Monday, June 9, 2014

Preparing for Jackson Hole Art Festival

I know we have discussed shows before and I have shown what my truck looks like but it is an entirely different scenario when packing for a long distance trip.

My destination in a month is Jackson Hole, Wyoming and I am excited for this show but not looking forward to the drive even though it will be beautiful country.

From the day I received the notice I made it into the Jackson Hole Arts Festival I began to work on my gasoline budget, food budget and expenses for the eleven hour drive and five night stay.

Packing nineteen pieces varying from 5 pounds to 50 pounds, which by the way no one ever gives you a class in packing, you have to be so careful. Your work must be packed to protect it from not only the elements but also just the vibration of movement for eleven hours.  Even the texture of fabric can rub a place on a patina.

I wrap (after cleaning and inspecting) each piece in bubble wrap or the thick pressed foam wrap then again in a moving blanket.  Then label each piece. (By the way if traveling in the south in very humid weather you would have to re-think the bubble wrap).  These pieces I pack carefully in tubs (the best are Rubbermade-Roughneck).  These are tough and can stack if they are not too heavy.  All is then tarped down.

Zapplication shows are very particular about appointed times given to set up or tear down.  You have no more than one hour and 30 minutes to set up your 10 x 10 area and unload all work.  Then the truck and trailer have to be moved elsewhere.  (Often they take your license plate number and threaten that if they see you parked anywhere near the area you will not be invited back.) Sometimes you are not allowed close to your space so I usually pack two dolly's along with my twelve pedestals.  The back of my trailer has a ramp type gate so easy to dolly pieces right off the back.

Two weeks before a show I check each pedestal, use wood hole filler for any nicks from last trip and repaint.  Nothing detracts from a piece worse than ugly or scratched pedestals.  I wrap these individually after drying with the same plastic moving company's use.  Take this with you for pull down because you don't want them damaged before the next show 2 weeks later.

It will be even more complicated because we are going to a mountain area that has evening rain so all needs to be tarped.

Making sure all your business needs are in your brief case- Iphone, square, receipt book list of pieces and prices and those all necessary labels for each piece.  An artist name tag is great also unless provided.  I even have a small money bag to keep checks and cash intact.  If possible even figure tax ahead of time on a sheet for convenience.

I have a file with all paperwork, bio, authenticity papers, artist statement, care of bronzes and an explanation of process. Include the all important business cards that I display in two acrylic holders.  I also carry extra bubble wrap, tape, stapler, scissors, tape measure,  pen and pad. Always remember "what could happen, will happen" and be prepared. Some shows will not let you wrap pieces sold where they can inspect going out but others let you as long as the patron shows his receipt so take along extra bubble wrap.

Last but most important, if a work gets damaged in transit please do not think "oh hopefully the patron won't notice".....this is an example of your personal work that will be in someones' home or office for probably the rest of their life...let it be only your best. Wrap that damaged piece back up and pack it away.

Now since I am camping to enjoy the great outdoors hopefully I can find a shower and electricity somewhere. Add to that load a tent, tub of cooking tools, cooler, stove etc. fishing fly rods, a very large lab and hmmmmm..........if you are a fellow artist, good luck on your shows this year and if you are a patron reading this, hopefully this gives you an idea that we just do not show up and all is magical, it takes a lot of work both in clay and on the road. We hope that you enjoy our work as much as we enjoy showing it. Hopefully we will all come home with fewer pieces than we took.