Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lessons Learned: Outdoor Show Challenges

This weekend, I'm participating in the King Mountain Art Fair in Woodside, CA.  It's a very nice wooded location but this means that there can be obstacles with trees and hills.  When I checked out the show, I was a little worried to see that some artists had their booths on plywood.  And, when I received my artist packet, I was a little concerned when the organizers suggested bringing a shovel, rake and pruning sheers as well as offered that you could purchase pine shavings as ground shavings.  So, I decided to check out the space, which is pictured below.

You can see the angle of the slop in the background.  Fortunately, we were able to set up early and thought we made progress until we actually set out the glass.  Here's a few lessons learned:
  • In a place like this, you can dig out the dirt to make the booth level rather than add shims (block of wood that raise up the tables).  I had tried using shims but it was really unstable.
  • Even though the tables "look" level, it helps to actually measure with a level.  There were some issues with the glass wanting to slide in the direction of the slope when we set out the glass, so my husband had to do some last minute digging and I had to prop up some of the glass.
  • It helps to put some sort of ground covering on top of the dirt.  I used folded tent sides under the table but I would consider getting a rug.  I would suggest Mad Mats, which are made from recycled plastic and can be washed off with a hose.
  • And, if you notice the photo above, there's not much sun in the booth location, so I rented lights to highlight the transparency of the glass.
  • We played around a bit with the lights and found that the best way to highlight the transparency is to aim it at the tent sides and let it bounce back. 
  • Finally, it's important to be flexible with your booth layout.  I had to rearrange my normal layout based on what I was able to do with the tables (and how slanted they were).
And, here's the set up booth with the lights and revised set-up.  I'm very happy with how it turned out as the glass really stands out.  The lights give it a nice sophisticated touch.

Booths are one of those things that are constantly evolving.  Mine has not changed that much but I have plans for a booth upgrade next year.  I'll post photos when I change it.  In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for improvement, let me know.

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