Last weekend, I worked at the St. Paul Art Crawl in Lowertown. This is my second vendor event as a tarot reader and my first as an artist.
When I got home yesterday, after helping tear down the shop, I was so spent that I just heaved everything into the middle of the living room floor and left it. As I write, I am surrounded by the tools and materials I’d brought in anticipation of my vending experience.
I had some anxiety in the few weeks leading up to the event, though, pleasantly, I was able to keep it at a tolerable level. Being involved in the planning and set-up of the booth (with four other fun and hard working women) helped that quite a bit.
I belong to a tarot collective that meets for monthly study groups. I attend whenever I’m in town. Working with these folks has made a big difference toward increasing my comfort level in reading for others. Our leader, and mentor, gives us an amazing range of practices to hone our skills, with gentleness and wit. This lovely learning space she creates has helped me in tackling a couple big fears; just what are the realistic expectations of me as a reader and how do I deal with difficult clients.
I also managed to keep from sweating the art vendor part while I puzzled over just what kind of pieces I would put in the show. I don’t have much stock and wasn’t sure whether to make illustrations or found-object art. I didn’t have a whole lot of time so I wrestled with the possibility of wasting it making something that might not sell.
Since I had decided not to make a big deal about it I brought a couple of 3D pieces I had already made; a copper tree with leaves of glass & hematite beads, and a sun catcher of glass beads hanging from a Spirograph gear. (I was so sure they wouldn’t sell that I didn’t bother to take portfolio photos or bring packaging. Heh.)
The bonus with this art choice, as well, is that I could easily make more trees and sun catchers while sitting at the vendor table.
When I was selling produce at the French Market I had the opportunity to observe, and chat with, the art vendors stationed around my stand. One of the most obvious lessons was that artists who were busy creating product tended to engage and draw the interest of customers. As a customer, myself, I love watching artists at work and I learned I wasn’t alone.
Creative activity can give customers a vignette of the artist and a brief history of the pieces on the shelf. I also like the fact that I’m increasing stock during a slow time that would otherwise feel wasted.
I sold two pieces and gave five readings. I enjoyed the company of my fellow artists and readers, and customers too. Overall, a wonderful learning experience that has already made a positive difference with the way I approach my business
Now, it’s time to sort this pile of stuff and get it where it belongs. For tonight I continue making art, I’ve already started a new tree.