"You lose some, you lose some."

No, wait, that’s supposed to be “you win some, you lose some,” isn’t it? Huh.

Hey, I heard this joke from my potter friend Bill Van Gilder the other day. A glass artist, a wood crafter, and a potter put their funds together and buy a lottery ticket, and end up taking home a million dollars each. A news team is interviewing each one to find out what they’ll do with their winnings. The glass artist pauses and looks into the distance. “I’m planning a trip to Murano, Italy. I’m going to buy a villa there and spend my days on the beach and eating pasta, at least until my money runs out.” The wood crafter replied: “I’m going to buy a yacht and sail the world to all the places where the most exotic woods are found, at least until my money runs out.” “And what do you have in mind?” the reporter asked the potter. “Oh,” she replied, “I think I’ll buy a booth and exhibit my wares at craft fair after craft fair all over the nation – at least until my money runs out.”

And that’s pretty much how my weekend went. After months of anticipation and frantic work, I ended up paying Moorea Marketing $300 for the pleasure of sitting in 100 degree heat and sweating to death (the only other time I’ve ever sweat that much was in the jungles of Guatemala). And that $300 isn’t even counting the $60 I spent in rush shipping various necessities.

I was so sure that this would be my best market yet: their target audience was 21-35 with a median income of $65K. And they looked it: that’s why I (and all the other participants I talked to) am so mystified. This fair had all the makings of a great one – tons of rich, slightly tipsy people, and I was the only potter there – and yet no one was buying. Period. Everyone I talked to was blaming it on the oppressive heat: it was like a sauna. No one had enough energy even to look around.

Well. So now I’m $300 poorer, but at least I don’t have to stress about making anything for my October fair. And I did learn some very important things: 1) never, ever do an outdoor fair in Maryland in the heat of summer, 2) people attending fairs without “art” or “craft” somewhere in the title may not be there to buy arts or crafts, and 3) wear sunblock when your husband tells you to. It doesn’t matter if it’s just reflected light, it wants you red and crispy.

I’ve got high hopes for my next fair, though (will I never learn? -laugh-). Art on the Avenue is in its 11th year. It’s even bigger than the last fair: 200 vendors instead of 100. I’m sharing the booth with Ann, which means a fun weekend and less work manning the booth. It’s in Alexandria, where rich people live. And even better, it has “Art” in the title.

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