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~ What's a Juried Show? ~  

       The annotation ‘juried’ means you must submit slides or photographs which are reviewed by a jury (a knowledgeable committee) and your work will be  accepted into the show based on technical skill, creativity, the medium, and/or other requirements.

     Some juries are composed of just one or two people screening for quality and trying to block manufactured and/or imported items.  Craft or fine art shows are usually either juried, or open. In our event directory, Art & Craft Show Yellow Pages, and on this website, we also use the word "screened" indicating care about complying with a standard which they have set.  It's a less formal process than a jury.  Usually they just are looking for attractive hand-crafted work or fine art, created by the exhibitor .

  Some open shows have strict requirements, as do the juried shows, e.g. the work must be hand-crafted by the artisan, - and some allow imported and manufactured items to be sold alongside hand-crafted work.

   Sometimes you will see the word ‘invitational.’ That means the exhibitors are invited, and those who have not been invited may not apply.

  True invitational shows are rare. Most events that call themselves invitational are simply juried shows to which artists or artisans apply, and the normal jury process selects the participants.

   Craftsmen and artists usually prefer to be with other creative people rather than mixed in with importers, resellers and manufacturers at an "open" show. As a beginner, try a few open shows to shake the bugs out of your display, and to find out which items in your line sell well.


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How do I Know Which Show to Choose?

   Craft Shows are like families: some are less formal than others, some large, some small. Initially, apply to a few open shows which charge under $100. A $30—$50 show is usually a comfortable show for a beginners' first show.

    When your product line has begun to evolve, have photos and slides made of your work for jury purposes.

   If your work is traditional or contemporary, make sure you apply to a show which is in your style. Most shows are mixed and you will fit right in, but some are mainly "Contemporary" or "Traditional", or ‘Country’. Exhibiting at the wrong show can make you wish you stayed home.

What’s A ‘Good’ Slide/Photo?

   A photo or slide for jury should be clear and the colors true. The background should be solid, (no wallpaper or wrinkled/stained sheets in the background.)   One piece of work should be centered in the photo/slide;it should fill the screen.

There should be no deep shadows and no hot spots. Jewelry and high-gloss ceramics are notoriously difficult to photograph. Hire a professional to take these slides or photos for you.

   Skilled amateur photographers: use a 35 mm camera with tungsten film. Do not use flash. Use daylight or floods or the colors will be off with tungsten film. A polarizing filter cuts glare, and you will need a close up lens for small works.    Make lots of copies.  Never send the original slides out with a show application. Even though you have labeled them and requested their return, you may not get them back, or they may be damaged.

   If you are ambitious, try to be ready to try a juried show within a year of starting your business, although you may be comfortable at small open shows and never aspire to do more.

   Your goal at a show is 8—10 times your show fee in sales. The time you spend making product, packing, labeling, setting up, and selling should be repaid with sales.

   If you did not do well:were your neighbors selling?

   Were there few attendees?

Was your display set up on more than one level?

(Everything spread out on a flat tabletop is boring, - and nothing stands out. It’s just a mass of ‘things’ and it’s hard to distinguish one piece of work from another.)

 Elevate your display; set part of it as close to eye-level as possible.  For more information about display, go to http://www.smartfrogs.com/display8.html

   Were you attentive?

  Don’t sit and read a book and expect to sell.  If you leave your space to chat with a friend, customers wait for you for only one or two heartbeats, - and then they're gone!

   Before you sign up for an expensive show, network. Find out what others think about it, or check out the show yourself as a customer before you spend hundreds of dollars for an unknown show. If it’s a great show, you can do it next year!

How Do I Choose the Right Shows for My Work?

  If your work is bulky, expensive, upscale or fragile, don’t exhibit at a show with donkey rides and ferris wheels. No one is willing to carry around a stoneware spaghetti bowl while the kids ride on a donkey .

     If you carve replicas of antique cars out of exotic woods, and a show is held on the same grounds with an antique and classic car show, - travel an extra 50 miles, and pay $50 more to exhibit at this show because your customers are waiting for you there!

    Similarly, someone who creates floral pieces or photographs flowers should do well at a Garden Show, and a Teddy-Bear artist should do well at a Doll & Teddy Bear Show, - assuming the shows have good attendance. Attendance and show history are key elements to research .

   Electricity is available at some shows. It’s worthwhile paying a few dollars to make sure your work is highly visible; request it when you apply, it may not be available later .

   Outdoor shows are different animals; you will need extra equipment to protect your product and be comfortable .

   Free admission brings lots of customers to a show, but too often they are just lookers, (but not always!)   I usually prefer indoor shows with security and electric, and an admission fee to pre-qualify customers as being ready to buy if they see what they like! 

This is a personal preference based on a dislike for being outdoors in the heat, dust, and bitten by every bug in creation.  It's also based on my product: hand forged silver jewelry $30-$250.  Many outdoor shows are excellent places to sell this product, but I no longer do outdoor shows, for any reason.  

Read show descriptions and applications carefully before you apply so you won’t be at the wrong show.

   After a while you’ll recognize the show profile that suits you best.  You may choose to follow certain show promoters, or look for the same shows to attend every year.

  It’s important to schedule a few NEW shows every year, because shows change character as the economy and demographics change. Even your favorite Old Reliable shows change over time, and you may have to discard them.

    Network with other exhibitors to find well-attended shows. Either way, it’s fun exploring new shows, and talking to customers. - See you there!


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