of the Art World
Life on the art-fair circuit is rewarding for a
local jewelry designer and her husband.
designs by Marcy
BY MARCY FELDMAN
f you have ever wondered
about those artists you see at
art fairs, sitting in the sun,
appearing to relax and enjoy
themselves, here's a peek into that
nomadic lifestyle. This is the life
my husband, Michael, and I have
For over 30 years, I've made gold
jewelry. About 20 years ago, Michael
left the practice of law, came into
my business and changed it from
making "one-of-a-kind" pieces to
creating a designer line of jewelry
for stores. We exhibited in trade
shows in New York, Las Vegas,
Tucson, Orlando and Philadelphia,
and sold to stores throughout the
country. Because some of my
designs were too contemporary for
jewelry stores, we
marketed those to
fine craft galleries.
As the econo-
my slowed, so did
so we decided to
exhibit in art fairs
and sell directly
to the public. We
find that people like to meet the
artists and that they appreciate
handmade, unique pieces.
Our children liken us to carnival
people and call us "carnies" because
every other weekend we set up our
lent in a different city. I think we're
more like wandering Jews, seeing
life a little differently than most
people we know. Last year, we
exhibited in 23 shows in Michigan,
Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania,
Kentucky and Florida.
People ask us if it's hard work.
The word "schleppedik" has been
used. It's not that it's harder than
other jobs. It's just different. We
enjoy seeing different parts of the
country, and Michael loves not hav-
ing to wear a tie to work. We both
enjoy meeting people and making
connections wherever we go.
Having a display of Judaica is
like a signal for people to start
playing "Jewish geography."
Usually there's a connection of
some kind. We have had unexpect-
ed reunions with college room-
mates and people we knew when
we were in elementary school.
Even in the little town of
Woodstock, Ill. (where
Left: Artist Marcy
Feldman and her
on the art-fair
Below: Judaica by
"Is Marcy Feldman.
spends that much on a sweater?"
"Groundhog Day" was filmed), we
She said that she also didn't mean
met Mumford alumnus Jim Parker
to be rude, but her customers are
(class of '63).
women. I asked why and
We meet Jews from all over the
she said, the Jewish woman is more
world and each person's story is
sophisticated, knowledgeable and
more interesting than the next.
appreciative of handmade work
We've met Jews from England who
than other women.
winter in Florida; Jews from
Romania and South America.
We've met other Jewish artists
One issue that is always on our
from Israel, California, Florida and
is security. In July of 2001,
as we packed up our display and
One year, I celebrated the last
night of Chanukah in
Charlotte, N.C., with a
Jewish artist from Texas.
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We ordered room service
and she invited her room-
in applying to
for art fair listings,
mate, who was not Jewish,
to join us. I asked the other
Each art fair application
artist what she made.
"Sweaters," was the respons e.
4-5 professional slides of the product
I was interested, so I asked
and booth, descriptions and prices,
sometimes a bio or artist statement
how much they cost. When
$25 and a stamped return envelope
she told me how expensive
Being accepted into a show is not a
they were, I said, "I don't
guarantee of ever being accepted again.
mean to be rude, but who
This whole process is time-consuming,
especially when one must apply
to 2-3 shows for a weekend in
case of rejection.
• Sturdyl O'x 1 0' white canopy
tent with sides (Preferably
Light Dome or Craft Hut)
• 40-60 lb. weights on each
• 4 stakes with ropes
• Professional display for art
• Power drill
• Car or boat battery (optional)
• Lights (optional)
• Credit card machine
• Fishing boots
• Rain parka
• Bug repellant