Art (and dogs) in the Park

This weekend marked my very first craft fair, and overall it was a very enjoyable and successful experience. I met some great new people and saw some impressive work by other artists. One of the highlights was discovering that my booth was right next to those of Dolan Geiman's mother and sister, further adding to the list of coincidences mentioned in this post.

Leading up to the event, we were worried about the weather; it stormed on Friday night and there was a threat of rain for the weekend as well. But aside from a brief rain shower on Saturday afternoon (which caused us to quickly rearrange our booth by pushing all of the tables toward the center of the tent) and temperatures in the high 80's on Sunday, we really lucked out.

One of the great things about selling at the craft fair, as opposed to just selling online, was that I was able to get a sense of what products people seemed most drawn to as they were browsing in my booth. In addition to my handmade journals, photo albums, and wedding guest books, I was also selling handmade notecards, printmaking, photography, and my wine bottle gift bags made from shirt sleeves. I was surprised by how popular my prints were, especially "Swimming with the Jellies" (which is my favorite as well). Also, my wine gift bags were a huge seller on Saturday. I sold almost half of the bags I had in stock the first day, but not a single one the second day. In general, the words of wisdom I heard from a veteran craft fair seller rang true: people shop on Saturday and browse on Sunday.

We found out the day before the show that Art in the Park was a pet-friendly event, so we decided to bring our sweet brindle bullmastiff along. Riviera was a huge hit throughout the weekend, bringing tons of visitors to our booth. There were all sorts of dogs (and even one pet snake) in the park this weekend, from tiny puppies to huge great danes.

My husband Tony helped me to make this bulletin board that displayed my linenlaid&felt logo, and some other information about my business. In the upper left, there's a short bio about me, which includes a description of my study abroad experience in Cortona, Italy where I learned the art of book making. We also included samples of linen, laid, and felt paper textures, a guide to the different binding styles of the books that I make, and info about custom orders.

I would also like to mention that Tony was a huge help with the preparations for this event. He helped keep track of my inventory, ironed my tablecloths, packed up our cars, set up my tent and tables, kept me company in my booth the entire weekend, and so much more. I could not have done this show without him, and I am so thankful for all that he contributed.

While sitting at my booth throughout the weekend, I worked on binding several books together as a demonstration of my craft. I made several Japanese stab-bound photo albums and some Coptic-bound journals and wedding guest books.

During the past month I had been so busy getting ready for the craft fair that I hadn't added many new products to my Etsy shop, but I will be adding a whole bunch of new products in the upcoming week. Today I photographed some new books, notecards, and wine bottle gift bags, so as soon as I write the descriptions they'll be up.

I would love to hear what all of you think of my craft show set up. Since this is the first show I've done, we decided to keep it simple at first, but I'm sure there are things I can do to make it better next time around. Please feel free to leave your critiques and suggestions in the comments.