Monday, November 14, 2011

Gainsville Art Festival

Yesterday we got up early to beat the crowds at the Gainsville Art Festival and saw some wonderful art. Gary was wondering what would happen if this big bird tripped on the brick streets. Read to the end to find out why this post could be titled, "hey people talk to me".

Check out this bowl turned from a sabal palm. The circles you see are the where the roots exit the bottom of the palm.

At a distance I thought it was a piece of pottery but as I got closer I saw that it was wood. The artist turns the wood on a lathe and makes the large vase shape. The artist said many potters have looked at that pattern and tried to think of a way to reproduce it with a glaze. I thought about oil spot and hare's fur glazes. There must be thousands of circles and each one is a different shape and size. Nature is wondrous.

Here's another piece of art that I initially thought was ceramic, but as I got closer I saw that this too was wood. Amazing is all I could say. The artist wasn't in this booth so I didn't learn any more than what the sign said.

Here's a few more extraordinary pieces from the same artist. I think the wood was mahogany.

Here's a booth fair tip I picked up. The weights for this booth were poured in PVC but a metal pipe was put in the center so the booth pole can slide in the weights. I think that would be a much better system than the hanging ones.

Here's a jewelry artist who made their shelf supports from PVC and painted them. The shelving is light weight and fit with his design.

I can't tell you how many booths I visited, even pottery booths, where the artists never greeted me. One pottery booth I went in I tried asking the artist about their work and I couldn't tear them away from talking with their two friends. I could tell by the conversation the other folks were friends. I stayed in the booth for more than ten minutes trying to engage the artist to no avail. Many other booths were the same. Some were on the phone, reading newspapers, or talking with other artists behind their booths. I was thinking many artists are loosing potential customers and sales by ignoring folks visiting their booths. Just my two cents. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. I'll bet those same artists will be complaining today about what a bad show they had. I was actually talking to an artist about his work at one show when his cell phone rang and was apparently more important than me. He lost that sale.

  2. hi linda,
    that's a beautiful bowl, looks like one fine piece of wood they must have started with. pretty weird that you stood there for 10 minutes and no one talked to you... maybe they thought that's what "hard sell" meant

  3. I love that PVC fixture, fits so well with the work. Having been one of those artists that did shows all year, in their defense I sort or understand, not that it's acceptable behavior, but the last show I did, I think I sat in my chair a good bit of the day, I was just so tired of talking to people by that last show. I always try to stand for the whole show, smile, small talk, talk about my work, but man it wears you out! and I had a friend stop by at Festifall that stayed forever chatting,I did try to pay attention to the other people, but she wouldn't give it up! Maybe these artists had been doing shows all year too and were at the end of their happy place, I doubt it was because of you, you're a very nice person :)

  4. I've noticed that when I go to bigger, heavily juried shows that the artists are far more tuned in to communicating with the public.

    I always tried to look busy with the booth, greet potential customers and interact with them if they wished.

    Nothing is so off-putting in any retail venue as being ignored. Besides, ignoring the public leaves you wide open for pilferage, especially if you have many small items.

  5. Hi Lori, thanks, it was a two day show and maybe they were worn out from the previous day or already made enough sales, but I doubt it. I think every person who walks in can be greeted with some short sentence.

    Hi Jim, thanks, you know it was hard sell because I actually interrupted them with an excuse me twice and asked a question, then waited a while to see if they could break away. I was examining the work closely, but I finally gave up. And the work was $900 so hey maybe they were a rich potter and didn't need to sell anything.

    Hi Tracey, thanks, if I visit a potter friend's booth and see folks enter I step aside till they stop looking so the potter doesn't loose a sale. I did notice if people were in a booth, then others tended to go in their too, safety in numbers or something. Perhaps folks unconsciously want to buy what others are interested in. It is hard to be up for a whole show - too much stimulation - I find it very difficult myself - I am better in short bursts but all day can be very trying.

  6. Hi Smartcat, thanks, this was a heavily juried and top rated show and some of the artists were definitely tuned in but some were not. Most of the artists that didn't speak didn't have small items to pilfer. The artists that were easiest to approach or spoke easily with the public were busy with something to do with their booth, especially those giving a demonstration or working on some pieces of art, like a drawing or a painting. If I get around to going to some shows I'll be bringing some clay and making lots of mini pinch pots to stimulate the public to come in the booth and ask questions. Ha.

  7. Hello Linda:
    One always gains so much by visiting Art Festivals as there is the wonderful opportunity to see what other artists are doing. Clearly the Gainsville Festival had some very varied works and some highly creative and talented artists. We particularly liked the vase turned from wood. As you say, Nature in all its complexity is so marvellous.

    But, how rude to have been ignored when you tried to engage some of the artists in conversation. Such bad manners and very poor business acumen!!

  8. why bother to do a show if you don't plan on engaging the audience? you start to wonder if they really need the money!

  9. Sometimes it seems like sitting behind your booth and being aloof is a marketing strategy. Doesn't work for me when I'm selling or buying maybe it works for them.

  10. I agree with Lori. They probably can't understand why they sell so little.

  11. That bowl is fantastic! My sister and her husband lives in Gainsville for several years. Really nice place. I nodded at your comments about artists not engaging potential customers. We have two craft shows a year in our village. It's gotten so, I no longer go. Too many times, I encountered what you wrote about. I don't get it - why go to all the work of getting here, setting up and then sit and gossip, while a potential customer waits to ask a question that could lead to a sale???? Granted, many of the artists are conscientious and they're the ones who do really well, but they suffer from so many others who can be downright rude. Like I said, don't get it.

  12. Hi Jane and Lance, thanks, isn't it strange folks will sign up for a show and make no effort. That bowl/vase was so fantastic to see, wish I could afford it, but then my cats would probably destroy it.

    Hi Michele, thanks, I was wondering that about that one booth in particular, he had all expnsive stuff and had won the largest price money for the show.

    Hi Dennis, thanks, aloof is a marketing strategy - strange, perhsp it's if they pretend they don't need to sell folks will beg them to sell something, Ha.

    Hi Pattie, thanks, you're probably right they just don't get it.

    Hi Kittie, thanks, I think you are correct, the artists who are really trying are suffereing because of the poor behavior of the other artists and this show goes to a lot of trouble to draw crowds, there were bands, many different food vendors, entertainment for the kids, and informational vendors too.

  13. I can't understand them not at least pausing to answer your questions. I've done a few market stalls and sometimes I do get the feeling that if you say hello, some people leave as though you were doing a hard sell or if you say something about your work they just nod and put it down without buying. Just smiling and acknowledging them seems to work best and leave it to them to engage in conversation. Its hard to pick the best approach - guess I need a saleman like Gary :)

  14. Hi Anna, thanks, we would all do very well with a sales person such as Gary. I don't know what it is but he has the knack, he is so comfortable with people and often times I am so uncomfortable. No matter where he goes people are so comfortable with him they tell him everything unabashedly, some of it must be that he is a good listener and yet he must say something to them to get them to open up, perhaps his body language, a true gift.


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