Just Do It! Top 4 Benefits of Showing Off Your Crafts at Craft Shows

If the question is, do you craft, then the answer is: Likely. A Princeton University study said that, over the course of a year, 44 percent of U.S.adults reported making a needlepoint, taking a photo, or otherwise creating.

If the question is, do you attend craft shows, then the answer is: Probably. A survey produced by the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Census Bureau showed that 57.6 million adults attended visual-arts or craft fairs in 2017. The number represented nearly 24 percent of the U.S. adult population, a five-year high.

And if the next question is, do you take your crafts (that you likely make), and display them at craft shows (that you probably attend), then the answer should be: Of course!

Here’s why you — and your passion — should take the leap.

1. You get feedback.

Ramona Baird, host of the GroupWorks Sewing Channel, and education director for the American Sewing Guild, is a regular at the American Sewing Guild’s annual conference. While the conference isn’t a craft show, per se, it is an event that attracts the wares of big businesses and individual quilters and pattern-makers alike. It’s also an event that’s well-attended, typically drawing some 1,000 visitors.

At the guild’s most recent annual conference, held this past summer in Las Vegas, Baird says she was repeatedly approached by GroupWorks users who gave her invaluable feedback on some of her latest work: her channel posts. “I like to keep a personal check on what people are responding to,” she says.

2. Your work gets seen (and you do, too).

Janice Schindler,  a past president and current member of GroupWorks’ own Quilt Guild of Greater Houston, has lived all over the world. Her unique and tasty-looking hamburger, pizza and cupcake quilts have made the rounds, as well.

An added bonus of being on the craft-show circuit is meeting old (or new!) friends. A survey by the philanthropic Wallace Foundation showed that socializing with others was the driving force behind Americans choosing to attend crafts fairs and arts festivals. Indeed, in her own tribute to Schindler’s work, fellow quilter Gail Garber wrote of originally connecting with Schindler at a quilting class, and then going on to reconnect with her at least once a year at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.

3. One word: Ribbons!

Donna Geiger. president of the GroupWorks-affiliated Wisconsin Gourd Society, was not inspired to display her gourd art at festivals because of the potential for acclaim. But sometimes the acclaim comes anyway — and when it happens, it’s a kick. “It’s neat to win first-prize ribbons,” she says.

4. No matter what happens, you win.

The mere act of showing up and showing off your work at a craft show or festival is its own reward. Early on in her gourd-art journey, Geiger remembers being “blown away” by the different types arts and techniques on display at the Wisconsin Gourd Society’s annual festival. The visit sold her on joining the society — and eventually creating and sharing her own work. “I can see the progress of where I started from to where I am now,” says Geiger. “I just didn’t think I had the creative ability.”