During my recent trek to South Dakota, I visited the 40th Annual Brookings Summer Arts Festival (www.bsaf.com) . This juried outdoor event features 212 artisan booths, 43 food vendors, children's discovery centers and live music and dance entertainment. As I feasted on all the eye candy on display, I began to take mental notes:
What I saw MORE of:
Jewelry, jewelry, and more jewelry, especially earrings
Decorative metal (wall art, water features)
Wood (wooden kitchen items, toy barns, furniture items)
Paintings (oil, acrylic, watercolors and pastels) and prints
Fiber items, from uber practical(kids clothing, rugs) to indulgent painted fabrics and silks.
What I saw LESS of:
Pottery (what I did see had a strong artsy vibe)
Paper Crafts and Cards
Toys and Dolls
Knitting / Crochet
What I EXPECTED to see, but didn't:
Upcycled and Organic Items http://artsandcrafts.about.com/od/profiles/ss/emergingtrends2011.htm
I realize that one Midwestern arts festival is not a statistically valid sampling for trends, so I decided to do some research when I got home, to see whether what I observed had any empirical support. It wasn't just curiosity that caused me to dig deeper. I will have a booth at a smallish local arts and crafts fair in late October, so the topic seemed timely.
I started with the 2011 Indie Craft Trend Report from Craftster, which compiled anecdotal evidence from a community of 225,000 crafters. http://www.craftster.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Craftster-2011-Indie-Craft-Trend-Report.pdf. One of the top trends reported in their survey was eco-minded and upcycled products. I felt vindicated that they also recognized vintage, hand embroidery, and gadget accessories as trends (outside of SD?).
I also checked out the Craft Industry Trends Survey conducted for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show in 2009, which indicated declining attendance and an increased online presence, but confirmed much of what I saw in Brookings and online: http://pmacraftshow.org/news/PMA-Craft-Show-Survey-Summary-11-3-09.pdf Jewelry, glass, metal and wood received fairly high rankings, consistent with the Brookings festival, but ceramics was still a high scorer (13%) in their survey.
If you're thinking of vending at an arts and crafts fair, check out: http://www.meylah.com/public/files/ebooks.
You can subscribe to free e-books. One of her latest is Preparing for Art & Craft Show Success.
I'd be interested in hearing from any of you who attend or exhibit at art festivals or craft fairs. What's trending in your neck of the woods?
LeAnn aka pasqueflower