Monday, August 23, 2010

Santa Fe Indian Market Report

Hello everyone. My first appearance at Santa Fe Indian Market as a vendor has been a wonderful experience. The drive to Santa Fe, although rather long was enjoyable. The Santa Fe Indian Market is one of the largest juried Indian Markets in the country with 1400 artists artists this year. It truly is the place to see the best Indian art and people from all over the world come to this market. I met people from France and Luxembourg, heard a couple of Germans, and another whose language I didn't recognize. Expected attendance was around 80,000 each day. By all accounts the attendance was down perhaps as much as 40% off that figure but still 40,000 people is darn good attendance to a show each day, in my opinion at least. Of course, attendance means nothing unless they buy art, but more on that in a bit.

We arrived in plenty of time on Wednesday to find the location and get art work turned in for the big competition. I was a bit worried when they moved the Birdman Dancer Effigy Bottle out of the pottery division and into the sculpture/clay division. I wasn't sure if that would be a more difficult place for it since it is a bottle and there limitations in how you can sculpt a bottle. Consequently the waiting to find out the results of the competition were that much more difficult.

On Thursday we went up to Santa Clara Pueblo and visited my new friend Judy Tafoya of Santa Clara Pueblo Pottery. We helped her with some computer issues and had a good visit. Hopefully she will now be able to get some more info out on her website. One of the things that I do is to help other artists with their websites.

Friday morning we went to the El Dorado Hotel where there were two more art shows going on. The shows in the Hotel ran from Friday through Sunday, whereas the SWAIA Indian Market was only on Saturday and Sunday. This gave us time to have a good look around and chat with some of the artists from those shows.

After a short break back at the hotel and some dinner we were off to the artists reception to see the results of the competition. As we waited in line to get into the reception we chatted with another of our artist friends Argus Dowdy of Four Winds Indian Art. Argus is a fantastic pipe maker and stone sculptor. His pipes are the best I have ever seen and I know several people that agree with me on that point. He has won numerous prizes at Santa Fe Indian Market and other shows across the nation, so there was little doubt but what he would win a prize.

Once we got into the reception I had to find the pottery and sculpture sections to see if I had won a prize. I found the pottery and the miniatures first and discovered that my Mother and Child Effigy Bottle did not win any prize. She was beat out by a set of three playing bears. Ok, well you can't win 'em all. So off to find the dancer and see if he had any better luck. Low and behold he had won a second place. So once again I had managed to get a ribbon and this in on of the stiffest competitions in the country. Needless to say I was very happy with this result.

Next we went to locate pieces the other artists we know had entered. As expected Argus won both 1st and 2nd place in the pipe category. A couple of the other artists that we know slightly were not quite as lucky, although they often do win big prizes. We continued to look at all the wonderful artwork that had been entered into competition and chat with some of the other artists. One of the really nice things about this reception as compared to some other competitions, is that they show all the work that was entered rather than just the prize winners. This is great because you get to see lots more art plus you get to see what all you were up against. We left the reception at bit early so we could get a good night's sleep before the big event started.

Set up started at 6:00 am for us and we were in the second group to set up. At the beginning we were doing it by flashlight. Apparently there were customers waiting at some booths as early as 5:00 am. We had some early bird customers coming by as soon as it began to get light. Saturday went very well for us, although everyone was saying it was way down. Since this was my first year at market I had no reference for that, but I was reasonably happy with the results. Usually at shows Sundays are slower so a reasonable result on Saturday does not mean its time to celebrate.

Sunday started off a bit slow but lots more customers than I am used to seeing at the previous shows I have done. As the day went on it became apparent that it was going to be a good day as well. In the end we did just about the same $ amount on Sunday as we did on Saturday. Overall I was very happy with the results of the show. Now for the long drive home.

A successful show like this is so satisfying. If only they were all so good. I am very thankful for a good result and feel very fortunate as well for there were many other artists who did not fair so well this weekend. It is good to be one of the fortunate ones.

 Now to switch gears.  Its time to make beads and minis.


  1. M, Big huge congrats from us..Joan and Lana

  2. Thanks Joan and Lana. I appreciate all the support.

  3. Congratulations to you on your win and successful sales! have a safe journey home.


  4. Congratulations on your win - the experience was awesome I am sure.

    Kim Fox

  5. Glad to hear you did well, because if it was 40 thousand, yes that's WAY down - I went in '04, and heard that 100,000 people were there (sure SEEMED like it, too!). But, if those who came were the hard core 'buyers', that's ok for exhibitors, if not for the restaurants & hotels & such.