Just yesterday I took a phone call from a promoter who had a question about our certified hand crafted program.
She was having trouble sorting out some of the submissions for her show and thought the idea of certifying artists would make her life easier. No doubt it would and that is part of what we had in mind when we started the program but there are a number of ways to ferret out imported Chinese crap.
No offence to the Chinese as a race but there seems to be a never ending stream of mass produced goods coming into shows that are suppose to be hand crafted by the artist.
I would be one of the first people to recognize there is a market for these items. Just because I deem an item cheesy, cheap or shoddy made does not mean someone else would cherish the same item. In fact one trouble with quality hand crafted goods is they are often expensive and lets face it, not everyone can afford expensive art.
So how to make sure the items are truly hand crafted?
Well one way is to become familiar with some of the import catalogs. Just to day I was shown a catalog with the name Country and House in the title. I am not going to name it but the web site would be easy to find. One look and I recognized many items I have seen at shows, supposedly hand crafted.
Another way would be to do a web search for wholesale country crafts and hang on to your hat!
Promoters should browse the booths, taking note of the wares. What is the chance that 2 or 3 artists are really making the same style signs with the same messages and same weathered frames. My apologies to the artists who actually make weathered signs. This is only a small example, there are many other instances.
Most serious artists realize that promoters have their hands full but by the same token many serious artists are willing to help keep the shows clean. Confronting a vendor during a show with accusations of bringing in buy sell goods can be messy. Lets face it, people who who would knowing mislead the jury and falsely represent goods as their own are liable to be very defensive, especially when caught in the act.
Serious artists also know that promoters are under pressure to fill the booths but at what cost. It really comes down to the question of whether the promoter wants a terrific show that is productive year after year, or a flea market.