Packing for the art show

Artists may exhibit their handmade wares in "trunk shows," but the suitcase is the real darling of art show booths. The bigger the clasps -- and the brighter the stitching -- the better. Serving as Katie's heavy box lifter, snack gopher, and bookkeeper (as the tax department refers to me) it's this sort of acute observation that I bring to the table for linenlaid&felt. I'm Tony, the newspaper reporter husband, and in this exclusive guest blog post, I bring you a special trendspotting story. 

The suitcase photo that leads off this post comes direct to you from Porter Flea, a handmade market that debuted in East Nashville this month. Although not immediately involved in the displaying of crafts, its presence alone adds style to the whole affair. I am, of course, only half joking. I really do like the style of vintage suitcases, but I'm not totally sold on the best way to use them.

The pictures immediately above hail from the Athens Indie Craftstravaganza in May. The quadruple stack was something new to me, practically a monument dedicated to the indie art show suitcase. Joking aside (sort of) both of these photos show off what happens to be the most beguiling part of the suitcase: the bunchy and silky interior divider. From the first time we considered using a suitcase, that interior has always given me pause. That area is designed for storing socks, I think, and making it practical for anything else may not be possible.

This photo shows another Athens effort in putting the suitcase to work. Such displays really are handy for browsing, even if I haven't yet met a suitcase that can pull off "classy." Which is not to say that we haven't given the suitcase a chance as well, as seen below, displaying prints and photographs.

For the moment, this is the best that we've come up with. When hauling art to our booth, I love being able to easily carry considerable weight inside the suitcase. And once it's there, I think we feel obliged to work it into the display in our own booth.

We got ours for no cost at a church "free sale" back in Virginia, so there's no pressure, but I'd like to see your great ideas for putting a vintage suitcase to work, so please share links or descriptions in the comments.