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I'm going with a new thread on canopies as its recurring theme -mainly so  I can find it as repost it in the future if needed.

Canopies-for most potters it’s a love hate deal

Buy a cheaply or go big and spend over $500 plus

The thing is what kind of shows do you do and where in the world do you live

These points will determine a lot and narrow the choices.

If you are a hobbyist and plan on two (farmer markets –bazaars etc.) than a cheap one will work as well as you need-if you are a pro and plan on doing 10 plus shows a year well that’s a different story.

If you live in the Eastern US or Midwest and you have heard of tornadoes and thunderstorms well you need a solid heavy weighted Pro unit.

I live in the west and rain and wind  and sun are the only factors.

In my 45-year career, I have gone thru many a canopy. I alway own 3 now.

In fact, when I started out there where NO canopies and you build your own booth with a shade top. Every booth at an art show was unique-No pro panels to hand your stuff on, No Costo or Ikea stores to buy display stuff from. Just you and your imagination racks and booth was all made by me Screwed and glued.

It was a simple time-you took pride in your display as it was yours. The show had booth that all looked different. 

When pop up canopies came out the shows stated looking all alike.

As to the love hate-well my work looks best in sunlight-not under a canopy. So, all my local shows and one traveling show I do use a canopy –unless it’s raining or going to. That what a smart phone works well for-where will the rain hit on your radar app.

As to which are best –I suggest you only use a white top as the light that comes thru will be white and light your product the best. I have seen blue and red and beige and its taints the light and makes your work look sickly color wise. So, you may say the blue top one is only 49$ and think what a deal. Get a white one-trust me on this point

They have made so many types and qualities in canopies over the decades you should know what to look for and decide which fits your plan and location on the planet-If you live in sunny San Diego VS say windy coastal Patagonia well you will need a different type of canopy for each of these locations.

The two major types are the pop up (fast up and down) and the assemble top crossbar and add legs (stronger but more time to erect. The other thing is some are heavy steel (hard to pack around) _I gave mine away long ago or aluminum –which can be powder coated or painted or plain.

The pop ups come in all types of qualities-some are cheap junk and some are very nice. For example, go to the easy-up web site and you can see some different qualities depending on quality and pricing.

Years ago, you could find pro quality canopies at some big box stores –these days they are mostly junk-yes Costco caravans have now been made better than when they first came out

I like to get either middle of the road ones or high end ones and for me since I pride myself on fast in and fast out they are always Easy up pop ups. If I lived in the Midwest or east or Patagonia I would use the ‘cross bar top and add legs (craft huts and light domes for example of brands. These are heavy canvas wall and really more sturdy and weatherproof.

Even with that said I will tell you a story about a good potter friend doing a show in Jackson Hole Wyoming. He always had top of the line canopies, it was pack up time he packed ½ the booth and he went to get the van. He noticed while waiting in traffic line to get to his booth that a booth across the square was in a wind dust –devil and it was airborne and getting destroyed when it hit him –Hey that’s my booth. So even if you have a great one weather can and will ruin it-just a matter of time.

I personally carry two canopies in my Mondo space case on my van roof whether I need them or not-they live there year around. I also keep a new one in the box at home just in case. All three are identical.

Let’s talk side walls-some are ventilated some are thick canvas coated and super rain proof-some are thin-zippers are also great too cheap to no zippers and just Velcro (on the cheap ones)

Me, well I had 6 panels custom made 15-20 years ago with super duty zippers and extra wide about 4 inches and added Velcro. This added width can go around my racks if they stick out some and all side panels seem to shrink over time and do not fit well-this cured all that. I use them on a double (need 6 to cover a double) or single booth when needed. One has a zipper in the middle called a split panel which I often use as a!/2 shade panel out the back corner where I sit when selling. They are water proof and also white as we covered earlier-use white side panels for the same reasons above.

So, it really a matter of where you live and how much you going to use it.

As a professional I used to do 12-15 shows a year and needed the best-now it’s down to 6 shows and the medium ones work well for me out west.

And really if I can I will not even use one depending on the location of show (need one for city street shows) 

Some other tips are if you do rainy shows or hot shows a lot get the bump out sun rain shades on front or corner booths (I carry these as well)

One last point get some weights at least 30#s per legs so your booth does not destroy your neighbors stuff in a wind storm. Nothing is worse for us pros to have a newbie think that the canopy will stay put in a big wind.

Just a few weeks ago I saw at least 6-8 canopies get destroyed in big wind. Tore up the booth next to them as they went home Saturday night with zero weights-wind came up overnight.

I’ll add the leg weights story to this post in a day or two as its glaze day.

 

Edited by Mark C.

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Ok now you have you new canopy

You will need weights-as  you know the weather can change.Things like wind rain twisters can come up from nowhere.At times you may wonder what was I thinking setting up in this weather.

Well the things that make your canopy stay put are great weights. 

Yes you can do this on the cheap but most weights take up to much space and are to light.

The best ones are 2 inch square steel stock-you buy it from a metal structural supply business in your town-the place where steel is sold .The 2x2 inch square stock is very heavy . Buy 4 -36 inch long pieces of it. have them cut it for you. You can drill a hole thru the side to side near the top and run a string thru it or have a steel loop wielded on top(cut an eye bolt down). You can paint this steel as it will rust (paint it as soon as you can). You want at least 30#s per leg and this stuff is that heavy. You tie the top loop or string loop to the top of the canopy and you use a few short bungees  to hold the steel parallel to your legs and use a strap to connect to weight and top of canopy .My straps are adjustable. It takes top zero space . Your neighbors will love you(as you booth will not blow onto their booth and ask where you got these sweet leg weights.

The only downside is do not ever let them fall onto your toes

These are the best weights-mine are like these but are lesser-they are open steel channel filled with lead and have the eye bolt loops in top. (I had a friend who was working with liquid lead a lot make them?. They weigh 30# or more and are a bit larger than the 2x2 I suggest you use.

Edited by Mark C.

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I'm currently using 35 pound barbells for my weights. They are small, but heavy. They all fit on the floorboard of the passenger seat. I see a lot of people lately using kettle bells, but they don't hang well. You have to set them on the ground and strap the canopy to them. I'm a big fan of hanging weights, but other like to have their weights on the ground. Whatever you use, do not hang them with bungees. Use straps or rope, anything that doesn't stretch. Bungees allow for way too much movement.

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I use steel bars like Mark described. I got the idea from him on the forum years ago. Nice and slim, space saving, and heavy as [bleep].

I prefer to have mine on the ground, simply because I don’t want to lift them in the air during setup. Too heavy! I recently read a story on another artist board about someone who hung her weights in the air on the advice of another artist. Only to have her cheap tent collapse.  I know Neil has a sturdy tent, but if you’re going to dangle your weights, make sure your tent can handle it. And if your weights are dangling, make sure to strap them around the tent legs too, so they cannot swing like a pendulum. A swinging weight can do a lot of damage.

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My weights fit on top of the canopy leg foot and is held tight to canopy leg with top and bottom bungee. The straps have hooks and go from frame top to weight top. No flexing. They look like part of the canopy legs.They are very professional and trouble free. They are not hanging in air but are part of the framework .They do cost some $ but so does everything else worth doing.I've had these weights in play for over 3 decades so the cost is really low at this point .I could sell them in an instant for what I paid for them.

I like to do things right. I have been around way to many funky weigh scenes gone wrong at art shows.

 

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16 hours ago, Mark C. said:

have been around way to many funky weigh scenes gone wrong at art shows.

At a recent show, the artist next to me showed up without any weights at all. When the wind started gusting, she tried to tie her tent to my weights. I explained as politely as possible that my weights were designed to hold down one tent, not two. I think it was her first show, she was unwrapping the packaging from her canopy in the morning. She made it through the day with makeshift solutions and hanging on to her a tent leg. Hopefully she learned about the importance of weights that day. I don’t mean to criticize her too hard (except the part about trying to “borrow” my weights without asking), because in my early days I did a few shows without weights before I understood the importance. I spent a day hanging on to my tent leg too. I’ve been through enough bad weather now to know that weights are an obvious baseline requirement. But I can remember that it’s not obvious to a newcomer. 

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I took a different tack on weighting when doing shows in the 90's, in PA. I had plywood boxes that I built as booth display cases, these were to hide part of the booth areas for storage, and were arranged round areas where the canopy poles were. I had anchor plates on the ends of the boxes so that the canopy poles attached into the plates. Then the boxes were weighted with barbell weights along with boxes of pots. Over the years I worried that I was tied all together, and that a wind heavy enough would move the whole mess destroying a load of goods. Never happened. I did see a booth 4 down from me on a corner get gusted in a thunderstorm at Penn State. Canopy was weighted, barbells with poles in center holes with bolted attachments. The canopy acted as a kite, lifted and went over the free standing racks knocking over 3 of 4. Took us a couple of hours to get him straightened up and back to displaying his left overs.

 

best,

Pres

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Lets see I have seen sand bags ,barbells ,Rebar, cement in buckets, cement in 4 inch PVC pipe, cement in every conceivable form,sand in pipes,sand in any container,rocks,people holding it down, still plate, string tied to whatever one can beg or find,tied to display, tied to trees, cinder blocks,tent stakes,sleeping dogs, coolers,chairs all used instead of real clean and easy 2x2 bar stock.I have lost count of of the booths I have seen destroyed for no weights to folks using most of the above items for weights that do not work as well.

All of the above take space except the 2x2 bar stock. The one thing in a tight show you do not have is space. Yes it  will cost a few bucks. But so does just about everything in ceramics.You are looking for 30 to 40#s per leg.You want to connect that weight to top as thats what will blow. Use something that will not stretch .

 

Edited by Mark C.

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This conversation is particularly interesting to me because outdoor markets are the exception, not the rule in my area.  There are some outdoor farmer's markets, and one day (evening?) night markets are becoming a bit of a trend, but I've only really seen one organizer put any effort into spelling out the need for adequate weight on tents, and what those requirements are.  100 lbs is what we're told, because we don't get massive tornado producing storms, and if the weather is all that bad, these small shows tend to get cancelled.  In the vendor information there's not usually any mention of how to guy your weights properly to the top corners of your tent, or to distribute the weight to all four corners. I personally use 4 x 30 lb cinder blocks, because they were $3.50 each, and my outdoor night market booth budget was spent on battery lanterns (no kerosene lamps allowed due to fire regs). 

 

There was an interesting conversation on the FB group S**t Overheard at Art Festivals last week that began with an image of someone using either electrical tape or Gorilla tape (picture kinda fuzzy) to tape the feet of their tent to the pavement. There was a lot of "what NOT to do" there.

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I was at a chow two summers ago where someone had large rocks, like maybe softball size, sitting on their booth feet to hold it down. A storm came through during Friday setup, flipped her tent and sent a rock flying. It hit the woman setting up behind her in the head. She wasn't hurt badly, but head wounds bleed a lot and there was blood on her tent, on the pavement, etc. People were freaking out. An ambulance came and took her away. She came back later and had a good show. I have many horror stories about tents, and this was the only one where there was injury to a person, not just property, but it reinforces the need for a good setup. So many people aren't willing to invest in a a truly safe setup because they 'only do a couple of shows a year' and it's not worth the money. But even if you only do one show, you have to do it right.

Before I started using stabilizer bars on my old lightweight popup, I once had a gust hit hard enough that it flexed the top of my tent about a foot, and it hit the pots on my top shelf. that was crazy. With the stabilizer bars that can't happen. I've seen heavy duty tents- Trimline and Light Dome- get destroyed by wind because they weren't using the lower stabilizer bars.

I used to use tube weights- PVC pipe filled with concrete, but they took up a huge amount of space in the truck. And 3"x30" pipe filled with concrete only weigh about 24 pounds. I found that that was not enough weight to keep my tent solid. I think 35 pounds is the minimum, especially for a lightweight popup. My current popup weighs double what a typical popup does, and my walls are very heavy 600D coated canvas just like the top- they weigh 6 pounds each. So I feel pretty good with 35 pounds on each corner. I do find, though, that the feet will slide if the pavement is smooth, so I have to watch that. I'm considering trying to put a mat of some sort under the feet to keep them from sliding. Pieces of yoga mat, maybe? Any ideas?

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25 minutes ago, neilestrick said:

I was at a chow two summers ago where someone had large rocks, like maybe softball size, sitting on their booth feet to hold it down. A storm came through during Friday setup, flipped her tent and sent a rock flying. It hit the woman setting up behind her in the head. She wasn't hurt badly, but head wounds bleed a lot and there was blood on her tent, on the pavement, etc. People were freaking out. An ambulance came and took her away. She came back later and had a good show. I have many horror stories about tents, and this was the only one where there was injury to a person, not just property, but it reinforces the need for a good setup. So many people aren't willing to invest in a a truly safe setup because they 'only do a couple of shows a year' and it's not worth the money. But even if you only do one show, you have to do it right.

Before I started using stabilizer bars on my old lightweight popup, I once had a gust hit hard enough that it flexed the top of my tent about a foot, and it hit the pots on my top shelf. that was crazy. With the stabilizer bars that can't happen. I've seen heavy duty tents- Trimline and Light Dome- get destroyed by wind because they weren't using the lower stabilizer bars.

I used to use tube weights- PVC pipe filled with concrete, but they took up a huge amount of space in the truck. And 3"x30" pipe filled with concrete only weigh about 24 pounds. I found that that was not enough weight to keep my tent solid. I think 35 pounds is the minimum, especially for a lightweight popup. My current popup weighs double what a typical popup does, and my walls are very heavy 600D coated canvas just like the top- they weigh 6 pounds each. So I feel pretty good with 35 pounds on each corner. I do find, though, that the feet will slide if the pavement is smooth, so I have to watch that. I'm considering trying to put a mat of some sort under the feet to keep them from sliding. Pieces of yoga mat, maybe? Any ideas?

Neil I have some boat bunk scraps that work great -they do not hold water-I'll mail a chunk and you can cut your own from them. PM me your address.

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3 hours ago, Pres said:

Oh Callie, I could not keep from laughing my head off if I saw someone taping a booth down!

 

best,

Pres

The poster got photographic evidence. There was a lot of mockery on that particular thread!

19B8BD4F-1D9B-4872-9883-2CB81118F4BA.jpeg

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1 hour ago, neilestrick said:

I'm considering trying to put a mat of some sort under the feet to keep them from sliding. Pieces of yoga mat, maybe? Any ideas?

On the advice of someone on another artist board, I glued rubber furniture pads to the bottoms of my tent legs and my weights. I used E6000 glue. I did it about a year ago, and so far I’ve had to re-glue two of them. But it really helps keep the feet in place when on pavement. 

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