Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New Jewelry Booth Display - Fabric Covered Grid Panels

I know that a lot of you enjoyed reading my post on my Compact, Portable Art Show Booth.  Since then my booth has evolved a lot, and I thought I would update you on what I'm using now.  As always, it's a work in progress, and who knows what it might be in a few years.  This is the arrangement I used most recently at the Sacramento Arts Festival.  This year I downsized from a corner booth to a middle one, and it was cozy, particularly when both Heidi and I were in the booth.

I wanted to make better use of the vertical space in my booth, and also avoid the hassle and anxiety I experience just before a show in trying to figure out what goes where, on which busts, at what eye level, etc.  My new design is based on using the grid panels as functional elements - previously they were used mainly to hang framed pictures from.  My new booth uses upholstered styrofoam panels as display boards that hang from fabric covered grid panels on legs.

The new booth.  A work in progress.
I bought some L-shaped legs to support the four grid panels, and learned the hard way that they need weight on them to stay upright.  I didn't want the legs sticking out to the front (unsightly and a trip hazard), so they're in back and that plan unfortunately cost me some floor space.  Over the legs in the back of each of the grid panels is a board with a weight on it. 

I bought some painting drop cloths, cut them down and sewed sleeves to make the grid panel covers, and then I dyed them.  You know all that fuss about "dye lots"?  It's worth paying attention to if you decide to dye things in more than one batch.  Trust me.  I'm also using some shelves specifically made for grid panels, and they work well to feature a tiny vignette drawn from the work above on the grid panels.  They are fabric covered as well. 

I found the shutters at a neighbors' junk yard for free and have made earring cards for my earrings - I kind of like them showing this way.  Much less visual clutter, and I love working with paper, especially paper with a subtle texture to it.  The table below the shutters is the same one I used in between my two tables in my last setup - it's a cardboard box with a weight inside of it, and a plywood top.

I found some neutral colored decor and upholstery fabric remnants to cover the styrofoam display boards, and attached them with spray adhesive and display pins.  I'm still working on a plan to frame them somehow - for now there are a few framed in rope braid trim from the upholstery section of the fabric store, but I'm not sure how I feel about it.  I think they could use some kind of framing. 

The lights on the grid panels are just clip on LED lights from Lowe's.  The lights over my one table are a custom arrangement that I also use in my studio at home to support a length of PVC that has a set of 3 track lights on it.  This one is a smaller set of 3, cable tied to a 2" diameter aluminum tube (also from the neighbor's junkyard - God Bless the hoarders), and it's held by some black iron pipe (covered with a burlap sleeve).  Each upright goes into a flange fitting that I screwed into a thick plywood base.  It's pretty sturdy.
New sign holders.  These were made from mortar (in a plastic cup), copper garden plant markers, and sheet moss.  They will not tip over.  I love them!
The display boards get transported in a big plastic tub, padded with bubble wrap, and are well protected.  They are super lightweight and effective at presenting work in related collections.  I think that's the part about this setup that I love the most - I can group things ahead of time when my mind is at ease, and fill in any gaps better. 
My small table.  There's an earring rack and a few other items on busts or on a tray.
One drawback of having so much work displayed on the walls is that there is little room for my posters - I'll have to work on that.  Browsers like to have a feel for what's in your booth before they commit to walking in.

So that's the 50,000 foot flyover of the new plan.  Is it less work than the old one?  Well, I can tell you that I didn't enjoy putting together and breaking down those multi-tiered buffet servers I used to use.  And lugging around 50 lbs worth of broken glass to use underneath my jewelry displays.  And trying to figure out how to lay everything out during those rushed moments before a show opens.  And I no longer use the camping tables with the scissor legs after a couple of mishaps resulting in all my jewelry on the ground at one show where the footing wasn't terribly level, and a few times where customers tripped on the extra long legs (they had PVC risers on them).  I've also decided that my work shows best on a light background, so I'm no longer using black busts and table coverings - instead I'm using revamped busts in a lighter scheme. And one thing that's a constant for me particularly with indoor shows on concrete is the gel or interlocking foam square flooring.  I couldn't do the shows without it.

I'm sure the next time out with this will see some changes.  But that's what makes it so much fun, right?

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