It is officially holiday season, and those of us in the indie craft business will not be sleeping until January.
My first event is this Saturday (official invite here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=130802956975131
) - and like usual I ended up over-booking myself for the week/weekend with a holiday showcase, DJ event and an essay due all within a 72 hour period.
So I invested in some energy drinks to pull me through the weekend!
I remember when I was a child and I'd attend street fairs and craft fairs with my mother and fantasized about vending at such events, thinking that being the artisan selling your goods was somehow glamorous and fascinating. Now I know:
Ask any artist/designer and we will tell you we have no time, we have little money, we don't eat, we don't sleep, we don't vacation, we rarely hang out with friends and all of our free time is spent CREATING!
I quickly realized I had found my niche in life after my first few craft shows - which were the only place I found other people that UNDERSTOOD what it is like to be compelled to CREATE! And I don't just mean sewing this and glueing that - I mean full-on life-consuming-relationship-destroying creative addiction. It's not just a hobby, it's a dependency.
People say to me all the time. "This is sooo cool! I wish I was creative like you!" I assure you - you don't. Unless you want to spend all of your excess income on thread and wire and glue and (o.k., yes) - lots of fun and pretty beads and fabrics and paints and what not - well you don't want a craft business! Trust me - it is not as exciting as it seems.
Sometimes I wish I WASN'T creative and content with working ONE job during the week and having weekends off to leisurely attend all of the events I am vending at and then going to a movie or out to dinner with friends etc. When you are selling your blood, sweat and tears at these places you rarely get to leisurely enjoy the event. The call of the craft drives indie artists and designers away from any form of leisurely lifestyle.
We watch movies while we make our crafts - going out to a movie takes time and money away from the art and the business!
I admit, I even persuade my friends that want to spend time with me to come help me do simple business tasks and work with me while we hang out. However, if they didn't enjoy my company otherwise, I doubt they would put up with my getting free labor out of them when I need it. I have good friends that help me when I need it, despite my blowing them off in favor of crafts more than I should...(heh, thanks guys! You know I love you!)
Anyway, I must say that having a craft business really is rewarding as much as it is exhausting, and that is why I still do it! I am excited for another holiday season and at least while I'm vending at these events I get to do my own holiday shopping - buying and bartering with my fellow crafters.
I reccomend buying handmade and local for as many of your gifts as possible this year because local artists work REALLLY hard to offer quality items to their customers. It's also better to get something more unique and special as a gift! If you are in the greater Seattle area I'd be happy to share suggestions of where and when you can shop local art fairs this year - just leave a comment!
Now, I'm going back to work, because it's only 3am and an artists work is NEVER done (especially during the holidays!)