"The chief source of art is man's pleasure in his daily work, which expresses itself and is embodied in that art itself."
William Morris (1834-1896)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Juried Art Shows

The deadline for submitting applications to the 2010 American Craft Council shows is today. I'm always alittle startled by the prospect of scheduling so far in advance. The timing of application deadlines as well as acceptance/rejection notifications vary for each show. Usually juried shows are rejuried every year and by different jurors each year. It is a little like playing Russian Roulette with our careers. The number of retail shows we do depends on the amount of wholesale orders we receive from our galleries and vice versa. This becomes a balancing act of major importance.

There could be books written about why this show went well and that one didn't. In fact, there are published fair guides for artists to use as a resource. These guides use information gathered from participating artists to rate shows. We rely heavily on recommendations from our fellow artists and our own experience. Of course, we can not anticipate larger factors like weather, the economy, conflicting events, etc. Often we find that two shows we are interested in are on the same weekend. The variables are endless. Not only do we have to make an intelligent guess about which shows to apply to but also the show has to then invite us to participate. We are looking for the perfect match!

Artists applications require professional images of their work and sometimes their booth, a brief explanation of technique and an application fee anywhere from $15-50 per application. Sometimes it is required to submit a check post dated for the booth fee as well. This is returned if the artist is not accepted. Booth fees run anywhere from $250 - $3500 or more for shows running for one day, 2-3 days or a week inside or outside. Once accepted, the artist also must pay for any additional services, like electric or parking.
Today the images are submitted digitally through two online clearing houses for most shows or on a CD for smaller shows.
There is not a standard for the jurying procedure. Sometimes jurors are paid, sometimes not. A qualified juror would be an established artist, a gallery owner, museum curator or educator. There might be 1-7 jurors for a show. Images are sometimes projected onto a large screen for all jurors to view simultaneously. At other times they are on individual computers for each juror to view. Usually a juror assigns a score to each artist. The sum of all the jurors' scores determines the artists' standing within his/her category. Most shows try very hard to balance the mediums evenly. The highest scores in each category get invitations. The artist is then free to respond with an acceptance or rejection and at that time is required to pay at least a deposit on the booth fee. Some shows will have a wait list composed of the artists that just missed the cut. These artists are informed that if a space opens up in their category, they will be invited.

Because of all the uncertainty, artists apply for more shows than they can possibly do. After the results are in, they decide which ones best fit. Of course, the shows have their deadlines for response too so sometimes you end up accepting one invitation before you receive a result from another show you would rather go to being held on the same weekend. Sigh! all this and we haven't even gotten there....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back in the Studio

We are back in the studio again... working on a few orders before our upcoming open house August 8 & 9. These photos show how the pots look freshly completed.... now they need to dry.
However, we have to make many more before we can fire. The kiln holds a lot of pots. In the first firing, they can stack... very carefully, of course because they are like crackers when they are dry.
In the second firing, after they have been glazed, they cannot touch one another or they will be married!

BTW if you can make it to our open house, please do. FMI go to www.saugertiesarttour.com

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ann Arbor Street Fair, the Original

On the way, it was really powerful to see all those windmills in Western New York! WheW!

We arrived in Blueberry Michigan on the evening of the 13th of July and started setting up our tent at the Ann Arbor fair on the 14th. The original show was celebrating its 50th year!! Way back when, we always thought of this show as 'the pie in the sky'. We feel very fortunate to be part of it. The quality of the participating artists is excellent.

The University of Michigan Campus is beautiful with many trees and different flowers planted each year very aesthetically. I always look forward to seeing what flowering plants they chose to put where each year.
Once the tent is up, we sneak inside to unpack so we would be warmer. Ann Arbor's weather was atypically cool for July.
Wednesday was the beginning of the fair. There are four other shows in town piggybacking onto the Original. The whole town gets into the spirit of things with the merchants even putting their sales out onto the sidewalks. There is a lot of entertainment as well. Besides the special groups under the big tent, Mr. B, the blues pianist always keeps the crowd happy....

The fair opened at 10 am. everyday... after everyone got their coffee.

By day four, Saturday, even Mr. B had to have the piano tuned...refreshed for the last day.

Notice that the piano is on a spring supported platform that is built onto a bicycle.
so at the end, he just rode away......

Packing up for the trip back home....

a very successful show for us...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Our first July show was at the Chautauqua Institute in western New York. We hear some of the educational programs on National Public Radio so we were expecting the summer program to be rich with variety. We weren't disappointed. They have a nine week program every summer that includes lectures, symphony, opera, theatre, popular music.....etc....
They include two art fairs, one in July and the other in August. There were maybe 145-150 exhibitors so it was a small show but well balanced. The weather was dreadful on Saturday but quite nice on Friday and Sunday. We were pleased that some of our loyal collectors came from outside to support us. We were new fish in the pond for Chautauqua and most people were there for the other events, not the art fair. However, the grounds including the exquisite summer homes and the lake were a feast for the eyes. Lovely!
Half the fun though was traveling the southern route over New York State. It is really a beautiful State. We warmly recommend Interstate 86 from Binghampton to Jamestown or Chautauqua. If you do go, check out the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum in Salamanca. It highlights some incredible Native American crafts, old and new.

On to Ann Arbor.........

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

and they're off!

Where are we going to put our clothes and some snacks?

The van is absolutely stuffed with wonderful pots that we are taking to two art fairs. We leave Thursday am. bright and early and won't return until July 20.

Join us at the Chautauqua Crafts Alliance Festival July 10-12 on Bestor Plaza, Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York. We are in space #2 close to the corner of Pratt and Ames.


at the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original on the U Michigan campus near the bell tower July 15-18. We are in space #264 in front of the Diag.

More details are available through the links posted on our website's EVENTS page.

Happy Trails!