The carnies are in town! That means weekends full of free music fests, rides, bands, fireworks, games…you name it.
My busy show season also kicked off in Montauk around the same time the carnivals came to Vermont. Vendors from the northeast sold their hand-crafted items in a juried fair just steps from the beach and within walking distance of downtown. If you’ve been to Montauk, you know that there’s a huge wait list for camping at Hither Hills, and camping is at a premium. Shockingly, vendors were allowed to camp right on the show grounds for a crazy low price. Tents, u-hauls, and campers dotted the perimeter of the historic grounds, tucked among the trees. Vendors congregated at the end of the show days like a bunch of carnies, displaced for the weekend but part of some dysfunctional family all living in close proximity to each other out of our respective vehicles while peddling our wares during the daylight hours.
If you think about it, traveling to do shows is a lot like living the life of a carnival worker. It can be full of adventure, road trips, great for business, and…exhausting. I’m doing something new this show season; I’ve mostly pursued being a part of large, juried shows instead of the small town ones. That means being on the road almost every weekend in September and October. And after selling out of pallet furniture in just one show at Montauk and not being able to get my act together to build a lot in the winter and spring, I need to start building up a huge stock of inventory in the upcoming month.
And it’ll mostly be large pieces like these.
Tables. Benches. Chairs. That’s what sells at shows. Unfortunately, that means the pieces are large and heavy. For years now, people buy an item from me and try to drag it to their cars with a strange look on their face: pure joy for purchasing the one of the kind reclaimed wood piece mixed with an equal amount of pain while trying to figure out how to get the heavy item not only IN their vehicles but then into their homes.
My work recently gotten the nickname “agony art” by a fellow artist who had a booth space across from me who watched customers leave my booth with purchases all day long.
Every year during the show season, I vow to build smaller and lighter stuff for my sake while traveling and setting up and also for my customers.
It’s not happening. Build what you love and build what people want. Looks like agony art is going to be around for awhile.
These tables are made from reclaimed barn wood and fence pieces. All different sizes and styles and finishes will be available at the upcoming shows. For more information as to where you can find these pieces at shows this summer and fall, please visit the show schedule link on the home page.