Monthly Archives: August 2015

Upcoming classes in August and September

If you’re interested in learning something new, I have several classes (both old and new) available to take in Toronto at Beadfx, in St. Catharines at Craft Arts Market and at the Grand River Bead Society Show and Sale.

First up, next weekend August 28 and 29 at Beadfx, I’ll be hosting an Open Metal Studio on Friday night from 5 – 8 pm. For $20 you get full use of all the tools in the studio and my support and expertise. Start a new project or work on a UFO. We always have fun.

On Saturday I’m reprising two of my most popular classes: foldforming and twisted, forged bronze bracelets. Both involve lots of fire and hammering and give you lots of satisfaction, plus a beautiful piece of jewellery (or two) to wear home. Check out class details at beadfx.com or call the store at 416-751-1911 or toll free at 1-877-473-2323 to reserve your spot for any class.

And speaking of Beadfx, don’t forget to come out on Saturday, September 12 for goodies, prizes, the launch of Marilyn Gardiner’s book and the opportunity to preview all of my (and other teachers’) classes set for this fall.

In September, I’m teaching four classes here in St. Catharines at Craft Arts Market on James Street. On September 19 join me from 10 – noon and create a lovely charm bracelet while learning basic and wrapped loops, design basics and finishing techniques. From 2 – 4 pm I’ll be sharing my Infinity Bracelet pattern as well as how to make small charms on the amazing Now That’s A Jig!

Also at CAM on Saturday, Sepember 26, from 10 – 12, I’ll be sharing a new class I’m calling Barrel of Monkey Pearls Necklace. Fun and elegant and you’ll learn basic wire wrapping skills. In the afternoon from 2 – 5 I’m teaching my bead embroidery class. Call the store at 905-684-1333 or register online at craftartsmarket.ca. Classes are typically $50 and include kit costs.

The very next day, on Sunday, September 27, I’ll be at the Grand River Bead Society Show and Sale where I’ll debut a new leather cuff class that uses the Big Kick and Sizzix dies and incorporates riveting. That’s in the afternoon from 2 – 4:30. In the morning it’s your chance to learn how to frame a treasure with unique bead embroidery. Details will be on their web site at grandriverbeadsociety.com.

Finally, before I leave for an exciting artist’s retreat in the South of France on October 6, I’ll be presiding over an Open Metal Studio on Friday, October 2 at Beadfx. Then on Saturday, I’m offering two NEW enamelling classes. In the morning, I’ll be exploring new and special effects you can achieve using different inclusions in your work. In the afternoon, I’ll debut the class many people have been waiting and asking for – flame enamelling.

Sign up early, as many of my classes tend to sell out quickly. Most have a cap of eight students.  I’m excited about the Fall and I hope you join me to learn a new technique and perhaps start gift making for the upcoming holiday season.  I’ll post my end of October and November teaching schedule in a few weeks.

Both sides of shows — marketing and booth placement

So I have a unique perspective on sales shows, since I’ve worked both sides of this fence. For many years I organized and executed indoor and outdoor shows for artisans through my positions with the Word On The Street (WOTS) and the Queen West Art Crawl (QWAC): big outdoor events drawing thousands of people and smaller events such as an outdoor market during the summer in Parkdale. I have to say, the concerns that I had running a show were/are congruent with the concerns of the artists/creators selling at the show. We are all small businesses trying to make every penny we can to survive and to make every penny count. 

As a vendor at a show, you have to respect the time and effort the organizers put into a show, and that they are trying to please a lot of different audiences – from vendors to attendees to funders/sponsors and other stakeholders. They are truly working hard to do the best job they can and are putting in more hours than you can ever imagine to make their event successful. You have your part to play in making an event a success so don’t think you can pay your booth fee and sit back while the audience and the dollars roll in.

In this market, and in this world dominated by social media, it’s essential that you work with the organizer of every show you take part in to promote it to your audience and friends. It’s the only way to build an audience for the show as a whole. Your customers become other people’s customers and vice versa. You can’t rely on the organizers to draw the audience. But a good organizer will prepackage ads, PDFs, Tweets and messages for you to copy, paste and share to your social media peeps. If everyone involved does this work, leveraging our collective audiences, the event can only grow in size and in reputation. 

Placement in a show is important. High traffic areas often come with a higher price for a reason. But if your display doesn’t invite people to come in and browse easily, then you negate any special placement. There is nothing a show organizer can help you with there. The show organizer is in charge of booking a venue that is convenient to get to, easy to access and in a high traffic area where customers who buy products such as yours are known to frequent. If the event seems to be moving around a lot over a period of years it might not be a very successful one to take part in, or it is a show in search of an audience. Do your homework and ask other vendors about a show on FB sites like Toronto Craft Alert. 

I could go on and on about show management by organizers and vendors. And perhaps I will next week….