It has been awhile since I have posted anything and I have been struggling to decide how to approach the subject of Sunday art buyers. It has always amused me when someone asks for a discount because it is Sunday. For us each day is another opportunity to sell our work and it is never the last day for us. Our lives frankly don't include a day off very often and over the past two years I think we sometimes don't even know what day it is. I wonder sometimes what people really think when they see us at the shows. Do they understand what it takes for us to be there? Most of the time to be at any show requires a process that begins a good six months before. We are spending money early on just to apply to all the shows we do. Then we begin the anxious wait to hear if we are invited to a show or not. There are great shows that we simply can't ever get into and there are shows that even though we feel good about participating that we still must do the dance.There are a few months of the year when all we do is apply,wait and then have to pay for booth fees. It is a never ending job application and it is always a nerve-wracking time for us.
Once we are accepted and have paid the fees we still have to figure out how to get there and where we can stay that won't cut into our expenses too badly. We have friends who simply sleep in their vans but we have never gone that route. Just before the show we spend at least a full day packing up the van, always trying to guess what pieces will appeal at each show. Do we bring birds this time? Do we have a corner booth so we can display more? Then in many cases we start driving, and driving for days to get to the location of the show. We eat frugally and sleep in the least expensive hotels we can find. Once we arrive we may have to set up our booth in the dark of night,early in the morning or in the middle of a hot and windy day. We spend hours setting everything up, ever cautious about the weather.
By the time most people see us at a show we have already incurred a great deal of expense and we put our bright and shiny personalities to work to greet , to explain, and sometimes to discuss why we don't bargain. This is our living, it is not a hobby and every dollar we make goes into producing work, arranging travel and just plain living. We chose this life for many reasons and we are happy living it. The best friends anyone could hope for are usually only a few booths away at any show and we get to meet a lot of very wonderful people.
By the end of the show on Sunday, our work just begins. We have to tear everything down and pack up the van. If we are lucky we are heading to another show in a few days or we prepare for a long drive home. We are thankful for everything that happened over the past few days, even when it's not successful. For us it is just another day and we just get into the groove of what we have to do next. It can be a challenging life at times but it is our life and we are responsible for our successes and our failures. We wouldn't change a thing.
Bonnie Harmston works side by side with her husband Steve and travels the art show circuit with him.