Art Fair Etiquette

I’ve been reading A Cup of Jo by Joanna Goddard and I love her posts about table manners. Back in July, I posted about when I had time off in August I was going to post about craft show etiquette, teacher/student relationships, a detailed look at setting up your wheel to stand throwing, etc., Needless to say I never posted about any of it.

It’s that time again, when art and craft fairs are picking up steam for the holiday season. So before we all head out there and get offended let’s step back and deal with some issues that I and other artists have had.

You might be thinking that, but you don’t have to say it. Walk away from the booth and then say that, if you have to express yourself. Yes, I did have someone do that to me once. I wasn’t wearing my artist name tag and caught them off guard. All I said was “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

You walk into an artist’s booth and the tag says $28 for a mug. $28!? But how much for me? Or my personal favorite, “What’s your cash discount?” First off, that’s a set price. It’s nonnegotiable. You aren’t at a flea market. I have had this happen as well and it always seems to occur in the “wealthier” suburbs. In this situation, I smile politely and tell them my work isn’t for everyone.

Until this past spring, I was the only person in my booth to break my work. This spring a nice older lady broke $80 worth of my work. I watched her do it. I don’t think she was familiar with floating shelves and pushed it up. Since the shelves are only attached by screw heads, the upward motion released the shelf and boom! This was unfortunate for several reasons. One, I had broken pottery and two, the lady blamed me! Now, I could tell she felt bad and was probably on a fixed income, but for Pete’s sake just apologize. I wasn’t going to charge her, but just please say you are sorry when you break an artist’s wares. Don’t walk away like you didn’t do anything.

What are your customer horror stories?

Tomorrow, I’ll flip the scenario and show you what jerks artists can be to customers!

2 Responses to Art Fair Etiquette

  1. Herb Ayres November 16, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    I always tell myself that about 7% of the population are kooks, just plain crazy and sometimes seriously mentally ill. Customers/clients are pulled from that same population. Telling myself that gives me a little grace to ignore them and be polite. -Herb


  1. Art Fair Etiquette Part Two - November 20, 2012

    […] who like your work, really like your work. If they didn’t they wouldn’t say they did or worse they would exclaim that they hated it. Sometimes, customers like your work, but don’t know what to say. Another common comment is […]

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