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Miniatures at an art show/fair?


KathieB
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Lloyd brought home an entry form for the 1st Annual George Caleb Bingham Art Festival of Arrow Rock. Bingham lived in Arrow Rock, Missouri, before the Civil War. There are the usual fine arts categories, plus glass, baskety, photography, fiber, jewelry, and miscellaneous.

Lloyd thinks I should register my minis in the miscellaneous category. When I asked him why, he said maybe it would lead to a commission or two. I said I didn't think it would be fun to lug houses and the Mardi Gras float and the houseboat out where sweaty people could paw them, but the intrepid artist in him assured me that he has mounted even more complex art shows and would be sure no harm came to them.

I suppose I could make some accessories for sale, but I don't really want to spend hours and hours making tiny somethings. That's not what floats my boat.

Can you tell I'm majorly ambivalent about this? Comments welcome!

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I understand Lloyd's pride in your artistry and that is, after all what butters his bread. I know DS#1"s wife & family don't understand why I don't put all my handiwork up for sale, they don't understand that's not shy I do it. Unlike all those wonderfully talented mini & other artisans out there, if I did it to sell it wouldn't be pleasure for me. Minis, and art, are all hobby; what I do to express ME, and that part is not for sale.

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In the past I have shown my work and it does lead to commissions. So the answer depends on you.

If you like to talk about your miniatures and show them off,think about doing it for fun. Sometimes a booth like this does not sell anything. Instead you can offer a short class where you give instructions and people make something. Say a 20-30 min class every 1-2 hours. You charge a fee for the supplies and your time. Booths like this usually cost far less to rent than a sellers booth and it is pretty fun too. I would suggest that you not do this alone.

If you want to grow a business, an art fair, even if you do not sell anything, is a good place to let people see what you can do. Some art shows require you to have items for sale, the vendor gets a cut for your sales, esides the booth fee, this is how they make their money. So make sure everyone is expecting the same thing.

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Just some thoughts I had on reading your note.....Is it an art "show" or "sale". Maybe Lloyd just wants to show what you do cos he is proud?? Do you need the money? Do you want to take commisions? Do you have things you want to teach? or make to sell?

Those are things I would have to think about. I am always trying to think of things to make to sell because in the off season we need extra money, however I would much rather concentrate on making my mini's and other things for my family and my own pleasure and not have to stretch myself so thin trying to do both.

Julie

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I've said this before here, I think. This is my hobby, and when it becomes a business where you have to consider costs, time, pricing, paperwork, etc, it is not a hobby anymore and just a stressor. Some people enjoy that. I spent 12 years selling online in addition to my teaching job...I don't want to do that again!

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DH has a hobby that he is trying to work into a part-time business. We've done several trade shows, well actually 1 show several years in a row. We don't usually have anything for sale at the show because it is just a hobby for him and it's not the right time of year (it involves reptiles - breeding time you know). He just wanted to go to the shows to get his name out there and to display quality of the display animals he took.

I will say it's a lot of work setting up and taking down the booth, and it cost us a good bit of money initially to have the display cages, table/booth decor, backdrop, banner sign, business cards, etc. Besides the fact we have to travel about 300 miles so that means hotel bill, food, etc for the 3 days of the show. BUT, we do have a lot of fun at these shows, seeing old friends, meeting new ones, and making contacts.

Best advice I can give you is first of all decide whether YOU want to do it and are willing to devote the time for the show itself plus whatever commission(s) you may get, then come up with a list of associated costs (if any), and whether you are going to have reliable help. I DEFINITELY agree with not doing it by yourself. We locked all our animals up at night, but there were reports of animals and supplies going missing during times when the show was open AND at night when the building was closed and supposedly locked with security present.

But have to agree too with comment from JustMeSue - how wonderful that he's so proud of your work that he wants you to show it off!

Karen

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Thanks for your insight and opinions, all of you. :blink:

This is the 1st Annual show, and judging by the registration form, I'm not sure the Historic Arrow Rock Council has thought this through. They are encouraging all types of art "to be shared and displayed for sale." The registration fee is $20 for a 10x10 space, no differentiation betwen amateur and professional. They say nothing of taking a cut of sales, nor do they say anything about collecting state sales tax. I need to ask. It's only about 15 miles from here and one day from 10 am to 5 pm. The show is being held in conjunction with a long-running annual Garden show that draws a large attendance from as far away as Kansas City and Columbia.

A single person will select a first place winner in each category and a single Best of Show recipient. No mention of what that means, exactly, other than possibly a photo in the local newspaper. I had to go to a different website to find out that some of the art displays will be along a covered boardwalk, which would be a plus. The date is early May, so the weather shouldn't be burning hot. (If it threatens rain, I wouldn't even think about showing up with anything more than a room box or two and mounted photographs of the larger pieces.) I have a binder with large photos of most of my work that folks could look through.

I do enjoy sharing my work, talking about it and pointing out how the bits and pieces are made, the story behind the residents, etc., and watching the faces of people who are seeing it for the first time. It's a real kick! :D I could have a little display on scale, working with polyclay, or something. In my heart of hearts, I am a teacher above all, and this would be right up my alley.

As for what I would hope to get out of it besides some ego stroking, that's the question. My take on miniatures is that I really like what I'm doing, but I wouldn't mind selling anything I've done for the right price. Do we need the money? Not really.

But once a piece is done or nearing completion, I'm already thinking about the next one. Aunt Mayme's Orchid, the Mardi Gras Float, the houseboat, etc., are finished and just collecting dust. Most of the friends and relatives have already ooohed and aaahed. In 2007, I decorated Aunt Mayme's Orchid for Christmas. In 2008, I managed to put a skeleton on the front porch for Halloween; it's still there. Marie Laveau's cottage is going with us to New Orleans in March. A museum there has expressed some interest in it. As I'm working on the White Orchid, I rarely look at the cottage any more, although it is right in front of me. So, why shouldn't I build for someone else?

The question then is: do I want to commit myself to deadlines and working with other people's ideas again? I know exactly what that's all about. I did custom stained glass for several years while we lived in California. I really enjoyed watching the customers as their ideas became reality. Leaded glass in place is a thousand times more exciting than the colored acetate drawings that initally excited them.

If I do this show, it will be for fun but with an open mind. Who knows what may come of it? ^_^

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This is the 1st Annual show, and judging by the registration form, I'm not sure the Historic Arrow Rock Council has thought this through. They are encouraging all types of art "to be shared and displayed for sale." The registration fee is $20 for a 10x10 space, no differentiation betwen amateur and professional. They say nothing of taking a cut of sales, nor do they say anything about collecting state sales tax. I need to ask. It's only about 15 miles from here and one day from 10 am to 5 pm. The show is being held in conjunction with a long-running annual Garden show that draws a large attendance from as far away as Kansas City and Columbia.

Maybe you could ask if any of the folks running the Garden show are involved? Or if not if the person organizing has had any experience with this type of event. One person judging? Usually there's a group/panel in all the art fairs/shows I've attended. Just like in the Creatin' Contest. Your Creole Cottage BTW is great! Congrats!!!

Karen

Edited by KarenC
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BTW, has anythng come of the classes you were going to teach before?

The director said she'd call me in the spring to see if I am interested in doing it in the fall. We're going to be gone most of September, so I'm not so sure how it will work out. I think it will be in October & November, so it may be okay.

If you don't want do it then you shouldn't imo.

I agree, Corwin.

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My husband is after me to do the same thing and go into business offering to build only with an commission. He says I should offer one thing at a huge price just to show I am serious. Well I would not be and I am afraid of possible legal problems. Our financial guru says there are tremendous tax benefits for doing this and many of his retired clients are turning to making their hobbies a "business" for that reason. I finally closed out the last of what was a financial nightmare a couple of years ago on the business we sold to a Canadian firm who failed to pony up all of the agreed funds leaving us with a bunch of debt I wound up paying for out of my retirement pension. We could not go after them because it was a cross border thing and none of the lawyers we contacted would deal with it. Bitter, yes and I can only blame myself for encouraging my husband to follow his dream to have his own business. I am not happy to take what is a pleasure for me now and do it as a business. I just do not know how I can say no since he says we will not do anything wild or extravegent. I am lerry and want to see quite a bit more of the details and just what tax advantages we will garner before I agree.

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I used to do shows and sell my minis....now I would rather sell Doug than sell any of my minis except my dolls. those I will sell and do, but there are a few I cannot let go. I made a big mistake last year when I traded off my Scarlet O'Hara in her BBQ dress. I've regretted it since I packed her up. Also years ago I was making and selling dollhouses, and had done up a Glencroft (no pictures sorry - didn't have a camera back then - anyway, in the Blencroft I had made a beautiful chandelair from a book put out by Jaf miniatures long long ago. It was not electric, it was just plain beautiful. I had bought roses and made the candleholders from the metal roses, and it was hung with crystals, and was simply lovely. A woman came along and wanted to buy it, and I quoted her $150.00...she said she would ask her husband and be right back. (This was in 1988 then). Well come 4:00 and I was packing up and I hear this little voice saying, I came back. And there she was with check in hand. I was flabberghasted but handed her the chandelair - after all a deal is a deal, right? Well it's way behind me, but I often wonder if she still has it, and if it gave her as much pleasure to look at it as it did me, and I am hoping that it did and still does.

I won't sell my dollhouses and furniture and my hard gotten things!

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Gina, I can understand your attachment to the beautiful creations you make, but I'm not you. There was a time when I thought I couldn't bear to let some particular belonging out of my clutches. But you know what? I don't have any of it any more, and my life isn't dimished because of it. I don't even remember what half the stuff was. I figured out a long time ago that you can't take it with you, so why hang onto it?

I could let any of minis go in a heartbeat. My pleasure comes from the planning, the problem solving, the execution. I have feelings of pride for the final project, but not a deep sense of possession.

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I'm kind of the same way about the antiques. I used to think I wanted to keep them all,but realized finally that it was the finding of them that I enjoyed. I listed them on Ebay or another site, and by the time they sold, I was usually ready to let them go. On top of that, I used the money I made to go hunting for more. That made parting with them easier.

Also-I got really tired of dusting all that stuff, and packing it up when we had to move! I don't know if I'd ever get that way about the dollhouses, because I haven't been doing this for long enough to accumulate a lot of stuff. If I ever get to the point where the shelves are full of minis that have to be dusted, I might be ready to sell some!

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