It's called Balti-MORE. That should have prepared me.

But we'll get to that thought in a moment.
First of all, let's check on the status of the
Team Hinckley cattle drive:

Yessiree, my favorite cowboy and I drove that product to market in Baltimore all right,

and then drove it (almost) all back home.

Russ enjoying Baltimore's "storm to remember", which they were kind enough to put on during our visit to help us Minnesotans feel welcome. As you can see, the truck barely held the goods.

Okay, we did manage to sell a few pieces (two of my favorites, in fact!) which covered our costs and pretty much made it a break-even adventure. But it did little to ease the crowding in the pickup.

And I did manage to avoid being trampled during the stampede of press, purchasers and well-wishers that descended on the booth directly across from mine when the artist won a Best of Show (her first show, in fact) award.

It was good experience and now I know exactly what to expect when that happens to me . . . come on, I can dream (and it's good to be prepared, isn't it?)

It was actually a lot of fun to watch -- she cried when they gave her the award, which was quite endearing and made me feel better about feeling like crying a time or two during the overwhelming experience

which is BALTIMORE.

Home-sweet-home, Baltimore ACC booth 1119

Emphasis on the MORE
(like I said before.)

More artists, for one thing.
Over 700 of them. I had heard about just how big Baltimore is, but I still had a hard time wrapping my head around it when I saw it in person.

More really really quality work.
Seriously beautiful stuff. It always amazes me to see what people think of, what they're passionate about, and how they manifest that love in their work.

There was a lot of humbling competition in that exhibition hall. I'm delighted that anyone even noticed me. Which brings me to . . .

More notice. More engagement. More understanding.
People really took the time to look at my work and appreciate it on all levels. I felt like people in Baltimore "got it" with more frequency than anywhere else I've shown. It's obvious there's an interest and devotion to craft in that audience, which explains a lot about why the ACC holds its flagship show there. Even a lot of men really looked at my work! Miraculous.

More nice people.
For real -- dock workers, people who sell you diet Coke, people who put up with you squeezing your large and unruly family into their much-too-small deli late at night. The people in Baltimore were just flat out nice. Now I love Chicago (I've lived there 3 times) but I don't find that the dock workers there make me feel particularly welcome. The people in Baltimore were a lovely surprise.

More chicken soup for the empty nester's soul.
Both my college kiddies (and one son-in-law) came, probably as much to see the amazing art as to see their mom, but that only confirms I did something right, doesn't it?

Thanks for taking the pics, April! Wish you were in them.

More support from my amazing extended family.
Here's a partial picture of the crew that assembled from all over the country to wish me well.

It was a happy family reunion around the Hinckley campfire, graciously hosted by Russ's aunt and uncle (who we can't thank enough).

The cement floors dissuaded me from wearing my cowboy boots, but Russ said his were quite comfy.

And now, let's turn to the most entertaining part of any show report:

Overheard at the Show . . .

We can begin with the woman who explained to me that she was a saguaro cactus in a former life.
She then elaborated by explaining that she's obviously progressed (since she's now a person).
How does one respond to that?

Then there was this (loud) proclamation:

"This is exactly the kind of thing I want for my kids'
rooms, only I want it to be less juvenile."
Wow. At least this woman's husband leaned over to me as they were leaving and whispered, "your work is not juvenile," and he looked pretty embarrassed. As he should.

That's more than I got from the next (loud) proclamation, one woman to another:

"We could do THIS ourselves."
Then they just walked away. Probably good. And may I add I'd love to see their work, because I'm always interested in seeing needlework. So if you're reading this and you remember saying that in booth 1119 at the ACC show last weekend, send me a link.

Okay, enough of my snarkiness. Small Works is feel-good territory.

So I'll conclude by saying that I'd feel pretty good if I had a nickel for everytime someone commented, "If I won the lottery . . . "
In fact, I'd probably feel like I won the lottery.

But then I have to remember the note I should have written on my hand before I left so I could refer to it
as needed throughout the week:
It's the economy, stupid.

And as a result of the stupid economy, I feel extremely grateful and blessed that I not only got noticed by a lot of truly kind art appreciators, but also sold a few pieces -- yes, people looked at all 700+ fabulous artists and chose to spend their precious resources on MY WORK! Not to mention that I had the means and the opportunity to go in the first place.

I'm one lucky cowgirl. And the trails were happy.

Exhausting, terrifying, gratifying, overwhelming, fattening, aggravating, sleep-depriving, soul-feeding, and really really happy.

I'm much obliged.


Pawsitive Art said...

OMG!! :( Those peoples comments are the exact reason why I'm scared to death to set up a booth. I just can't handle that bs. geez... I'm glad you were able to look over all that and enjoy yourself! Even with the cactus lady walking around.

Jake and Chelsea said...

how come you left out all of the really awesome things people said about your stuff? i was only in your booth for a while and even i heard some pretty great things. so glad you enjoyed the east coast, we are finding it to be quite friendly too! now we just have to get you up to vermont sometime before august 1 and you can meet lots of people that used to be cacti...or possibly evolved from maple syrup.

susan m hinckley said...

Okay, okay -- you're right, people did say some really amazing nice things. But telling THOSE would be bragging, wouldn't it? :)

And the things the other funny funny people say are just so . . . funny (it's part of the reason to do shows, not the reason to NOT do them!) In a nightmarish sort of way, but still FUNNY.

I've not yet met anyone who evolved from maple syrup but is it unreasonable to suspect that Jake may have had a connection to it in a previous life . . . ?

Anonymous said...

welcome home, susan, and glad your baltimore trails were happier than not. too bad the economy really stinks right now, i'm sure there were many folks who would have happily taken home works from you & other artists, if things weren't in such an unsettling state.

but at least you were among people who largely "got" you, and my feeling is that can only increase for you with more exposure. your humor combined with your needlework is so spot-on great.

anyway i missed your blogging, so am glad you're back.

and if those "we could do this ourselves" ladies ever do send you their link, please be sure to share! ;> luanne

april said...

how do your reply about cactus in a former life? and i wonder what does it say about your current personality if you believe that to be true of yourself?

anyhoo, loved, loved, loved seeing your artwork (and not being in the picture). feel free to be as snarky as you want about someone saying that "they could do that"!!! it makes them sound totally ignorant of the work and imagination that goes into those pieces.

sorry to ask, but what of the pieces that i saw sold? i'm just curious which ones found a home.

susan m hinckley said...

I sold "ARF." (the conversation between the two dogs with all the turquoise buttons on it) and also "Future Tense", (the one that said "surprise -- things will happen you can't begin to imagine now.") That piece had a real spot in my heart for some reason, so I was sad to say good-bye to it but both pieces went to wonderful homes! Thanks again for coming, April. And we should have asked someone else to take the pictures. That was a mistake! It was so good to see you and your sweet kids.

And LuAnne, Have no fear, I'll be sure to post that link the minute it comes in!

Anonymous said...

Glad you got to see so much family and did sell a few pieces Susan ...but I have stop reading things like this, makes me think i've jumped off a cliff into a pile of rocks instead of the ocean signing a lease! Feel free to send me advice or ideas...maybe i'll make cookies and sell in my shop too!

loved your commentary on the touching comments of passersby!

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