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 ~ Outdoor Shows ~

Product Protection and Self-Care

The more fragile your product is, the more necessary it is to protect it.  Put fabrics in the shade of a canopy so they don't fade, - including silk flowers, etc.  Even pressed-flower arrangements will fade in the sun.  Don't forget that that summer time has dry spells, and when it's dusty, your merchandise may be ruined.  Be careful what you take to outdoor shows as some products can end up dusty and faded.  Sometimes it's more work to take everything apart to save a few pieces, than to toss it all away and start over . 

Consider the comfort factor, too, as well as your long-term health. On sunny days you're getting your fill of sun exposure, and racking up ultra-violet radiation for the next decade’s skin-cancer statistics.  I am a reluctant expert on this subject; -with my dark hair, who would have thought I’d be a casualty in the skin cancer wars? I don’t sunbathe, and I haven’t had a tan in years. I wear a wide-brim hat the last 25+ years, and use sunblock (SPF 30) not sunscreen. But ancient history has a way of catching up to you, - eventually. It really didn’t look like anything much. It looked like a bit of scar tissue, but I know I didn’t have a scar above my lip.

As I examined it in the mirror, it had a slight sheen. It was skin-color, but different . Sure enough, it was a basal-cell carcinoma. This is supposed to be the most benign of skin cancers, growing very slowly. What they don’t tell you is that by the time you see it, it’s been growing a while. Some basal-cell carcinomas put down roots into the skin instead of remaining encysted. Wouldn’t you know that was the kind I had?

After the biopsy I looked for a good plastic surgeon who does Mohs procedures. That’s where they keep checking skin samples under a special Mohs microscope until they reach normal skin, - to make sure they don’t leave any cancer cells behind to grow, - and that they don’t take too much flesh. I was fortunate. I asked several dermatologists who they'd recommend, and several came up with the same name. It was worth traveling an hour and a half to the Albany area because he had to do a skin graft. It could have been a mess, but it’s not as noticeable as it might have been, had someone less skilled done the job.

Along with protecting your merchandise, make sure you protect your skin. The holes in the ozone layer make it easier than ever to get a sunburn. When I go to shows, I usually carry sunscreen samples for craftsmen who forget and are burning. By that time, the damage is already done—I’m just helping to prevent more.

Get a canopy, - and a hat with a 4” brim or more, and sunblock . Be prepared for rain, wind, cold weather, hot weather (2 fans and access to electricity—one fan for you, one over your merchandise to tempt customers to linger, and buy!)

I’ll put a word in for you with the weather man, - but it’s a crap shoot, no matter how you look at it. The weather man lies!  I received a panic phone call from an artist who signed up for a show, and 4 days ahead they predicted rain on four channels. It ain’t over until it’s over. Rain clouds blow over sometimes, and good weather predictions turn sour. Don’t get discouraged ahead of time.  The weekend was gloriously clear, but too hot.  Customers stayed away because of the heat.

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Good luck with the rest of your summer shows,


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