Nuggets of Joy
Back in August I decided to give myself a new challenge and bring The Nancydraws Shop to a craft show. Over past year a few friends and fellow artists I’d met suggested that I give that venue a try. My friend Janet had put the Ridgewood Market on my radar. It takes place near her home, in an up-and-coming neighborhood in the borough of Queens. I also found that the vendor fees were quite affordable, so I set my sights on having everything I needed ready for the September 21 show. As I began making my lists of items to bring, supplies I’d need to purchase, and what I would need to create a tempting display, I was invited to a mini-craft show opportunity that was happening earlier in September, and I decided to go for it. I can’t share many details about it other than it was a GREAT experience and it was fun to be in on a secret that hopefully will be public in the next couple of months! I will have to share more about that in a future post.
Many people don’t realize that the majority of my greeting cards are printed one-by-one with my wonderful, hard-working, reliable Epson printer. Once they are printed, most of them need to be cut to the size I designed them to be. My Epson does take its time but it is worth it because of the excellent quality prints that it produces. After the image on the front of the card is printed, I like to let some time pass to make sure it is completely dry before I put it through again to print the inside greeting. Many of my nights after-work and a lot of weekend time leading up to these shows was spent printing cards and gift tags, or cutting them up and placing them in their clear sleeves. Luckily, my studio assistant, Mongo was on hand and made sure I took breaks.
As an artist I am really lucky because my parents own and operate a custom framing store, so they have matted and framed a number of my artworks in the past. Since they are in North Carolina, we have worked out a situation where they keep my prints until a customer purchases them from my Etsy shop, and they ship them out. For the craft shows, my father was wonderful enough to pack up and send what they had. I definitely didn’t have to worry about printing too many of my illustrations, but I added some from my “Love, New York” series and restaurant illustrations. On top of that, he sent some professionally printed cards and journals with my designs that I’d had professionally printed sometime before I opened my Etsy shop.
The items I was most excited to bring to the craft shows was my temporary tattoo designs, Foodietoos. They were already available in my shop as of early August and I had a number of those ready to go, along with the labels I had designed for them, but of course I cut out and packaged up some more!
After the car service dropped me and my stuff off at Ridgewood Market (I am SO glad I didn’t try to drag a rolling luggage, backpack, and two large bags through the New York City subway system!) it took me about an hour to set up. I had plenty of time left before the market opened, but it was good not to have to be in a rush because I had more space to fill and decisions to make than I had at the mini-craft show. There were a few lulls once the market was open to shoppers, but not many. It was fun seeing what caught people’s eye on my table, even if they didn’t make a purchase. A handful of friends were even able to stop by, which made it even more fun. Creating artwork is usually a solitary experience so seeing customers reactions to my ideas was very rewarding.
I worked very hard to get those nuggets of joy, but isn’t that what being an artist is all about?
Percival Featherington III, “NYC Pigeon Extraordinaire” was the most popular of my characters, along with the turban-wearing lady from “Love, New York.” I was able to chat with a couple of other sellers near me, and it was fun to share the experience with them. A few even stopped by my table to let me know they liked my work or display, ask questions, or make a purchase. I did the same when I had time to wander and shop when there weren’t many visitors around. There was such a nice community vibe going on.
One thing that surprised me was that a few people asked if I had designed all of the items, which I had of course, but that’s something I thought would be obvious.
In case you’re wondering, I’ll definitely be at another craft show in the near future! Stay tuned for more about that, and for the second half of my September Craft Show Wrap-up post, which focuses more on how I put my display together.