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August 2013

Selling Craft Before Its Time

"Some things can't be rushed, good music, good wine,"*good craft, and finding your own artistic voice.

The recent Metalsmith Bench Talk discussion; The GOOD, The BAD, and the UGLY in the Age of the Internet was discussed by Ronna Sarvas Weltman on her Facebook page.

AncientmodernShe recounted an experience with a past student who had second thoughts about selling what was based on one of the projects from her book, Ancient Modern: Polymer Clay and Wire Jewelry.

Below is a quote from Weltman's post:
"If you are making things for yourself and/or friends and not selling it, people look upon that with more grace, since you’re not trying to profit from another artist’s ideas. But once money and the marketplace enters into the quotient, everything changes. And collectors can get really annoyed if they discover what they bought, thinking it was a fresh voice, was in fact copying or at least an obvious derivative of another artist’s work."

"Moreover, and even more important for you as you go forward, if you’re stopping at a place where your art is obviously imitative, then you’re selling yourself short by stopping before you’ve found your own voice in your art."

Aligned with Ronna Weltman's post, I want to focus on a recommendation from my interview and the lecture; The GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY in the Age of the Internet.

Do not sell or exhibit work derived from tutorials, workshops, or books.


Just like creating fine wine, creating good work, finding your own voice and cultivating a healthy, innovative, craft marketplace all require time.

A craft marketplace filled with derivative work does not present the consumer with the best of media, or the best of a maker. 

In addition to the collector's regret if purchased items are "derivative of another artist’s work" (which will likely to become public knowledge), the maker is selling prematurely before their time. Once an artist or maker enters the marketplace, the consumer ends up having a profound influence on your work.

I say this with the voice of experience, not judgement. Every time you sell work, no matter where, or at what level, the customer requests bigger, smaller, less expensive, and more or less they want to include their ideas. I'd say this happens 80% of the time. It takes a a lot of core strength to remember who you are, and why you make something to resist the lure and influence of ustomers/clients/collectors requests.
Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander     Model: Stephanie Reisfeld

Here is a real life story:
I have been creating my work in a signature style and technique for 30+ years and yet, a well known gallery that I have worked with for many years approached me because a "collector" wanted an example of my work. They then proceeded to tell me exactly how big it could be, and that it had to have pictures of a particular animal on it.  Does anyone see the irony of a collector wanting an artist's work and then telling the artist what to make?

The point is that in the marketplace the client often wants to tell you what to make. Michelangelo regularly ran into this problem. John Singer Sargent stopped painting his fabulous portraits because he couldn't stand the customer telling him how and what to paint. Listen to this video about James Whistler's blue Peacock Room - a "clash of art and commerce."  "The birds faced each other, on ground strewn with silver shillings, as if about to fight."  Whistler titled the mural Art and Money; or, the Story of the Room as it became a physical embodiment of the struggle for the artists integrity while making a living.

The-Gold-ScabIf Whistler is experiencing the struggle, "the seemingly constant conflict between the desire of unfettered artistic liberty and the basic requirement to earn enough to have shelter and to put bread on the table" what will happen to the inexperienced maker prematurely selling their craft with undue influence from the marketplace?

Sell no craft before its time.*

P.S. This discussion topic is not a topic limited to the United States. It is fascinating that the topic is in Scotland as well. Quoting the words of The Justified Sinner in a discussion on Crafthaus. "I am suggesting that poorly-made and poorly-designed goods from anywhere are clouding the public perception of the marketplace for "handmade"."

X-rated Adult Questions Craft Marketing

Sex in the City Flower PinThe following is a true, but rather unusual question from a reader of ASK Harriete. She has allowed me to use the question without her name or business name.

What is interesting about her "Adult" question is that it is such a fabulous example of developing a NICHE market.


XratedHello Harriete,

I have come up against a problem and hope you can help me.

For more than 15 years my name has been associated with a leather item most people would consider 'adult' and some people find that whole idea offensive. I've made my living with this product. I'm well known for the quality. I do 8 shows a year plus all the wholesale and website stuff. It's not going away.

I am becoming an art jeweler. I am selling jewelry. On the advice of several people I created another distinct website with a separate shopping cart and domain.

Here's my problem - many many people suggest you use your own name and then get involved in many social media venues, promote, volunteer, etc. If I say my real name and someone Googles it, they will find the leather business. If I use the new business name, there's no mention of the maker and it would mean multiple introductions.

Personally I'd like to keep the leather, clay, glass, pearls & silver under my name on the main website and just have different tabs for each 'subdivision'. The problem comes when people find out about the leather. They either spend 20 minutes telling me I'm going to Hell or 20 minutes telling me their fantasies and I end up spending time 'educating' them about consensual adult interactions, etc.

I'm concerned that if I'm open about all the aspects of my craft that I may be blocked from jewelry exhibitions.

What would you suggest?

Thanks for your answer.

This is certainly a novel, but relevant issue about branding and serving specific niche markets.  While the "adult" world among consenting adults may have provided you with an income....this is where a fictitious business name would have been a good idea, but that is history. Can't fix history.

Now, I think your instincts are right....Confusing the jewelry world, ceramics or glass with  the adult world with the same name or the same website is definitely NOT going to be an easy solution. The typical jewelry consumer folk are not comfortable with the adult world (at least not overtly).

Below are my recommendations:

Option 1.
Sell the jewelry only to the "adult" world. A niche within a niche.  They might buy it. Of course, it may have to have an adult world aesthetic...or purpose with suggestive hints, but you already have an established "name" and audience.  There may even be iconic images of the adult world that you could incorporate into your jewelry.  Skip the regular world of jewelry as the economy is still slow. Your niche market is already well developed. Your jewelry, glass or ceramics can expand your line .  You know this audience. They know you. Cha-ching~!

Option 2.
Change your name, use a nickname, or adopt a middle name for your new market outside the adult world. Develop two separate identities. Adult world = name A    Rest of the craft world = name B.
You would have to develop the "jewelry name" and reputation separately. Only a few close friends will know both sides of you.

Option 3.
Ignore the shock and surprise and conversations. Do what you want without apology. It is their problem. The stories could give you tons of visibility in the regular everyday world....but your skin is going to have to be really thick.
This could even be great P.R. if you want to go there, but no sense being secret about it.

I think picking between Option 1. 2. or 3. depends on your personal comfort level, and your family and children (if you have any). The adult notoriety is something they will have to deal with if you go public about combining two business identities.

Does this help?

Hello Harriete,
Thank you for the quick reply.
I hadn't expected any response for a week, as I know you've got a lot of things going. Thank you for laying it out so clearly. It's Option #1 that will work. I hadn't thought of focusing my efforts there and it makes so much sense.

I really appreciate your ability to see things. Perhaps some day we'll meet at an event.

Thank you!

Your X-rated reader.
Please join the interview  "Wild West Digital? - "The GOOD, The BAD, and The UGLY in the Age of the Internet". Click on this link for the details.

For more advice about Niche Marketing listen to this presentation from the Professional Development Seminar. (If you click on this link the SlideShare Niche Marketing presentation is immediately  followed by a podcast lunch discussion from the SNAG Conference.)

Niche Marketing from SNAG PDS 2011 from Harriete Estel Berman

NIche Marketing experts Hilary Pfeifer, emiko oye, and Deb Stoner share insights and practical tips on Niche Marketing. 

The World of "Like"

In the lecture, The GOOD, The BAD, and the UGLY in the AGE of the Internet, I observed, "The Internet is a tool . . .  and like every tool in your studio, it is up to the user to understand its shortcomings and potential abuses."

Facebook-Like-Button-bigPart of the BAD in the AGE of the Internet is the "Lack of substantive critique online."  We have entered into what I am calling "the world of Like."   I love the potential of social media, but I am concerned about "LIKE"ing.  LIKE, like, Like -- is that all there is?


 Facebook_like_thumbWhat is the definition of "like"?

LIKE: verb  Find agreeable, enjoyable, or satisfactory.

LIKE: adverb  Used in speech as a meaningless filler or to signify the speaker's uncertainty about an expression just used.

LIKE: a button on Facebook  [fill in your own definition here, and then LIKE yourself]

FacebooklikeHow can the online community rise above a culture of "LIKE" that incessantly pushes the button of feel good compliments and superficial pats on the back.  One response for all occasions . . . push a button.


LikeflickrLikeTaking this one step further, what happens when we lose the interpersonal discussions, debates, and interactions?  How can we honestly convey any nuance of opinion, which aspects or parts appeal to us and which do not?  How can we experiment, learn, and grow if the only feedback is 20 "likes" versus 31 "likes"?


Facebook-like-button1Should we be concerned about swapping "LIKES" just to get a feel good "LIKE" in return?  Is this a parallel to addiction behavior? Do we understand the "Persuasive Power of 'Like'"?

Or this study from the University of Michigan which finds that increased use of Facebook among young adults correlates to a reduced sense of well-being. 


Facebook_not_like_thumbs_down"The World of Like" is all about temporary "feel good" feelings, but it is costing us depth, authenticity, and respect for diversity.  We need to build our social networks on more than the lowest common denominator.

I firmly believe that honest discussion and substantive interaction can elevate the field.
How can we maintain a culture of growth in the Internet Age?  How can we address difficult topics such as ethical and legal issues? 

ASK-red-yellowHere is a chance to participate in a dialog.  On Thursday, August 22, I will be Live on Blog Talk Radio with Metalsmith Bench Talk.  Jay Whaley and I will discuss the ethical & legal issues raised in the lecture "The GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY in the AGE of the Internet.

THURSDAY, August 22 3:00-4:00 p.m. (Pacific time)

If you log into Blog Talk Radio you can text in the chat room. The moderator Gregory Berk will bring your comments into the live conversation. ASK your questions.

Log in easiest via Facebook. Scroll down the page to find the chat room.

Or ASK your questions in advance by leaving a comment here.

or Email me.

Thumbs up for comments and criticism.The idea is that honest feedback will elevate the field.

Even critical comments don't have to be considered negative when they are intended to be thoughtful. Stay open to options and new considerations.

Be true to yourself in the "World of Like". 

Retail Display Should NOT Include Packaging.

One broad observation about the American Craft Council Show applies universally to any retail display aesthetic, even all the way to my local Farmer's Market and on to fabulous trunk shows or ACC .

Do not include packaging in your display.

By packaging, I mean cards that hold a pair of earrings or the boxes that you will provide to the customers with their purchase. No matter who you are, or how great your work, or fabulous the box, it just plain looks bad -- more like discount retailing at Big Lots than artist made jewelry.

Tiffany-blue-box%255B2%255DLearn from the masters of selling jewelry - Tiffanys. Despite the heavy branding investment that Tiffany's has in the Tiffany Blue Box and the  trademark color, you never see a Tiffany box or bag as part of the display in the case.They know that the packaging is the treasure box, not the display. The packaging is the "take home" part of the purchase experience.

What brought this to my attention was this display at a booth at the ACC show.

Yong Joo Kim ACCShow2013 042AH
The exquisite earrings by Yong Joo Kim at the American Craft Council were rather lost in her boxes on the table. The boxes, the shredded paper filler, along with the large tags all look like clutter competing for the shopper's attention.  Even in this photo (above) you can hardly find her elegant earrings.

Yong-Joo-Kim-ACCShow2013 041
In contrast, these necklaces by Kim really grab your attention with the silver foam core background. This simple method was effectively eye-catching despite the rented pipe and drape (which is usually unsatisfactory).

Yong-Joo-Kim ACCShow2013 040
The flat surface of the foam core accentuated the texture of the necklace and with a little lighting created a beautiful shadow. It would have been much better to let her earrings rest on foam core on the table as well.

no more earrings on cards, please.
no more gigantic tags, please.

Let the jewelry speak for itself.

Previous posts in this ACC series:

Observations at ACC San Francisco 2013

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 1

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 2

Signage in the ACC Show Booth Display

ACC Booth Partnerships Reconfigure Display

ACC Booth Partnerships Reconfigure Display

AmericanCraftShowLogoAt the ACC show there were several sellers that joined together in combined booths to create more open and inviting booth configurations.



This year Petra Class and Biba Schutz booth display was remarkable as the first two booths greeting the customers as they entered the American Craft Council Show.

Petra Class
(left side of photo) and Biba Schutz (right side of photo) have combined their booths every year. Side by side they synchronize the appearance while keeping a completely separate identity. Without the curtain "wall" between the booths, it creates a big expanse of eye catching space.

In another example along the length of an aisle, Sarah Jane Hassler and Karen McCreary combined two standard booths to create an inviting open space.

ACCShow2013 012

Many booths adopted an L-shaped layout (diagram shown below). While it looks fine in this layout diagram, there is a problem with this booth configuration. The L-shaped layout creates a narrow aisle which can be an imposing gauntlet to the customer that may not want to be trapped in a narrow aisle uncommitted to a purchase or conversation.

L-shaped layout plan:
Booth layout

Below is what a l-shaped layout of a booth looks like at the show (below.) The narrow aisle is even more intimidating if the booth has a display case rising higher and creating vertical space like a wall.

Combining two L-shaped booths side-by-side Sarah Jane Hassler and Karen McCreary had a great innovation. The narrow aisle they both would have had with an L-shaped layout going solo is combined. (The green line is where most booths have pipe and drape divider between booths. Just imagine how narrow  this aisle would feel at the show.

ACCShow2013 011Hassler-McCreary-booth divided

Combining the center into open space in between their displays was inviting and allowed a non-threatening reception square (shown below). Customers could walk into the space and look around without feeling trapped.

ACCShow2013 011

Notice their signs diagonally across the back corner of the booth.

ACCShow2013 013

While not identical, the signs used the same font and styling to look cohesive. Both sellers also used the same earring display and fabric below their tables.

ACCShow2013 014

Remember the previous posts about signage in your booth.  Both of these signs include the makers name, a brief description, and images of the jewelry.

The ultimate in booth collaboration were three people creating one seamless booth going down the aisle. After viewing the show with the somewhat overwhelming density of one booth after the next, it was refreshing to see this long extended open booth layout by David Whippen, John Liston, and Niki Ulehla (booths 320, 321, and 322). It also was an award winning booth.
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ryan
Interactive Editor, American Craft Council

Removing the pipe and drape walls between the three booths kept their space open. They showed a few large pieces of furniture and sculpture of Whippen and Liston.

ACCShow2013 026AHJewelry-Niki-Ulehla
The jeweler Niki Ulehla was in the center with a minimalist display on a table. No jewelry cases contributed to the open booth layout.

ACC Show2013 016AHcropped

How did all these booth collaboration occur? They simply asked the ACC show organizers to place them next to one another. That simple -- and it happened. What a great idea for your next show.


Previous posts in this ACC series:

Observations at ACC San Francisco 2013

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 1

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 2

Signage in the ACC Show Booth Display

Signage in the ACC Show Booth Display

One thing I noticed at the American Craft Council Show in San Francisco was how well designed and effective signage improves the overall impression of a booth.

ACCShow2013 043ACC supplied a small tag for the booth. Sure it had your name and location, but it was too small and generic to be memorable. Unremarkable in every respect, it did not establish an artist's identity and was too high. Lesson learned: Do not depend on generic name banners as your signage. They do not differentiate your booth any more than map coordinates.

The sign below for Lauren Markley exemplifies a step up with minimum effort.  It has her name, an image of her work, and a short description, in this case "Contemporary Jewelry". ACCShow2013-Lauren-Markley

But this sign could also be better. It was lacking size. It needs to be bigger to make an impact. It also suffered from being wrinkled and had a slight texture to the plasticized finish (shown below.) The plasticized finish reflected the light and the wrinkles distracted from the overall impression. 

You can see the "linen-like texture" to the sign in this close-up, and the grommets in the corners were distracting to the overall aesthetic. Avoid putting grommets in your sign if at all possible. Grommets may be a necessity for an outdoor sign that needs to be tied down against the wind, -- but inside they are not working.

Instead, add a pocket or fold over seam for a ruler or pole at the top and the bottom.  This usually looks far more attractive and straightens out the wrinkles creating a more polished appearance.

Moving on to an improved example:

The sign for Beverly Tadeu was more successful. It seems to be printed on fabric so it has a matte finish. There are no reflections even though the light is shining right on her sign. The highlight on the sign was very eye catching. The sign also matches her fabric booth drape.

ACCShow2013 027
Hanging the full height of her booth, the sign goes seamlessly from the top of her booth to below eye level with a big image of her earrings. This is a great way to inform the customer walking past your booth exactly what type of work is available for purchase.

Notice that the sign has no grommets at the top of the sign and seems to be hung from a pole at the top of her booth. Perfect. No wrinkles. It projects a polished impression.

Her clean and white jewelry display of simple matte acyclic matches the sign aesthetic perfectly.

Notice that on the front of her display table Beverly Tadeu hung a piece of sheer unwrinkled fabric to conceal the legs of her table. This scrim is like a veil creating a more polished appearance to her booth presentation. It also matches her booth drape.

Notice that she did not use cases to display her jewelry, a growing trend. So often the cases are a barrier between the customer and a purchase. Getting the item for sale into the customer's hand is one of those #1 sales techniques. While I can see that this is a security risk, if you can afford to go in this direction, it is a great idea.

ACCShow2013 031

When everything works together it creates a seamless aesthetic with a more cohesive and polished impression.

ACCShow2013 030
Beverly Tadeu in her booth at ACC show

ChannelRead ASK Harriete for ideas on how to get your name integrated into a more enticing display. 

Previous posts in this ACC series:

Observations at ACC San Francisco 2013

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 1

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 2

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 2

This is Part 2. Read part 1 of "American Craft Council Show Comparison To  Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco" on ASK Harriete.

Miss Charlotte Kruk (left) and Harriete Estel Berman visiting the booth of ACC exhibitor emiko oye.

Part 1 raised the questions:
What is the impact or purpose of an entry fee?
What is the role of music in the shopping environment?
Impact of lighting in the sales environment.
A price comparison between Renegade and ACC.

Part 2 CONTINUES the comparison ...

RenegadeRenegade Fair: Miss Charlotte Kruk reported "that the clothing seemed to lean toward the edgy...aligning with the spirit of the faire which I think is tremendously charming, relevant, and frankly fun, thrift store remade, recycled, reassembled, reinvented eclectic style. This is an aesthetic that I have always related to, make and wear myself; I was raised in the thrift store on the paternal side of the family and under the sewing machine on my maternal side. (My family often went to the second hand store and every time my grandmother would say "whatever you can't live without." - pretty funny when you think about this kind of "spoiling")


AmericanCraftShowLogoACC had every style and fabric you could imagine all leaning toward the artist made creative aesthetic with a price tag that reflected the makers development, growth in process, personal style and materials. Some of the fabric was loom woven, but more were painted silk, fabric applique, or specialized technique. I did notice that this year at the ACC show the clothing was more fitted and fashionable than in previous years. One of my favorite jackets was by Susan Bradley Designs using neoprene (such as would be used for scuba suits).

Renegade had a lot of the t-shirts and cards with graphic images that have become the predominate merchandise. Charlotte added that a lot of the merchandise used the laser cutter. "Seems like when one person is doing something it catches like a rash. The predominant rash in the Renegrade craft community right now is going to the Tech Shop and using the laser cutter. "

We both love the Tech Shop, but Miss Charlotte has a point: "To what end of unique and hand-made is this tool when the artist isn't taking time to develop the object beyond the industrial mass produced?"

Miss Charlotte said there was a contrast between Renegade and ACC in the diversity of the objects, skill and aesthetic voice. "I enjoy the raw, gritty renegade aesthetic for its spirit of "I MADE THIS" pride." By comparison, ACC was a very serious gathering of makers, who have spent a multitude of years developing their voice, understanding the consideration that lighting, sound, negative space, color, height, etc play on the viewing of the object. ACC sellers say "I made this" and stand firm in the numbers they're asking for their craft, their vision, their labor, knowing what it takes to establish the aesthetic voice that it takes to reach the platform of the ACC.

A few years ago, the Renegade shows were all the rage garnering a reputation based on a new and trendy appeal, along with questions about the direction of this craft movement.  Charlotte says, "It thrills me that at the Renegade you watch a guy on a sewing machine with a device he's invented to power it by riding his bicycle...And there he sits freehand stitching truly elaborate and inspiring patches, each unique because his hands will never do exactly the same thing twice, nor would he want them to. I LOVE RENEGADE for its gritty energy, it's youthful vibe of makers who desperately want to earn a living from their ability to "make" but are maybe just getting started with refining their vision and fine-tuning their personal aesthetic and creating a market that is truly individualistic."

I asked Miss Charlotte Kruk after the show:
How is the “I made this “ from Renegade different than the “I made this” at ACC?

Charlotte's answer: "The point I was trying to make was the voice of a sweet child (the renegade artist) that cannot be ignored "I made this" and you stop to acknowledge because it's important to build pride vs. the refined voice of an accomplished actress (in this case our ACC ARTIST); who has repeated the phrase over and over in so many different fonts and italics through intonation that it becomes a statement of control."


"What a pleasure to slow down and really "view" the show with Harriete. I'm sure at that pace, I would have seen a whole lot more than at the racing speeds my family zipped through the Renegade Craft Fair."

VelvetDeVinciFrontonPolkS.f."I think the highlight for me was getting to the reception at Velvet da Vinci and seeing all those makers who you took the time to congratulate and educate, together in one space. It was amazing to me to see all these dynamic artists in booths from the farthest corners of Fort Mason representing the farthest corners of the United States all sharing a bite of cheese and "bologna" together. Aahahaaaa ...but seriously, I enjoyed the second viewing of their work in the cases and seeing their faces again and together...and was pleased to see how each with their own unique style and vision had this great spirit of appreciation for one another. "

"Wonderful. (thanks again Harriete, for letting me be the Robin to your Batman...great stuff.), I'd repeat that experience anytime! cheers, Miss Charlotte."

Super wonderful to spend the day with Miss Charlotte. Hope we do it again soon.

Previous posts in this series:

Observations at ACC San Francisco 2013

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 1


American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 1

Fort-Mason-San-Francisco-CA Fort Mason is the location for the annual American Craft Council show. Ironically, on the previous weekend, the same exact building at Fort Mason hosted the San Francisco Renegade Craft Fair.

Fortunately, my friend and ACC show companion, Miss Charlotte Kruk, went to both shows so she had many observations and comparisons. 

Comments in quotes are from Miss Charlotte Kruk.

AmericanCraftCouncilS D Renegade





Renegade                  ACC                               
No entrance fee.        $14.00 entrance fee         
                               or FREE for ACC members

What is the impact or purpose of an entry fee?

   I'd love to discuss it at length & think about it.
Since it was free, "the Renegade show was PACKED making it very hard to see the work if you were unwilling to crowd in with the masses."

Is their any reason to fill the place with lookers? Yes & no, but obvious answer is that  the ACC entry fee becomes a self selected group of motivated shoppers.  


Renegade - 2 days      ACC - 3 days
Saturday/Sunday       Friday/Sat/Sunday
Who goes to a show on Friday?


Miss Charlotte said, "The audience for the ACC show was definitely more mature, immaculately groomed and packaged in a way that advertised their serious intentions; a refined air of sophistication, but with a sense of personal style that cannot be found on a display mannequin in Nordstrom."


While "the Renegade boasted DJ music pumping throughout the venue," Charlotte noticed only one or two booth exhibitors at ACC who had low playing music in their personal space. I didn't notice anyone at ACC playing music. 

Music is an interesting issue.  Music is generally considered an "audience-sorting device" and can have either a positive or negative impact on the shopping experience.

Kruk reports that "Booth layout and display were much better at the ACC show. Compared to the Renegade show, the lighting was much better and brighter overall as almost every booth had additional lighting for display."
ACCShow2013 012
ACC Booth of Sarah Jane Hassler & Karen McCreary
More discussion about their booth layout and signs in a future post on ASK Harriete

"The items for sale were also more crowded at the Renegade show. There was definitely a restrained minimal aesthetic in many of the booths at ACC. The ACC artist (for the most part) seemed to understand the layout and flow of the space, understanding that movement through the booth is critical for an enjoyable shopping experience." (More about booth layout in a later post.)


Renegade Fair: Miss Charlotte said that a dress (playful coverall smock-dress recycling men's suspender straps) for $85 was marked as "reduced price for the faire" and probably on the $100 end at her Oakland Boutique "Field Day and Friends."

ACC: Many jackets started at $500 and up. There were scarves at lower price points in every style and fabric you could imagine.

Part 2 tomorrow includes:

  • WHAT'S "NEW"

 AND Miss Charlotte Kruk
Miss Charlotte Kruk, emiko oye, and Harriete Estel Berman in front of emiko's booth 315 at the American Craft Council San Francisco, CA show at Fort Mason.

Observations at ACC San Francisco 2013

ACCShow2013 035cu
Miss Charlotte Kruk speaking with ACC
seller Jillian Moore Booth 625.

On Saturday I dedicated hours to walking the aisles of the American Craft Council show in San Francisco, California with Miss Charlotte Kruk. Not only did we have each others company, but it turns out that Miss Charlotte had gone to the Renegade Craft Fair the previous weekend in the same exact building. (The comparison of the Renegade Show and the ACC will be a topic of a future post.)

In general, I thought this year's ACC show was better than previous years in many respects.

Before I even went to the show I was optimistic. For the first time ever, the ACC show was promoted on the local PBS television station and PBS radio. Bravo,this is a much more targeted promotion to the niche audience that would be interested in artist-made work.

1001_DesignAgencyCo_174The promotion for "Make Room: Modern Design Meets Craft" is just fabulous. This stellar idea gives craft an upscale design context. I hope they carry on with this idea.

This year's ACC seemed improved from previous years but, nevertheless, I'd like to review some constructive criticisms.

  • The designer rooms could have been bigger and included more craft objects. Some rooms had only one or two items from the ACC vendors.
  • It would have been nice to see a bedroom, kitchen, family room, or office instead of just living rooms. This would have allowed a broader range of craft media and objects featured including clothing, jewelry, cutting boards, lamps, mirrors, etc.
  • The displays also needed more lighting to feel brighter and alive.
  • Instead of placing all the "designer rooms" at the opening of the show, (where I rushed by anxious to see the show) I would have liked them to be sprinkled throughout the show. Perhaps placing the "designer room" next to the artists selling work in the show.

ACCShow2013 025
Yellow cube sculpture (in this photo) and red cube sculpture in the photo (above)  for Make Room: Modern Design Meets Craft by David Whippen, ShopFloor Design San Francisco.

More observations to share. Stay tuned for several post in the series about ACC San Francisco 2013 including stellar booth ideas, successful booth layout, display mistakes, signage, and a comparison between the Renegade show and ACC San Francisco.