I am braving a subject I often have trouble clearly explaining but is a topic close to my heart. A comment on my last post (Hi Kris!!) asked me to explain the difference between the Artist's Market and the DIY section at the upcoming Artscape show. What a great question!! So juicy! I am in the DIY section, a mix of indie makers.
"I can't see or comprehend the difference between your work listed in the DIY section and the work of the 10 individuals listed in the Artists Market under ceramics. Can you shed some light on this?"
This is my personal perspective on the world of craft/ craft shows and there is a clear difference when I am doing a show. I started out like most doing small local craft shows, I did ok but could tell it wasn't really my market or crowd. I also didn't enjoy those shows or even want to shop at them. I've been involved in the indie craft scene for about 3 years now, however I took notice well before I jumped in! I'm not comfortable with the DIY title and usually refer to these shows as indie. I think of myself as a maker of indie pottery. And when I am deciding to apply to a show I first think about if I would want to shop it myself. I am not sure if a clear title has been declared for this change in craft but I vote for calling it the indie craft movement. Anyway, the differences: I feel that I fit in the DIY section because of my aesthetic, the indie craft shopper is looking for something non-traditional but likes the quality of my work. The Artscape site defines the DIY section by saying:
"Artscape is supporting the emerging DIY trend by creating an entire section of the site dedicated to hip and talented new wave crafters."
I love this definition, so I am hip and talented and after all the years of making, I am new wave! Thank you! Ok, back to the definition! I think that when the traditional shows are being juried they are looking for the best in the various craft fields. By best I mean the most skilled and technically correct according to standards that those shows have established. The indie shows have a different way of jurying, I've never juried a show but I believe they choose their makers more like a boutique would pick their merchandise. The shows are styled somewhat. The makers are at various stages in refining their craft, some starting out and some are very well established but what brings them all together and makes sense is that they will appeal to the same shoppers. It's more about a scene then just building a fine craft show. And this I find so exciting. It is a brilliant way to plan a show, I remember the first time I went to an indie craft show - I ventured up to Brooklyn to check out the Renegade Craft Fair, I was looking forward to it for months and so excited to see all the makers in person. After shopping the fair I knew where I needed to be. I was one of them! Knowing your market is very important so while it is an honor to be accepted into the well established fine art/craft shows (which are expensive to do and come with a long list of rules) it is not the best business decision if that is not your market.
I hope this helps shed some light onto the differences between the 2 sections, really to see the difference you just need to attend an indie craft show. There is an excitement in the air and usually some good indie music!!
I welcome all comments and corrections on this subject!