Tuesday, August 23, 2016


After my latest dilemma with workshops I got to thinking...
Should I go back to doing art fairs?
A lot of "ifs" "ands" and "maybes" there!
I would actually LOVE to!! We loved doing art fairs.
But before I go on let me give you a little history about my "art fair" career.
It all began in 1993 in St. Louis, Mo. at the Greater St.Louis Art Association Spring Art Fair at Queeny Park. 
Now let me say upfront....we had NEVER done an art show in our lives! NEVER.
This art fair is a very long time semi-upscale art fair that you have to jury into and I had applied but had no clue on how to go about it and, of course, got rejected. No problem...we didn't have a display anyway.

Well....2 days before this show, the President of the Association called and said "We've had a cancellation...would you like to take the spot"? WHAT?!! Of course!!
Wait.....what did I just say....we have no display!! And when I say no display I mean all I had was a pile of watercolor paintings...unframed/unmatted. That's it. No frames, no mats, no screens, no bins, no lights, no nothing!! And 2 days to get ready!!
I must be nuts.....but what an opportunity.
John and I (along with working regular jobs) spent 2 days making frames on a little hand miter saw he had, cutting mats with a hand cutter and straight edge...building screens out of 2x4"s and chicken wire and building bins for the unframed work.
The evening of the set up we walked into that building with our "display" and felt like the Beverly Hillbillies!!
Here were all these nice professional booths and we didn't even have lights!! "Run to the Home Depo John and get clip on lights and extension cords and I'll start setting up", I said, with fear in my voice.
Can you say
It's was written all over us...but hey!! We were there!!

The funniest story about all this is that we didn't have shrink wrap for the unframed pieces to display in the bin so we went to Sam's and got a huge roll of Saran Wrap and wrapped them all up to protect....only problem was...they stuck
wait for it......John's job all weekend was to sprinkle baby powder between them to keep them from sticking!!!

You're laughing aren't you.....
I knew you were :) was pretty funny!! We laughed too and still laugh at it.
I sold one $15 painting but what we learned from the other artists in that 3 days was priceless.

That was the beginning of 15 years of traveling all over the country doing art fairs. We had about 120 under our belt when we stopped in 2009. We met so many wonderful people and eventually bought a travel trailer and had the opportunity of traveling all over the U.S. Before it was all over we had done fairs in Arkansas, Tenn., Missouri, Arizona, Wisconsin, Alabama, Illinois and Michigan to name a few.

2 earlier shows above: Ann Arbor, Mich. 1994
Riverfest in Little Rock, Ar. 1995

And this was our last show in 2009 at Panoply (our very favorite that we did for 11 years) in Huntsville, Al.

So in 2009 I went back to nursing full time and we figured we were getting too old for all this set up and tear down (which can be gruesome).
I retired in 2012 and started doing workshops online and then traveling and taking students in my studio.
.....but it's just not the same.
We both missed doing art fairs.
After losing my daughter in 2013, we decided life is too short for not doing what you love to do so we went back to doing The Arkansas Craft Guild show in Little Rock at Christmas Time. We figured we could handle's indoors, not hard to set up or tear down, it's close to home....sure....why not.
So we did it in 2014 and we did it again in 2015 and will be there again this year.....
Booth sure looks a lot different than those early days..huh?

and we've done okay. It's hasn't killed us, although I'll admit it's a little harder at our ages (me 70 soon and John 71 already), but we've done it.

So here we are, looking at how workshops are just not always reliable, among other things, and thinking..."Hey, we could do a couple of more art fairs a year! One in the spring, fall and December.
We don't have the R.V. but that's okay, although we did love that, and yes we are older and can't do the pace we used to...
so like I said
"Should I stay or should I go?"

Did I mention we DO love it ? :)

I'll let you know, (but we have already written for a couple of applications for 2017)

We've come a long way.

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. STAY!

    I loved reading the story of Art Fairs, but nowadays being on cyberspace gives you more global exposition and we, who live so far away, profit from your experience as well. So please stay. We'd miss you!!

    1. Hmmmm....profit from my experience...well, that's what happened to lead me to this place. I know what you mean but your choice of words came to be true. Someone else is profiting from my hard work by taking my workshop here in my studio and going out to teach it to others to the point that a workshop I was suppose to have in her town didn't happen because no one signed up because she had already taught it!! See my problem? Art Fairs are about selling my art...nothing in that respect will change. I'll still be on the internet with my work. But teaching.....I just don't know....time will tell. Thanks Virginia. I appreciate your devotion :)

  2. Hi Suzi! I loved seeing your booths and reading about your history with art fairs. But as I read I thought "Oh not what will I do if I can't take more workshops; can't learn with Suzi?

    1. Stay in "Inside" is all I can say. Probably what will stop is my doing workshops in person, either in my studio or on the road. Thanks Carol. :)


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