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Festival of Quilts The Golden Rules of Exhibiting

exhibiting at FOQ 2018Festival of Quilts – my lowdown on the ins and outs, up and downs of exhibiting.

I exhibited for the first time at the Festival of Quilts this year that ended today 12 August 2018. I am sure it is a dream of many amateur quilters as well as professionals like myself. It was a huge learning curve and I had exhibited before both with knitting and gardening, but had forgotten some of the golden rules. So here are a few tips for all budding exhibitors:

1. Exhibiting is more about getting your name around than making sales

2. Basically you are ready to exhibit when your business has surplus cash and your accountant (if you have one) tells you that you have a large tax bill and it’s a good time to do a promotion

3. If you are a hobbyist, do not even think of a show like this – it is extremely expensive and not for non-professionals. You need a professional display and this is a learning curve.

4. What do I mean by expensive? The smallest stand will cost in excess of 1,000 pounds and you might only get a tenth of that back (like I said it is not about sales). Sellers deserve every sale because without them the show would not exist.

5. In addition do not forget electricity, card reader, hotel, travel costs to and from the show, food, parking (that alone cost me over 40 pounds for two nights when my helper came and insurance (obligatory). You will also need promotional materials and banners etc. reliable internet connection is charged as an extra. Do not make your leaflets and literature date or show specific.

6. Long days are hard on the legs, staring at the opposite wall if you hate this sort of thing. You have to be willing to engage often unwilling visitors and have stamina and a lot of patience. Just set up and take down are a nightmare. I think meeting people is the most enjoyable experience. A competition might engage people and be a talking point.

7. Don’t forget to get across your message and communicate.

8. A professional stand means potential customers will engage. No handwritten signs and make sure all quilts displayed are of a professional standard.

9. Have someone with you so that you can have a rest, go and eat and use the loos without worrying about your stand.

10. Don’t believe everything people say about shows. There are lots of people who talk of nothing but theft at the shows, I did not have anything stolen. It is tough work and hard to recover the costs of exhibiting, no matter how hard you work. Sadly most people visit for ideas, yet the trade stands are the only reason the show exists. Have a range of items from low cost upwards to hopefully make sales. Above all enjoy it, it is an unforgettable experience. Just enjoy it.

Next week – don’t miss my pick of the best of the show.

Images have been posted in the Quilting Design Course fb group, for those who are members.

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New Products Six Month Retrospective of Art, Craft and Textiles

New products – a look back at the last six months. I have worked so hard on my core skills of writing, teaching and publishing. Here are the new products:

The last six months have seen me create a brand new website of new products

In the last six months, I have launched six new ebooks providing inspiration for artists in every field. These include numerous photos you can use to create your own work, no matter what kind of artist you are. The ebooks also include examples of my work (these cannot be used but can inspire). The six titles are
1. Skies
2. Rust
3. Bark
4. Lichen
5. Coast
6. Stone and Strata
They can all be viewed here
The next title in preparation is Desert.

My digital work receives a lot of interest. The question I am most asked is ‘How did you do that?’. To answer that I created an Advanced Photoshop ecourse. It is Advanced in that it takes a few processes but is still simple to use and produce the effects I do. You can purchase it here.

As my main focus is now quilting, there are many ecourses and tutorials I have created for quilters. I am still finishing the writing of two ecourses for hand quilting, which will be launched shortly together with a beginner’s quilting course. I have been busy hand dyeing and rust dyeing fabric too. I intend to expand the range further. These are found under the supplies section of the website.
A future focus will be an ecourse in colour and themed work.

My main focus for the next two months is getting ready to take part in the Festival of Quilts for the first time and to showcase my ecourses and quilt kits. You will find me on Stand C5, come and say hello.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018