Thanksgiving holiday weekend is also Black Friday - Cyber Monday shopping season, and Small Business Saturday. A great time to remember to shop local and shop indie. I got to do both at this outdoor art market.
It was perfect weather for an outdoor event -- overcast with a hint of fall in the air from recent rains, but no wind, rain or too much sun. Easy to walk around and see all the sights.. plus enjoy the food trucks!
I was joined on this adventure by my photographer friend Sarah.
We had hardly arrived when the sealife art at this booth caught my eye.
The art was available as prints with individual animals... or as baby blankets. The sea life is a counting blanket with numbers.
The animal one is an alphabet blanket with letters.
I wanted both!!
She also had greeting cards. My favorite way to collect and share art these days.
And check out her beautiful business cards! Any one of these would be a keeper for sure.
I had a nice chat with the artist. It's always fun to find someone new at a show... and watch them grow in the coming years.
Check out the terrific "About the Artist" page on their website.
If you are an established artist, wondering if you should have gone after that business degree instead... or if you are an aspiring artist, wondering if you should put down your art tools and pick up a briefcase... read the story of artist Cathy Zhang.
She closes with this quote:
"Thank you for welcoming my work into your home and I hope they bring joy to you and your loved ones. More importantly, if you are currently feeling the itch for something “better” out there, I hope you find the courage and inspiration to take baby steps toward finding the thing that brings you joy. It takes a long time, but don't give up."
Always tell your story on your website.
If you want to inspire others with your work, yes your art should do the talking, but don't neglect your personal story as a way to connect with followers. If you want to make a living as an artist, you need to build a fan base. You need financial support from them. Not just "likes" and "shares." You have to share what makes you a unique artistic vision people want to invest in. People don't invest in anonymous pretty pictures they can look at for free. I'm not saying everyone has to be making cuddly animal art suitable for all ages... but I am suggesting that your honest self is your greatest selling point. You will find your niche that way. Not by imitating others, but by having the courage to share your own truth.
Here are some of the cards I bought from her ...
Contact info on the back of each card!! Very important for branding. Help your art help fans find you.
I enjoyed many new-to-me finds at this Patchwork show...
One of my favorite finds is re-purposed items. This artist takes old yardsticks and makes them into handy and whimsical home decor items.
This booth was her first time as a vendor. I loved her enthusiasm. She was super at engaging attendees. Her people skills.. and her clever products... help make her booth memorable. Sharing your art story. Making a personal connection with people who are interested in your art. These skills are a vital part of building a customer base.
Her signs encourage attendees to interact with the boxes. Having an "experience" at your booth is appealing in this Instagram age.. and almost a necessity at bigger conventions where there is so much competition for attendee time (and sales).
Having that first booth is a big leap of faith and act of courage. It's also ageless.
You can start your art life at any point. Don't let age.. or youth.. inhibit you.
This young vendor had a table of needle art items she'd made herself. She's holding one of her favorites in this photo. It's never to early to learn entrepreneurship. Talking with the public. Handling sales transitions. Learning how to present yourself and your products.
I love bats... and picked up this one she had displayed on her xmas tree.
She also had business cards and stickers... and grit and game!
I was happy to see several booths with letterpress cards.
This booth had a particularly inviting set up that made it easy to browse.
The spinner rack was a great addition. A fixture like that can be especially helpful when you have a rush of customers, as people can browse even if access to the booth is temporarily blocked.
I enjoyed browsing her selection of beautiful, well-branded cards...
This art fair was brimming with beautiful handmade items like pottery, plush toys, accessories and attire.
I loved the beachy vibe of the resin art items at this booth.
Check out the dish artist Jamie is holding.
Click on photo below to enlarge and see the multi-level images of sea life depicted. Yes you could put one on the counter and have it hold coins or rings.. but why not buy a selection of them and make your own beachy tableau on the wall.
The Patchwork Santa Ana show covers about 3 blocks. Lots to discover in a picturesque setting.
This booth was another marvel of re-purposed vintage treasures..
Eyes Like Wilma
Each card is handmade from vintage papers.
The envelope is pre-stamped with vintage stamps with a total postage amount required to mail the card. So. Cool!!!
Our visit to this outdoor market always starts with treats at the food trucks on site.. and ends with a walk to this market a few blocks away.
Several small restaurants inside. Lots of seating. Nice restrooms. I was crushed that my previous favorite stand there -- Torch S'mores -- was no more.
This time, I ended the day with cookies from this stall.
They warm them in the oven for you before they serve them. Yumm!
An outdoor art fair is a terrific way to meet local artists -- shop small and indie -- and get away from your own desk for the day.
Here are links to previous Patchwork Show posts on the blog: