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biting my tongue...

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AVLucky
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biting my tongue...

Postby AVLucky » Sun Mar 21, 2004 2:23 pm

I went to a professional-level craft show yesterday as a shopper, and also to check it out as a show I might want to do someday as I expand my business. I enjoyed most of the work, but having a background in jewelry and glass fusing, I found myself being more critical of the work I saw in those categories. For the most part, the jewelry and glass work was good, although nothing really blew me away. I did, however, come across a couple of situations that made me angry, but I avoided confrontations with the artists because I really didn't know what to say, or if it was even my place to do that.

In one booth, an artist was selling fused jewelry which was mostly glued to the findings--pendant bails, link bracelets, earring posts. Towards the back of the booth there were pendants set in sterling that were priced just barely higher than the glued-on ones. Knowing the time and materials cost involved in making a bezel, I suspected they were imports that were bought and resold more or less as-is.

In another booth, just as I walked in, the lampworked beadmaker there was explaining fusing to a customer. It was a pretty disdainful assessment: "oh, fusers, well, they just put pieces of sheet glass together and fire it--they could make like 100 earrings--just put it in the kiln, come back a couple hours later and it's all done." This was said, with the implication that lampworking was far superior, because it took more time and skill, and the artist and customer had a little snicker over it.

And God help me, I didn't say anything. :oops: Besides being a little shy, and not always too quick with a great comeback line, I wasn't sure if I should have said or done anything. My first thought was that, as a customer, I was pretty much entitled to shoot my mouth off about anything I wanted. My second thought was that I didn't want to undermine anyone's sales, even jerks or frauds. Other customers were present in both booths at the same time, and I didn't want to wage an attack or put anyone on the spot. But now I'm feeling a bit regretful about not confronting these people.

I'm also wondering how much of this artist behavior goes on in the mediums I'm less familiar with and wouldn't know the difference.

What kind of approach is best? Should I have tried to sniff out the origins of the bezel set pendants by asking a few pointed technical questions to their seller? And if there was any hesitation or inaccuracy to the answers, yell, "AHA! I knew it!" Should I have lashed back at the lampworker?

Grrr...I hate this morning-after regret. Maybe I should just try to see if the bookstore carries Chutzpah for Dummies...

gone

Postby gone » Sun Mar 21, 2004 3:02 pm

I know what you mean. I was at a show yesterday where someone was selling a mixed bag of imported jewelry. She was pointing to a square of dichro on a wire wrapped black blob telling a potential customer that the black was obsidian from Hawaii! I couldn't think of anything to say.

Kitty
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Postby Kitty » Sun Mar 21, 2004 3:07 pm

there are indeed a lot of bezel-set dichroic pendants on the market now, very inexpensive, not bad looking, definitely imports. i've seen in it stores where i live for about a year now, and was taken aback by the low retail price.

some fairs do a good job of pre-screening the work of people in a show, and others dont. of the ones who do a good job, and check the displays during the show, the strict ones will enforce their rules and either ask the vendor to pack up and leave, or bar them from future participation.

i wouldnt have spoken to any of those people, either. observe in silence is a good way to be in those situations, IMO.

Geri Comstock
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Re: biting my tongue...

Postby Geri Comstock » Sun Mar 21, 2004 3:11 pm

AVLucky wrote:I went to a professional-level craft show yesterday as a shopper, and also to check it out as a show I might want to do someday as I expand my business. I enjoyed most of the work, but having a background in jewelry and glass fusing, I found myself being more critical of the work I saw in those categories. For the most part, the jewelry and glass work was good, although nothing really blew me away. I did, however, come across a couple of situations that made me angry, but I avoided confrontations with the artists because I really didn't know what to say, or if it was even my place to do that.

In one booth, an artist was selling fused jewelry which was mostly glued to the findings--pendant bails, link bracelets, earring posts. Towards the back of the booth there were pendants set in sterling that were priced just barely higher than the glued-on ones. Knowing the time and materials cost involved in making a bezel, I suspected they were imports that were bought and resold more or less as-is.

In another booth, just as I walked in, the lampworked beadmaker there was explaining fusing to a customer. It was a pretty disdainful assessment: "oh, fusers, well, they just put pieces of sheet glass together and fire it--they could make like 100 earrings--just put it in the kiln, come back a couple hours later and it's all done." This was said, with the implication that lampworking was far superior, because it took more time and skill, and the artist and customer had a little snicker over it.

And God help me, I didn't say anything. :oops: Besides being a little shy, and not always too quick with a great comeback line, I wasn't sure if I should have said or done anything. My first thought was that, as a customer, I was pretty much entitled to shoot my mouth off about anything I wanted. My second thought was that I didn't want to undermine anyone's sales, even jerks or frauds. Other customers were present in both booths at the same time, and I didn't want to wage an attack or put anyone on the spot. But now I'm feeling a bit regretful about not confronting these people.

I'm also wondering how much of this artist behavior goes on in the mediums I'm less familiar with and wouldn't know the difference.

What kind of approach is best? Should I have tried to sniff out the origins of the bezel set pendants by asking a few pointed technical questions to their seller? And if there was any hesitation or inaccuracy to the answers, yell, "AHA! I knew it!" Should I have lashed back at the lampworker?

Grrr...I hate this morning-after regret. Maybe I should just try to see if the bookstore carries Chutzpah for Dummies...



I've had glass blowers come in my booth and say some pretty rude and inaccurate stuff about the fusing process to their non-glassworking friends. In the past, I've tried to correct their misconceptions by explaining what the fusing process actually is, which didn't help at all. It just prolonged the unpleasant experience.

In retrospect, I realized that whether or not I said anything, they weren't going to change their attitude or behavior. I decided that for me, it was better just to keep quiet so they leave my booth faster. No matter what I said, they weren't going to buy my work because they obviously hold fusing in great distain. Some people just need to feel superior about what they do for some reason and I'm certainly not going to change that in a 5 minute conversation.

As for the stuff you thought might be buy-and-sell...there's buy-and-sell everywhere and confronting the seller won't do any good. In some cases, buy-and-sell is permitted at shows. In other cases it's not. If you're really concerned, I suggest that you talk to the promoter about it.

Here's an example of where this actualy worked...
At the CCM SF show a couple of years ago, there was a bunch of buy- and-sell. As this is supposed to be a higher end show with artist made work only, some of the customers apparently complained to the promoter about it. The promoter took the complaints seriously, relayed the information about the complaints to the artists in the show meeting, and asked artists to anonomously let him know on the evaluation form if there was work at the show that was buy-and-sell. Some of the artists took him seriously and let him know who wasn't making the work they were selling. The next year, I noticed that one particular buy-and-sell vendor I see at a number of shows that supposedly have artist-made work only wasn't at the show again. YAY!

However, I know that a number of people have complained to various promoters about this same vendor; the vendor hasn't been removed from other shows. Some promoters take the "artist-made only" rule seriously and others don't. They just want to fill their shows.

I've seen buy-and-sell vendors "removed" from shows after the show opened. One guy was selling sweaters made in Guatamala. Another was selling hats made in Korea and they didn't even bother removing the "Made In Korea" labels. ARGH!

A friend told me about a show he did where there was someone selling rings that had "Made in China" tags on them, which they hadn't bothered to remove. Someone complained to the promoter and the promoter made them remove the rings from their display.

Unless the vendor is stupid enough not to have removed the tags saying it was made by someone else or in another country, it's a hard one to prove...and that's why some vendors keep getting away with it. Confronting them personally doesn't help...but a word to the promoter might.

I understand your annoyance and frustration.

Quit kicking yourself. Confronting artists/vendors directly probably won't help. A word to the show promoter might...


Geri

PaulS
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Re: biting my tongue...

Postby PaulS » Sun Mar 21, 2004 3:35 pm

AVLucky wrote:Grrr...I hate this morning-after regret. Maybe I should just try to see if the bookstore carries Chutzpah for Dummies...


You did the right thing all the way, AVLucky;

From my lifetime experience, it's wise to know the thruth and speak it,
but it's wiser to know the truth and speak about the palms.

If you fight somebody you turn into what they are.

If you remember and re-live a situation where you felt anger, you feel angry all over again. So what's the point? You have to get over it and move on darling.

But isn't it great when you do a show and know that everything on your stand is what you made? Now that's a great buzz to remember!
It ain't where you're from, it's where you're at!

AVLucky
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Re: biting my tongue...

Postby AVLucky » Sun Mar 21, 2004 3:56 pm

Geri Comstock wrote:
As for the stuff you thought might be buy-and-sell...there's buy-and-sell everywhere and confronting the seller won't do any good. In some cases, buy-and-sell is permitted at shows. In other cases it's not. If you're really concerned, I suggest that you talk to the promoter about it...

...Unless the vendor is stupid enough not to have removed the tags saying it was made by someone else or in another country, it's a hard one to prove...and that's why some vendors keep getting away with it. Confronting them personally doesn't help...but a word to the promoter might.

I understand your annoyance and frustration.

Quit kicking yourself. Confronting artists/vendors directly probably won't help. A word to the show promoter might...


Geri


Thanks, Geri (and Kitty and Els). I guess I just needed to vent a little. BTW, the show application says, "All work must be original and completely finished. No imports, kits, items made from kits, items made using commercial patterns or commercial molds, items assembled from pre-manufactured components, unfinished work..."
It probably would have been hard to prove who made those bezel set pieces. They were stamped 925, with no other markings. But isn't there some kind of law involving quality stamps on metal and the maker's hallmark? I.E., if you mark something as sterling it also has to have a signature stamp. Maybe I'm imagining this, but I thought I read it somewhere (Crafts report?) last year.

I'm kind of laughing, thinking about a possible letter of complaint: Dear Show Promoters, I suspect that artist so-and-so is doing buy-sell, and should be appropriately disciplined. Also, the artist in booth #xxx is a real jerk. Please remove this person from your show. Sincerely, Disgruntled Potential Exhibitor

AVLucky
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Re: biting my tongue...

Postby AVLucky » Sun Mar 21, 2004 4:03 pm

Paul Stevenson wrote:
AVLucky wrote:Grrr...I hate this morning-after regret. Maybe I should just try to see if the bookstore carries Chutzpah for Dummies...


You did the right thing all the way, AVLucky;

From my lifetime experience, it's wise to know the thruth and speak it,
but it's wiser to know the truth and speak about the palms.

If you fight somebody you turn into what they are.

If you remember and re-live a situation where you felt anger, you feel angry all over again. So what's the point? You have to get over it and move on darling.

But isn't it great when you do a show and know that everything on your stand is what you made? Now that's a great buzz to remember!


Yeah, and hope that karma takes care of the fakes out there. :wink:

froggee501
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Postby froggee501 » Sun Mar 21, 2004 4:14 pm

For the lampworker situation, I would have approached the lampworker and politely tried to explain.

I'm a lampworker, and have been for three years. At first, fusing really confused me... I saw no artistic skill involved, no difficultly, etc. However, rather than be disdainful, I set it in the back of my mind, until finally I started a fusing class and found these boards. In a large part, these boards were a catalyst to opening my eyes to the artistry and mastery involved in fusing, and the incredible range of artwork.

Like others said, if the lampworker was disdainful, they probably wouldn't have taken to you too kindly, at least not in front of a customer. However, maybe the disdain was an attempt to hide their lack of education, or was in ignorance of the complexity involved in fusing, and you could have been their catalyst.

Emma

AVLucky
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Postby AVLucky » Sun Mar 21, 2004 4:41 pm

Well, as Geri pointed out, I don't think I could have changed anyone's opinion too much in a 5 minute conversation, especially with only my word against theirs, and their fixed preconceptions about fusing. But I was really tempted to fire back with an equivalently dismissive description of lampworking..."Oh, that's easy. All you do is heat up a glass rod and wind it around a mandrel." I don't believe that, but saying so might have provided a little (albeit hostile) perspective.

Gradually getting over it,
Amy

paulajane

Postby paulajane » Sun Mar 21, 2004 5:40 pm

Misrepresentation, often intentional, happens in all mediums at shows. I was a graphic artist for 15 years and showed my photography and computer work. I always explained what I did. But I heard other graphic artists as well as photographers weave amazing "tall" tales which actually sold their work or sold it at a price that was way beyond what it should have cost.

Educating the public in all mediums is important. The more they know, they better they will be able to distinguish what is real and what is not. That is why I believe warmglass and other websites that offer so much free information are great.

Paula

PaulS
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Re: biting my tongue...

Postby PaulS » Sun Mar 21, 2004 7:12 pm

AVLucky wrote:Yeah, and hope that karma takes care of the fakes out there. :wink:


and understand that they will still take it the wrong way and be beyond accepting your help or seeing your point of view -no matter what you do or how you say it, however well intentioned.

You can't educate pork!
It ain't where you're from, it's where you're at!

rosanna gusler
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Re: biting my tongue...

Postby rosanna gusler » Sun Mar 21, 2004 8:23 pm

You can't educate pork...............never try to teach a pig to sing.......it wastes your time and annoys the pig. .........no idea who wrote that. rosanna]

dcglass
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Postby dcglass » Sun Mar 21, 2004 8:45 pm

Imports! The truth of the matter is that most promoters don't really know
that much about the different processes of art. I guess they can't be a jack of all trades. It is up to us as artists to educate them. I think I may have been tempted to let the promoter know that those pieces were imports based on the prices (and maybe quality) that were present--if you could even find him/her. There are some promoters that probably don't even care despite what their aps say.
The lampworker...I, too, would have ignored their ignorance.
I would hope that true artists would not bad mouth another artists medium.
Donna

Nancy Juhasz
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Postby Nancy Juhasz » Sun Mar 21, 2004 8:51 pm

AV you did the right thing. For years I have complained to the show people at a show that I do that a lady doing stained glass has 90% of her things that are not done by her but bought. Every year they tell me that they won't let her in the next year. Last year the chair of the standards comittee told me they can't tell from her slides. I have given up. I have just learned to accept it and know that at night I can sleep not wonder if someone will come to me at a show and ask me to leave. Nanc

Geri Comstock
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Re: biting my tongue...

Postby Geri Comstock » Sun Mar 21, 2004 8:58 pm

AVLucky wrote:Thanks, Geri (and Kitty and Els). I guess I just needed to vent a little. BTW, the show application says, "All work must be original and completely finished. No imports, kits, items made from kits, items made using commercial patterns or commercial molds, items assembled from pre-manufactured components, unfinished work..."
It probably would have been hard to prove who made those bezel set pieces. They were stamped 925, with no other markings. But isn't there some kind of law involving quality stamps on metal and the maker's hallmark? I.E., if you mark something as sterling it also has to have a signature stamp. Maybe I'm imagining this, but I thought I read it somewhere (Crafts report?) last year.


I know many jewelers in the US who either don't hallmark their work with a sterling quality stamp or hallmark it with their personal stamp. However, US jewelers generally don't use a 925 quality stamp. That's common in pieces made in Mexico and perhaps elsewhere.

I sold jewelry work prior to 1998 that wasn't hallmarked with a personal stamp, although it had a sterling quality stamp. I felt like I wasn't "worthy" of having my own hallmark until I finally succesfully completed the metals program I was enrolled in for 4 years. LOL. Now I'm glad because the pieces I made were so BAD, I'm embarrassed to see them (and once in a while a customer comes by my booth wearing one. EEEK! I want to offer to buy it back so i can melt it down. LOL). 20 years from now, no one but me will ever know who made them. Whew!

I don't know of a law that requires either quality or name hallmarking in the US. In Europe, I believe it is required.


AVLucky wrote:I'm kind of laughing, thinking about a possible letter of complaint: Dear Show Promoters, I suspect that artist so-and-so is doing buy-sell, and should be appropriately disciplined. Also, the artist in booth #xxx is a real jerk. Please remove this person from your show. Sincerely, Disgruntled Potential Exhibitor


Heh. Well, you don't have to say you're a potential exhibitor. You can say you attended the show as a customer and were surprised to see buy-and-sell. You can also call the promoter with your concern, rather than writing a letter. LOL.

As for artists who don't know how to behave at shows, I was next to a painter once who told me he was taking pain medication fr his back, he was also drinking heavily, and he didn't bathe or shower for the duration of the 3 day show. On the second day started screaming at the customers walking by because they weren't buying his work. Another artist complained to the promoter after a few customers made comments to her about his outrageous behavior. I've never seen him at another of this promoter's shows. Coincidence? I don't know.

Geri

watershed
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Postby watershed » Mon Mar 22, 2004 1:44 am

Just to beat the equine.

Something that you might remember and could ask inoccently (bat eyelashes here) (M or F). "How much fusing have you done? Do you know where I could find out more???"

You might get a stammer, or just more bluster, or an honest answer. Or you might get a student.

I must admit, that until last summer's GAS conference, I DID dis the lampworkers, as mere Beadmakers, not Real Hot Glass. I NOW say, when asked, that I know very little about torch work, but there is some impressive work out there.

There are beginners in every field, and they should be allowed to sell what they can, and encouraged to do better. There are crap merchants in every field, and they should be allowed to sell, except when they break the rules.

I tend to allow "salesman bluster" then come back and talk to the privately, if I'm interested. I rarely get into a discussion with an Offhand Glassblower when there are customers in the booth. mostly those discussions are short "Yeh I blow, Where? oh at 3rd degree, where'd you go to school... Nice murrhini twist with the filigrino. Did you make that color, no it's R-3146 try reducing it then casing it. " Mostly the blowers want to talk to paying customers, and I don't want to ask for secrets. I can talk shop if invited to the shop.


Anyway, enough from me

Greg

AVLucky
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Postby AVLucky » Mon Mar 22, 2004 7:48 pm

watershed wrote:
Something that you might remember and could ask inoccently (bat eyelashes here) (M or F). "How much fusing have you done? Do you know where I could find out more???"


Well, I was more suspicious of the metalwork than the glass, but there are equivalent questions for that. I thought of asking if the settings were cast or fabricated (seeing very clearly that they were fabricated) just to hear what the response would be. But I'm not a good improv actress, and I'm an even worse liar. Once I got involved in that kind of conversation, I would be really tempted to reveal myself, and invoke an argument. And that wasn't what I wanted to do.

watershed wrote:There are beginners in every field, and they should be allowed to sell what they can, and encouraged to do better. There are crap merchants in every field, and they should be allowed to sell, except when they break the rules.


Yes. If this had been a flea market, I wouldn't care about the person selling the stuff. Instead, I'd be writing a long rant about the mere existence of cheap imports :x I guess the most anyone can do is just try to stay a few steps ahead of them.

Last fall I was at a show where I was approached by another vendor who sold sterling jewelry with semiprecious stones. He praised my work and asked if I did wholesale, because he wanted to buy cabs for his jewelry. At first I was flattered, but I told him I wasn't wholesaling at that time. He then offered me the services of his factory in Mexico to produce settings and finished jewelry (example he showed me was a cuff bracelet made from heavy gauge wire and a large oval bezel set stone on top, my cost for them to produce: $13) I gritted my teeth and basically said, thanks, but no thanks. He then replied, "hey, well, you're not going to make any money doing it yourself." Talk about sour grapes! :p

The way I figure it, they can set fused glass on the cheap, but it's not necessarily going to be interesting or creative glass OR silver. My hope is that the more the market gets flooded with homogenous-looking stuff, the more good and thoughtful work will start to surface above it. Someday it will require more than the simple bling-bling of dichroic glass to get people's attention!

Brock
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Postby Brock » Mon Mar 22, 2004 7:52 pm

Someday it will require more than the simple bling-bling of dichroic glass to get people's attention!

Hopefully. Brock
My memory is so good, I can't remember the last time I forgot something . . .

Carla Fox
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Re: biting my tongue...

Postby Carla Fox » Mon Mar 22, 2004 7:55 pm

I'm kind of laughing, thinking about a possible letter of complaint: Dear Show Promoters, I suspect that artist so-and-so is doing buy-sell, and should be appropriately disciplined. Also, the artist in booth #xxx is a real jerk. Please remove this person from your show. Sincerely, Disgruntled Potential Exhibitor[/quote]


Actually this is a great idea. But sign it "disgusted customer." Artists bug promoters all the time and are ignored. When the buying public starts complaining it may carry more weight.

In general what you experienced is not that uncommon a problem. Bad-mouthing your competition only pulls you down. That vendor is going no where fast. It leaves a rotten feeling in the buyer's mind.

Jewelers fight these battles all the time. I was in a show where someone was stringing pearls and adding a commercial clasp. I complained to the promoters that unless he was the oyster he had nothing to do with the creation of the necklaces. They had him pull some work and he was not invited back the next year.

I think your letter idea is the best. And! you can still do it.

Carla

AVLucky
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Re: biting my tongue...

Postby AVLucky » Mon Mar 22, 2004 8:01 pm

CM Fox wrote:I complained to the promoters that unless he was the oyster he had nothing to do with the creation of the necklaces.


:lol: =D> You just made my day!


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