On Saturday I was a vendor at the Jacksonville Public Library for the Jax Makes event. There were 70 vendors split between three floors on the library. I have a variety of thoughts about the event.
Starting in January I was working on pieces of art with the intention of selling work somewhere offline. The Jacksonville Public Library presented the perfect opportunity for me when they announced Jax Makes (a Jax Makerspace event). The event was on Saturday October 13 and for better or worse by the time the 13th rolled around I was ready to go.
My professional background has largely been in education and sales so I had decided (based on those experiences) that it would be wise to make art that was small, utilitarian and under $10. Greeting cards, postcards and bookmarks were most of my focus. For my own pleasure I love making larger pieces but I think most people don’t have nearly enough available wall space for art. Much of the art we display or consume on a regular basis is multi-functional and this is what really brought me back to an interest in making art. From my clothes to my towels to the covers of my journals there is art everywhere and that has informed my approach.
My table wasn’t in the “best” location for the event in that it wasn’t part of the main obvious pathways. From my time in sales I realized that there were better locations but although making sales were a part of my interest in the event I had a set of goals that were unencumbered by this fact. My table was located near the kid’s section in a wing off the second floor. I had a chance to go see other vendors prior to the event’s start time and was very impressed with the layout and handling of the event.
My sales were modest but I sold a little under a fourth of what I’d brought with me. What was more important to me was the opportunity to meet and chat with people who had an interest in my work. Chalk it up to years as a writer holed up working on world building, alone with characters who are anxious to leave the nest and be part of the larger world. There were so many wonderful people browsing, buying and vendoring their goods and Jax Makes.
I know that there is something appealing to posting listings and pictures online but I’m so grateful for Jax Makes because there’s nothing like seeing people light up when they see something you’ve created. There’s something about getting the opportunity to connect directly with people. I also loved chatting with my fellow vendors, learning about their processes and recommending opportunities that matched their particular styles.