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Anybody tried selling papier mache at u.k art or craft shows?
If so what was the general response to your work?
Did you enjoy the experience?
Did you cover your costs or make a profit?
What sort of stuff grabbed the interest i.e sculptural or functional?
I would be very grateful if anyone can answer any of these questions as I am trying to set up a business as a p.m artist.
I have sold paper mache models, mainly animals and people, at craft fairs for the last couple of years. I only attend small fairs, usually at schools and community centres as the cost of a stall is much lower. I do well around Christmas time but not so well at other times of the year. They do sell well and I am always the only stall holder with paper mache which helps. However, these types of venues attract the parents of children at the school, and the children themselves with their pocket money, so I find that you have to kep prices really low or else they won't sell. I cerainly couldn't charge the amount it really costs to make the models if you take into account the time it takes to make them.
I would like to make a business out of it like yourself so I think selling to shops and craft centres would be better, is that what you do?
I have been selling work through craft fairs for the last 3 or for years and find it reasonably lucrative, although quite variable from show to show and time of year. As your last respondent mentioned, the best time of year by far is around October and November (not December as it's usually too late by then!) I have gone for the higher end of the market, doing craft fairs organised by some of the best organisers in the UK, such as Craft in Focus, British Crafts, Dulwich Crafts and Art in Action, as well as (huge gamble!), Country Living Fairs. These are quite expensive to do and you have to go through a selection process to get in, but papier mache is always under-represented, so if your work is good, you will always stand a good chance of getting in!
I make a range of work from £15 up to £1000, and the fairs are especially useful for gaining future commissions. When a fair costs £100's to take part in, your always taking a risk and even after 3 or 4 years you never know what will happen. One year you will make a great profit and return the next with great expectations, only to have problems covering your costs. Sometimes you don't think you've done very well at a fair and then months later you will get a rash of callls for lucrative commissions! It is of course useful to make something unique - I make illustrative 3-d maps, so I don't just appeal on the papier mache front, but as a mapmaker too. Any way I wish you good luck with your shows if you decide to take the plunge.