Casually - With A Purpose
Setting up and taking down the canopy, panels and inventory for an art fair, I’ve learned to do so casually with a purpose.
Every artist I’ve met has a system and each knows about how long their process takes.
In my own case, I can set up in about 2 – 2 1/2 hours, depending upon the setting, ease of access, and weather. Tear-down is about 1 1/2 hours (in both cases, doing this alone).
Expediting the bookends of the art fair tends to amplify the hazardous conditions that exist during this time. Everything works when I take my time; I get hurt when I rush!
Because of the type of tent I use (Flourish Trimline), I needed a small two-step ladder to reach the side wall top zippers, the front awning and sign. Standing on the top step when it is damp (early morning dew or rain) is always slippery.
Better Step Ladder
Have you ever been on a ladder and thought you were lower than you were?
More than once I would step off from the top, or reach out to the tent for support. It is a large step down when I expected the ground to be a few inches away.
To prevent re-spraining my ankles (previous unrelated injury), I switched out to what I term a two-step “painter’s ladder” (one with a rail in the front for support, large top platform, lightweight and folds flat). Though it still might be slippery in the morning dew, it is now much safer.
Wearing Knee Pads
Flourish Trimline tents use steel poles throughout the structure for support. Assembly is easy, though there are times I am on my knees installing the Sta-bars or panel connections.
During tear down, I place the different types of poles in respective piles. Once the tent is completely down, the poles are stored in their respective “pole bags” for ease in transportation and storage.
Normally, I wear knee pads during both phases. Helps cushion the ground when kneeling down.
On one particular summer day in 2013, while packing up following a show, I chose not to do so.
Everyting Works Fine - When I Take My Time
Rushing to get on the road, I knelt down hard on the pile of steel poles. Yes, it hurt. I damaged my knee, incurred a costly doctor bill, and couldn’t walk for three weeks. As you might expect, it still bothers me at times.
I’ve learned my lesson. Knee pads are the first thing on for both set-up and tear-down.
Everything works fine when I take my time; I only get hurt when I rush!