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April 30, 2024 3 min read

As the artist and owner of Carter + Rose, attending craft shows isn’t just a part of my business- it’s where connections are made and community is built. I started my creative ceramic journey doing summertime craft shows. Now, even with a brick and mortar shop and a wholesale line, I continue to travel up and down the west coast with a van full of clay, ready to set up! Every time I pull up to a venue to unload my ceramics, I feel excited. Each show holds memories of customer interactions, meeting other makers and the tasty snacks I munched on. 

Craft shows are more than just a handmade marketplace; they’re a gathering of like-minded makers and shoppers who appreciate the beauty of handmade goods. From ceramics to textiles, every corner of most craft shows are adorned with unique items like handmade soap, jewelry, prints, ceramics and DIY kits. Whenever I set up my booth, arranging my wall planters, ceramic snakes and pots, I am excited to see who will set up next to me. I know that over the course of a two day show, quick friendship and camaraderie is made between booth neighbors. I have met some dear friends this way. I have also been lucky to find the most amazing work by other makers to sell in our storefront. 

I also love craft shows because I get to connect with and meet customers. There’s something really sweet about meeting someone face-to-face and getting to share the story behind my work. My favorite story to share is the origin story of the ceramic snake. In this way, I often feel like I am introducing my art to customers. Whether it’s a couple searching for the perfect wedding gift, or a kid looking to add a touch of handmade fun to their room, each interaction I have with a customer genuinely fills me with appreciation.

I especially love it when customers’ faces light up when they find that one-of-a-kind wall planter or snake that speaks to them. It’s a moment of connection, where my art becomes a part of their lives. And in turn, their support is the fuel that keeps the creativity of Carter + Rose going. 

Craft shows are also an opportunity to connect with fellow artists and makers, exchanging ideas and inspiration. There’s a sense of camaraderie among us, a shared love for the handmade that often transcends competition. These moments of connection with other artists are what make the craft community so unique. I have also found a lot of the artists that we carry at Carter + Rose at these handmade markets. I love seeing their work in person, and like my customers, it’s easier for me to decide what work will fit best into the shop and complement the work we already carry.

Packing up a craft show is always, honestly, the worst part. It’s usually the end of a long day and it also points to the beginning of a long drive. First, I take all of the ceramics off the display, pack them into tubs, and then disassemble the shelving and tables. I usually end up breaking a few items, but I have gotten over this, and have instead decided that this is just part of the process! Even with the labor of set up and break down, I can’t help but feel a sense of fulfillment at the very, very, very end of a show, when I’m driving away. I have made connections, found inspiration, and celebrated the creative community. Honk, honk! Til next time! I can hear the clink clink of my ceramics in the back of my van, and I open my bag of chips for the road.