Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Learning and Improving as I go

I had a show in San Antonio this past weekend. My wonderful husband went with me this time and we had a really nice time. The show itself was lackluster, by no fault of my fellow artists. There was rain both mornings, which I'm sure kept attendance down. In addition to that I don't think it was well advertised and the show was like a ghost town both days, despite the rain holding off throughout show hours.

This was my booth set up on Saturday.

We didn't put the back wall of my tent on because it was set up against a rock wall. It rained Saturday morning and water dripped down my vinyl banners and onto my table clothes, a minor annoyance. However, I would probably put that back wall up next time!

I woke up at 3:30 AM Sunday to a crazy show of lightening and thunder that sounded like bombs going off all over town. There was no rain at that time so I went back to sleep and never worried about my booth (probably a good thing since I couldn't do anything anyways). Well, by all accounts the sky opened up and dumped rain right after that lightening show. My booth showed it the next morning! When we walked up to the show one corner of my EZ up canopy had pulled off due to the weight of the water it was apparently holding. The other side held water still and was dripping, basically raining inside my tent. My plexi cases and displays inside were all soaked. I took it all in stride and handled it well, I must say. We found paper towels, dried out everything and had everything put back together, and only an hour after the show started.

I wish I would have taken a picture of what I first saw when I looked in my tent, but of course that was the last thing on my mind. This picture, taken with my fogged up camera shows the cases pretty much dried out and my pile of paper towels.

Breakfast tacos from the Gordita stand saved the day! Nothing like homemade tortillas at an art show. We could hear the lady patting out the delicious torts all day. Yum!

We have no idea what happened to our two neighbors. They never showed. On Sunday we took advantage of that by becoming a corner booth. I see the advantage of that now, it adds at least 3 more feet of display space to my set up.

I'm still really not sure what the solution is to EZ-Ups holding water. A fellow artist suggested that we need to weight down the corners of the canopy so that they can't hold water. It looked like the frame was bent a bit, so we will have to set the tent up and check everything out. If anyone has any suggestions for dealing with this particular EZ-Up problem, please let me know.

I also learned that I should get a corner booth whenever it is available, and I can afford it. Maybe even more important, the same goes for an indoor booth! They were available, and just a little more expensive. Though I'm not sure it would have boosted sales, at least you don't have the headaches of the weather taking its toll on your tent and displays.

Frank and I learned that we are capable of doing and out of town show with only the two of us. We are normally lucky to have tons of help from my folks, who are so generous to go with us to shows. I totally appreciate that they are supportive and actually enjoy going with me (I think), but it was nice to know that Frank and I could also go it alone if need be.


Kathryn Riechert said...

Some people put hula hoops or swim noodles in the inside frame work of the ez-up tents. The idea is that by pushing up against the tent, the water will roll off the top and not puddle. I've tried the swim noodle method with mixed results (better than nothing though). http://www.flickr.com/photos/kathrynriechert/2937117777/in/set-72157594381276479/
The problem is common to ez-ups. It doesn't matter how tight you pull the top, over time the fabric stretches and sags, and puddles form. Ez-up is sure to tell you that the tents are only 'water resistant' and not water proof. The water puddling has caused many tents to *collapse* under the weight!
When I had my ez-up, I would lower the frame to half height at the end of each day. This gave it added strength against puddles and a lower profile for wind disasters. I covered my inside tables with a vinyl tarps each night, so leaks didn't soak displays.
But the best thing is to invest in a better tent whenever it makes sense in relation to the number of shows you do. Light Domes rock!!!

Ashley said...

Thanks for the info and good tips Kathryn! Off to look at your photos...

Katie Do said...

I like that you left the back wall open from a design standpoint. It complimented the look of your work very well!

Isn't it great having such supportive people in your family? I am also very lucky to have people close to me that love (I am also assuming) to help me with my shows.

Lorena Angulo said...

Ashley !
I missed the show ! I wanted to go see you.
I did not know it was this past weekend.
I have your errings ;-} and was planning in giving them to you.

Ashley said...

Oh darn! You weren't the only one that didn't know. It was dead! You should sign up for my email list. I have your earrings ready too, so we can mail them if you want.

Connie Akers said...

Yes, we do ENJOY going to shows with you but, of course, it's good that you and Frank are very capable on your own. That doesn't surprise me at all. xoxo