Improvising A Jewelry Booth In Oaxaca

February 20, 2015 , In: Business Tips, General, Studio

When I came to Oaxaca for the winter, I brought bead supplies, shipping supplies and a sketch book.  It never occurred to me that I might have an opportunity to show my work here, but that is just what happened!

 Usually my booth display looks something like this.  See all those props?  They are all in the states, not here!
The Oaxaca Lending Library is the oldest English Language Library in Mexico and they host an annual so-called “Flea Market” in February, as a fund raiser for their many projects.  Most of the people selling at the market are expats who are downsizing and selling their collections of local crafts.  There were many gorgeous textiles, as well as household goods, Mexican silver jewelry, woodwork etc.

Photo by Alan Goodin

But there were also a couple of artists’ booths, so I decided to give it a go.  The booth fee was reasonable and I figured that even if I didn’t sell anything, the money would be going to a good cause.  Ah, but how to set up a halfway decent booth with no props and no intention of spending money on new booth decor?

I wanted to create some height.  Nothing is more boring than a bunch of jewelry laid out flat on a table!  I figured that making tented earrings cards would add some height. My first thought was to buy a couple of sheets of card stock to create the tented earring cards and hang tags.  But all I could find here were complete reams of card stock!  Uh, no way was I buying a whole ream!  So instead,  I bought a brown legal sized file folder and cut out earring “tents” from the folded side.

I used a sewing needle to punch hole for the ear wires. I wrote Linda Landig Jewelry across the top of the cards and put my web address on the back.  I wrote the price in pesos and dollars on the bottom, front of the cards (Yes, I had to convert all my dollar prices.).  Not elegant, but the earring cards were functional and stood up nicely on the table.

I used the rest of the file folder to create price hang tags. I didn’t have regular string, so I used some waxed cotton that I’d brought with me for knotted jewelry designs.

My regular jewelry both has several risers to create height, so I scouted around the house for a substitute. I found several baskets without handles that could be flipped upside down for risers.

 To cover the table I used two sheets of scrapbook paper that I brought with me for jewelry photo backgrounds.  I also used a gray foam sheet, that I had been beading on, two woven place mats and the unused remainder of the file folder.  And here’s the result:

Its not fancy, but hey, it’s not bad either, especially considering that I was creating something out of nothing and I only shelled out 10 cents for the cost of a file folder.

And here’s the thought that I want to leave you with.  Situations that knock you out of your usual ways of doing things, lead to creative problem solving and flexible thinking patterns.  That is one of the reasons I enjoy traveling.  As artists, I think it is important that we seek out experiences that challenge us to move outside our routines and usual ways of doing things.  It doesn’t need to be travel, but just don’t let yourself get too comfortable.  What are some ways that you create flexible thinking for yourself?


Linda Landig

Linda Landig has been designing jewelry for over 30 years. Color play is the driving force in her work, closely followed by an obsession with texture. Linda soon discovered that art beads could provide much of the color and texture she sought. Linda has an affinity for floral themes, dating back to childhood efforts to raise irises. She has taken courses in metalsmithing and lampwork, but it is ceramics that has captured her heart. Linda has two adult children and lives in Olympia, WA with her husband of 42 years.
  1. Reply

    in my opinion a good designer will work with anything – luxury material to junk to everything in between – great job

    • Reply

      Thank you! I had fun figuring out how to meet this challenge.

  2. Reply

    Great ideas and wonderful food for thought – thank you Linda!

  3. Reply

    I wish I was there!!!! I think it's great you got the opportunity to do a show in Oaxaca, a fun challenge too!

    • Reply

      You are right, it was fun. I wish you were here too! You'd love it.

  4. Reply

    The display has a flow to it…your creative energy amazes me!!!!

  5. Reply

    Great improvisational skills there, Linda! Wish I were there, too. The place looks fascinating!

  6. Reply

    Way to go! It would've been so easy to just dismiss this opportunity without all your regular display items available. Just goes to show that we can be far more creative than we think when the situation arises.

  7. Reply

    Linda, what a grand adventure you are having. I loved reading about your problem-solving and solutions. You came up with some great ideas, and your display looks great! I sure wish I could be shopping there; sounds fabulous. I think it is these kind of out-of-the box thinking opportunities that are the most exciting and productive for us as creative people. That's an area in which we shine! I am in awe of how you were able to choose what to bring with you from your studio. I would go crazy trying to limit myself to something manageable. Enjoy your time in such a wonderful place on earth that has such creative energy.

  8. Reply

    I loved reading about your improvised booth! So clever, and it looks great! I use flexible thinking and problem solving all the time at work, but struggle in my creative life. I have to figure out how to transfer those skills!

  9. Reply

    Great job on a dime! I try to not spend a lot on my displays and use what I have around the house. I think you did a wonderful job. In my opinion, your jewelry is so wonderful it takes very little display to sell it.

  10. Reply

    clean and simple presentation that makes YOUR JEWELLERY the STAR of the show, not the neck props etc. I like the plainness of the background using card stock and manilla folders. it has a craftsy/ artsy feel in the overall look. never overlook an opportunity, however small , to showcase your incredible talent.

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