I want to tell you all about Craft Attack, but my camera's not cooperating and I can't extract my pictures from it, so that will have to wait.

Instead, let's talk about the doing of a craft show.

It's a lot of work.

More than you think. Maybe more than you would sign up for if you really knew that ahead of time.

There's the actual making of wares, on top of keeping a steady stream of new yarn into the shop.

There's the packing and the planning (extra tags, a sign-up sheet for the newsletter, and on and on).

There's the setting up (tent, tables, lifting, carrying – always UPhill!)

There's the actual 6-8 hour show. The work of talking to people about what you do, why you do it and yes, why that yarn costs that much.
The standing for 8 hours without sitting. The lack of food (I hate to eat when I'm working a show, my stomach's usually too tense and I hate to talk with a mouth-full of food). The excess caffeine. The blasted heat.

Then there's the packing back up. Maybe driving (or flying!) back home. And the unpacking.

And finally, there's the aftermath. Credit cards to run, emails to answer, names to add to the newsletter list, packages to locate (every time I've done a craft show, something has gone wrong with my normal shipping. EVERY time.)

So why do it? Why inflict the pain upon myself (and loved ones)?

Because it's fun.

Sure, it's stressful, but it's the good kind of stress. The push-yourself-farther stress. The make-more-yarn-than-you-thought-possible stress. The talk-to-lots-of-people-despite-being-painfully-shy stress.

It's the chance to hang out with other people who do what I do. Who make and sell what they love. Who are clever, funny and so good at what they do. Who don't ask “Why?” but instead, “How?”

And oh! The customers! People see my yarn in person! And squeeze it! And talk to me about it! And then take it home and love it!

While writing this it dawned on me: I do craft shows because it's the one place, the one situation in which being a full-time yarnie feels good, normal, accepted. The people get me. They get my yarn.
It's a place to be me: handknit clothes, stripey knee-socks, pink-haired, yarn-making me.

And when I get home, back to my solitary studio, back to my online conversations, that afternoon of pure me-ness stays with me, buoying me, refreshing me.

To answer your questions and to help everyone branch out into this very satisfying experience, I put together a class, How to Rock a Craft Show.
If you’ve been thinking about doing craft shows or you’ve been wanting to them better,
check it out!

0 comment on The Pain of Craft Shows

  1. maya
    October 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm (10 years ago)

    sweet! 🙂

  2. Jenn
    October 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm (10 years ago)

    I have been considering doing craft shows or markets near my house. What stops me now is that I would need someone to be able to help me set up and take down (as I can only lift about 30 lb).

  3. tattyfraney
    October 15, 2009 at 3:03 am (10 years ago)

    I loved reading this, made me smile 🙂 sharing your joy!!!

  4. blondechicken
    October 15, 2009 at 3:56 pm (10 years ago)

    This is always a concern! I've found that all my friends have been willing and excited to help at least until they experience it the first time!

  5. craftytortoise
    November 12, 2009 at 1:10 pm (10 years ago)

    Thanks for posting this! I am about to attempt my first ever craft show. I am really nervous, but I think it will be fun… just like you said!

  6. craftytortoise
    November 12, 2009 at 6:10 pm (10 years ago)

    Thanks for posting this! I am about to attempt my first ever craft show. I am really nervous, but I think it will be fun… just like you said!