Contemporary Crafts Market - SF E-mail


SHOW: Contemporary Crafts Market (San Francisco, CA)

DATES: March 10-11, 2012



BOOTH COST (10x10): $680





Held at Fort Mason, which sits right on the San Francisco Bay and offers a great view and relaxing environment if you decide to take a break from what’s going on inside the pavilion, the Contemporary ccmsf-12-photo1Crafts Market offers everything you would expect from the best shows across the country.


If you are a craft collector or just someone that appreciates really good work, you could spend both days at this show salivating over the quality craftsmanship that is evident.


As an accomplished craft artist looking for a reason to apply to a show in Northern California, you can be confident in the consistency of the work.


All that being said, as with pretty much all shows, there are some issues which need to be addressed.


The most obvious is the mix of work - or lack of a better mix. On our count, more than half the exhibitors were jewelry artists - or at least sold jewelry/accessories. If you are a shopper who is not interested jewelry you are immediately challenged with finding something from a much smaller universe of work.


If you are a jewelry artist your competition is immediately doubled or tripled from what you would see at most other shows. Shows such as the Smithsonian Craft Show or the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show - which I believe CCM is an equal - carry about 15-20% jewelry artists.


The problem is the risk that shoppers  - and artists for that matter - will begin to perceive the show as a jewelry show “with some other stuff.”


ccmsf-12-photo2The other issue with this show, and pretty much every show in the country, is the level of attendance. This isn’t necessarily the result of less advertising or promotion. It’s not a secret that attendance at shows of all levels have been affected by the issues dating back to 2001 that are out of their control.


Like many of the older, established shows on the East Coast, the Contemporary Crafts Market has relied for 20 years on the same core of buyers. The problem is that many of these buyers just don’t have the money to spend what they used to spend, or just aren’t around anymore to spend it .


The shows that are going to thrive in current environment are those that reach out way beyond the usual suspects - both in shoppers and artists. Sometimes that means looking at what the show is now and creating ways to attract new buyers.


Northern California is filled with talented artists that don’t necessarily fit into the CCM mold but could be one of the keys to attracting a broader audience. The challenge for CCM is finding them - which usually means wearing out a lot of shoe leather!



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