Hand Made (Florida Shows)long yak

I was just in a Howard Alan (that’s the promoter name) show up in
Michigan. Up until now I have largely kept out of shows run by
big time promoters, it’s a different world than I am used to.
There were maybe a few fine jewelers and then a fimo person and a
bunch of strung beads. Ouch, can’t sell $40 earrings when the
woman down the row has $7 earrings…( I am not insulting
beaders, I do beadwork myself but cheap/easy bead earring don’t
belong next to someone selling earrings that start at $40) I
think it confuses the aesthetics of the show.

I was sitting there (practically leaking money, I lost alot on
that show) when I finally said to someone by me what’s going
on?, I thought their shows had a way higher level of stuff than
the strung bead ladies and the wooden cut out puzzle guy behind
me" She said “the bulk of the fine jewelers/artists were low on
stock by this time and went back to their home base of Florida,
this is just a “B” show so they let these people in.” I wish
they had told me about it being a below par show beforehand, after
all, they charged the same fee they charge for the “A” level

After more talk with multiple artists a few things became
apparent…at least with this promoter a large chunk of the
artists on their “circuit” hail from FL or that region of the
states. Some of their Florida shows are great well established
shows and some are really bad. You would probably have no problem
getting into some of these Florida shows, others a very small
chance. Some of these shows have a “look” they are going for
and the jury is not jurying for quality only, they are going for
a certain feel to the show, if they want a colorful flashy
show…my jewelry won’t even be considered, but flashy junk may
well be. With this promoter, I am told the more shows you apply
to, the better your chances because it’s easier on them to fill
the shows this way. The “jury” may well be the promoter and a
couple of employees and friends, Although in this case the
promoter was/is an artist supposedly, I don’t know what he does
and I was pretty unhappy with the really low art quotient stuff
they let in. To avoid it in the future I spend alot of time
getting the scoop from the artists. Some are great about sharing,
some treat you like the plague.

So did I kinda answer your questions? Alot of "circuit artists"
do live in Florida year around…come north and share a crash
pad during the week in the midwest while hitting the show circuit
there. As far as getting into a show there, sure you could…but
it could be a real financial bath for you if you pay the travel
expenses and end up in a lame show. By the way, that Michigan
show was probably one of the highest cost shows I have ever done,
and the least money I have ever made.


Hi Karen,

You said that bad word! (Howard Alan) What an a…e!

I had a big run in with him a few years ago and, as a result,
have never done any of his shows. He has some very prestigious
ones here in Florida which would be nice to do - but not if I
have to put up with him.

I was doing the Cocoa Village Fine Art Show at the time (and,
incidentally, won a 2nd ribbon and check in the same show for my
category) when Howard Alan came up to my booth (before I got the
ribbon). He looked my stuff over and chatted a few minutes,
telling me that I was pre-juried for his Los Olas show in Ft.
Lauderdale. He advised me to send my check and some photos to
his office marked to his personal attention, and he would see
that I was accepted. Well, after doing all that - I was turned
down. So I called him long distance to remind him of who I was
and that we had talked, and he told me to resend and he would
watch out for it. So I did. Refused again. When I called again,
he told me that his wife had refused me as my work wasn’t up to
their standards. I finished up out the postage, the prints (they
never returned them), and $16.00 in long distance.

I later learned that his wife did some kind of schlok bead
jewelry and didn’t like having new jewelers in their shows. I
used to do beading myself before I got a torch. Over the years,
mine had developed into the all knotted, one-of-a-kind
off-center pieces incorporating a hand made or cast piece as a
focus. Lots of weaving with multiple strands. But I understand
hers is straight strung stuff with almost no artistry. I don’t
bead any more but that’s only because I felt I had exhausted the
medium for me and wanted to move on to new things.

I’ve been hearing stories all over the circuit about these
people and that working with them is a political experience. As
far as jewelry is concerned, I’ve learned that they have a core
group they work with and that’s all they want to know. Their
core group is not made up of the finest jewelers but the ones
they find acceptable based on some criterion of their own.

Sorry you had such a negative experience with them. I didn’t
know they were that big up North.


Nina - Silver Design, 9122 S. Federal Hwy, Suite 249,
Pt. St. Lucie, FL. 34952 : Toll Free:1-888-460-1800
URL: http://www.nina-sd.com : Email: @Nina


Info appreciated! It appears that for the better Fl(Tampa
anyway) the distiction of Art shows and Arts and Craft shows is
quite well done… However, there seems to be a problem,
depending on the show, as to wheather ‘Jewelry’ is ever an art or


… However, there seems to be a problem,
depending on the show, as to wheather ‘Jewelry’ is ever an art or

I’ve been running into this a lot lately. I wanted to enter a
few local shows and they call Jewelry Craft not Art so the
percentage of jewelers is small–usuallyt 20%. Seems you have to
wait till someone dies to get in because they choose he same
people every year! =-(

Mama said life ain’t fair :wink:


 However, there seems to be a problem, depending on the show,
as to wheather 'Jewelry' is ever an art or craft?? 

Good point! What would one call cast pieces??? Art or Craft???
Mine are done from sheet and wire, so no casting is used. Some
appear as small sculptures . . . but, I guess opinion would
determine whether it’s art or craft.

I’ve also wondered about some of the “hand cast” paper which I
have seen at shows, some artists are using manufactured molds,
others actually make their own molds, and original designs . . .
most of that is considered art, but I am not sure whether it
should be called ART or CRAFT . . .

Hmmm…interesting info about Debbie Allen, there were maybe 3
"fine jewelers" in the Howard Alen show and twice that many bead
stringers. Now maybe I know why.

By the way, I started that way too, but I took my beads to much
lower end shows.


Since we are still on this subject…can anyone recomend good
non-Howard Alan shows during the cold months. There are enough
good shows to do up here during the warm months without having
to do Howard Alan…but I would like to string together some
Southern shows for the cold months. I do hand constructed (no
casting) silver work…but am guilty of using some commercial pin
backs and chains to keep things affordable. I also do wall
pieces/bowls/plates that are enameled.

Thanks for any help…