Art and Craft versus Craft Show

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Since we plunged back into the summer festivals Steve and I have been careful to select events with a more elevated perspective of what is art, handcrafted, locally made.

When we first started we were open to trying any shows… and yes, we spent a few long days sitting next to the booth with quilted kleenex boxes, and crochet toilet paper holders.  Nothing wrong with that , but is it crafts…   We began to see how fascinated people have grown with buying a ton of beads, and simply stringing them in basic runs, nothing elaborate.  They were not making the beads, or crafting a fine design.  Just string em and sell em.

Now these 3 years later we are seeing such a proliferation of bead stringers and basic jewelry sales that we are frustrated.  The elevated idea of selling your art, the work of your hands, the skills finely honed next door to a bead stringer is enough to really frustrate most artists.  And the worst is that portion of people that buy cases of already strung beaded jewelry from china and decide to sell them as their own.

I am  trying to gather my thoughts here, after reading an extensive post on facebook from a person I respect as a mentor to me.  She has been a part of the Art community in Cleveland for a while, and she understands the market.    Here is her quote:

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend at some local art fairs… there’s a lot of crap being exhibited! 
What is up with all the spoon and fork jewelry? WTF? This isn’t 1975… wood framed sunglasses> really? Too many artists [besides the bead stringers] are assembling commercial pieces parts.
Original and creative artwork is becoming an endangered species!

I agree… and i really wonder if there is a solution.  Too many shows?  Too many people out there?  Loss of knowledge or care for what makes it into events?  This is growing alarming to us as well.

I would love to hear your thoughts…. please leave me a comment about this idea.