Monday, October 20, 2008

Lessons Learned: The Outdoor Show

Welp, I did my very first outdoor show in conjunction with our local Sunland -Tujunga Art Association and, needless to say, I learned a LOT! Here's a rundown:

1) Ask if the location is handicapped accessible. That means there will be ramps for you to roll your gear on instead of lugging it up steps. Our location was a historic museum from the early ramps!

2) If someone else is providing your tables, be sure to ask what size they are. I "assumed" I would have one eight foot table. Instead, I had two four foot tables, meaning I needed an extra set of risers to have a taller table.

3) Ask is the ground is close to level. We were on a where close to level. I'm not talking inches... close to a foot! I had to dash down the street to a hardware store to buy plastic planters that were twice the size as my risers. I ended up with a tall set on the downhill side and the regular risers on the uphill side! The land was so uneven under my other table, I couldn't use risers at all. And, I had to climb through their flower beds to find a thick rock to level out the second table. Which leads me to...

4) Bring a change of clothes. I got filthy setting up! I did a quick wipe down with baby wipes but really couldn't do anything about that grass stain on my knees!

5) Stick some carpenter's wedges in the car. These are little slivers of wedge-shaped wood to level out lumber when building a house. They work great on tables on uneven ground!

6) Think about shade. I don't have a tent for the simple reason: I live alone and have no one to help me set up at shows. I've yet to find a tent that can really be set up by one person. But, I'm thinking a nice big sign that could be moved could provide some decent shade. Still, on a lovely fall day, this wasn't a big issue. It only got hot when we had to pack up and leave.

7) Snacks... always pack something to eat. Some shows have food on the premises. Some don't. One show I did this year had the caterer back out the night before! They would have bagels but no cream cheese. Coffee but no cream and sugar. You would go back an hour later and they would have cream cheese and no bagels; sugar and cream but no coffee.

8) Be open to custom work. I will make more from custom orders following this show than I did at the actual event! Don't be afraid to take on a challenge. Someone else may see something in your work that you don't see...yet!

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