madshutterbug (madshutterbug) wrote,

Yulee Railroad Days

For something entered at fairly short notice, despite a couple of untoward yet minor incidents, and perhaps because of some problems with other peoples dogs, we consider Yulee Railroad Days this past weekend an unmitigated success.

Been a goal for a while to show (and sell) my artwork, along with Herself's, and to that end the past few years I've been gaining experience if not sales going to Necronomicon in October. As a brief aside, I'm planning on being there again this year. This, however, is an indoor show along with the Con. Certainly I'm open to other Cons and will (albeit slowly) pursue that as well, there is another venue which is weekend art festival type events. Yulee Railroad Days fits into that category at least generally, and is quite local to me making the logistics easy and a good choice to begin with Outdoor Shows.

First of all, a roof over your head. Might be able to dispense with this if the weather is absolutely guaranteed benign. Define benign, and here in North Central Baja Jorja that includes shelter from the sun itself, much less rain. No worries, though, as we've got several pavilions of different types, including four of the 'easy up' (not to be confused with 'EasyUp (R)') expanding type. Two of these we purchased since Herself uses them when merchanting at SCA. The others, and there are more than the four I mentioned total, came along after being abandoned by owners at various sites due to damage. Mix and Match the fabric top with other frames depending on the damage exactly, and look - functional pavilion. More perhaps later on pavilions overall, now it's sufficient to say we've got this covered. Pun intended.

Next, one needs display space, and here is where things get either complicated or simple. Display surfaces or bins need to be transported; weight is important, so is some rigidity. We've seen everything from professional displays to pretty nasty home-made frames. Most of the professional displays are fairly heavy, to boot, though not all. After looking at these over time, I'd decided some type of grid is the best bet.

For quick and easy there is a type of ... well, landscaping is the primary use I suppose ... lattice which is available either in wood or PVC. Both also need border edging for a bit of rigidity, though if being built in the structural elements provide that. We picked up two of these at 2'x8' (60cm x 240cm) at Lowes and opted for a single edging channel to provide both a bit of rigidity and support while suspending the lattice for display. The first use of this occurred at Haile Plantation Farmers Market on March 12, the weekend Haile moved the farmers around the corner for a weekend arts festival and we capitolised on that to show some of our photography.

Used the same display for Yulee Days, however there is still sufficient flex in the system that the slipstream at 30 mph / 50 kph causes the panels to flex, upward, and while I kept my overall speed below legal minimum still managed to crack one of the support channels. Served to support while hanging, needs to be replaced, and I intend to re-configure the setup anyway. This constitutes untoward incident #1. Reconfiguration is still under consideration, involves most probably expanding the display area, and some other details. Which is a separate discussion.

Untoward incident #2 involved purchasing a bunch of frames on sale at an art/craft supply outlet. Turns out not all of the frames are usable for our re-sale, with either the glass being chipped or the frame cracked (plastic frames), or both, which limited the number of pieces we could display. Also in this group is that some of the prints we got made, while specified to a size, didn't get printed exactly to that size. Those prints will require custom, not standard over-the-counter mats. Ah well. Matting (and framing) is one of the bigger expenses here, and we're moving to doing more of that ourselves. Different discussion though.

So. Summary. Pavilion over our head, display on two walls, small table to support a bin with matted yet unframed pieces, a chair, a cooler with ice, water, some food, all fitting into the car. I'm somewhat jumping the gun here, yet that lists what I loaded up. Portfolio box, holding large mat works (16x20" / 40x50 cm), the bin they'll go into holding middle size mat works (11x14" / 27.5x35cm) and the framed pieces, is how we transported our stock to the show, with the bin doing double duty to display. We used one of the small folding-leg tables that we've had for years, again which went along with Herself to either SCA or the recent farmers markets.

Which, those tables (large & small) are showing signs of aging and need replacement. Another discussion though.

Setup took about 40 minutes, working alone, to a point where I could consider things ready to go. Some detail work needed to be done, things which in a perfect universe will be done pre-load to event. I am sure you will be shocked and amazed to learn we do not live in a perfect universe. With the show start time being 09:00 and setup done by 8:20 I found plenty of time to attend to those details.

Hmm, what did I leave off that list above? Ah. Office. In the bin is a small zippered bag, a cash bag if you will or if you've seen the deposit bags retail business' use for their end of day receipt deposits to their bank. Extra pens and fine-tip felt markers, a receipt book, business cards & holder and post-it notes rode in there. A slightly larger portable office will most likely prove necessary. This can either be one of the several brief-case style bags we've got (old laptop transports, eh) or another small plastic bin itself. Example, the S-hooks mentioned to suspend the display lattice need a transport storage, as do the smaller ones used to hang the framed works on the lattice.

Still, setup complete (with details like Signage and 'Sale Prices Today, Ask! notes up) inside 60 minutes.

This being a first-time outdoor showing I figured I'd be happy simply showing the flag and artwork. The organisers for Yulee Days don't insist on a booth fee, they do ask for donations and specify that if the vendor doesn't make any sales, they understand if they can't donate. I planned on donating regardless. TANSTAAFL, and I'd like to support this show for future attendance. Been a spectator in previous years even if not regularly, and want to support it still.

Morning hours the crowd moved through steadily. I've seen larger crowds working Hoggetowne Medieval Faire or helping Herself at Haile, and smaller crowds as well. Fairly good notice of our work on display, with compliments. One question from a youngster about to start a photography class about which is the best Nikon camera to get. Not sure I answered the question satisfactorily from their point of view, or rather fairly sure I didn't as I mentioned no specific model. I did tell zer the reason Teacher says a DSLR (rather than a point-and-shoot) is for the camera controls. Whatever model purchased need to be able to set Manual, Aperture, Shutter or Program priorities. I have no idea why Teacher specifies Nikon, or perhaps a small one. All of the serious amateur DSLR models, regardless of company, will make good technical quality images. Nikon's biggest advantage is they use the same lens mount system since they first introduced interchangeable lenses.

I'd not figured on making any sales, quite happy with the prospect since I considered this a reconnaissance in force of sorts much like how I moved along displaying at Necronomicon. I did, however, sell a framed print. Buyer felt drawn to it right off, didn't have cash, asked where the nearest ATM was (disappointed there wasn't one nearby in Downtown Archer [such as Downtown Archer is] and not interested in heading over to the Perkins Bank, closest ATM). I took a check for it, should work, it's part of business. Later, we may engineer an expansion to our ability to accept Plastic.

Sold an 8x12 print of Peak-a-Boo:

The crowd continued pretty steady through the morning with the only slower part during the Parade. Some of the other events of the day took place more Downtown-ish and pulled the crowd that way during their presentations, and still they'd walk around. After the first couple of Major Events, though, with the heat of the day setting in and after lunch was served by the local Masonic Lodge (not a freebie, a fundraiser for them), the crowd thinned pretty quickly. Gate hours ran from 9 to 4, but by 2 many of the vendors started breaking down and by 3 most of us were gone. I stayed later than some, primarily just to watch the course of events.

One of the publicised sub-events involves a local resident who is also an active American Civil War re-enactor participant. Fellow owns a couple of reproduction field pieces, as in muzzle-loading cannon, and obtains permission for public demonstrations of such on various occasions. Yulee Days is one of those. I find it highly amusing that since he lives across the street from City Hall, usually the gun is aimed at that edifice for the demos, which involve basically Salute Charges rather than actual loads. Three demo times were scheduled for yesterday, 11:30, 12:30, and 13:30.

Shortly after the first BOOM (which I expected, and knew from experience is something Houdini Would Not Like hence part of the reason he didn't come with me), and down the sidewalk behind our booth spaces ran a very scared young dog trailing a leash, and by about 50 yards an adolescent male calling the dog. Hope he caught up with his dog, or that the dog was running home. Dog wasn't stopping.

Yulee Days is a dog-friendly event, and most of the dogs there weren't so startled or scared by the cannon or following musketry, but at least one other one was a bit more Want Out Of Here. Better controlled by his human partner, though.

So. Summary over all. Pavilion works. Display needs re-configuration and some expansion, new table(s) for both of us since we set up at two separate events this day. Need a larger stock of framed pieces available to fill the hole made when (if) sales occur of framed pieces. Matted stock takes care of itself, and want to separate the mat displays into larger, middle and smaller sizes. Signage OK, wants improvement. Prices we displayed in Herself's portfolio book which is how she's been showing work at Haile, wants a separate sign for the Art Booth.

And I sold a piece. One. Which is Greater than Zero.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: art, business, life the universe and everything, photography

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