Philip Edward Harding

Fairs and festivals, 2017

Preparing my fair application -- setting up my booth in the studio to see how it will look. I used to show at some local fairs in the 1980's and 90's but had given up because it was so much work and I rarely sold more than two or three pictures. In the winter of 2016-2017 I found myself worried about money and a few modest sales now seemed worth the effort. I refurbuished my old display panels, prepared a sellection of work ranging from small craft items to large works on canvas and began submitting my applications.

This is my set up at the Custer's Show in Spokane in March. Many people loved my work and I had great conversations about art, but after fees, travel, lodging, food and almost no sales I ended up about $500 in the red. (Every vendor I spoke to said sales were down compared to past years.)

Although people enjoyed the larger work the coasters and occasional print was all that sold.

This is my set up at the Custer's Show in Pasco. This show was the same as the Spokane show except the venue was close enough to my home I didn't need to spend money on lodging. Again, many good conversations but very few sales -- a net loss of several hundred dollars. What really made the Custer shows hard to endure was the same "contemporary" commercial pop music tape played over and over both days of both shows.


This is my booth as set up at ArtFest Spokane. The mood of this show was much better than the Custer shows. Maybe it was just being outdoors but the people seemed much more interested, engaged and in generally high spirits.


One thing I was not prepared for at Artfest Spokane was the rain. At the last minunte I had changed my booth size from 10 x 10 to 10 x 15. While that made a big difference in the feel of the space my canopy was still only 10 x 10. I knew it rain was a possiblity so I packed some rolls of plastic. I had to rush to cover exposed works on day two but that didn't seem to deter people's enjoyment of the show.


At Artfest Spokane the coasters seemed to sell well. In the picture to the right you can see I only have a few left. Something new for Artfest was a sellection of pendants. A friend showed me how to make them after the Custer shows and they seemed particularly well suited to the many mandalas I had been making over the years. Between pendant and coaster sales and a $200 award for 2D art I think I actually broke even.

Bend Summer Festival was the worst show I've ever done. The show was over billed as a top rated place with lots of buyer but it turned out to be very hot and slow. I must have lost $700 or $800..

A detail of my Bend Or booth. I had decided to go for a larger, 10 x 20, booth which let me a larger sellection with room to walk around.

Detail of my Bend Summer Festival booth.

At the "Art Walk and Wine Gala" in Prossor I forgot to turn the camera around to shoot my own booth. This is the view from my booth to the stage that featured live music all evening. Although I didn't sell much it also didn't cost much so I came out ahead. It also had a nice feel to show and so it is one I look forward to doing again.

An overview and four details of my booth at the Allied Arts Sidewalk Show in Richland. Being in my home town I couldn't miss this show. Plus the booth spaces were big (15 x 15 or 15 x 30) and much more affordable than most shows this size. I got a double space which really let me spread out and show my stuff. The down side was that my booth was in full sun for two hot days.

This is my booth at the Tumbleweed Music Festival, At 10 x 20 I think this is the optimum size for showing my work. I also added an awnning in front to give a little extra shade to the front table. Tumbleweed turned out to be a nice show. It was affordable and there were not so many venders as other shows. At shows where are several hundred artists you start to see people who have seen too much and can't procces any more. At Tumbleweed people seemed more relaxed as they stopped and looked at the art. Or maybe I just think so because I sold my first original picture of the year, not just pendants, cards and coasters.

No November 11-12, I opened my house/studio for the 14th Annual Tri-City Artist's Open Studio Tour. This house is one I built and designed myself and the front room, at the intersection of the two wings of the L shaped house plan was intended from the start as a large multipurpuse art studio, class room, and exhibition space.


View to the left as you enter the studio entrance.


Here I have a much larger sellection of pendants. I have really been injoying making countless variation and have been mining the approximately 40 years of making mandalas.

Here I have an expanded sellection of coasters including some with magnets on the backs shown stacked up on two vertical steel channels.

On the way to the main entrance hall you walk past a card holder featuring a large collection of square cards with many of the same images found on the coasters and pendants.

View of art in the house's main entrance hall, which was turned into a show room for two days. On the left side of the picture you can see back into the studio and the studio entrance.

I forgot to turn the light on in the picture to the left but it is on here.

The opposite wall in the entrace hall. I forgot to photograph the rear wall that featured framed and panel mounted prints of various sizes.

I considering setting up at conventional holiday bazzars around town but in the end only went to the "Holiday Bizzare" at the Emerald of Siam, in Richland.

The Holdiay Bizzare turned out to be a nice low key evening. There was no charge to set up and a sold exactly $100 worth of pendants, coasters and one framed print.. Unfortunately that water glass in this picture got knocked over moments after I took this picture.

The Bizzare people gave me a nice long table where I could spread pendants on my left and note cards, framed prints and coloring books on my right.

I haven't decided where to show next year but I want to stay close to home. I am tempted to try joining the artists and craftspeople at Richland's Farmer's Market in 2018 and then start opening my studio as a weekend gallery in 2019.



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