For the last two months I have been preparing for the Baltimore Craft Show. Now, you might think that after having done this Show since 1985 I would have the rhythm down pat. Shouldn't I know exactly what to do--when? But this show is always different. One year there was a huge blizzard that shut down the city. That of course was the year that I had splurged and gotten a larger booth. Ouch!!! The first Gulf War happened another show. One time a couple couldn't decide which quilt they wanted so they ordered both--that was sweet. Some times I barely make expenses.
For those who don't know, the Baltimore Craft Show is HUGE--physically there are about 700 exhibitors. They say it is the largest juried indoor craft show in the country. Rows and rows of booths each competing for your attention. Sure there is some work that feels duplicative but there are also some amazing artists there. You can't possibly see the whole show in a day or even two. And if you have walked all the aisles your feet ache--your mind is swarming with so much to see. If you are in the area it is worth seeing--advance tickets and more information here.
Each year I have friends who decide that the show is too expensive to do for the gain--the hours are too long, too many days, too exhausting. Friends whose work I most like and respect. Friends who have found that their work is so good that it does not need the marathon that is Baltimore. This makes me more nervous. I wake up with pre-craft fair dreams. The set-up from hell. The impossible location. Surely you must have these dreams?
I calm down and remind myself the trick is to get enough of these customers to visit my booth, to remember where exactly my booth is--I am Booth 1122 in case you are interested--and make a purchase. I want my booth to look dramatic. Different from last year--after all those who loved my work last year may well already have the quilt they want. But not too different--I also want those who have been thinking about a quilt to come back and see if I have just the work for them. I update my web site with some of the new work--check it out. http://www.annbrauer.com
I do have my new large quilt. My photographer says it is regal. Royal. Elegant. I can see it on a bed or on a large wall. I can see it made smaller for particular spaces--or in different colors. There is a lot I want to do with these piece. But I haven't shown it before. It is different from my previous work. I worry. Will it find a happy home? Is this a good direction?
Will I tire of looking at it and put up rainbows of summer instead? Remember in the past I have worried that rainbows of summer dominates my booth. But maybe in Baltimore I need that power--I don't know. See this blog post here.
Summer sky is back from a show. That could be an interesting quilt for one side wall. It has a different feeling--is it too different? Not sure. Is it too blue? It would look great with rainbows of summer but then maybe the booth is too blue. Oh so many decisions. What do you think?
A couple of smaller wall hangings on the other side. Not sure which ones yet. Maybe autumn afternoon and colors of autumn? Maybe last light? So many choices.
I could add a blue quilt--maybe midnight. Or blue hills. I haven't shown rainbow hills here yet. Certainly it is a dramatic piece.
But is it too much? So many decisions. So many possibilities. I want to make a quilt that will be just right but I also need to make the smaller pieces that may sell. The potholders and pillows. The runners and placemats. Oh I wish I had more time to make work. But I also want the show to be today. I want to be set up and selling. Seeing how the crowd reacts.
Will my hard work pay off? Did I get the wrong fortune cookie? And you--do you get anxious before a show? How do you decide what to show? Do you plan your booth over and over in your mind? Do you have any tips?