Craft show and bazaar season is upon us. Do you find you get overwhelmed with all there is to see? Are some shows too big with too many sellers? Is it hard to get to see some areas due to the crowds? And there are often multiple sales close together in one day - craft, flea markets, farmers markets, bazaars, rummage sales, food sales, art, direct sales, and on the list goes. 

It's easy for mental fatigue to set in when there is too much to see - a seemingly infinite amount of goodies in front of us. We can't possibly take it all in. Whether you're at the sales to buy goods or find bargains, or just to be inspired and get new ideas and replenish your creative reserves, we can quickly become over-saturated by the plethora of offerings. Our concentration wavers. We drown in details. We make poor buying decisions.

So how do we get around this type of fatigue that can set in at these shows & sales? Try this hack for both recovery and to see what you missed the first time: 

  1. Take a break. This may seem obvious, but taking some time to clear the mind helps make room to absorb more information. Write down or record some notes so you don't have to keep juggling all those thoughts. Then take a walk (outside is best if possible), drink some water to stay hydrated, eat a snack if you're feeling hungry. When you're ready, go back in.
  2. You should be feeling refreshed, but this time, go around the room & rows in the opposite direction. You'll see everything from a different perspective and, like a veil lifting, will be able to take in details you didn't absorb on the first go around. Your eyes and senses will open again. 
My recent trip to the Toronto area is proof-positive. The visit was to see an exhibition of fibre art, my goals were to see the works of the international artists, to be inspired, to perhaps see a few techniques what would help with my own work. 

Part way through the visit, however, we were feeling overwhelmed. We were no longer absorbing what we were seeing. Information overload was setting in. There were over 300 artworks, each needing some time to see not just the big picture, but also their intricate and often sophisticated details.

A lunch break and time to get away definitely helped. But seeing the works in the reverse order was key, or the fatigue would set in at the same point as the previous visit. By seeing the latter half of the show with fresh eyes, we were able to absorb more details than if we had started at the same spot from earlier in the day.  

Give this a try next time you're at all these shows, indeed there are lots of places where this hack could help. And if you're a seller, this idea is worth sharing or visitors may just be walking by your booth with eyes glazed over....


"Music is full of longing and movement.  Painting should be the same." I read this quote in Hundred and Thousands: The Journals of...