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Preferred canopy and light brands


#1

Hello to all you amazing Orchidians - I have learned so much from
this site, and recommend it to so many. I am starting to show at
festivals, and my $200 Sam’s Club EZ Up folded after 4 uses - whom do
you recommend for canopies? The most common thing I’ve heard from
other vendors is, “Oh, I’ve had this EZ Up for 10 years, but they
don’t make them like they used to.” Yah, got that.

Also, any recommends for lighted display cases? I’ve looked at the
Abstracta, Arizona and a few others, but wonder what you folks think.

Thank you,
Susan “Sam” Kaffine


#2

If you really want a true show tent then there is only one brand that
will last ten years that’s anchor http://www.anchorinc.com had three
of them for 19 years.

Good luck
jen


#3

I used an EZ up tent for the first three years of shows and finally
splurged on a Trimline canopy w/ the optional Sta-bar leg supports. I
have to say it’s been great in the wind and rain, and the skylight
(standard feature) is great for brightening the inside when there
isn’t electricity. I especially love the peace of mind from knowing
my tent will still be standing faithfully in place the next morning!

Jeni


#4
and my $200 Sam's Club EZ Up folded after 4 uses 

OK, I can stand the wrath of the EZ-Up haters on the list one more
time. EZ-Ups come in different qualities. The cheapest are sold at
Sam’s club and won’t hold up to a little kid’s flatulence. The more
expensive ones have heavier construction and better design. I’m going
on my 5th season with my higher end EZ-Up. That being said they need
to be properly weighted with at least 50 lbs per leg and bracing the
legs along the bottom is not a bad idea. I like my EZ Up because it
lets in lots of light. The heavier tents block the light and then you
need to think about portable lighting.

Now the more heavier duty tents are the preferred tents for those
who have expensive displays or keep their inventory overnight in
their tents. Or do shows in areas prone to heavy thunderstorms like
in the Rocky Mountains. The best one I’ve seen at shows who
manufacturer is still in business is the Trimline canopy made by
Flourish (http://www.flourish.com/).

Honestly, I will probably invest in a Trimline when my tent goes to
the big windstorm in the sky but not without doing a Mary Poppins
like exit first…

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#5

I am using my second ez-up in 3 years because my first one had total
failure at the joints where the bolts hold it together. It was still
under warranty, so last weekend we used the new one for the first
time. I have never really heard anyone at shows imply that they were
well built even 10 years ago. The roof design is bad in most older
models because it collects water when it rains, but the newer ones
with the vaulted ceiling help remedy that problem. Ez ups are an
inexpensive solution, but not as long term as other variations.
Personally, if I stick with the shows long term, the next tent I am
getting will likely be a Light Dome. I borrowed a friends for my
first show and it was just better designed. Heavier fabrics and
frame. It actually could be assembled by one person.

Melissa


#6

I have an old EZ up from Sam’s Club, that has stood everything
thrown at it for about 10 years now…and is finally getting
sufficiently rough looking that I bought a new one from Sam’s for
this year. Have not used the new one yet, so we’ll see how it holds
up in comparison. Better last more than 4 times though!

I looked at more expensive tents, and just can’t justify that
expense with the shows I do right now. I just don’t do enough outdoor
shows to warrant the big expenditure. I don’t leave inventory in the
tent at night, even when the show says they have security - just
seems to be asking for trouble to me! I do leave the booth set up,
and put the sides on for the night.

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


http://bethwicker.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#7

Hi Sam,

Glad you’re learning a lot here, it is a wonderful place. :slight_smile: Sorry
to hear your EZ “folded” after only a few uses. I’ve had one for a
few years now & it’s still going strong - knock on wood! I didn’t
get mine from Sam’s, though, and I know that in many cases the “big
box” stores get their own versions of things made that look the same
as from somewhere else, but aren’t up to the same quality standards.
Don’t want to open a big can of worms with that statement, but it’s
something to consider when you look at where to get something, and
it may have something to do with the Sam’s canopy. Or maybe it was
just a random unfortunate lemon. That being said, and I have been
happy with my EZ as I said, at some point I do want to invest in one
that has a water PROOF top. Doing outdoor shows is stressful enough,
worrying about the weather & if that will make it a good show or
not, without also having a sleepless night listening to rain,
wondering how wet the inside of your tent is. I’ve covered my display
in plastic tarp more than once, just to be sure nothing dripped
through over night (and never actually needed it), but that doesn’t
help when it suddenly rains during the day, so hard that it quickly
starts seeping through the tent roof & dripping down on your display.
I have had that happen, though luckily it ended quickly as it turns
out. Fortunately I’m not a watercolor artist, but I still don’t want
water dripping in my space, thus the tent! OK, so I hope I haven’t
jinxed my poor tent now. :wink:

Regarding lights, are you asking for outdoor shows or indoor? I’m
going to assume indoor since if you’re outdoors the lights
unfortunately don’t do much unless it’s fairly dark out, and many (if
not most) outdoor shows don’t offer electric anyway. For cases, I
know lots of people use the abstracta & such, though I’ve also heard
some of them say that it’s what it is and can’t really be made to
look like anything else. And they are made up of quite a collection
of pieces, though they store away in a relatively small bag. I like
to build my own, personally. A progression of my booth setups can be
seen at
http://www.lisagallagher.com/GenPics/BoothDisplaySetups.html

though my current setup differs ever so slightly from the last one
shown. My cases are done with sheets of plexi (MUCH lighter than
glass, and basically not breakable) & chrome clips and has worked
very well for me. It actually holds up pretty well when taken care
of, and I just couldn’t manage hauling the glass so I have to do
something lighter weight, not to mention I’ve had the glass sheets
chip & cut me which I do NOT want to have happen again. I’ve had
these sheets for about 5 years now and they’ve worn very well, though
when I decide to replace them I’ll probably go with lexan to be just
that much more durable.

The stands on which my cases currently stand are wooden structures
that I built. They are a little heavy, but very sturdy. They fold up
for storage, with the plexi & fabric inside- same height & width, but
about half as deep. When open & in use they have shelves inside them
and I can have everything easily accessible and hidden from customer
view.

My lights are simply halogen track lights suspended across the top of
my booth, one per case. This setup is not complicated, the most
time-consuming aspect is all those little clips, but I’ve found some
shortcuts and over time I’ve gotten quite adept at it. My previous
setup, with the wooden tops, was based on raised-up folding tables &
was much less of a space hog in my car, but it was not versitile AT
ALL, though otherwise I liked it very much. Finding the "perfect"
booth setup is an endless quest, and when you spend lots of time (and
some amount of money) getting it “just right” you’ll likely find that
some amount of changes will need to be made over the years, you’ll
either just find something doesn’t work in reality or you’ll just
start thinking you’d like something a bit different.

Best suggestion is to go to shows, see booths you like, and ask about
them when the artist isn’t busy. I know some artists aren’t
close-mouthed about their setups for some reason, but I find most are
pretty willing to talk about that, particularly if you aren’t asking
them about the actual jewelry.

Boy, this is getting long, sorry! I just wanted to make a quick other
comment, though. I checked out your site & your pieces are very
pretty, I love all the chainmaille work, but I can’t see them very
well in your images. Please consider getting closer in to take your
pictures, make good use of your camera’s macro setting (which it
hopefully has!) When a customer is looking at, for instance, the
"graduated handmade necklace", I don’t need to see the black patio
table, or the rock wall in the background, or even the bottom half
of the display bust. The only thing I should be looking at is the
necklace, it should fill the frame. Just a suggestion, which I hope
you don’t mind since you didn’t ask about photography. :slight_smile:

Lisa
Designs by Lisa Gallagher
www.lisagallagher.com


#8

Rick Copeland said in part:

OK, I can stand the wrath of the EZ-Up haters on the list one more
time. EZ-Ups come in different qualities.... 

snip

Honestly, I will probably invest in a Trimline when my tent goes
to the big windstorm in the sky but not without doing a Mary
Poppins like exit first... 

My concern is not as much for you and your inventory when your e-z
up goes a flyin’ (you’ve made that choice for yourself)…but rather
that it does not take out me, my Light Dome, my costly displays,
inventory, my customers, or some hapless festival visitor. I think
that is why many of us dislike the ez-ups of any qualitiy. When they
are on the move they hurt others. Also until you have had an E-Z up
artist dump the rain off their canopy, where it pools like crazy, &
that same water pour thru your dry tent over your dry floor, soaking
your display, you can’t appreciate the dread many of us feel when
set up next to or near one in bad weather.

hth
Carla
http://carlamfox.com


#9

Canopy: Light Dome. And get the stabilizer bars. Not cheap, but worth
it. And setup is doable by a woman. One consideration I think that
many EZ-UP users try not to think about is how easily their tents
could be blown into someone else’s display, possibly causing
significant damage. I was nervously surrounded by a sea of EZ-UPs on
a windy day this weekend!

Cases: Why not consider making your own? You can end up something
unique and designed around your work. I’ve never regretted the 3
months it took me to build mine. I get tons of compliments, it works
great, and it never hurts to have a great booth shot when trying to
get into a show. I know it’s not for everybody, but at least give it
some thought. If you wanted to try, consider the collapsible aluminum
case supports made by dynamicdisplaysystems.com. They make great
cases too, also not cheap. No connection, but mine have performed
flawlessly for 9 years.

Good luck!
Allan
silvermason.com


#10

Many artists, myself included, love the Light Dome. I’ve had mine
for over 10 years, only had or needed one and its gone thru
torrential rains, winds (that took out e-z -downs all around us), and
blistering sun. It can be set up by one small woman, if necessary,
has the fewest parts (to lose) of any canopy I know, an is light
enough for same small woman to schlep it to and from the site.

Go to: http://lightdomecanopies.com/sss/lightdome_352_351_8889

Its well worth its price. Our dot just got one too.

hth
Carla
http://carlamfox.com


#11

I’ve gotten a few requests today for about where I got
the chrome clips I mentioned using for holding my plexi cases
together, so I thought I’d post a quick note here. To be honest,
it’s been a few years and I don’t recall the exact site, but it was a
website that sells retail store fixtures. Google on things like
"glass cube" and “retail fixtures” and you’re bound to get several
to choose from. When I bought mine I found them on several sites, and
I just picked the one with the best price. You can get them in chrome
or brass colored metal, or clear plastic. They are meant for sheets
of glass, 3/16" I believe, but the 1/8" plexi works fine and is
SOOOOOO much lighter. I could’ve gotten 3/16" plexi but I saved some
money by getting the thinner stuff, and although the top piece might
be nicer to be thicker, to provide more support for those people who
insist on leaning on the cases eventhough they are not counter
height (and I might make that change next time), it’s fine. I’ve also
used them with stained luan, which I think is only 1/8", which I used
to use as my case floor. I don’t currently use an attached floor,
though. They sit on a velvet-covered board that acts as the case
floor, it’s a little larger than the footprint of the case (my cases
are each 24"w x 18"d x 12"h). I have a 2" high strip of plexi that
is attached with the clips at the bottom of the back (open) side of
the case and that keeps the case sides from moving, and gives overall
stability to the case. I hope that helps, though I’m always happy to
answer questions about my display things (or jewelry, of course!).

Lisa
Designs by Lisa Gallagher


#12
My concern is not as much for you and your inventory when your e-z
up goes a flyin' (you've made that choice for yourself)....but
rather that it does not take out me, my Light Dome, my costly
displays, inventory, my customers, or some hapless festival
visitor. 

If a person takes reasonable care in weighting their tent then I
believe that would fall under “Act of God” and that is what insurance
is for. In extreme wind conditions I’ve seen the high quality
Trimlines and Craftdomes up ended too. Any object like tables, signs,
large pieces of art can become projectiles in high wind. Are you
going to want those banned too? By doing outdoor shows you assume the
risk of “Acts of God”. If EZ Ups are such a danger to society why
hasn’t the Consumer Protection Agency banned them?

Also until you have had an E-Z up artist dump the rain off their
canopy, where it pools like crazy, & that same water pour thru your
dry tent over your dry floor, 

That is a problem with the cheap EZ Ups. The higher end EZ Ups don’t
pool rain water. Any tent regardless of quality sheds water off the
roof. Your light dome shed as much water into your downhill neighbors
as the EZ Up artists did in yours just not in the gushes when he
dumped the pooling water.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
rockymountainwonders.com


#13
I looked at more expensive tents, and just can't justify that
expense with the shows I do right now. I just don't do enough
outdoor shows to warrant the big expenditure. 

I understand your feeling, and I used an EZ Up my first few years,
too. But I’d like to point out that one good rain- or wind-storm and
you may conclude that you couldn’t actually afford NOT to use a
better tent. I use a Light Dome, and it has never given me a moment
of trouble, although it has skittered sideways on pavement in high
winds when it wasn’t weighted (not the tent’s fault!) It has
stolidly stayed in place when it’s cousins all around sailed away or
crumpled onto their contents. It takes longer to put up, but I
regularly do it alone. Plus, you can use it indoors without the top,
in any size square or rectangle from 5 x 5 to 10 x 10.

Noel


#14

I also use these clips for my glass cases and you can get them at
most glass suppliers. Check your phone book for a glass supplier and
if they don’t stock them, they can order them. Debbie

Debbie Fehrenbach
Fehrenbach Jewelry


#15

I too…like the Light Dome. Might be a lil biased, LOL. They are
locally made. And I’ve known the owners for years. Roxanne ROX. Top
Shelf product, well designed and manufactured, IMO. I’d say that
even if I didn’t know them.

Bill Roberts
http://www.CustomDesignMetalArts.com


#16
Any tent regardless of quality sheds water off the roof. Your
light dome shed as much water into your downhill neighbors as the
EZ Up artists did in yours just not in the gushes when he dumped
the pooling water. 

Rick, come on. There’s a BIG difference between water dripping off
the edge of a tent, and 5-10 gallons being ejected at once. Been
there, had a neighbor borrow my broom and use it to dump water right
onto my display. ALL the EZ-Ups I’ve ever seen do this, unless some
kind of hoop is installed to hold up the canopy in the corners. Plus,
for what it’s worth, I’ve never seen a Light Dome collapse, don’t
know about Trimline or Craft Hut. Yes, anything can sail in high
winds if not anchored. Why hasn’t EZ-Up been outlawed? Yeah, we got
rid of hand guns… oh wait. Um, well, cigarettes! Oh, right, no…
Sports cars? Running with scissors?

Noel


#17

Rick:

Let me elaborate on why I and many artists have uneasy feelings about
E Z ups. Often artists who most need canopy advice are often novices
to the art show circuit and the extremes of weather. They need to
know the “rest of the story” regarding EZ Ups. EZ Ups are tents that
fail at a much higher rate then the more expensive and better
engineered tents. Every time a big wind storm hits, everyone asks
which tents worked the best? The reply is never the EZ Ups. That is
why they have been nicknamed EZ Downs.

Here I was responding to your rather cavalier post in which you
stated that:

Honestly, I will probably invest in a Trimline when my tent goes
to the big windstorm in the sky but not without doing a Mary
Poppins like exit first... 

“Mary Poppins” canopy exits are dangerous to all around. People,
art, displays are hurt & damaged when canopies fly. Until you’ve seen
it, you can’t quite believe the wind will & can pick up a tent and
send it sailing.

I also said in part:

My concern is not as much for you and your inventory when your e-z
up goes a flyin' (you've made that choice for yourself)....but
rather that it does not take out me, my Light Dome, my costly
displays, inventory, my customers, or some hapless festival
visitor. 

Rick responded

If a person takes reasonable care in weighting their tent then I
believe that would fall under "Act of God" and that is what
insurance is for. In extreme wind conditions I've seen the high
quality Trimlines and Craftdomes up ended too. Any object like
tables, signs, large pieces of art can become projectiles in high
wind. Are you going to want those banned too? By doing outdoor
shows you assume the risk of "Acts of God". If EZ Ups are such a
danger to society why hasn't the Consumer Protection Agency banned
them? 

True any tent improperly staked & weighted will fly. But more often
then not EZ Ups are used by novices who don’t understand correct
staking and weighting. And EZ Ups are also prone to collapse and
joint failure. Weights won’t help that. Improperly weighted & staked
canopies can take flight with weights swinging like pendulums huge
danger to all around, when a 40lb weight is swaying back and forth
at head height. Also while owners of EZ Ups are holding down their
tents, it is their displays etc that go flying. In my experience it
is the flying canopy that does the damage, not wayward pro panels.

If your EZ Up goes “Mary Poppins” and hurts someone, destroys
valuable inventory, damages displays, and you will feel fine
declaring “ACT OF GOD!, don’t blame me.” Great. It is a risk I’d
rather not take. After the last two years of heavy weather shows I
come prepared to always stake & weight my Light Dome. My weights are
tied to the bottom of the legs should my tent still take off.

I know many artists are very relaxed about the risks of high winds.
But I contend they haven’t been through one and seen the damage that
can be inflicted by it. Too many shows with high winds have made a
believer of me, in the importance of a good canopy, that is properly
weighted and staked.

Are Light Domes more expensive then EZ Ups. Without a doubt. But for
me its one of the must pay expenses, for my safety and that of those
around us. Our dot after 2 years finally has felt she has enough $
to get a canopy. She bought a Light Dome. To do shows before she had
a canopy, she rented or borrowed tents.

I also said:

Also until you have had an E-Z up artist dump the rain off their
canopy, where it pools like crazy, & that same water pour thru your
dry tent over your dry floor, 
That is a problem with the cheap EZ Ups. The higher end EZ Ups
don't pool rain water. Any tent regardless of quality sheds water
off the roof. Your light dome shed as much water into your downhill
neighbors as the EZ Up artists did in yours just not in the gushes
when he dumped the pooling water. 

Yes, my Light Dome does shed water. A little at a time as it comes
down. It slides off and soaks into the ground. But when a dump of
several gallons is made next to you, the ground doesn’t soak it up &
it gushes through tents. Again its often unaware artists who are
dumping water. So if one is going to recommend a EZ Up I think full
disclosure is best. It pools water, cheaper models can leak, it has
a high failure weight in heavy weather, it is more likely to fly away
and can hurt someone one or damage your fellow artists tents etc. If
you get one, be prepared to deal with all those issues.

hth
Carla
http://carlamfox.com


#18
Many artists, myself included, love the Light Dome. I've had mine
for over 10 years, only had or needed one and its gone thru 

Carla, I just followed the link for the Light Dome, thanks. I doubt I
will upgrade this year (I have a fairly recent EZ, maybe 3 years
old), but perhaps next year. Depends how well this year goes!
Anyway, on their site they mention both the Light Dome and the Finale
tents. The Finale has a barrel shaped roof. Do you by chance know
what the benefit to one or the other of those might be? Or anyone
else have any thoughts?

Thanks!

Lisa
Designs by Lisa Gallagher
www.lisagallagher.com


#19
on their site they mention both the Light Dome and the Finale
tents. The Finale has a barrel shaped roof. Do you by chance know
what the benefit to one or the other of those might be? Or anyone
else have any thoughts? 

I don’t know the difference in why one would prefer the Finale over
the Light Dome. The Light Dome’s roof seems to shed wind, the
Finale’s flat front would concern me in a high wind, tho’ they seem
to stay put. What I really like about the Light Dome is that it has
so few parts.

1 X to hold up roof
4 curved roof extenders
4 top side rails
4 legs
(4 optional bottom side rails for great stability)

13-17 pieces. Easy to set up.

Another advantage is that you can drop the light dome quickly at all
4 corners if you want to lower your wind resistance. We often lower
it at nite.

hth
Carla


#20

I have a Finale and love it. I had an EZ Up I started out with and
when I had the opportunity to buy a very slightly used Finale, I took
it.

The rain rolls off and doesn’t pool, the tent is sturdier and it is
simple to put up, even by one person.

Francesca