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Slides representing work

This is to move the discussion in a direction Carolyn brought up,

Non-jeweler designers at shows

that of the jury slides being representative of the work at the show.
This is a question I have a really hard time with on a personal
level, as I enter shows as a “studio”, which includes work made by
two people (both present at shows). We also make a very wide range
of work, as our experience has been that a wide range of purchasers
come to the shows we have done. So our work ranges from our top of
the line work priced in the mid to high hundreds at this point, to
our low-end work, priced in the $5 - $10 range and aimed mainly at
the teen/pre-teen market (although adults buy some also!). Obviously,
when the show promoter requests 3 slides, you can’t show the whole
range of what you do. I send slides of my best work, and have an
entire section of my booth devoted to the higher end work. However,
I also include (and sell) the mid and lower-priced work. So have I
really sent slides representative of what I am showing? Yes…and

Yet, given the constraints the show promoters themselves put on you,
I don’t see how we can do anything differently. No one has ever
asked me to remove anything, so I assume they have been ok with it.
And yet it still feels just a bit questionable to me. And yet, the
lower-priced items are still well designed and made, and serve to
introduce a new audience to hand-made jewelry, and often give us a
chance to explain the nicer pieces, and the stones, and the

I would love to hear how others who create a range of work handle
this issue.

Beth in SC

Hi Beth, I handle it pretty much in the same manner. I pick out my
"best and brightest" for slides, knowing that the competition –
especially for jewelry of course – will be tough, but if I was
displaying / trying to sell only the level of work in my slides,
I’d probably not be profitable at most shows!

I take comfort in the fact that I do handcraft all the work, with
the exception of the stones / beads, so even the simpler items have
my touch, my style…but it is, of course, the simpler items that
are my “booth fee makers” and account for a larger portion of my
sales. My retail pricing ranges from $19 to $350, and while $19, or
$30, are impulse purchase prices for most customers, $350 is not.

After all, shows are business, not art museums…though work at some
of the finer shows can take my breath away, just as art in a fine
museum does. :slight_smile: So we have to consider what is best for us from a
business perspective, without straying from the show’s dictum of
"all work must be handcrafted by the artist (at least that’s printed
on every show app I put in the mail…).

Now this one hits a nerve with me, too. It seems that using slides
to be juried into anything, one must have top notch photos of top
notch piece. Reasonable. But we also have to please an aesthetic that
doesn’t necessarily reflect our everyday work, the pieces that make
up most of our line for sale. The pieces that will get us into shows
often will not sell well to the general public, and the good sellers
are often not ‘original’ or ‘artistically significant’ enough to get
us into the shows or galleries. So, do we create a completely
seperate line, reserved for use in gaining entrance to shows and
galleries? Sheesh, this is going to be a can of worms, indeed. Jim

I used to send slides showing an actual assortment of my work to
shows. One from the low end, a couple in the middle and a couple high
end because that is what the rules seemed to call for.

One time one of the promoters in the Midwest offered to do a slide
critique for free, now she charges a lot for it. Her opinion was that
my slides were too “different” from one another. What she really
wanted to see was a consistent body of my best work. For instance, 5
slides of pieces the same shape with different imagery and the same
background so they looked nice up there as a group. I went to a
couple of juries and realized she was right. Nobody seems to be
judging you on whether they are actually seeing an assortment.
Everyone shows their very best stuff in the slides. Sometimes it’s
even work made with more “pop” to look even better in a slide than
their traditional work.

I don’t agree with it, but I think it’s how it is.


I too take items as low as $10.00 to my shows. As long as the
predominance of my work is “high end” like my slides, I feel I can
display the lower-end things too. After all, the show is to show
artisans and their work. As long as the $10.00 pieces are handmade,
I feel justified. Sometimes our inexpensive items carry the show and
also they allow everyone to buy something–not just the financially

I have thought a time or two that most show promoters don’t enforce
any of the rules, though I follow all to the letter except for the
above-described. One feels that to confine oneself to the rule of
having only the quality shown in the show slides makes one the only
one at the show that is doing so.

J. S. Ellington

The reason that finding slides to send to shows is so complex is
that each show is different. When sending slides in my application
to the Philadelphia Craft Show I’ll only send the most stunning
slides I have of my best work all of which were shot at the same
shooting; these types of shows are looking for artists who sell one
of a kind pieces of art. If however I’m sending an application to a
show that typically sells more moderately priced items, that
strategy may put me at a disadvantage, especially if it’s a show
that takes a commission on sales; they might want to see work that
will sell well in their market and make them the most money. In
general though, I don’t worry so much about whether my slides
represent every single aspect of my line. More likely I worry
whether my designs are consistent or if I’m branching out into an
area that might confuse my clients. For example, it took me forever
to find a way to include silver into my line. I didn’t want people
to confuse the silver work with the white gold or platinum. I
really wanted to have lower end work but didn’t want people to
question why some work was thousands of dollars while other work was
hundreds. Normally I try to have a ring, bracelet, necklace,
earring and pin that I can include in an application. If the
application only requires 3 slides it makes my job a little more
difficult. But I don’t worry about including silver in the work I
sell if I don’t include a silver piece in my slides. Besides
worrying about what slides to include gives you the feeling that you
have more control than you really do in getting selected to a show.
All you con do is send in the slides of your choosing, make sure
they get there on time and that the application is legible, beyond
that there’s no guarantees!