Total frustration, can't get into shows!

Hello everyone, I would like to know how the application process is
going for others this year. When I first started showing, about 5
years ago, I didn’t have good slides, I didn’t even have a booth
slide at one point and used my own booth shot for many years and I
got into everything I applied to - even good established shows.
This year, I applied to over 30 shows and have gotten the results
through June and have only gotten into 3 shows. I can’t even seem
to get into local nothing shows that should be easy. Not to pat
myself on the back but the work has gotten emensely better, I have
very nice professional slides and a great looking booth shot. I
can’t even get onto a waitlist! I just keep getting form letters
that say they were overwhelmed with applications in my category and
try again next year. Is anyone else experiencing the same kind of
thing to the same extent this season??? Could the number of
jewelers have increased to that extent? Without tooting my own horn

  • I know my work is better than that. Terribly frustrated.

Also, while I am asking questions can anyone give me some feedback
on the Chicago One of a Kind Show. I have considered applying for
it, but the booth fee is so high. I don’t live close enough to
check it out so any comments would be helpful.

And, one more question. Trying to locate a company I was told about
for display items called Bufcor, but can’t find anything on the Net.
Out of Florida, I think. Anyone heard of them?

Most grateful for the attention to any or all of the above. Got to
find a way to make some money - whew!!!

Thanks, Grace


There are so many factors involved in getting into shows. Jury
members change, directors decide to increase the number of
pre-invited artists, great numbers of jewelers get hungry and decide
to get back into shows, news of a good show gets out and more people
decide to enter, the list goes on and on. Of course you could be in
the position of having shows to do but be losing money at each and
every one. That’s the frustration I’m dealing with. I finally
started getting into enough shows that I feel like I have some
momentum going and now I’m hemorrhaging cash. I just sent out 6
applications for fall shows and seriously wonder if I’ll have the
money to pay booth fees if I get in!

To sympathize with you I’ll tell you this story. I did a couple of
shows last year with the Artrider group. They produce shows in the
NYC area. Last year I had no problem getting into every show I
applied for. This year there were over 1000 jewelers applying for 40
spots in their Park Avenue show, according to the promoters. This
year the only show I got into (of the 4 I applied for) was the fall
show. On the bright side, my other shows have been going so badly
that I am glad that I didn’t get into the spring show they do. It is
a very expensive show and if things continue to go as they have, I
probably wouldn’t have made expenses.

That is the other point I wanted to make. Right now it’s hard to
sell jewelry; no matter where you sell it. The competition is fierce
and the dollars are scarce. The upside is that people still seem to
be coming to shows and are interested. They just aren’t willing to
open their wallets (at least for higher end gold work).

To make a long story a little longer; we need to work out survival
skills for the next while. I for one am biting the bullet and doing
consignment. All my big sales are coming from sales in retail

     Also, while I am asking questions can anyone give me some
feedback on the Chicago One of a Kind Show. 

The One-of-A-Kind show has been discussed in some of the following
art/craft forums. Go to the sites and check out the archives.

Artfair Sourcebook gives it a rating of 8 (out of 10). It is not
ranked in the top 100 shows in the country even though they report
exhibitor sales at $4,296 per artist.

Here is the editor’s critique of the show:

“This show was beautifully produced and presented in a classy, plush
setting. It’s a very smooth-running show! The event was extremely
well advertised. But sales and attendance were off significantly
from last year. This is a great show for selling Christmas gift, low
priced ($50 and under) items; not especially good for the high-end.
Functional did better than decorative. At 4 days (plus preview
night) this show is way too long and expensive for the crowd it
attracts. With hotels, restaurants and parking for six days and
nights, plus the hefty booth fee, expenses can easily run $3,500+
before you’ve even made a sale. Of course, many exhibitors didn’t
make their expenses. Sub-optimal food options for vendors. Preview
party was not thought to have generated many sales by most reporting.
And the evening hours devoted primarily to “special group” events
were not working for most exhibitors. The biggest complaint was the
exorbitant booth fee. Hours: Thur-Sun10am-6pm”

     And, one more question. Trying to locate a company I was told
about for display items called Bufcor, but can't find anything on
the Net. Out of Florida, I think. Anyone heard of them?

Bufkor is probably the company you are looking for. Try
hope this is helpful, Larry


I just sat in on a jury for a show in Milwaukee. It is what I
consider a B show. Not the highest income show but good quality work,
great management and for most of the artists I know fairly consistent
income from year to year. As it is run by a guild they offer a bonus
of letting members attend the slide review of entrants.

This year the number of applicants they received went up around 25%
! For 90 spots total there were 78 jewelers alone. I may not be a
high end gold smith but I am fairly well educated in metals and there
were easily more than a dozen goldsmiths that would have been very
hard to choose between, an equal number of “whimsical” jewelry makers
as well. This competition isn’t even fierce compared to the big
national shows.

There were a few things those near me reached a consensus on: a lot
of artists who have done primarily production/wholesale in the past
have slow sales and are now competing or reentering the retail market
flooding the shows with new professional entries. Who your
photographer is makes a huge difference, do they understand what you
are competing against? The order your slides are in when projected is
big too. Is one slide dischordant, does your eye flow smoothly over
over the pieces as a set? Make sure your booth shot is just your
booth! You wouldn’t believe the number of booth shoots that include
the neighbors booth…a sign with your name on it (that is considered
really really bad and friends have had shows take a marker to their
booth shot to cover the name.)…half the backyard was visable in the
shot in etc…You just need the inside of the booth. Then to top it
off, when you see a slide jury you immediately recognize that the
pieces juried don’t really relate to what the total booth looks like.
In a jury there is little room for subtlety, the jury only has a few
seconds to make up their mind and they need something to pop out at
them to grab their attention. I have to say too…all in all, the
jewelers really had the best slides as a group too.

On a completely different note…The one of a kind show. I went last
year, all the Canadian artists are gone that came the first year. A
lot of local artists and from around the U.S. primarily, Amy Amdur is
no longer a big part of the show. I spoke to several that came back
for a second year and they all said that while they didn’t make a
killing the first year they think the right kind of people come to
the show and they wanted to be in on the ground floor of what they
think will be very good show. Rather mixed quality on the work, some
really amazing stuff, but in each row at least one “what the heck is
that doing here?” booth. The few artists that really stood out I
couldn’t talk to, they were too busy!