Flea Markets, Craft Fairs, & Exhibitions
POV: You're walking down the street and you see a sign that was not there yesterday and it says Flea Market coming this Saturday. The next day you're driving home from work and you see another sign that says Join us at our upcoming Craft Fair this Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile you have an opening night at an exhibition that one of your buddies invited you to for Saturday night. Out of curiosity you visit the flea market and see some art, home décor, apparel, and unique care products. You go to your buddies exhibition to see beautiful artwork on the wall but also a few vendors selling the same category of items as the flea market. Then, the next day you visit the Craft fair and happen to see again the same category of items being sold. At that point you may be thinking, well what's the difference between them all if they just have the same stuff and that is where you would be wrong! Each event has its own place and finding the right one for what you are looking for or to sell at, if you are an artist or crafter, is important to know. There are major differences between all three that may not be apparent at first glance but I am here to share all the beauty in their differences with you. So that next time you're looking for a new piece of artwork to hand on your walls you know where to go.
Let's start with the good-o Flea Market. It is known to be the place you go to find unique and interesting items that you would otherwise not see in an everyday store. There is a mixture of all sorts of vendors from apparel to vintage jewelry, artwork, food, and even beauty products. Many of these items may very well be knick knacks that a person has collected over time and is now ready to sell or someone simply clearing out their home and finding a number of interesting pieces. At a flea market you will not find many artists but that does not mean you will not find art; some people sell works of art that they have collected over the years as well. You may even find a vendor or two who sells their products whether it be beauty, food, or some sort of service. At the end of the day it is a fun melting pot of unique trinkets to dig through to find something that speaks to you.
Craft fairs are the place to be for artists, designers, art and design enthusiasts, or those searching for that custom one of a kind item that speaks to their mind, body, or soul. Here you will find a mixture of all types of artists and designers and very similarly to the flea market they will be in the categories of home décor
, apparel, jewelry, art, and beauty. The difference that pulls the flea market so far apart from the craft fairs is that just about everything you see in a craft fair is handmade, constructed, or envisioned by the person selling the items. You get to hear the backstory behind each vendor's journey to how they got into their trade, their struggles, success stories, and message behind their products. A craft fair is more than a place to buy items, it is also a place to have an experience and connect with others.
An exhibition varies on many levels from solely representing a single artist to being a group showing, or even a collective opening night event for vendors that sell drinks, food, and handmade merchandise. It all depends on the person hosting the event and the topic at hand. For exhibitions that stay open for an extended period of time, it is primarily to display and sell the artist's works and/or prints. During open nights it is the perfect time to learn more about the artist’s journey, mindset, and connection with them on a deeper level along with reserving a piece of original artwork from the artist(s) to forever represent this interaction. Here you will find that attending an exhibition is a very different type of fun experience, not like going to a craft fair, but fun in the sense of the people that you meet and connections you make. Whether you are there to support your buddy who is an artist or see one of your favorite artists in action, it is an experience like no other.
If you have been to a flea market but not a craft fair or you have been to an exhibition but not a flea market, I highly recommend you try it all at least once to get a perspective on each type. But if your mind is made up that you want a 50”x50” piece of artwork to hang in your vaulted ceiling living room, an exhibition is your way to go. Or maybe you prefer having framed prints from multiple artists or custom handmade stylized apparel and accessories to add to your wardrobe, then a craft fair is for you. Or perhaps you yearn to go treasure hunting to find the perfect vintage side table for your bedroom then a flea market is your place. Each event serves its purpose in whatever it is that you are searching for and now you know the difference between all three for the next time you are on a hunt for the perfect element.