How to sell art work at a fine craft show

My booth set up at Piedmont Craftsmen Show

Hi Everyone! A big welcome to all the new readers!  What’s new? Have you ever been curious about how to sell art work at a fine craft show? Take a look below at what I learned from the process, and see if it is something you would like to try someday.

Before I forget, don’t forget to sign up for the next Sunday Art Quilting Salon.  Space is limited!  This is a great way to get some on- the- spot coaching from moi- The Art Quilter’s Coach.  Read more about it below….

ROXY RECOMMENDS  It’s back!  The Sunday Art Quilting Salon! When:  June 1 from 1-4 pm. What:  Cost $20  Bring your money, cause you may want to shop for fabric and notions at Where:  Cary Quilting Co. 

226 E Chatham St, Cary, NC 27511
(919) 238-9739


If you are new to art quilting or have been doing it for a while, or just want some help with a current project, this class is for YOU.  Bring your machine, threads, project and let’s stitch, bitch, and drink some wine or tea, while working on your challenges. Come experience the power of a small group of art quilters, just crazy enough to make art.  We learn from each other and from me, the Art Quilter’s Coach.  Space is limited to 8, so don’t wait.  Here’s the linky thingy to save yourself a spot: Sunday Art Quilting Salon


First off, let me say that I’m not an expert at selling my art work.  Not even close.  That being said, I did sell 4 large expensive pieces and many smaller works at these fine craft shows.

I got into doing the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Show at the Piedmont Craftsmen Show because of the generosity of one of my favorite artists and friends, Marina Bosetti.  You see, she had the booth set up (walls, lights, etc.), and you need a picture of your booth display to apply to the show.  She offered her set up so I could take the pics.  And so, I got into both guilds.

Unfortunately it was 2007, and the economy was just about to tank.

But I decided to forge ahead.  I invested in some booth walls, lights and flooring, packed up all my art work and learned how to set it all up. ProPanels makes the best hard walls that are fairly easy to set up.   If you want to do lots of shows, they are worth every penny.

My booth set up at Piedmont Craftsmen Show
My booth set up at Piedmont Craftsmen Show
Celestial Celebration
Celestial Celebration sold to collector at the Piedmont Craftsmen show

What did I learn?

  • How to speak about my work without being bashful.
  • How to set my retail prices.
  • How to find a credit card merchant (now I just use Square).
  • How to get my resale license and charge tax.
  • How to look busy and not bother people while they are “just looking”.
  • How to set up an attractive booth.
  • How to take care of yourself during a long show.
  • How to sell your own work without lowering your prices, creating value.

And, most importantly, I learned what people responded to and liked, and in some cases, liked enough to fork over their credit cards.  All of that interaction also helped me get teaching gigs at guilds.

Was it worth it?  I’d say yes, because of everything I’ve learned.  There really is no substitute for interacting with your buying public.  And it forced me to focus on producing a larger body of work to get ready.  Was it labor/time intensive?  Yes, very.

Was it worth it financially?

I think before 2008, artists could make a much better income from doing shows like this.  Now, with the rise of online sales, I have the feeling that the amount of time and effort involved doing shows like this is better spent elsewhere.  For me, I think it was a wash financially, but I still have the contacts with people I have met or sold to.  And I still have everything I have learned in the process.  So I think I came out ahead.  I also met some very hard working and amazing artists, who are still my friends today.

Finally, if you want to do fine craft shows, do your research.  Ask artists who have attended the show who work in your media if they have had good success.  Don’t just ask one, ask as many as you can.  Don’t rely on the show promoters- they get your money in booth fees whether you sell a lot or not.  After all, you are investing a lot in time, energy and money to do these shows!


AQ_whimsy_Final-225x125 April 23 – June 22, 2014 Page-Walker Arts and History Center 119 Ambassador Loop, Cary, NC 27513

Join PAQA South to get more involved with art quilting.  You do not have to be a professional to join! Here’s the link:


I want you to make the most amazing, original art quilts that you can.  That is why I am now accepting private students who are serious about their creative expression in the world of art quilting.  Take advantage of my 15+ years as a textile artist, and speed up your learning curve. To work with me privately, please set up your initial, no obligation,  free Get Creative Call here: Schedule Appointment You can find out more by clicking on the Testimonials and Private Coaching tabs to the right in the sidebar or at the menu at the top. Did You Know? That I am on Pinterest?  Did you know that there are many amazing art quilts and traditional quilts being pinned every day, just waiting for you to look at? Never before has so much inspiration been in one place.  It’s like having an art museum in your hands.  If you haven’t checked it out, there are many, many types of things being pinned. It’s super easy to get started.  You can take a look at my pins, which are organized on different “boards” HERE.  Once you are on that page, you can click on the Get Started Button to make your own page on Pinterest.  Then start pinning!  I can spend a lot of time on Pinterest, because it’s all visual.  And I have a feeling, you will too!

CUSTOM COMMISSIONS And don’t forget, I make custom commissions too! Read what my client Glenda had to say about her custom commission experience: “Normally, I would be anxious about commissioning someone to do a work of art such as this. However, I felt a connection to you when Leigh showed me your work. It resonated with me and when I met you, you seemed almost a personification of your work. I immediately felt comfortable with you and knew that what you would create would be stunning. And it is!” About Roxane


Roxane is a full time studio textile artist and teacher with two girls and 1 fat cat. She is a 2012 Niche Award Winner and exhibits her work all over the world. Her work is in several private collections and loves doing custom commissions.  For more info go to If you and a small group of folks want a more private instruction experience, call me. We can work out a studio workshop in my studio. Just drop me an email: Permission to duplicate: You certainly can use this blog, just be sure to credit me and include this link, Roxane Lessa. Hey, if you like this blog, please hit the FB or Twitter icon in the top right sidebar and share with others! That’s why they are there…..:)

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