Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Creating a Space

I've been absent for a few days, yes, I know.  I was so busy getting ready for that BIG show I did over the weekend, and then I took a couple well-deserved days off.  (To learn what I did yesterday, check out this blog.)

Today I thought I would share with you what it takes to set up a display at an art and craft show.  It takes a lot of time and effort to create a compelling display.  I think how you display your work at a show is VITAL.  I don't believe in just setting things out on a table and calling it good.  I think you need to create an environment that suits your particular art or craft.  Something that will draw a shopper INTO your booth.  Believe me, you only have SECONDS to make an impression on a shopper before they move on to the next booth, and every advantage you can give yourself is worth the time it takes. 

My displays have gone through many transformations throughout the years, evolving with my work.  This summer I spent countless hours sketching out plans, choosing fabric, cutting it to size, painting crates.  I spent A WEEK piddling with how it would be set up---working out the kinks on how to light it, how to create the backdrop, how to stack the crates in the best way.  All of that in my living room.  What a mess!  But oh, so worth it!

So here is a bit of a 'time-lapse' on setting up a show.  Some of the pictures are not the best, but you'll get the idea.  Much thanks to my husband, David, for helping out at this one. 

We'll start here.  In the garage.  This is my trusted Chevy Tahoe, loaded almost to the gills.  This is actually a 'lite' load compared to what it has seen in the past. 
Arriving at the venue I am greeted with this....a blank block of space on the floor with a heavy duty extension cord.  I had a little bump out in my wall, with some 'bonus' space I didn't expect to have and in the end I was unable to utilize because of how my display sets up.  Oh, well.  It all worked out fine.
Tables and backdrop panels, and supports for the panels.
Crates and boxes and tubs, OH MY!
All the stuff it takes to make a show.
We're getting there....tables set up (with risers under the legs to lift them to 33 inches), fabric skirting to the floor so you can't see all the ugliness beneath them, backdrops in place, lights hooked up (lighting is KEY to a great display!), crates stacked and ready to be filled. 
Another angle of the empty crates.  I love how they look---I'm so glad I chose to paint them white.  And the dotted fabric is fun and whimsical, just like my work!  Now the fun can begin....setting out all the pieces and choosing just the right spot for each one!
It's hard to get a good panoramic angle. 
A view of the long display, eight feet, across the back.  Looking great!!
The limited edition ornaments displayed on a screen on the front table.
Another overall view.  I'm really happy with how it turned out, although there are a few things that will need tweaking for upcoming shows. One thing missing is a sign.  I need a sign announcing my business.  I couldn't come up with a good one in time.  It's always a learning process.
Some of you have probably done a craft show or two in your day.  Many of you probably have not.  I thought I would just give you a peak at what goes on to create a successful show display.  It's not all fun and games and easy.  It takes a lot of thought and planning, careful packing and loading, and a great deal of time. 
We arrived at the venue at 3:40pm and began unloading nearly right away.  It took 5 trips back and forth, through the parking lot, across a loading driveway, through one large room and into the lobby where my space was located.  At 7:30pm, we left the building.  Nearly 4 hours to set up a show.  But it was worth it.  The booth looked GREAT and the show was a success!
Now, it's time to get back to work! Another show this Saturday!
Thanks for dropping by!
Please leave your comments below.  I LOVE getting comments!!


  1. I LOVE YOUR DISPLAY! Mine needs so much work, but until I get rid of the "old" and can show off the "new"....there will be much left to be desired.

    1. Thanks, Katie! It was a lot of work putting it togeter, but the payoff is great. I saw your display, and I have to say, it looked great. Actually, it reminded me of my original display WAAAAY back when I first started doing minis. I had stair steps with black fabric over them, and it worked great. One day I'm going to do a blog on 'displays through the ages' and show each of my displays.

  2. The new display is wonderful and shows your work in such a beautiful light! I know how hard you worked on it, and how time consuming it was - but BOY was it worth it! Yay!!
    You said "we" a few times in your post. Who helped you? David? I almost can't wrap my mind around that idea but...I suppose anything is possible!
    Congrats on the new set-up. As always, you did good!

    Thank you, also, for sending people to my blog! LOVES new visitors, & followers! I hope some of your followers will sign up to follow my blog as well - there's still a giveaway on the table for the followers as soon as I have 75 people sign up!


    1. Yes, David helped! He took the afternoon off work to give me a hand. Since my back isn't what it used to be, he is more willing to help me out than he used to be. He helped me haul everthing in, get the display set up and took the pictures to that point. Then he went to Bass Pro Shops next door and I put out the good stuff. He returned a while later and took the final shots. He also came and helped me tear down. I know! You can't believe it, huh! :D
      I do hope my readers will go check out It's a great little blog!

  3. I have always wondered how long it took to set everything up and now I know. I think you always manage to use the most of whatever space you have been given. The sad thing is, you never really get a chance to wander around and see everybody else's stuff. My niece and I had a grand old time checking out everything. I am so glad you got to meet her and she got to meet you!! And, I am very happy that you had a good show.

    1. Thank you! I've always tried to make the most of my space. I know I could probably get by with a 'lesser' display, but I think an eyecatching display is worth the trouble. Back in the mini days it took even longer.....

      I was thrilled to meet your niece. It's wonderful go get to know people who enjoy my work. It was greet to see you, too. Always fun to see a familiar face in the crowd!

      And yes, it's always a bummer that I don't get around much at the shows. BUT it keeps the money in my cash box :D I did get to browse around before the show each day. It was a nice show.

  4. This new display really hits all the right notes for today's market! You did a perfect job. It's no easy task to come up with something that is both practical and appealing to the buyers and you did it! This is a great blog entry. Before you do this yourself you can't imagine all the work that is put into designing and building your display. Even the artist has no idea how much work it is to load, cart, put up and tear down your work each week you do a show until you've done it yourself. You've done a wonderful job of explaining and giving your readers a peek at the process. Now I'm exhausted and need to go for a swim to rest! :D I so proud of you and happy for you!!! You've got a real winner on your hands with your new work and display!! Hugs!

    1. Thanks, Marian! I know you know what I'm talking about...having schlepped your wares from show to show! It's not for sissies, for sure! :D

  5. Your display is wonderful Lisa!! This was such a fun post, love seeing the space being set up from the start. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. I thought it would be fun to share a 'behind the scenes' sort of post. Not everyone understands and appreciates the work involved in doing a craft, so I thought it was a good idea to let them in on the secret!