The holiday shopping season kicked off on Beaver Island today, with the annual Christmas bazaar. Sponsored by the Beaver Island Christian Church, and held in their Fellowship Hall, it’s a great opportunity to see the products of many island artists and craftspeople. There is live music, and a good selection of hot soups for lunch. There are more gift ideas than I need, this year when I’ve promised myself to cut back. It was a fun day.

I attended this year as a vendor. It’s been many years since I’ve done that. I find it excruciating to sit peddling my own work. I’m terrified people will not like what they see. It embarrasses me to see people try to walk past without making eye contact. If they stop, I refuse to try to convince them of its merits, to the point where I humiliate myself. I understand that my style of artwork is not for everyone. I simply do not enjoy being present for it.

I think the last time I had a table at the bazaar, I was selling a mass of winter hats that I crocheted. I thought that would be easier that sitting with my abstract paintings and collages. It was, a little. Still, it wasn’t fun.

Today, I was at the bazaar for the benefit of my cousin, Mary. She sews beautifully, and had, at my request, sent me a selection of her things. Her mittens are made of recycled sweaters, and lined in cozy fleece. Her large tote bags are sewn from vintage tapestries, meticulously lined with complimentary fabrics. As I was crazy about her products, but had no personal investment in them, none of my usual discomfort applied.

There was a steady stream of people coming through. Sales were good. Everyone was in high spirits. I managed to get a little of my own Christmas shopping done. The soup was delicious, and the music was wonderful. I had a good time!


About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

4 responses »

  1. As a “vendor” I can relate. I don’t create fine art, and I find that the fine art friends I have sometimes have a hard time selling at certain venues. I’m shown in an art gallery (at the request of the artists who manage) in a small town gallery in WI and have done very poorly with my product; however, I usually do very well at various local festivals and craft shows.

    One must seek their market, whether it be in galleries, art festivals, or church bazaars if one wants to sell his or her created items. That quest is always difficult.

    Suffice it to say, I think any artisan would feel much more comfortable selling someone else’s items. Those mittens look wonderful! If you’re selling your own stuff, well, you can only hope the soup is good.

    • I can’t believe your beautiful candles wouldn’t do well in any setting! However, I have seen where the presence of the artist makes all the difference in whether the work resonates with viewers or not, I tend to have the opposite effect: my work does fine when I’m not around. I think it is because I don’t come across as well as I’d like, or that I am not the image of the artist they imagine creating those works.

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