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What's a Juried Show? ~
‘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
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.
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.
Free 7 Day Trial to Craft Show Yellow Pages or
How do I Know Which Show
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
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’
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.
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:
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?
your display set up on more than one level?
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.)
your display; set part of it as close to eye-level as
possible. For more information about display, go to
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 .
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 .
are different animals; you will need extra
equipment to protect your product and be comfortable .
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
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
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
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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