Lighting a Tremendous Craft Commerce Present Sales space – Choices for the Price range-Acutely aware Artist


Good lighting is a fundamental ingredient of a profitable trade-show sales space. Simply the suitable lighting system may help an artist create the environment of a fine-craft gallery. This may lure gallery house owners off the isles and into your sales space – step one towards making a sale.

Lighting is a comparatively costly funding. So how does the budget-conscious artist discover the suitable resolution?

In the case of selecting a lighting system, artists new to the commerce present circuit typically turn out to be overwhelmed. Costs range wildly, and every conference middle could have its personal lighting guidelines. Lighting know-how is altering quickly, making the alternatives more durable nonetheless.

This text particulars what I discovered whereas tackling the problem of lighting my 10’X10’ sales space on the American Craft Retailers Expo (ACRE), a big wholesale present for American and Canadian craft artists. As I’m new to commerce reveals, this info is supposed solely as a pointer for artists within the course of of selecting lighting, and maybe additionally for extra seasoned artists seeking to replace their programs.

In inspecting many various lighting choices, my goal was to light up my glass jewellery superbly however inexpensively. I wished the lights to be light-weight and modular, to slot in bins for delivery to the present. I used to be searching for up to date styling, in silver or black. And I wished to have at the least one particular lighting impact – not too flashy – to present my sales space a novel factor.

In his CD on sales space design, artwork enterprise guide Bruce Baker suggests 1,000 watts will gentle up a ten’X10’ sales space very successfully. I made a decision to remain at or below 500 watts, nonetheless, as a result of the ACRE present consists of 500 watts with the sales space worth, and the halogen lighting I finally determined upon illuminates my shows very nicely. Since I purchased the lights at a “big-box” retailer with websites in just about each metropolis within the U.S., I can add extra lights as soon as I’m on the commerce present if needed.

The Battle of the Bulb

Contractors Selection Lighting ( says a lightweight fixture is just a “bulb holder.” The bulb, subsequently, ought to drive one’s selection of a fixture. That is considerably true for trade-show lighting, though the fixtures could dictate the sorts of bulbs, relying on the alternatives accessible on the retailer the place one outlets for the lights. The CCL web site presents a “Bulb Photometrics” web page ([]), whose graphical illustration is a refreshing departure from the advanced descriptions of lighting choices which have proliferated on the internet.

Halogen is the bulb of selection for a lot of commerce present exhibitors. It presents a crisp, white gentle. Though individuals generally consult with halogen as non-incandescent, it’s in reality a sort of incandescent lamp. It generates gentle by utilizing a skinny filament wire manufactured from tungsten, heated to white by passing an electrical present by it. In keeping with Common Electrical, the primary halogen lamp was developed in 1959 – not too way back for many people!

Halogen bulbs differ considerably from the standard kind of incandescents we grew up with. The halogen bulb’s filament is surrounded by halogen gases (iodine or bromine, particularly). These gases let the filaments function at larger temperatures. The tip result’s a better gentle output per watt.

The gases additionally do one thing fairly miraculous: Tungsten tends to evaporate off the filament over time, and the gases really assist re-deposit the tungsten onto the filament. This extends the bulb’s life manner past that of the standard incandescent bulb, whose evaporated tungsten clings to the partitions of the bulb like a smoky apparition and ultimately the uncoated filament snaps. Who hasn’t rattled a burnt-out gentle bulb and loved the jazzy cymbal sound of the damaged filament inside?

Along with giving off extra gentle than conventional incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs emit a whiter gentle that gives higher coloration rendition. “For highlighting and bringing out true colours, use halogen lamps,” suggests USA Mild and Electrical’s web site ( “Nothing seems to be higher than the drama introduced in with halogen lamps.”

Baker additionally suggests halogen lights – floodlights particularly – for a recent look, particularly for jewellery and glass. It’s necessary to contemplate that different tremendous craft supplies resembling ceramics and wooden could be higher enhanced with halogen spotlights, and even with a number of the extra conventional incandescent lights that emit a hotter coloration.

Having determined upon halogen lighting, my subsequent activity can be to decide on bulbs. The ACRE present takes place on the Las Vegas Conference Heart, which has instituted a strict halogen lighting coverage. Every gentle can’t exceed 75 watts, and all halogen bulbs should be manufacturing unit sealed in glass (not in a detachable lens or linear form).

Fortunately, there’s loads of factory-sealed halogen lighting, within the type of PAR halogen bulbs. PAR is an acronym for “parabolic aluminized reflector.” PAR bulbs have a built-in reflecting floor manufactured from pressed glass. The glass offers each an inner reflector and prisms within the lens for management of the sunshine beam.

PAR bulbs are numbered, as in PAR 16, PAR 20, PAR 56. The PAR quantity refers back to the bulb form. has a halogen part of the location the place you may rapidly examine the varied PAR bulbs visually. Inside a given class of PAR bulbs there are numerous wattages, large and slender spotlights and floodlights, completely different base sizes, and even completely different colours.

Luckily I used to be capable of skip the method of deciding on a PAR bulb by deciding first the place to buy my lights (extra on that beneath).

Energy Points

If you go to buy observe lights, you’ll discover there’s a selection between 12-volt and 120-volt fixtures. 120 is the usual voltage that comes immediately into most properties and places of work – and conference facilities.

For a lamp utilizing 120 volts, no further components are needed past a daily socket. 120-volt fixtures usually are lighter than 12-volt fixtures as a result of they don’t want a transformer. In addition they value much less and might use halogen or common incandescent bulbs.

I finished in need of investigating 12-volt fixtures, besides to seek out out that they step down the quantity of vitality getting used to a decrease voltage, and thus are extra vitality environment friendly. They require a transformer to transform the 120-volt family present to 12 volts, and so they could require hardwiring (though one artist I do know discovered a 12-volt fixture with a built-in transformer which she was capable of plug right into a 120-volt outlet. A 12-volt fixture accommodates very environment friendly bulbs that supply a wide range of wattages and beam spreads, together with the 50-watt MR-16, which is common in galleries.

I made a decision on 120-volt lighting for the commerce present, as a result of I wouldn’t have to fret about transformers and will simply plug it in.

Selecting a Retailer and Monitor Lighting

I learn the ACRE on-line discussion board for clues about the place to purchase lighting. What one artist mentioned struck me as eminently smart: He buys all his lighting at Residence Depot, as a result of if something goes improper on the present, he can discover a retailer close by for substitute components.

This was one thing to contemplate: Tempting because the attractive designs could be, special-order lighting of any sort introduces the danger of getting a malfunctioning gentle at some stage in a present.

One other artist on the ACRE on-line discussion board mentioned he buys his lights from Lowes. It in all probability doesn’t matter which big-box retailer one chooses, so long as there’s one in each metropolis.

Since I used to be new to commerce reveals and this was to be my first lighting package, I resisted selecting from the numerous good suppliers on the internet. I settled on the restricted however enticing choice at Lowes. A facet advantage of this was that my selections had been comfortably narrowed.

Inside the class of halogen lighting, you will get both observe lights or stem-mounted lights (with arms extending outward). I went with observe lights. This was partly as a result of the stem lights I discovered on the internet had been comparatively costly and Lowe’s didn’t provide them, and partly as a result of with observe lights I might have one twine as a substitute of a number of hanging down.

The Lowes lighting salesperson was useful in placing collectively a full package deal from the observe lighting on show and in inventory. I made a decision on 4, two-foot tracks to maintain the dimensions of my delivery bins down. Right here’s a rundown of what I purchased:

· 4 two-foot observe sections, Portfolio model, black end, Merchandise #225678. Every part holds 2 lights, for a complete of 8. Whole: $23.12

· 8 Flared Gimbal Monitor Lights, Portfolio model, Merchandise #120673, with a satin chrome end for a recent look. They’re straightforward to connect to the observe by following the instructions. Whole: $80.76

· 8 halogen bulbs, Par 20, 50-watt, for vibrant, crisp gentle. I purchased a number of floodlights and a few spotlights. The bulbs are very packable, at just a little over 3” lengthy and a couple of.5” in diameter. Whole: $60.00

· 2 Miniature Straight Connectors by Portfolio, Merchandise #120716, for becoming a member of two of the observe sections finish to finish. The thought is to have just one twine to plug in from a row of 4 lights. Whole: $5.92.

· 2 Twine and Plug Units, Portfolio model, Merchandise #120827, to energy observe from a typical AC wall outlet. I linked these to the top of the 2 of the observe sections by unscrewing the protecting on one facet of the observe. Whole: $17.06

· Varied Multi-Function Ties (cable ties), by Catamount, for attaching tracks to sales space pipes. Whole: $5.00

· 2 heavy-duty extension twine/energy strips – 14-gauge, 15-feet, with three shops every, Woods model, from Lowe’s, Merchandise #170224, mannequin 82965. Whole: $22.00

Grand complete: $213.86

The Gimbal lights I selected solely settle for a 50-watt, PAR 20 bulb, which made it straightforward to select the bulbs. So on this case, the fixture drove the selection of bulb, not the opposite manner round.

In keeping with the Bulb Photometrics web page at Contractors Selection Lighting, a PAR 20, 50-watt halogen flood bulb will emit a beam of sunshine with a 5’4” diameter when it reaches 10 toes away. It presents about 12 foot-candles value of sunshine at 10 toes away from the bulb (a foot-candle is the extent of illumination on a floor one foot away from a typical candle.)

For the sake of comparability, a PAR 30 beam presents a diameter of greater than 8’ at 10 toes away, and you continue to get about 14 foot-candles at that distance. What occurs in the event you notch it as much as a 75-watt bulb? You get much more foot-candles (38) at 10 toes away. This means that bigger trade-show cubicles would possibly need to make the most of larger PAR and better watt bulbs.

All collectively, the observe lighting system I selected makes use of 400 watts of electrical energy. This left me one other 100 watts so as to add specialty or accent lighting to my sales space, whereas nonetheless remaining on the 500-watt restrict.

Cords, Plugs and Hanging Lights

The Las Vegas Conference Heart has very strict guidelines for cords, plugs, and hanging lights.

The 2-pronged, 18-gauge cords that the producer has connected to your lights are acceptable (depart the UL tags and labels intact). These lighting cords can’t be plugged into the conference middle outlet, nonetheless. As an alternative, you need to plug them right into a three-pronged, heavy obligation, 14-gauge extension twine – or a breaker strip with a 14-gauge twine. You’ll be able to then plug that 14-gauge extension twine into the conference middle outlet.

A 14-gauge extension twine is able to dealing with 1,825 watts. It’s useful to learn the temporary extension-cord sizing and security info on the internet pages of the Underwriters Laboratories ( and the College of Florida Cooperative Extension Service ([]) earlier than buying a twine.

Bruce Baker suggests the twine be 20 toes with six shops, and that it embody a twine reel. I couldn’t discover this kind of twine at Lowe’s, so I made a decision on two 15-foot, heavy-duty, 14-gauge extension twine/energy strips, every providing three shops. You probably have a bigger sales space, yow will discover a 25-foot twine with three shops at Lowe’s.

There are such a lot of completely different approaches to hanging lights, and so many variables to contemplate, that it might be a subject for one more article. Generally, you may grasp or clip lights onto a cross bar or onto the “exhausting partitions” of your show if in case you have them. Relying on the principles of a selected commerce present and the dimensions your lighting system, you might be permitted to connect the lights to the sales space’s present pipe and drape.

Since my sales space design doesn’t embody my very own partitions, my lights will connect both to the prevailing pipe or to a cross bar. Cable ties (generally referred to as “zip ties”) look like instrument of selection for attaching tracks to the pipes or bars, and even for attaching further cross bars to present pipe and drape. One artist I do know makes use of Velcro strips, adopted by cable ties to safe the attachments. There are a couple of total web sites for cable ties. Certainly one of them is .

I bought Multi-Function Ties from Residence Depot. They’ll bundle 4 inches in diameter, face up to temperatures as much as 185 levels Fahrenheit, and maintain as much as 50 lbs.

Accent Lighting: LEDs

There are numerous concepts for accent lighting – though a good therapy of the subject is past the scope of this text. Mild-emitting diode (LED) lighting is one know-how that’s experiencing breakthroughs and rising quick. It takes many LEDs to equal the sunshine output of a 50-watt bulb, and LEDs are pretty costly, so LEDs aren’t prepared for prime time with regards to lighting a complete sales space.

There are a number of close-up purposes for LEDs, nonetheless, which can be value wanting into now. An instance is the in-counter gentle bar bought by MK Digital Direct at (at a whopping $175 per foot). The extra inexpensive MK Sparkle Mild Pocket ($30) is a conveyable machine that has additional long-life of over 100,000 steady hours and guarantees to present jewellery “most sparkle and scintillation.”

The Nexus mini LED gentle system (, in the meantime, presents lots of illumination for its dimension – a puck form not a lot greater than 1 / 4. The corporate says it’s for direct show lighting of crystal and glass, and it may even be submerged in water. The sunshine is connected to a 12’ cable that ends in a plug, and has “mode swap” with seven completely different coloration selections. Sadly, white will not be one of many coloration selections, and at $25 it’s a bit costly. Nonetheless, a couple of of those lights mixed with room lighting might draw viewers into your sales space and towards your most dramatic shows.

LEDS additionally embody tube lights, versatile lights, linear lights, and bulbs. Superbright LEDs ( ) has a set of 120-volt screw-in LED bulbs for accent and different low-lighting purposes, in addition to a number of different fascinating merchandise resembling “plant up-light fixtures.”

At this writing, the search was nonetheless on for accent lighting to present my sales space an additional particular glow. Keep tuned for a future article on the outcomes.

On-line Assets

The next record will not be an endorsement, however fairly a place to begin for analysis on lighting programs, cable ties, and accent lighting. – cheap and lots of selections, has “Bulb Photometrics” web page to assist decide how a lot gentle and what sort you need from a bulb – stem-mounted and observe lights – giant number of lighting and bulbs – fast visible comparability of PAR bulbs (in halogen part) – Cable (zip) ties for securing observe lights to pipe – LED lights for jewellery circumstances – a pleasant choice and visible format of stem-mounted and different lighting (however not low cost) – good technical info and pictures of lights set-ups for commerce reveals; a number of stem-mounted clip-on designs – LED accent lighting, together with screw-in bulbs and light-weight bars


Source by Alice Horrigan