Category: crafts

Anatomy of an Art Fair Display Part 2

(Continuing Anatomy of an Art Fair Display Part 1, which featured the main items involved in an art display setup. Now for a closer look into the nooks and crannies of the display!)

9. Curtain Hooks – I used curtain hooks to support my framed pieces. Be sure to get the ones with the super sharp ends! I was not happy to find the first batch of hooks I bought were the blunted kind, which equaled much cursing and trying to stab a carpet with a blunt object and failing. ($2 a pack at Lowe’s)

10. Rotating Counter Rack – Great for the display of small prints or greeting cards and you can put a little sign on top. This particular rack has been with me for years now and has survived! ($35 at Displays2go)
11. Portfolios – I used an Itoya portfolio to display my large prints.  For the art cards, a simple trading card album worked well! ($5 – $11 at Hobby Lobby)

12. Print Bin – Actually a collapsible file box. Bottom comes out and it folds down, making it much easier to transport than my solid heavy print bin.  I’m thinking of replacing this with a much more rustic looking woven rectangular basket from Lowe’s (which is advertised as ‘closet storage baskets’). ($10 at Walmart)

13. Necklace Forms – I prefer the white ones as they show lint and dust less and my jewelry stands out against them. ($12 at Joanns, Hobby Lobby, and Michaels.)
14. 3 Tier Rotating Rack – These racks come with three levels of hooks which are great to display small items like bookmarks, keychains, earrings, and bracelets.  You can adjust the level of the tiers or remove them completely.  ($26 at Store Fixtures, USA)
15. Mannequin Head – This head came with pierced ears, making it great for displaying jewelry in addition to masks!  ($26 at Store Fixtures, USA).
16. Minion (aka. Mom) – Art fairs are sooo much easier if you can trick someone into working for you in exchange for food!  That way you can actually use the bathroom without having to burden your neighbors with watching your stuff while you run as fast as you can across the street to the poddy and back.  Minions also make load in and load out 200 x easier. (Priceless! I love my mum.)
17. Director’s Chairs – My family was already using these to stake out sporting events. They fold up for easy transport and are much more comfy than plain folding chairs.  The drink holder is handy as well if you don’t want to put your cup on uneven ground or on your table with your art. I think we got these chairs at Sam’s Club, but I am unsure.
18. 3 Tiered Plastic Magazine Rack – Great for books, prints, and anything roughly 8.5×11 in. shaped! ($30 from displays2go.com)

19. Visa/Mastercard Sign – A simple plastic sign used to notify customers that I take credit and debit cards. I printed it off on cardstock and slipped it into the stand. You’d be amazed at how comforted people are to know that you can accept plastic money! Many people don’t carry cash anymore, either because they prefer not to or because they’re trying to limit their budget. Accepting cards is a good way to be that evil influence prompting people towards impulse purchases. That sounds bad, but hey, it’s true! ($5 at Walmart or Staples)

20. Business Cards – Always ALWAYS have plenty of these on hand for customers (or for trading with your neighbors!) Networking is one of the biggest assets of actually venturing outside of your art cave and attending events!  I usually buy mine in 1k bulk packs from Vistaprint when they have special offers. They usually toss in a free pen or ink pad too, just watch that you don’t click to confirm any subscriptions during their lengthy checkout!  I hear redtagprintsale.com has some nice prices on biz cards, but haven’t tried them yet. (Roughly 10 cents per foil stamped card at Vistaprint.com)
21. Crushed Velvet Table  Cloth – This piece of material has been with me from the very beginning! It’s actually just an oversized piece of crushed velvet I got at the store when it went on sale. I’ve used it as a backdrop when photographing crafts, as a backdrop for hung pieces, and also as a way to cover up my table when I leave and don’t want people to be tempted by what’s left underneath. (Approx. $3 a yard on sale at Joanns Fabrics)

And that’s all for now!  I’m curious to see how my display will evolve over the next few events.
I’ll be sure to let everyone know once it has leveled up!

Back to Part 1

Tutorial – Photographing Glass Tile Art Necklaces

While I was uploading necklaces to my Etsy page, I took a few setup photos which I thought might prove useful to someone out there. So here goes my impromptu tutorial on photographing glass tile necklaces!

For those who are unfamiliar, glass tile necklaces are necklaces made by affixing artwork (or a reproduction of the artwork) onto glass tiles with special glass adhesive. They’re a fun way to pass the time and some of my best-selling items at conventions.

MATERIALS


First, you will need a few things. Obviously, a camera is a given! I use a Nikon D50 which allows me to focus manually, if need be, and control the shutter speed/F stop. Any camera with decent focusing abilities should work, however, since we’ll be photographing in bright light, which is easy to focus in. (More on camera settings later!)

1. Tabletop with Covering – This is just a simple waist-high nightstand with a dress skirt draped over it. The skirt is a light material with vintage patterning on it which makes a perfect backdrop for my style of necklaces. I don’t recommend strong bold patterns as a backdrop since it can detract from your items.

For the purposes of this tutorial, we won’t even be seeing the vintage backdrop, but it is useful when photographing other styles of necklaces that require you to capture the necklace display and part of the background (like this).

2. Twist-tie – It’s hard to see in this image, but that’s a twist-tie. I use this to hold together the cord or chain of the necklace, should it be too long to display properly on the velvet display.

3. Necklace Display – This is a flat style necklace display that you can grab from the beading section of any store like Hobby Lobby, Michaels, etc. for just a few bucks.

4. Cardstock Backdrop – This is just a simple piece of white cardstock which you can get from any craft store that sells scrapbooking stuff. I took a stock photo of marble and edited it to a neutral low texture image then printed it onto the paper myself. This will act as our main backdrop for the art tile necklaces.

SETUP

I set up my small table in our sun room, which has large open windows that let the light stream in on sunny days. If you have direct sunlight streaming in, you should put up a white muslin sheet or bedsheet to diffuse the strong light. That way your items will have soft shadows instead of harsh ones. This keeps your glass tiles from having strong reflections in them that can obscure the art underneath the glass.

Arrangement – The items are arranged so that the light is coming in from the right side of the necklace, making the shadows stronger on the left.

I took the images for this tutorial in late afternoon when the sunlight wasn’t streaming directly in, but rather bouncing off other objects, making the light less stark without a sheet to diffuse it.

Alternatively, days with consistent, but light cloud covering work just as well.

Camera Settings – Honestly, I keep it simple and use my camera set on Automatic with the file settings on FINE JPEG, that way they are relatively small file sizes with large dimensions. You don’t really need raw or huge files for Etsy, since the site displays files fine at a minimum height/width of 450 px and a max file size of 2 MB. You can take huge pictures so customers can zoom in, but I find that if they can make out a decently focused image of the item that having huge pictures is not necessarily required.

Since the lighting is so bright, you don’t really need to tweak your advanced settings unless you want to make your white balance perfect (but this is beyond the scope of this tutorial). I do recommend the use of a tripod (which you can get at Walmart for $20) to keep your camera steady.

Step 1. Lay the cardstock against the necklace display. This should leave enough room for the ‘neck’ part of the display to be exposed.

Step 2. Drape your necklace over the neck part of the display. If the necklace is too long and runs onto the tabletop, use the twist-tie to bind the cords in the back.

Step 3. Use your camera’s focus brackets to line up the lens with the very center of detail in your tile. I always take at least 3 shots of any angle on a necklace to make sure I will have plenty of variations to choose from.

Step 4. Load them up in Photoshop and tweak them to your liking. Personally, I tweak the Exposure and Gamma (Under Image>Adjustments>Exposure) of my photos till their brightness and detail matches my needs. Smart Sharpen (under Filters>Sharpen) can be handy when a photo is slightly out of focus as well.

PRESTO!
The finished product, prettified and arranged for Etsy!

See this necklace on Etsy