Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I survived ACC!

Elisa Shere, originally uploaded by tigerlillyshop.

After spending the first two months of this year preparing for ACC, I'm happy to say the event came and went with great success. If you are not familiar with the show, it is the largest fine crafts show in the country. I was very honored to be included in the AltCraft section, which is for emerging artists that work in alternative materials/subject matters.

The things I loved best about this show:

-Although some shoppers were confused about what the AltCraft section is, they were all very positive about what they were seeing. I received many compliments from shoppers regarding our section, they were impressed with the level of talent. Many said that my work was equal to what they were seeing on the main floor, which is an enormous compliment. A great deal of the vendors on the mainfloor are master craftmen who have been exhibiting at this show for years. The quality of metalsmiths is particularly high.

-Many shoppers had made things at some point in their lives and were interested in my process. Of course, I could talk about making stuff all day, so I loved answering questions.

-There was a lot of interest in my new line of bezel set ceramic pendants (there's a little peek at them in the photo above, on the right). That made me very happy, as this project has been swirling around in my head for some time and I was excited and nervous about debuting this combining of my two passions - pottery and metals

-I was very pleased with the lighting, chains and table provided (although, it was a bit wobbly). The chair was nice and high, so I could sit and talk with shoppers at the same time

-I did well with my higher priced items, which is always desirable.

Things that I didn't love so much about this show:

-The roped off AltCraft area. This was very confusing to shoppers and is just weird. So many shoppers asked me why we were roped off in a pen. I just told them it baffled me too, as this section is a great asset to the show and should be better integrated. It brings in a new type of crafer and shopper that this traditional show so desperately needs.

-The name AltCraft. It could mean anything. When asked what it meant, I just said that we were emerging artists that had never exhibited at ACC before and wanted to get a taste of what it was like to be vendors at this show. It seemed to be the simplest explanation to me.

-Gross food smells. I never thought when I exhibited at the biggest and possibly best, fine crafts show in the country I would have to deal with food frying right next to my booth. At an outdoor festival, I've come to expect this. But not at ACC. I survived 4 days of strong blasts of garlic smells. Made for funny jokes/conversations with my shoppers, though.

-Extra retail day. The extra day of retail on Thursday was a bit of a flop. There were very few shoppers, although I did score a great wholesale account that day. The show should really consider going back to three days - Friday - Sunday.

So, overall a VERY positive experience. It was so nice just to be at that show for 4 days, I love it so much. Met some fantastic new people, and had great times with my BEST girls. And came home with some great trades and purchases.


[nancy + andy] said...

Congratulations on a great show - It's very good to hear that it went well for you! (And I see not much has changed since 2008 - I can't believe they didn't get rid of the rope!) -Nancy

Designs by Leslie said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. I am glad the show was a success for you!

Sherry said...

I'm glad you had such a great experience, it's a wonderful show.

Genevieve said...

Congratulations! I was so thrilled to see your work "in person" at the show! (I wanted to talk to you but I took my husband and three kids to the show for the first time and by that point the youngest one was just finished.) I have been going to the ACC show (off and on) for 20 some years. (uh oh...that dates me) It is one of my favorite yearly events. What an undertaking on your part to be there! Well done!

The rope needs to go in my opinion. I feel like if you have made it through the jury process, you made it through the jury process and that should be that. They could offer smaller booths to new vendors, maybe different shaped booths(shallow), all in one row or something like.

Elisa Shere said...

Genevieve - Thanks so much for your very valuable insights and thanks for stopping by my table. It's flattering to know that folks are following my work, in person and online. I'm in the process of adding alot of my new ACC styles to my shop - so keep an eye out.

I too agree that the AltCraft artists did go through a jurying process, and should be treated accordingly. Being integrated onto the main floor would be wonderful and a lovely addition to the ACC show.