Hello everyone, my name is Shannon Rutherford and I am back again today with another guest post here on the linenlaid&felt blog. As part of my bookbinding internship, Katie invited me to come along with her to the 2016 Porter Flea Summer Market this past weekend. Today I’ll be telling you all about my experience with helping Katie at her booth at Porter Flea, as well as my overall impressions of the event and images of my favorite vendors.
Since I recently moved to Tennessee, this was my first time ever attending a Porter Flea event. I was very excited for the opportunity to get to help Katie and see the process of how she prepares for an upcoming show.
I started out by helping Katie promote her handmade books on social media through her Instagram account. In the days leading up to the event, I helped Katie resize photos and write captions for posts to get the word out about her booth using the hashtags #pfsummer16 and #porterflea.
On the day of the event, we loaded up her car and drove over to the venue. This year the event took place at Skyway Studios in East Nashville. Upon arriving, we entered through a long hallway that split off in either direction. The first thing I noticed was a giant green floor in the center of the room. I later learned that it is used in combination with a green screen for TV production and filming projects.
Soon we began setting up Katie’s display and arranging her books on the table in the booth area. I quickly noticed and appreciated how much attention to detail and effort Katie puts into her booth display. She had lovely photographs of her work on display behind the booth, and her branding and signage was very clearly laid out and labeled neatly. Once the setup was complete, all of her handmade books looked so bright and colorful when presented as a whole.
Here are some photos of the final booth display before the event began. I was really impressed with how everything came together and it was fun to see an ordinary table be transformed into such a unique and eye-catching display.
As the preview night began, I was able to see the procedure of how one makes a purchase of Katie’s books and how Katie collects payment using an app called Register. It is a really quick way to process payments and has many great features including the ability to upload images of your products right into the app. I couldn’t believe how easy the technology was to use!
Once the setup was complete, we went into the vendor lounge for pizza. I got to meet some really lovely artists and hear all about their work. It was such a supportive environment where all the vendors were really friendly, rooting for each other’s success and wishing each other good luck.
Other vendors began trickling in one by one and also completing their booth setup for the day. At 6 p.m. the preview party began. It was a great concept to allow people to be the first to enjoy the show without having to wait in a long line. Many people showed up and wandered through the venue, which was very spacious. I helped Katie greet people as they approached the booth, as well as answering questions about her products and handing out information about her upcoming classes.
It was really fun to interact with people and see their faces light up when they saw Katie’s books and to see their appreciation when they learned that she made all of them by hand. I had a great time meeting some of the other vendors that Katie introduced me to as well. It was a great place to network and meet other artists and ask them more in depth questions about their artistic process and inspiration.
Throughout the day, Katie and I both had the opportunity to walk around and see the other booths in the show. I was very impressed with all of the work and really loved seeing the variety in the work displayed. It was by far the best show I have been to since moving to Nashville and I will definitely be attending in the future.
Below are just some of my favorite booths and vendors, in no particular order:
Bean & Bailey Ceramics
Bean & Bailey Ceramics was the booth across from ours and it immediately caught my eye. I love all of the pastel colors and simple shapes. I also really enjoyed speaking with the vendor about his process.
This Loves That
This Loves That was one of my favorites! I really loved the non-traditional materials she used in her jewelry. She used fun, clean geometric shapes in her wooden jewelry and her work was very colorful and playful. She also had these neat little pouches with simple designs featured below.
I really loved how Porter Flea highlighted printmaking and illustration. I bought this print from Camp Nevernice as an early birthday present for my twin sister who loves typography, music and singing. I learned later the next day that she had picked out the exact same print to show me.
Amaranthus Paper & Flora
I was lucky to have met the owners of Amaranthus Paper & Flora, a mother and daughter team. Their work is so intricate and stunning; it had me doing a double take as I initially thought their flowers were real and not paper. What a wonderful idea to bring joy to people, especially to those who are sick and may not be able to receive real flowers due to risk of infection in hospitals. They are spreading joy and I love that concept.
The Peppered Paper booth was filled with detailed, beautiful prints. I really loved how she had a framed original so you could see her process. The finished prints contain very delicate, fine lines but catch your eye with their bold color. The attention to detail is just amazing!
My overall impression of the event was great and I loved seeing the unique works of each artist. I really enjoyed collecting all of the business cards from the show. It was a good learning experience and introduction into how to market and sell your products to people and engage with your buying audience. Katie is a pro at it and is always very helpful to others. You can walk away from Katie’s booth having learned something new and her passion for her work is evident in how she carries herself and expresses her creativity. I can't wait to attend another Porter Flea event in the future!