you’d want to know, Judy in Kansas, where the weeds are
taking over and the rains continue. Why do weeds grow faster than
vegetable plants??


#9

Hi Tamra,

It really depends on what setup you create for yourself, into what
vehicle it will fit. I have, a “dreaded” station wagon, as you call
it, and until recently I was able to fit things just fine into it. I
recently redid my setup, though, and although it’s got several pros
over my old setup, bulk isn’t one of them. Actually, if I’d just
made use of the roof rack this first time I used it, I’d probably
have still been fine with my one car. I just needed to throw a few
things in my husband’s car, but he was going separately with me in
his car, anyway.

For the next time I use it, I’ll just have to consider again the
arrangement in my car, sometimes it takes a few times to really
figure out the best way to fit all these things in, no matter the
vehicle. I tell you, though, I was recently driving a minivan (rental
for a long trip with 6 people) and with the stow 'n go seats, I was
thinking that’d work really well for schelpping my show stuff! I’ve
been resistant to a minivan (to me, that was the dreaded one), but
maybe it’s in my future.

I’d say, if you don’t want to get an SUV (and I wish more people
would decide NOT to get an SUV!) a station wagon could work just fine
or, perhaps even better, a minivan. I don’t know why station wagons
lost their appeal here in the US. They’re useful, they don’t guzzle
the gas like SUVs, and in many cases they actually have more hauling
capacity, anyway. Unlike the rest of the world, it seems we need to
have things big & bulky & impressive looking.

OK, I’ll stop. There’s also the route of the hook-on trailer thing,
but personally I’d rather not have to drive with one of those, or
figure out where to put it when it’s not in use, and with two kids I
need the hauling capacity on a daily basis, anyway. I’ve also
considered the idea of renting something for the occassion, since
right now I’m not sure how exactly to get everything in the station
wagon.

If you generally don’t need a larger vehicle, and you aren’t doing
shows every other weekend, then perhaps renting is a thought for you.
You could save a lot of money by not using the larger vehicle every
day, and perhaps it’d be more than you’d spend to rent one now & then
for a show. Not sure yet myself, I haven’t really sat down & done the
math on that. By the way, I have a Ford Focus wagon, so it’s not a
huge vehicle, but I can still fit lots into it. At least with
jewelry, the inventory itself isn’t the space problem!

Lisa
Designs by Lisa Gallagher
www.lisagallagher.com


#10
BTW, several years ago my daughter convinced me to buy a rolling
tool box with a pull handle. This one disassembles into two boxes,
each with a lift-out tray.... 

On this subject, another hint…

I bought a plastic, rolling set of drawers from Office Depot (or
Max)-- one of this black things with milky plastic drawers, about
30" high. It keeps all my art fair misc organized and accessible. A
drawer for charge slips, business cards, and care cards, one for
boxes, one for tools, etc, and the top holds things, too. What an
improvement!

Noel


#11

What a wonderful question!

When we needed to replace our car a couple of years ago, we went
with the Scion xB (the boxy one). It’s inexpensive and gets great
fuel efficiency (around 40 - 42 mpg highway, 35 - 38 city). Best of
all, there’s an amazing amount of storage space in that little car!

For outdoor shows requiring my tent setup (I have an ez-up),
everything fits neatly into the xB with all doors and windows firmly
closed. I can carry a passenger up front with me (back seats folded
down) and we’re not sitting with our knees to our chests or locked to
the dashboard!

For indoor shows, I have a slightly different system, due to my
6-foot high panels. For that, I use the roof rack with a handy 13x9’
heavy-duty tarp and ratcheting tie downs. The panels are completely
encased in plastic in case of bad weather or avian overflights, and
it drives surprisingly steadily (i was a bit wary the first time we
tried it, but it worked beautifully). Decreases the gas mileage a bit
to have anything on top, but not horribly so. For indoor shows,
between the panels and my pedestals (gotta find some nice collapsing
pedestals one of these days), the booth stuff definitely takes up
more room, so I use the top and the inside of the car.

But the xB is a wonderful, small, and eminently driveable vehicle.
It’s a Toyota Echo engine, so I expect excellent reliability from it,
as well. I just can’t say enough good things about it!

Definitely something to check out! (Even if some of my art show
buddies refer to it as my “clown car” given how much comes out of
such a seemingly little space!)

Enjoy!
Karen Goeller
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry


#12

Thank you for the tips and -they really helped me gain
some perspective. All excellent ideas and suggestions, and I really
appreciate your responses.

I think I’m tending towards a wagon of some kind. I LOVE the idea of
a pickup, but this is also going to be my quick “errand car” and our
road-trip car during the off-season. Oh–and the “kid car” whenever
we start a family, which will more than likely be no later than two
years from now-so, whatever I get now, we’ll be keeping for a while.
No offense to anyone, but I have residual mini-van-a-phobia left over
school student when they got one–need I say more?

Lisa, my guess is that the issue with wagons and mini-vans not being
appealing in the US is due to a combination of factors which include
marketing, media, and pop-culture expectations. In my research on
one of the “sport” wagons I’m considering, one article author
mentioned something to the effect that, what we once knew as the
"station wagon"—a.k.a the dreaded s-word—is now being
aggressively marketed to Baby Boomers and their children as “sport
wagons,” and/or “lifestyle/utility vehicles.” Sheesh! I guess it very
much makes sense though from the marketing perspective.

AWESOME idea on the rolling set of drawers! I tend toward being a
little OC, so anything I can do to capitalize on efficiency in this
process is icing on the cake. If we’re talking about the same thing,
Noel, I think I have a couple of those in my studio right now-would
be nice if they had telescoping handles in back for pushing them
around. I’ll research this–maybe those do exist. Well, heck, I can
always get one of those luggage trolleys and just strap it down!

Carla, that rollover was the most surreal thing I’ve ever
experienced in my life! We’ll have to swap stories offline-my husband
and I walked away with nothing more than a few scratches from the
little shards of glass we kept picking off of ourselves. Really,
really surreal. With regard to transporting supplies and equipment, I
kind of suspected that SUVs might actually provide less space than
some of the other options.

Thanks again!
Tamra
Tamra M. Gentry
www.agjewelrydesign.com


#13
I think I'm tending towards a wagon of some kind. I LOVE the idea
of a pickup, but this is also going to be my quick "errand car" and
our 

Check out the Pacifica, it doesn’t look like a station wagon. It’s
one of those overgrown wagons that you kind of think is an SUV at
first glance.

AWESOME idea on the rolling set of drawers! I tend toward being a
little OC, so anything I can do to capitalize on efficiency in
this process is icing on the cake. If we're talking about the same
thing, Noel, I think I have a couple of those in my studio right
now-would be nice if they had telescoping handles in back for
pushing them

The place to look is high end scrapbooking shops. The scrapbooking
industry has a wide variety of rolling storage devices with handles
for scrapbookers who take their supplies and pages-in-progress to
"crops," or weekends of scrapbooking at B&Bs, or cruises.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#14

Since you love the idea of a pickup truck, I will jump in on this
thread. I love my pickup, I got it to do shows, it is a full size
with extended cab. The extended cab has doors and is roomy enough for
kids. I have a camper top I put on when I do shows and remove it the
rest of the time. If you go with a small V8 or a 6 cylinder, light
suspension and regular tires the ride is extremely smooth and gas
mileage is not bad. Just because it is a truck does not mean it has
to have all the macho BS stuff. Once you get used to driving a larger
vehicle it is really easy to drive, not much worse than a big station
wagon. The best benefit is you have a truck when you need to get yard
or house stuff. Also I would much rather drive a truck during art
show setup than be pulling a trailer.

Good luck
Bill Wismar
www.metalbendersgallery.com