Monday, December 14, 2009

Art-fair verdict: My brain pays more than my hands

More than 7,500 people swarmed into Crafty Wonderland yesterday, where I was one of 200 vendors offering creative wares for the holiday shoppers. A few of them even became my customers. I made a small profit, which in this economy makes the event a success, no? And people asked for hundreds of my cards. I also soaked up the praise: The Postcard Writer's Companion, for instance, was routinely proclaimed "a great idea!" and captured many folks' attention. Others made a point of saying how nicely done my work was, and how beautiful.

But when you take into account the number of hours it took to prepare, and the number of sales, well, there's a reason I went to sleep last night dreaming instead of an "Artisan Wonderland." I think back to my most successful outings, chief among them the annual juried show at the Japanese Garden, where I almost always sold everything I made. The crowd was probably one-tenth of Crafty Wonderland's, but it was well-attuned to fine crafts, and willing to pay for them. Of course, it helps that I cover everything in exquisite Japanese chiyogami paper.

So the search for my niche continues. In the meantime, I have a big editing job that pays more than what I earned yesterday at the Oregon Convention Center. It's time to put away the bonefolder and crack the dictionary.

above: a letter & bill holder covered in Japanese paper and Rohhalbleinen bookcloth. Beautiful, useful & durable — but worth it?


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