Category Archives: art fairs

Responsibility as Artists

I’ve been thinking long and hard lately about what I can do to help save out planet.  I want to save it for me, for the polar bears, for everyone who will come after me.  I’ve recycled for years but know that I have a lot more that I can do. 

My latest goal is to not use plastic bags and to seriously reduce the number of paper towels we use.  On the paper towel front, I got those car cleaning cloths at Costco and will give them to the cleaning lady (I have a bad back, OK?  LOL) so she can reduce her use of them.  I’m even getting Don into not using so many.

On the plastic bag front, I’ve got him using Frantz Art Glass carry bags at the Farmer’s Market.  I think he thinks the chicks will think he’s a glass blower or something.  Whatever…I think it makes him sexy to think about our environment.  My part is to always have a carry bag with me in my purse.  I also have bunches in my car.  If I forget my bag, then I have to carry whatever I buy.  I also try to get people thinking about using plastic bags. 

I LOVE the tshirt bags made by zJayne on etsy.  They’re well made.  They’re cute.  And they start conversations about recycling.  I’ve never had a store clerk not comment and they usually show the checkers on either side as well.  I’ve had them show the customers in line behind me too.  I’ve actually asked Jayne to send me some business cards so I can hand them out to promote her product.

We’re artists (or just chicks who like to make things) and we have a responsibility to this planet.  As we want to make it beautiful with our art, we also need to think about making it beautiful other ways.  I realize that you can’t hand out a zJayne carry bag with every purchase but can you do something that can be reused?  It would take no time at all to get some small kiddie tshirts at Target and make them into little carry bags for your things.  You can even print a little card to encourage people to reuse them.  Heck.  You might even start that as your next art business.  🙂

Just think about it.  Think about your shows and what happens to everything you hand out to people.  And think about what you can do to make it a little more planet friendly.  And even better, share it with us!


Yet Another….. Art Fair Invite

Tammy L Deck : ArtWear from Westmont, Illinois

Hats, Purses, Scarves, Shawls, Garments & Jewelery

Felting, Handweaving, Crochet, Knitting, Fused Glass & Lampwork Beads

Invitation to another Art Fair

I was on the alternate list….just found out last night that I’m in….Come say Hi!



Tammy L Deck ~ Westmont, IL

Art fairs and festivals – an onlooker’s point of view

Sugar Creek Arts Festival. Bloomington-Normal’s claim to fame in the world of artists and their crafts. And I don’t mean “crafts” in a hobby-like manner either. For most of the vendors, this is their bread and butter, their income, their life.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Sugar Creek Arts Festival, and vendors come from far and wide to participate … provided they’ve satisfied the jury, of course! A friend of mine – a lampworker – had a little trouble satisfying the jury this year. She received a rejection letter. She appealed on the basis that she had established a clientèle from previous years, and she had previously been accepted, and this year she was being told she wasn’t good enough. She got her booth.

I was relaying this story to another artist friend of mine (who has been juried in for the last four years), who said that not accepting the same artists all the time creates a less stagnant festival, which I agree with. However, I also see the point of view of the first artist, who has clients looking for her because the enjoyed their purchase from the previous year and wanted to purchase another item. In 2004 and ’05, I set up a table outside my friends bead store and did lampwork demonstrations. The following year, Di moved her store from Normal to Bloomington, and I lost the opportunity to set up my demo table. I cannot count the number of people I’ve met since who have asked me “will you be demoing at the festival this year?” – I can’t afford a booth fee just to demo, and I don’t have enough stock to sell, so my answer is “unfortunately, no – but you can come to my basement any time!”

I wish I had photos of the festival, but I’m always conscious of the fact that people always think you’re taking pics of their booths to steal their ideas. So I try to stay away from booth or product photos. There are photos for you to see if you click on the first link in this entry – it will take you to the Pantagraph, our local newspaper.

Another thing I’m self-conscious about when visiting fairs or festivals is the “I can make that myself” syndrome. There’s nothing more annoying to a craftsperson – professional or hobbyist – than hearing “You can make that yourself for MUCH less!” Of course you can think those things, but if you’re with me, please don’t vocalize your opinion! As a vendor, I’d probably be indifferent to those comments by now, but still – it’s not polite. Don’t do it! And I heard plenty of it, yesterday!

Of course I gathered ideas! Paris (8) and Ciel (7) quite liked the idea of going home and doing some egg carving. I think we’ll just stick to making rag rugs for now, though!

The festival almost doubled in size a couple of years back when they extended into the ISU quad. This year, it took up the same amount of real estate, but there were noticeably fewer booths. Still, we did have to rush at the end because it was just about to hit 5pm and we hadn’t bought our fresh, made-onsite kettle corn yet! The girls were too busy at the Noodles & Company booth, making noodle necklaces, and we just got to the kettle corn booth as they were packing up. We had arrived an hour after the festival opened at 11am, and now, at 5pm, we found that we hadn’t seen everything there was to see.

One suggestion for the festival coordinators (who do a great job every year!), spread out the children’s activities.  They are all together in one spot, so you look at booths for a long time, then spend a long time waiting for the children to complete all the activities, then spend a long time looking at booths again. Break it up, folks! Give parents a break every so often rather than one long break.

Not having much money to spend, all I could really shop for was ideas. There was only one lampworker on site, my friend Audra. There was lots of glass work, but most stained glass or blown glass. I did get lots of ideas, and the girls each bought a concrete garden plaque. And that was  that!

It was a great day, the predicted thunderstorms luckily didn’t happen. We came home with some great crafts the girls had made, and had a great day to boot! There are pics on my Picasa album, I won’t take up space by putting them here because they’re really not relative to this blog!  Well, maybe just one photo … if you insist ….

Cheese fries on the ISU qhad

Cheese fries on the ISU quad