ACC Baltimore 2013 – What I Learned – The Story

by Lisa Call on April 12, 2013

in News

ACC Baltimore - My Booth - 2013 ©Lisa Call
The Booth

The Logistics

This post is the second in a series of post exhibit reviews about the American Craft Council show in Baltimore last February.

I want dive into the lessons I learned in this next group of articles.

As this was the first time I have ever set up a booth, I spent the majority of my effort on the logistics: the booth, the shipping, etc, etc.

This is a huge undertaking and it was necessary to get a solid understanding of this part of the adventure to be successful.

So the first thing I learned were the logistics.  I now have a system for preparing for a show.  I saved my notes from the first round and wrote them up into a check list that I can follow next year.

I believe in turning most anything I do into a system so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time I do something.

The Art

Fortunately I have been a prolific artist for years and I didn’t have to worry about having enough artwork to fill my booth. I had plenty and brought along enough so I could try out different displays.

Once I arrived at the show, I set a goal to learn as much as possible on how to set up a booth to sell as much work as possible.

I studied other artists booths.

I experimented with the layout of art within my booth – sometimes packing the walls full of art and and other times keeping it simpler.

Here are a few different options I played with:

ACC Baltimore - My Booth - 2013 ©Lisa Call
Another Layout of Work


ACC Baltimore - My Booth - 2013 ©Lisa Call
And Another

It was fun to observe what other artists were doing and explore options with my own work and watch reactions.

I can boil down what I learned into a single thought: having a tight, cohesive story is ideal.

Although it sounds a bit counter-intuitive – minimizing choice is important. Having a clear simple story – both in design and color – is the lesson I took away from my experience.

Even though I work almost exclusively in a series – my story wasn’t as cohesive as it could have been.

Next year, since I have the logistics down, I’ll be focusing my time on creating a strong clear message with the artwork I exhibit in my booth.


michelle April 12, 2013 at 9:35 am

It is very interesting to see how the different layouts tell different stories, thank you for sharing this! While all of the displays would draw me in, the bottom photo makes me swoon! :)

Lisa Call April 12, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Thanks Michelle! Swoon – cool :)

I liked that one the best also – it’s the most consistent and the most “me”


Sherri April 12, 2013 at 9:44 am

Curious…does that mean displaying only one series at a time? One color mostly? I know that some of the work you took used very different fabrics than your other work in the same series. Is that type of thing too distracting to be simple and clear? Asking because I’m doing a small show soon and have been thinking about what to hang.

Lisa Call April 12, 2013 at 12:54 pm


There was not a consistent formula that I saw in what other artists were doing but for me color and size are going to be key. Limiting the number of sizes, keeping the colors more cohesive – these are a few of my plans.

For example I had a big red textile painting in the back of the booth that got a lot of comments but it was out of most people’s price range. Yet my small $55 pieces were all pastel blue, greens and purples not bold red and orange. That mismatch wasn’t a good plan.

Good luck with your upcoming show!


Sherri April 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

And I agree with Michelle…love the bottom photo and layout.

Lisa Call April 12, 2013 at 12:54 pm


Tom Hlas April 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Lisa, your work looks great in your booth. Thanks for posting your pics and insights. I think you did a fab job. Look forward to learning more from your experience at the show. Share away.
Hugs! – Tom

Lisa Call April 15, 2013 at 8:09 am


Thanks! More posts coming – tomorrow I’ll be posting about my marketing materials.


kathryn April 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm

“I believe in turning most anything I do into a system so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time I do something.” what, you don’t like making yourself nuts like the rest of us?!! :P

your booth looks fabulous! i’m curious how your “story” will be more cohesive than it already is?!!

Lisa Call April 15, 2013 at 8:11 am


“what, you don’t like making yourself nuts like the rest of us?!!” :):):)

As to my story – I don’t want to share my plans for the work I’ll be making this year quite yet but look for a more cohesive set of colors and sizes and series next year.

It was really interesting to see how crystal clear most of the artists stories were. I felt all over the map in comparison – although I do have a pretty clear style – I could have done better!


Tom Hlas April 15, 2013 at 8:24 am

Yay! Look forward to the new posting. – Tom

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