Monday, September 29, 2008

Pensacola Seafood Festival 2008

I went to the Pensacola Seafood festival yesterday - the last day of the event. The weather really cooperated , and it was beautifully sunny , but HOT. I went with my friend Leslie H. and we got there about 1 pm.

Okay, the first thing that could have really put a damper on the day happened when we parked the car. Leslie drives a sweet little black Mercedes convertible, and after driving around looking for a parking space close to the Seville Square, we saw an open space in a small lot that was actually free- not $5 as all the rest of them were. She turned into the lot, and the driver at the stop sign must have had the same idea at the same time --- there was a bump and some tears (on the other drivers part) , but no real harm done. (I would have been really upset if it were my car, but Leslie took it well in stride and was determined not to let it ruin our day. I wish I could be so pragmatic as she is!)

Anyway, we walked a block or two and entered the crush. I do mean crush! I don't know what the numbers were but I'm sure it will turn out to be something like 80,000 at least in attendance. The booths were lined along the X that is in the middle of Seville Square, along with several on the outlying streets and places we didn't even get to see.

Leslie had a mission to find two artists she knew and we browsed the show looking for them and poking into booths. The variety of artists was astounding. I especially loved the guy who had all the worlds coins and cut them out with a jewelers saw. That was really cool. Lots of pottery ( which I love of course), some great jewelry, lots of painters both good and bad, and some weird, hard to classify stuff, too.

It wasn't easy to get around sometimes, just because there were so many people. I hate getting bitten in the back of the ankles by baby strollers or having someones funnel cake wipe powdered sugar all over me - but it was just part of the scene yesterday. Did I mention it was hot ? Oh, wow, it was sweat running down your backside hot. I had an icy cold budweiser and that kind of took the edge off it.

The festival is "Seafood Festival" after all, so of course there was food. But, it was super expensive and walking past the rows of food booths made me a bit queasy since all you could smell was hot grease. Ick. The live music was great and there was plenty of seating for listening or eating.

We couldn't stay too long due to other plans, but it really got me excited to do the Pensacola Seafood Festival next year as an exhibitor. After seeing what was there, I know I'd fit right in. Maybe paintings, maybe jewelry - I'm not sure yet, but I have a few months to decide.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Art Festival Time!

Yesterday I attended the Navarre PHunFest, held on the bayside park along Highway 98 in Navarre, Florida (my hometown!). This park is right on the water and a wonderful sea breeze kept the heat and humidity to a minimum. The weather really cooperated, but I was a bit disappointed with the quality of art at this show. There were way too many resellers there for my taste, an not enough original artists and crafters. That could be because there is a really big Art show in Pensacola this weekend and most of the best artists were there.

The festival was sponsored by the Parrothead club and benefitted the local zoo, so it was a good cause, and it was pretty well attended, but I think it would have been even better with more artists and less "junky-junk" booths. I went with my new friend, Leslie, who is a huge local patron of the arts. She's really enthusiastic, and a good buyer, so it was my duty ( I felt) to steer her away from the Slipada/mass market jewelry and the punched-out earrings. She bought a nice handpainted table, a painting, a handmade blanket and a stained glass windchime. We also saw some nice boxes with shells glued on - but a bit pricey at $50-$90 each; and a local painter with abstract jigsaw puzzle shaped paintings, fairies and mermaids. Overall, the quality of the art was so-so. The local Parrothead club was having a good time and listening to the band while nursing hangovers, the Zoo had lots of animals for the kiddies, and I bought a $3.00 bottle of water!

I met the guy in charge of the Navarre Festival of the Arts show, and he wasn't too happy to let me in with jewelry. That's irritating, because I would think they would be happy to have any kind of artist-made items. This is Navarre, after all- not Miami, Destin, Seaside or Sedona. Navarre is too small-time to be picky. The last time I was at that show, the booths were really average overall. There is not enough visibility for this show for them to be so choosy, in my opinion - but anyway, they do run the show- so what can I do about it. My friend Leslie assures me that she is tight with the organizers and can guarantee me a place, jewelry or not - so I guess I won't worry about it.

Unfortunately, I get a bit of a rude vibe from some of the people in charge of the Navarre Arts Association, which is not useful for attracting artists to their organization. It's a shame, because this could be the next artists hotspot. We have it all; good weather, customers, beautiful scenery, etc.
I hope things look up for the local artists. We can only wait and see.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Etsy woes and the crappy economy

Well, firstly, let me apologize for ignoring my blog posting for so long. Really, it's inexcusable, given all the support from you who've come by to check on my posts. It's been a busy and hectic summer and I am always running short of time!

My sales at Etsy have taken a severe hit the last 6 weeks or so, and I wonder how much is due to my lack of promotion in the Etsy forums and how much is general economical malaise. I've chatted with a few other sellers, both newbies and established online shops and the consensus is that sales in general are in the crapper (a favorite phrase that can rarely be overused!).

In case you are an Etsy seller, you may be following some of the turmoil that's plaguing Etsy in the search results. I'm not totally in the know, so take my explanation with a grain of salt. Apparently, when items are listed or renewed, they are not always being posted to the search results. Instead, etsy is posting items in batches. In other words, items may not show up in the search for minutes, or hours. If I pay .20 to list an item, I'd like to see it at the top of it's search category, but with a batch post- I may be on page 3 or 4 or 20 right off the bat. Not good.

So, with the renewing/listing problem going on, I wonder if I suffer sales by letting my shop sit without the exposure of renewing (renewing is paying another .20 to have your item at the top of the search results).

Of course it could be the economy, stupid. It almost makes me feel a teensy bit better for having no 401K or stock portfolio. I watch lots of cable news and listen to NPR during my hour long commute to work daily, and the news is not encouraging. I wonder how long it will be before the average Joe and Jill, especially, feel good enough about spending money to want to shop for little luxuries. I think most people are quite scared just now and things will get better the closer we get to the holiday season. Perhaps things will be looking up in a couple of weeks.

Until then, I'll keep creating!