I tend to participate in craft fairs only during the holiday season. I’m sure I could pursue farmer’s markets and summer craft fairs if I really wanted to. However, there’s something about the season of gift-giving that makes me all giddy about presenting my art to the community. I want my art to be the gifts they give.
I come from a rural area where everyone knows everyone. At these local holiday craft fairs, acquaintances come to my table to talk with me and update me about their year while they’re looking at my sculptures. Some people remember the sculptures that were there last year. You wouldn’t believe how many people see my sculptures as little living things with feelings. They are sad that the sculptures didn’t find a home last time, so they end up adopting them after all! It’s fun to see people discover my new sculptures and oooh and aaah over their favorites. I like to see which sculptures stand out to which people. It tells me a lot about their personalities, or the personalities of the people for whom they’re buying gifts.
Of course, there’s always those people who walk right by my table with nothing but a glance. That happens to me all the time. The whole idea of being at a craft fair is that my art will attract some people and not others. Some people are more attracted to the table next to me. I find that to be a compliment, actually. It means that my art has a place in the world, for the people who want it.
In fact, I’m attracted to other tables, too. Those artists are introducing art to the world that is very different than mine. I like to own and give gifts that are handmade. I like knowing that the things I own were made with care, love, and are a piece of that those artists’ hearts. I think the art I make is worth being cherished, and the same is true for all artists’ work. So this is the beauty of craft fairs. It’s a bunch of creators saying “This is who I am.” That’s what art is, isn’t it? It’s who we are.
Sometimes people will reach out to me after the craft fairs to let me know how the gifts were received. I love knowing that my art brings joy to others. I create things that didn’t exist in the world before, and now they belong to other people!