Arts and Crafts Show Reviews 2013--June

Celebrate West Hartford

I've now done this show 4 years in a row and like a lot of shows it changes every year.  This was a good year.  Despite the torrential rains on Friday making it impossible to set up ahead of time, Saturday turned out to be dry by 8 am and sunny for the rest of the weekend.  So traffic was great.

This used to be more of a fine art show years back from what long time vendors have told me.  There is still a lot of art and while last year artists didn't seem to be doing very well, it sure looked like this year was much better.  I saw several medium to large canvases pass by my tent.

There is still a lot of jewelry at this show and for the first time we had another jeweler next to us (usually not done, particularly at the better shows).  On Sunday my daughter was there to help me out so I got a chance to walk around and talk to people.  Most were very busy both days.  But some jewelers not so much and at least one won't be back next year.  One bead weaver I saw there last year returned this year with lower priced pieces.  I think in general, high end jewelry doesn't sell particularly well.  I did sell a couple of pieces for over $100 on Saturday as well as some $75 & $80 ones.  But Sunday it was all under $50.  The jewelers next to us had lower price points and were offering discounts if you bought several.  They did a very good business both days.  I know the textile people had lots of people in their tents but I can't tell you if they were selling well.  Children's toys, on the other hand, did quite well.

I recently heard from another vendor who was at the show.  Her experience was a bit different from mine.  She is a paper artist whose booth was to the right of the town hall and closer to the food vendors and rides, and she told me: I was there this year, for the first time. It was much more of a "summer festival" than I was prepared for. The crowds were terrific, but many folks were carrying food and balloons. There was face painting, etc. LOTS of families, kids in strollers, dogs. (I love all of these, but it wasn't an art festival.) Most of the artists around me were disappointed and said they would not return.  I made a point to watch people walking by, and I rarely saw anyone carrying purchases. 

Though he may have been here before, I saw Robert Alan Hyde's wire sculptures for the first time.  He does large, incredible pieces.  His horses are so realistic.  While I wasn't able to buy one, I was fortunate that he had some small jewelry pieces displayed.
My daughter and I are going to share this one.

This is a 2-day show the second weekend in June.  Cost is $200 and it is juried.  The craft show takes place on the park in front of the the town hall in W. Hartford with food vendors, local community groups, rides, and music behind the building.  While the back has a carnival atmosphere, the craft show area is quieter.