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Sunday, September 14

Portland Saturday Market redux

OK, the market was not a good fit for me, but let's look at it with a clear head. Now that I almost have one.

A market is not an art show and I am used to art shows. Good ones. Half of the stuff being sold there would not be juried into the shows we do. The folks at PSM are appropriately proud of what they have established. A thriving open-air market where crafts people can sell their work. They are serious about quality and about the work all being hand made. They went over my stuff inch by inch and asked intelligent questions about my process. The differences between the Saturday Market and the import show across the street that attached itself to it are not subtle. Still...

A market like this is great for jewelers (and the market's jury is tough on jewelers). There were people selling fun spinners of wire with balls in them, t-shirts with ironed-on sayings, spices. It is a fun market to visit and I have always enjoyed shopping there when we visit Portland. If you are thinking of trying it, I would say keep your prices low and go for an edgier, urban design. If you are used to doing art and craft shows, visit the market in question first and observe not just the sellers, but the buyers. I had reservations after visiting last weekend, but I was doing market research so I plunged in.

I was impressed with how many issues the staff deals with, effectively, and by the friendliness of almost all the staff. They have a monumental task every Saturday morning and they have it down to a science. The market is made up of members who may or may not show up on any given weekend, a number of "fill-ins" and guests like me. That means that every Saturday is like the very first day and every day brings its own issues.

Now I know I tweaked Castle and her orientation a little, but she was a really fine ambassador for PSM. She was friendly and smart and did what she could to make the orientation interesting. Her pride in the market was obvious. She passed by a few times on her way back and forth from her own booth and always stopped to say Hi and ask how it was going. Same with the other staff we met. A brief stop to admire my work, say the booth looked good, ask how it was going. Means a lot.

The market will be moving to a new location in a nearby park in March. The city is building special shelters for them and, it seems, accommodating their needs in a way that illustrates to me that Portland is proud of and supports the market. As they should.

So, thanks PSM for the experience. I wish I had been well enough to try day 2.

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