Acworth Art Fest...

Show time....ahhh...there is something about getting ready for a show that exhilarates me.  Part of it is honestly because I love the feedback...yep.  Call it what you want, but everyone needs their ego glass filled every once in awhile.  Don't act like you don't.   And as an artist if you don't put yourself out there then you will never get feedback.  Never.  Now with every show there is excitement, yes.  But there is also a certain amount of fear.  Flat out fear.  Will it rain?  What if my tent blows away?(saw that Sunday, no really I did)  What if no one comes in the tent?  What if I don't SELL anything?  What if my car breaks down and don't make the show?  What if I over sleep?  What if something happens to my family while I'm gone?  What if.....yep.  There is that.  All that.  But as an artist who wants to make her living as a thriving artist, I have to learn to adapt to all the situations above and learn from mistakes.  There are expectations that sometimes are met, sometimes not.  But with every show a new experience is gained and how I react to the situations that arise, well that helps shape my character now doesn't it?  I wouldn't trade this life for any other.  Let's just say that.

So, with this rather lengthy post here's what you will find in case you decide to stop reading now and just look at pictures.  DO read the LAST PARAGRAPH.  Here's a little glimpse at the whole setting up process.  Yes, I was the fool taking pictures of my process, and honestly wishing I'd taken more from the very start of the weekend...because I don't know if you as a reader really get what being an "artist who does shows" means.  Kind of like my husband being a Representative, no one but the people in this house truly understood the time and energy it took for Billy.  Doing shows is not all glamorous or that profitable.  But when you truly love what you do with all your heart, being there and meeting even just one person who falls in love with your work makes being there worth every second you are missing not being elsewhere.  So here's how it went this weekend:

-Actually the whole process started Thursday night.  Billy helped me load the orange van.  I was beyond thankful for this because instead of pulling up to a storage unit and loading in 10 minutes, it took a good hour going up and down from the basement.  A fabulous work out no doubt!
-Friday I worked all day teaching, came home to get Billy and William off to their tournaments and get Mailey to Girl Scouts.  I then bolted home to get the last of the paintings in the van and my over night bag.  I should mention here that I'd let the van sit in the driveway since loading it.  We have 3 cars, I drive the Jeep most days.  I said a quick prayer to get me safely to the hotel and to have a lovely weekend.  Hopped in the van and I'll be danged if it didn't start.  No, seriously.  DEAD as a doornail!!!  This happens every time we leave the doors and back open for long periods of time, like loading the van for art shows and when moving.  Billy was out of cell range, Mom was at a concert, the friends I called never answered their phones(all at baseball practice), Dad is hours away and well....I just about lost it.  I was shaking.  Total freak out mode on my part.  My van was LOADED and ready to go and it was so dead!!  We couldn't even get the doors to open to put my stuff in the neighbor's van(yes, they offered their van!).  Long story short, the neighbor's helped me get the bad battery out of the van, get a new battery in and high five me on my way to Acworth.   Whew.  Needless to say I stopped once safely in Acworth at Publix for Cabernet and cookies(my favorite food group remember?).  I didn't sleep at all from anxiousness...would the van start in the am for one.  Finally I gave up.
-It's 5am Saturday morning.  I quickly got ready and ran down to the van.  I had to sit a minute to get the nerve up to start it.  I was beyond relieved when it started right up!  Whew.  Good sign, right?  A quick drive through the 24hr McDonald's for coffee and sausage biscuit and I was off for a great start!
-By 6:30am I am through the first check point and making my way to booth #79.  Checking in is always a process.  Sometimes you have to wait a spell for there to be room for your vehicle to come through.  Luckily I waited only about 15 min.  I was anxious to get started!!
-This show director is a guru with helpers and magic wands.  LOVE the Splash Festivals for this.  The helper bees are on you like Lily at our dinner table as soon as you stop at your spot.  They help unload, get your tent up and get you moving your vehicle within minutes.  It is fabulous.  Believe me, NOT all shows are like this.  I usually unload and set up said tent SOLO.  Sucks.  Not Splash though!  Woohooo!!
-As you can see, it is dark when I unloaded and moved the van to the vendor parking lot and walked the mile back to set up.  Oh and yes, my spot was sweet right behind the Wine Bar. 

 -I always map out on paper my tent set up.  I knew ahead that I had a corner spot as well.  In fact I paid a penny extra for this sweet spot.  And I will never go inside again....a corner rocks!!  First I make sure the tent is anchored down well.  VERY important.  I literally watched in awe as a tent on Sunday that was not anchored down lifted up, turned on it's side and landed backwards into the building behind it.  Stupid.  Not only can people get hurt but you can loose all your inventory quick this way.  And it was a small gust of wind.-Next I bring in the display pieces.   Having a corner spot meant I could really open the space up and create a walk through tent.   I carefully decided which side to place the right angles as well for flow.
 -I also added a double folded solid door to the display mix.  I found this one at a local salvage yard for $15!  It was perfect for all the small paintings I'd worked on for this show.  I don't usually have such a  large number of small paintings.  I have one of my wire grids set up all the time in the studio to hang work on and knew without a doubt that the small pieces would literally get lost on the open grids.  So although heavy as crap, the white panels were perfect for the job!

- Next I start the table scape.  I love the fabric and it's colors.  Makes me happy.  This time my only small items were glass pendants, bag tags, magnets and a $5 grab basket. 

-Then the sun starts to come out and I quickly realized that my set up was NOT going to work. You see, all the small paintings I had were actually encaustic....wax. Which after about 30 minutes of full sun would not get drippy but would get glistening and sticky. And prime for finger impressions since everyone wants to touch them.  So I grab a helper bee and we quickly re-arrange the tent so I don't have that stress to worry about!

-Everything gets tied down with zip ties.  Like everything.  I have a love affair with zip ties during shows. 

 -The set-up ended up even better this way.  And all the waxy goodness stayed cool in the shade the whole show!
-My super fun outfit for the day waiting to get put on.  I don't like to set up ready.  I also know that at Splash Festivals there is a sweet hospitality area where I can safely change.  By safely I mean no porta potty possible incidents....YUCK!

 -By 10am the magic was done, I was dressed for the show and ready to sell!! 
 -I love all the frontage being on the corner.  The new paintings just Pop and scream happy art in here!!
 -I made a new banner of course featuring parts of the new work in the tent. A little teaser to get some who are "window shoppers" to come in.   And since I've decided to focus on painting, not jewelry for these shows, the old banner had to go.  I don't want to feature what I don't have, right??  These are just $9.99 at Wolf Camera too in case you are wondering how I afford to change them out every show!  I made the fabric part permanent with the 12x36 banner an easy peasy changeable paper banner.
 -I kind of extended my space a bit and put the tees on a cute orange stand at the back outside corner of the booth.  They sold like little hot cakes there!
 -And by 10am the crowds were beginning to trickle into the show!  Look at the tent city.  Isn't that the coolest site?  I love to look down the tent tunnel when the crowds are like a school of salmon.  Such a wonderful feeling.  Anticipation for what is going to be said of your work....is indescribable.
 My bike dress was a huge hit!  I am super glad Joy spied it for me at Anthropology that night!  Overall the Acworth experience was good.  There was a constant flow of patrons.  And several paintings, framed tiles and tees found their way to new homes!!  Wooohoooo!!  I was of course tickled to be by my artsy peep Joyanne of Joya Jewelry.  I also got to see so many old art friends.  And make amazing new ones! 

We had a 2 hour dinner Saturday night discussing the state of our careers and the steps to take next.  It's so energizing.  You'd think I'd be beat like rug today but I'm not.  I've instead got this huge sense of accomplishment and pride in the work I am doing right now.  Teaching is definitely helping to foster the organizing of my life.  And also forcing me to make some decisions about the directions to take the future of Jenni Horne Studios.  Especially after one patron said this about my work; "whimsical" (I kind of put that word in her mouth because she was fumbling for a word)...she continued to say, "yes whimsical, but there is such sophistication in your use of color and placement of the subjects".  Wowsa....thanks for noticing.  And I can not tell you how many asked when....WHEN are you going to offer those workshops in your new studio??  Well.  Soon.  Very.  I'm ready now.  Crazy.  But you have to be ready to let go of that part of yourself.  To share the intimate place you create your work.  Where you make dreams come true for yourself.  I am ready to open that up now.  This weekend just confirmed it for me.  Yeah!  So the first one will be in June...I'll be offering weekday and weekend workshops.  Still working on exact dates and pricing.  I can't take too many so be sure to kept checking facebook and here for details!

I'm ever thankful for you being here with me in this journey.  Even if you didn't make the show I know you were sending me good thoughts.  I felt them....no I'm not a whack-a-noodle.  I just did.  This show was not the top sales event of the year, but there was something else there this weekend.  Not sure exactly what yet, but am sure it will be revealed soon! 


Sabrina said...

You are one awesome lady. I can't believe all that you can do!! I love you work and in fact you inspired me just today! I just started a paint workshop and for the first time ever, I started with a black background. Strange how liberating it is to start with black vs. an all white background. I love it.

Also, I am in love with your silk screened shirts you had in your booth. (is there no end to your creations?) How can I order one? I didn't see them in your etsy shop.

Thanks for sharing all the details of a show like this. I always wonder how these things come together!


Isabel said...

Brave lady!!!! The whole setup is awesome, and done all by youreself, i recently did a show outside first one ever and they are not easy ones. You did awesome and LOVE the dress!!! I LOVE bikes dress is perfect, Thanks for sharing all the steps, love the displays too:O)

Felicia said...

I've done tent shows so I know how much hard work the planning and set up can be. Your tent looked AMAZING!! I'm so glad it went well for you, even without being a top sales event it sounds like you really liked being there!

Jodi Ohl said...

Hi Jenni...I stopped by your booth (I was down the road from you) and loved your set up! Your art rocks! You were busy with customers otherwise would have said hi :) I love your step by step pics, it is exhilarating isn't it seeing all your hard work come together. This was my first show doing it alone (usually have someone help man my booth with me) and I was scared silly but Splash Festivals have all these wonderful elves that made the process so smooth. Will you be at Dunwoody? Jodi

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