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mississippi art fair odyssey

updated sun 11 nov 07


Dan Saultman on sat 10 nov 07

These days every art fair is a gamble. People who found that a certain=20=

art fair was their best, come away from the same art fair barely making=20=

their booth fees the following year. You apply, pass through the=20
gauntlet of jurying, pay your booth fee only to find that you are=20
positioned in some obscure corner of the fair where people can't find=20

I took one such extraordinary gamble by trying an art fair, for the=20
first time, in Mississippi. Ocean Springs.

CLAYART as family.
The art fair did not send out it's final packet in a timely manner. (I=20=

found it in my mailbox when I returned) But, thanks to a ClayArt=20
member, Bruce Davis, who lived in the area, I was able to find out my=20
booth number and some set up information. Bruce even helped me unload=20
my plastic pottery containers. He came around several times to visit=20
with me and we walked the fair together. Such a nice man. Lynn=20
Burnwell, another ClayArt member, paid me two visits; helping me while=20=

away the time, even trying to kick-start some sales by greeting=20
customers. We talked about pottery and laughed.

Since I had made this trip alone, the setup and breakdown was grueling.=20=

I was still setting up as the first crowds began to trickle through the=20=

fair. I was the last booth to breakdown after the fair with four=20
motorcycle cops parked next to my booth with their lights twinkling as=20=

I frantically packed up. The reopening of the whole street was being=20
held up by me!

In the end however, the weather was warm and perfect, the venture=97 was=20=

a loss.
I wish I could tell you a story of terrific success. But I made $500.
Needless to say, my expenses outpaced my sales.

I wish I had a dime for every visitor that pointed and ooed-and-awed at=20=

my work, only to walk away.

And so, several days after returning I began to review my lessons:

Never do an art fair alone. (You get no breaks, and don't get to tour=20
the fair easily. Setup and breakdown is a killer.)
Never drive 1200 miles alone.
Bring your own teabags. (I payed $1.39 for a teabag and hot water twice)
Clearly tag and identify your pieces. (Candle stick, butter dish etc.)
Be more aggressive collecting customer names and addresses.
The tarp on a tarp covered trailer gets beaten up pretty well by the=20
wind on a long trip. Even when carefully secured and tied down.
Sleeping at a rest stop among your pottery containers is not elegant.

Good luck.


Dan Saultman
Fine-Art Pottery