My youngest children are now officially out of school, and yesterday was my last art show of the spring 2014 season here in Canmore. Although I do miss getting regular art time in the summer (being home with the boys), it’s time to celebrate the closing of one busy chapter, and the opening of a quieter schedule with different priorities.
This spring was unusually busy, which is funny because I typically spend the spring creating and the fall selling. But, there were too many great opportunities to let them pass, so here’s a recap of shows in early 2014.
It all starts with preparation
Art shows are like pop-ups in that they appear magically out of thin air in a couple hours, and shortly after the show, they leave no trace. But, weeks — and sometimes months — of preparation can go into hosting these shows for the public. In the end, it’s a lot of fun to hang out, talk art and sell your pieces. Completely worth the effort, in my opinion.
Here is an inside look at some of the work that goes on ahead of time to pull these shows together (not including making the art!).
My cards, after they are hand-printed, need to be folded, signed, a sticker added on the back, packaged in cello and priced. This is a job I’m always doing at the last minute — usually late at night in front of the TV!
I also include a description of the printmaking process in the see-through envelope of each of my cards. This card shows my newest hand stamp for the back of the cards…no more printed stickers, and more of a handmade feel, I think.
I frame a small selection of limited edition prints for each art sale. I often have people say, “I think I am going to get it framed, and I find it a year later on my desk. I’ll take it framed!” I do all the framing myself. These prints are framed in classic black frames with a white conservation mat. For my prints to last without yellowing, I hand-print on acid-free paper and make sure that the framing material is also all acid-free. (I wrote a blog about the importance of conservation framing.)
And, no matter how careful I am, I usually end up at a show with one of my fingers in a bandage — either from a framing incident, a paper cut or a run-in with a carving tool! Can you tell I have kids? No boring bandages allowed!
One last step is always the “dry run” set up in my studio, where I plan out my booth for the space I have rented at the art show. This leaves me with a plan that is easy to execute because we often only have an hour or two to unload and set up our art booths. The less stress at this stage, the better!
Last year, for an outdoor show, I got a new banner printed and made some alterations to fit my outdoor tent. I was pretty sure it would work, but to be sure, I set the 10-foot-by-10-foot tent up in my studio! There wasn’t quite enough room, but enough so I could see the banner would work.
Once everything is ready to go, I enlist the help of my husband to carry the many bins, displays and art down the three flights of stairs to the car. (He also helps in the other direction — the harder direction — going UP three flights of stairs. And, many times, he takes me home first for a glass of wine and “packs up” for me. A keeper!)
I’ve gotten better with simplifying my booth, and learning what packs best in the car. We just have a small SUV, so I have to be efficient! Everything has its place, and it all somehow fits. Although, I do dream of a funky little pull behind trailer, it is not in the cards yet.
Now for the art sales that took place between April and June in Banff, Calgary and Canmore (all in my home province of Alberta).
Harmony Lane Suitcase Sale (April 2014)
I love this sale because of its simplicity. Every artist brings a suitcase to sell their creations from. It takes place in the Harmony Lane Mall (click the link for photos) in Banff every few months, and features a great community of artists.
Hand Made Here Spring Art Sale (May 2014)
This artist collective in Calgary that I am a part of typically hold shows once a year before Christmas. This year, we heard from a lot of our followers that we should do a spring sale. So we did! We held the show in the same venue (Triwood Community Hall in NW Calgary) and it was great fun, as always. This photo shows me with my booth.
Among many other artists (26 in total) is my friend, and fellow Canmore artist, Nicole Tremblay with her glass creations. Nicole is part of a wonderful glass collective in Canmore called Fireweed Glass Studio. If you are in town, definitely check them out. They are open most days this summer!
Although I am often too busy to get around to take photos too far from my own booth, this photo shows the metal work of Susanah Windrum of Copper Lizard Studio. For more Hand Made Here artists and artwork, visit the Hand Made Here Facebook page.
And, one more from the show with me behind my booth.
Mountain Made Artisan Market (May & June 2014)
This is a lovely venue because there is beautiful natural light, and the climbing wall is not far away, so there is always something going on!
The first weekend in May, the weather wasn’t warm enough to have the patio doors open, so the sale took place inside.
When I looked behind me from my booth, here is what I saw through the windows: the east end of Mount Rundle. Not a bad view!
For the June show, the promise of good weather meant the organizer wanted to have outdoor vendors on the patio and the big doors open so the show was inside and out. From my booth, you can see the tent behind me on the other side of the glass.
My printmaker friend from Calgary, Heather Smith of Cosmikgoo, came out for the show in June. I love her handmade sign — and her printmaking artwork — which can be found on her website.
Her sign has a great sentiment to end on. I love participating in art shows. Though they are work, I always meet great people, learn something about other artists someone wants me to look up, or make future connections. It is the gift that keeps on giving, for sure!