Last Friday evening, May 1st, I headed out to Elmhurst with my wares to set up in a very hip store, Camden Boutique. Many stores around town were participating in the First Annual Art Off the Park, a preview night for the weekend's Art in the Park. The owner, Dee Doyle, and the staff were very welcoming, and had the store stocked with champagne and chocolates for customers. I had a great time, met new people, and made good sales! Camden will be carrying my work very soon - as soon as I get the order made, hopefully by next week :)
Saturday and Sunday's art fair was the first of the season....I broke out the tent and all the equipment (was sure I was forgetting something....but I did good!), and the weather could not be better, with the exception of some pesky wind. Also - to my surprise, I won 2nd place overall out of over 150 artists! This rarely happens to me, so I was very shocked and grateful. This past spring I won 2nd place at the Spring Bloom show in Bloomington, and 2 years ago I won 1st place in the jewelry category at the Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival. These are my only awards in 10 seasons of doing shows (this is my 11th season, I can't believe it!), so needless to say, I never expect one, and it's such a great honor when it happens.
Unfortunately, the bummer of the show was theft. Theft is a big issue for us artists out there on the road, and most people are surprised to hear this. I, myself, am surprised when it happens, because you always want to believe that people are generally honest, especially the friendly art fair goers. Every time it happens, I try to think of what kind of person would steal from an artist, from someone who puts so much time and energy into their work. It really angers me to know that some jerk is enjoying the energy of my blood, sweat, and tears that I put into that piece of jewelry. For me specifically, I have struggled with the thought of locking my jewelry in cases for the shows, but if you know my jewelry, you know it really has to be touched and tried on. Also, some shows are so busy that I would have a hard time helping everyone in a timely fashion. So, I think that the thefts that happen are worth the fact that I think my jewelry sells better when it can be available to the customer without being locked up. I just have to remember to stay aware of the people at my booth, but when you're out there all day and if it's busy, it's easy to forget....Oh, and the theft was especially upsetting because it was one of my new rings - the XXL rectangle ring (pictured in a previous post), and it is also my most expensive to date ($115). I had another ring like it in my inventory, so I felt good that it sold on Sunday. At least I know it's a winning design, since it's seems coveted! ;) And I also had a small pair of earrings stolen. Strange - I have the most thefts in the suburbs - not many in the city! Interesting.....
Two weeks to stock up again for my next show! Come out if you're in Chicago - May 23-24 - Indie Designer Market on Randolph.