Have you been thinking about applying to one of our shows, but you’re not sure how? Or are you new to doing Art & Fine Craft Shows? Below are some tips on how to apply, and increase your chances of success when applying to HGC Shows:
For an “Art & Fine Craft” show, we only accept art and craft work that is original and meets the following criteria:
EXCELLENCE IN CRAFTSMANSHIP
Highest quality execution of work
Mastery of medium
Highest quality materials
Functions as it should (if applicable)
Choice of materials and methods shows innovation and mastery
Reproduction work must be historically accurate
Style that sets work apart as that of the individual artisan
Individual identity that makes work recognizable as belonging to that artisan
Original – not copied, not kit-made, not from commercial patterns, or class projects
The jury will score submitted applications on the basis of these standards.
Essentially, what is not accepted into the show is:
- Anything made from a kit or class
- Mass-produced items
- Imported work, even if it’s created by individual artists elsewhere
- Any MLM product, even if it is craft related
- Food and other consumables
The tricky thing about categories is that we use categories as a way to maintain a well balanced show. No one wants a show that’s all one thing (unless it’s a show that is advertised as a category specific show.) So how to you pick, especially if you use more than one medium?
Let’s say that you do woodworking but you also incorporate resin. Technically, you could choose the “Multimedia” category, but if you advertise yourself as a woodworker, or if you could not do your craft without the wood, then Wood would be the appropriate category for you.
Another example would be is if your primary medium does not fit a specific category like resin. Currently, there is no “resin” category, but if you are someone whose primary medium is resin, then “Multimedia” is a good category for you.
We do allow for shared booths, especially for business partners/family businesses. BUT – at least one of those persons must be a member, and both artists must be in attendance for the whole show. While we do understand that some artists do have people who they hire to help with some production, company representatives are not welcome*. The artist themselves must be in attendance.
So if there is more than one medium represented, there are two ways to apply:
- A single application under the “Multimedia” category. However, both partners’ work must be represented in the jury photos, and the description should be clear about identifying the partners and the mediums. The jury will score the application as though it is a single artist, so we also strongly recommend showing at least one collaborative piece to show a unified body of work.
- Each partner applies under their own category in separate applications. In the application itself you can also indicate that you plan to share a booth, and both partners should list each other as the person they want to share with. The photos supplied should be of just that partner’s work, however, the booth shot can be the same for each partner.
*We have exceptions for limited circumstances, and those artists must make arrangements with us before the start of the show.
So far, the Jewelry category is the most competitive and hardest to get into. That is primarily because there are just so many jewelers. In addition, because there are so many people who are not jewelry specialists, but also make jewelry in addition to their other pieces we have found it necessary to allow for applicants to apply for their category with “Jewelry as Adjunct.”
If someone applies in their medium with the “Jewelry as Adjunct” then the jury will score them primarily in their medium, but will also give consideration to their jewelry as part of their overall score. If there is space in the jewelry category, and if the jury feels the jewelry on its own merits is good enough, then that artist will be permitted to sell jewelry along with their other work in the show. However, if either the jewelry category is full, or if the jewelry does not pass the jury on its own merits, then that artist may only display and sell in their category without the jewelry.
Here are some important things to remember about applying in any category with “Jewelry as Adjunct.”
- You must show at least one or two photos of your jewelry.
- More of your photos should be of your primary medium. The jury will be primarily scoring your work on that.
- “Jewelry as Adjunct” is not a way to avoid the competition in the Jewelry category. If we see you applying with “Jewelry as Adjunct” and your application is more about the jewelry than your primary medium, then you will not get in to the show.
- Just because you are not given the green light to sell jewelry does not mean that we didn’t like what we saw, or that you’re not in the show at all. It probably just means that the category is full. For anything jewelry, we give our artists who specialize in jewelry priority when it comes to that category.
A “well-balanced” show is a show where no one category dominates the whole show.
The easiest example is Jewelry. The majority of applications will almost always be in the jewelry category, and many jewelers will pass our juror’s standards! But not every Jeweler will get in to the show.
As a rule, we do not let any category dominate more than 20% of the total show. That is why some people will be waitlisted even if the show is not completely full. We feel that it is better to have a smaller, well-balanced show than a completely full show that is dominated by any one category.
For every application we require a total of 6 photos. Five of those photos should be of your work. One MUST be of your booth/display.
Essentially, this is the most important part of your application. Your photos will either help you get in to the show, or completely sink your chances of getting in.
For all photos:
- Size matters. A tiny photo will not have enough detail for the jury to accurately score your work. We ask for a minimum 1400 pixels wide on the largest side. If you want to go by file size, look for something in the 1mb to 3mb range.
- All photos should be in focus. Blurry images will not help you.
- Good lighting and color balance is important. We should be able to see everything in the photo clearly and easily.
- Take your time and take the best possible photo that you can. For both booth shots and photos of your work, it’s easy to see the difference between people who took time and care to take their images and those who gave in to the temptation to take a few quick shots when it was convenient. Even if you are not the best photographer in the world (and most of us are not), the difference is quality is huge – and that translates to the jury’s score.
For photos of your work:
- Plain, simple and clean backgrounds is best. Avoid textures, backgrounds and “interesting” settings. The jurors only want to see what you are selling.
- No props! Don’t put fruit in the basket you made. We don’t want to see a close up of someone’s ear to show off the earring you crafted. The jurors only want to see what you’ve crafted, and all of the focus should be on that – nothing distracting. The only exception to this should be holders. And those should “melt” into the background as much as possible.
- Everything should be in frame. With very few exceptions (for example jewelry chains), your entire piece should be in the frame. Don’t crop the left edge of your wooden bowl because your thumb was holding it. Put the bowl down and then take the photo.
- Use photos of recent work. Photos do not age like fine wine. While the jury may have been impressed the first or second time seeing your image, they will become less impressed as time marches on. An older photo that you have used many times before may actually begin to hurt your chances of getting in to a show. Especially if you have applied to one of our shows before, take the time to update your photos.
- Remember that we use jury photos for marketing! The cleaner, the photo, the better the odds are that your photo will be represented on our marketing pieces.
For photos of your booth:
Always include a booth shot. Your overall score will have at least 1 point deducted if there is no booth shot, and that can mean the difference between getting in to the show or being rejected or waitlisted.
What are we looking for in a booth shot? Overall, we want to see that you have a clean professional looking display. Here are some other important points to remember.
- Take the time to set up your booth/display and take a good photo. While you could do a decent shot after setting up at another show that you’ve done, it will never be as good as the one you take when you are not pressed for time or under pressure. This is a huge part of putting your best foot forward.
- There should be no people in your booth shot, including you!
- Your booth shot should also be clear and only have the art you intend to sell.
- Match the booth shot to the show whenever possible. If it’s an indoor show, submit your indoor setup. If it’s an outdoor show, submit your outdoor booth. If you do not have a good clean indoor shot, it’s still better to submit a good clean outdoor shot than none at all.
- Only your booth should be in the photo. If you did take it at a show, at least crop out any other booths around you.
- Your booth should be contained. If you are outdoors, your tent walls/sides should be up. Inside, you should have walls/partitions up. Or – if you are just setting up a single table, behind your display should be a plain, blank wall.
- Remember that we are looking for professionalism. So we want to see nice, professional-looking displays, tables with tablecloths that reach the ground in a space that is not crowded and the work can easily be seen.
- Hide your name. Leaving your banner blank is fine. Better yet, take the photo without your signs up.
- Declutter your booth shot. Take out about 25% of the product you would normally stock. I would recommend removing your lowest priced items as they are usually the least impressive and add the most clutter, especially to a photograph, where they can’t really be seen anyway. Example: cards from a painter, baskets or holders for small items, etc. This makes for a cleaner, more professional and more impressive booth shot.
First, we all have to start somewhere! So there is no shame in asking this question.
If this is your first show, you will need to figure out how you will display your work at a show at the application stage.
Begin with figuring out what kind of space you will be applying for. Then from there, here are the bare minimums needed for an HGC show:
5×10: You will be able to fit in a 5×10 space a standard sized table (2.5’x6′), and a chair. A small shelving unit instead of a table would also work if you’d prefer that. You should also strongly consider getting some sort of backdrop or back wall. Our facility does not allow anyone to hang anything on the walls, so having your own backdrop will not only look much better, but it will also be useful for hanging signage.
10×10: You will need booth walls/backdrops. A 10×10 space can also fit up to 2 standard sized (2.5’x6′) tables, chairs and potentially a small counter. Shelving units or racks will also work in that space.
Here are some suggestions and resources for getting booth walls:
Use a 10×10 tent frame. Using a 10×10 straight-legged tent frame is a perfectly good solution. Use the frame as the structure, and then hang drapes. The most cost-effective drapes at the right size can be found here: https://www.onlineeei.com/shop_drapes.cfm. Keep in mind that you will need 3-4 panels per 10ft.
In a pinch, you can use the vinyl sides that you would for an outdoor show (that sometimes come with the tent) would also work. It’s not recommended because it can make your booth hot and uncomfortable.
Note: ALL tent tops must be removed as this is a fire hazard!
Purchase a pipe and drape kit. If you plan on doing more than a couple of indoor shows a year, especially a show that requires booth walls (and may even have a more strict policy than we do), then you may want to look into buying a pipe and drape kit. The best resource known to us at this time is: https://www.onlineeei.com/portable_backdrop_kit.cfm
To get a 3-walled booth, you would purchase 2 Kits, and then an extra horizontal extension rod and additional drape panels.That added benefit, is that you can jury-rig this set up into a smaller (like a 5×10) booth. You would use the uprights as-is, but instead of the horizontal rods that come with the kit, you can purchase standard extendable curtain rods at a home improvement store (the ones with the “L bend” in them) and place the bend on the hollow top end of the vertical uprights. You would just use as many of the curtains in your kit as necessary to complete the look.
While upfront it is an extra expense, you will save a ton on rentals if you plan on doing high-end indoor shows! (And you can have a color other than black!)
Room Dividers/Privacy Screens. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. As long as your display looks clean and professional, you are good to go! So you can always do a search for Privacy Screens on Amazon (or shopping site of your choice) as an option for creating booth walls. Aim for something no shorter than 6ft tall.
Propanels/Other Professional Displays. Depending on your medium, you may want to consider investing in a professional display system like ProPanels (https://www.propanels.com/) While it is definitely an expense, it is a solid investment, especially if you are planning on doing more high-end shows. Don’t forget that you can purchase them second-hand as sites like the Artist’s Garage Sale Group on Facebook. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/304583956319136)
Requirements for all booth sizes:
- For all tables/counters you will need some sort of covering or tablecloth on all publicly viewable sides.
- All boxes, bags, purses, lunch bags and display luggage needs to remain hidden throughout the show. This is where tablecloths can come in really handy.
- You need to keep yourself and your display contained to your space.
- Displays are neat and well-organized. It should not look like something you would see at a garage sale or flea market.
A note about repurposing: Sometimes repurposing an object and turning it into a display works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Keep in mind that overall you want your work to take center stage. If your repurposed display makes your work look cheap, and/or distracts from the work itself, reconsider using that as a display piece. Keep in mind, that just because you can get something for cheap, and it will hold your work, does not necessarily mean that it will serve you well as a display piece. Also keep in mind, when our jurors view your booth photo, if they are distracted by a repurposed display piece, it will almost always not work in your favor!
Ultimately, take the time to figure out how you would display your work, then set that display up and take your photos for the application. Don’t worry about if you will change your mind or vastly improve before the show. We need a good idea of how you will showcase your work, not a perfect replica. But at the same time do not “throw together” a display and then mention in the application that you are “working on it.”
Regardless of whether you get in to the show or not, we want to give everyone a chance to continue to improve themselves!
To view the comments that the jurors will sometimes leave, you can go to the link: https://www.entrythingy.com/d=haverfordguild.org#dashboard.
From there, you will see a list of all Haverford shows still up on the site. For the shows that you have applied for, you will see a link to your application. Click on that link and you will see complete entry. At the top, you will see a section “Juror’s Notes” and you will be able to view the notes and comments that the Jurors had left for you.
Please keep in mind, the purpose of the notes are so that you know what impression your application had on the jurors. We provide strictly constructive advice regarding either your work or your photographs. The purpose is to give clear direction on what to improve to better your chances of success.
Sadly, there are a lot of people on social media who try really hard to scam people into sending them money, and one of those ways that we’ve seen first hand is some random person claiming that they are accepting applications to XYZ show.
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from getting scammed:
- Google the show name and research the show. If the image that the person posted looks any different from the show’s other marketing pieces, then don’t trust that social media post. Also look for a show website or webpage along with Facebook events.
- Find the organization’s website and ask through their contact form. If the person on social media is legit, then they should be able to confirm that.
- Call the venue the show is supposed to be at. Not every venue posts an online calendar, nor will they promote another organization’s event. However, they will know and should be able to tell you if that person/organization booked the space for that day.
- Be very wary of any payments going to an individual, or solely through PayPal or Venmo or any other cash app.
For any and all HGC Shows:
- Every application before the posted deadline will only be accepted through Entrythingy. Application fees are only taken through the Paypal portal on EntryThingy.
- Waitlist applications are by invitation only. The way to get invited is to reach out to us, and we will send you a link that will take the application through our website. That’s it.
- Booth payments are only invoiced through the Haverford Guild of Craftsmen Square account. Checks can be made out the the Haverford Guild of Craftsmen, or credit cards are accepted through Square’s system. That’s it. We will never ask you to write a check out or send a payment directly to any individual.
Most of all, trust your gut. Even if something feels off, ask or slate as a show to visit before you apply.
In our booth layout process we try very hard to space out mediums and avoid clumping categories. We also try to avoid undue favoritism and assign booth spaces as randomly as possible. What works in our favor is that our venue is a square/rectangular space so there are no second rooms, or hallways to direct people down, so foot traffic is very even across the whole venue. There are no true ‘dead zones.’
Unfortunately, because of these priorities, special requests for booth placement are almost impossible to grant.
However, we do allow for shared booth spaces. So, if you and a friend want to be placed next to each other but you would still like to have individual 10×10 spaces, then on the application, request to share a 10×20 space. Our 10×20 spaces simply double the cost as a 10×10. From there you can either combine your display or simply divide the space up evenly between yourselves. Just bear in mind that at least one of you will need to be a member of the HGC.