I meant what I said and I said what I meant . . . and THIS blogger's faithful one hundred percent . . .

I said Small Works would return December 7
with "The Show Report",

and I have returned . . .

although we drove all night to get home and I have not really slept for about 36 hours now, so writing a blog may be ill-advised.

Me waiting in the packed-up (and freezing!) booth to be loaded out at the Mart . . . yes, no sleep since this picture was taken yesterday . . . and you think I looked rugged then . . .

But what a Wonderful
One-of-a-Kind time it was!

First of all, I think we should talk about the marinara sauce at Gino's East, because I would eat it with a spoon if I could just get the waiter to bring me one.

And let's not forget the Kinzie Chophouse, a perennial Hinckley favorite, which was absolutely lovely as well (particularly the mashed potatoes with bacon & scallions, which were the perfect accompaniment to my pasta -- yes, both potatoes and pasta. Shows are stressful.)

Oh -- you want to hear about the show?

The show was wonderful as well! Down a little in sales, to be completely honest, but up a little in niceness (which, if you can't have money, is the next best thing!)

By "up in niceness",
I mean no one came to my booth and:

1) Asked something really stupid
(i.e. "Is this photography?" Yes, it happens.)

2) Asked something really rude
(i.e. "How much for just the frame?" Also based in fact.)

3) Suggested they'd just make one for themselves.

4) Suggested I lower my prices.

(in the interest of complete disclosure, there was one "ouch" uttered but it was by a woman who didn't come any closer than across the hall, so I'm not sure how she was even able to make out the price, neatly printed in understated pencil at the bottom of the tag. I'm fairly certain she had no idea what kind of art she was even looking at. Perhaps she thought it was photography . . .)

The "Small Works" wall -- there were also a few of these around the collages

The "Sky Songs" wall . . . which I have fallen in love with, even though it stuck out in my crazy booth like a sore thumb. I couldn't be more pleased with this body of work. New fave.

The "Conversation Pieces" wall, which was a lot of fun. I was pleased to offer something at a lower price point that also attracted a different viewer to the booth. It was a little frustrating to have my booth look less cohesive than usual, but worth it because we pulled in many people who aren't typically interested in diminutive fiber art, no matter how humorous or well crafted.

Instead, I was able to reconnect with many old friends and make some new ones as well, which is exactly the reason I spend so much time with a needle in my hand and my bifocals on my face in the first place.

Because when I can make a friend (old or new) s-m-i-l-e, why that's just the best kind of feeling I know. And luckily I was able to accomplish that.

In fact, there were tears in my booth at one point
(tears! the good kind! can you believe it?)

when "All You Need is Love" was playing over the sound system, and the person who welled up turned to me and said it was just
"the perfect kind of moment"
and I had to agree.

So who cares about money?
Because there was enough of that as well -- in fact, I'm amazed at the kindness and generosity of all those who chose to invest in my work given the current environment.

It leaves me truly humbled.

My most entertaining stories from this show were not a result of people saying funny things in my booth, but were instead things I saw going on in other artists' booths.

However, we can still call this section

Overheard at the Show . . .

First up -- and I have to preface this by saying that artists get a little goofy on the last day of a 4 day show, because we're all tired long before it starts, but -- I did witness a group of artists doing a Rain Dance in the aisle.

A Rain Dance! I believe sales were down for everyone, but a Rain Dance? Isn't that just the tiniest bit desperate?

I did not stop by after the show
to see if things had improved as a result.

Second -- We sat next to a man at the Artists' Breakfast (artists love their free breakfast on the last day of a show -- remind me to tell you some time what happened the year the french toast was late arriving -- it got ugly quick. Hell hath no fury like artists denied their free breakfast).

Anyway, when I asked this man how the show was going, he got quite excited telling me that he LOVED it because he has A BIT OF A THING FOR WOMEN IN BOOTS and there were A LOT OF WOMEN IN BOOTS WHO ATTEND THIS SHOW!!

Creepy, and of course I scooted my chair a little closer to Russ's and a little further from this guy's, but then he continued.

"My booth backs onto a booth where they sell these little skin tight dresses designed to go over swimsuits . . . they're just skin tight (curvy motions in the air with his hands) and the women are trying these things on RIGHT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL FROM MY BOOTH! IF ONLY I COULD SEE THROUGH THE WALL!

I have no good way to end this anecdote, but our breakfast ended fairly quickly. The eggs weren't very good this year anyway.

Last -- and of course best -- was the little scene we witnessed going on kitty-corner to our booth. There was an artist there who sells very large, chunky necklaces made of all sorts of LARGE stone and metal components (think really beautiful, six-pound jewelery) and she had a mirror mounted on the wall for people to try on the necklaces.

Sunday afternoon (when we were all a little punchy anyway), there was an audible buzz as one shopper strode up to the booth.

Here I need you to close your eyes
and use your imagination:

Think "Aging Rock Star" . . .

by which I mean tall,
long long long fluffy fluffy hair
(with purple in all the right places),
mirrored shades,
sprayed-on jeans aged to perfection,
a yellow tank top,
a floppy brimmed hat with a scarf tied around it
trailing peace signs all the way down his back,
and custom-tooled leather cowboy boots
that cost more than any automobile I have ever owned or driven.

Suddenly THAT shopper appeared and began trying on the necklaces, which would have been entertaining enough to watch, but with each piece he tried on he had to FLUFF HIS PURPLE HAIR with both hands until it was JUST RIGHT so he could get the full effect.

We were trying not to snort because we were laughing so hard, and then something came out of his mouth that was so great you just can't make up dialogue that good. He said:

"Not EVERYONE wrote 'Eye of the Tiger.'
Rank has its privileges."

Just think "Spinal Tap" for a moment and then imagine those words coming out during the hair fluffing and you may understand why I had to SIT DOWN ON THE FLOOR OF MY BOOTH
to keep from falling over.

That moment may have been worth every show I've ever done.

Anyway --
and now I simply must take a little nap

I have the best booth hand in the world, not to mention the best friends,

and it was just the perfect weekend to be hanging around ol' 1049 at the Merchandise Mart.

And I didn't even have
to do a Rain Dance.

Yes, I realize this blogger was only faithful 98% today because I promised to kick off the Small Works Spectacular Holiday Giveaway, so come back Wednesday after I've slept enough to be coherent and we'll get this party started right!


luanne said...

well, props to you for writing a post when you had to be so very exhausted! (you must have been surviving on pure artistic joy, or was it a diet coke caffeine buzz?)

happy for you that it was a good show. sad for me that i couldn't get there to see you in person. your sky songs look so good to me, even if you think they didn't "fit" your booth mood. you get to define who you are, and thus all your work fits, if you ask me.

so, now do you get to relax and enjoy the holidays with your family? i hope so. you (and russ) have definitely earned it!

Amelia and Justin said...

Wow. It looks amazing. I am so sad that we didn't get to come and enjoy it. I love the conversations pieces - it looks like they turned out very cute. And the Sky Songs are absolutley gorgeous.

And Mr. Aging-Rockstar is correct. Rank has its privileges. I'm glad he is taking full advantage of his rank. Hahahaha.

susan m hinckley said...

Thanks, kids -- I wish you could have been there as well. Actually, although I love blogging, the reason I went ahead and did the post with no sleep is that I now have an enormous (still secret!) project due December 15 which is going to require an impossible feat of stitchery, so that work begins today (now that my eyesight has cleared a bit . . . )

So no, no enjoying the holidays, but Santa's never passed us by yet so I'm sure he'll find Hinckleyville eventually! Hope you're enjoying the December rush.

abi said...

hahaha, hohoho, hehehee!

Congrats on a sucessful and entertaining show! I need one of your sky songs I think - but how do you choose?!

Side note: "Eye of the Tiger" is one of Zane's favorite songs - but I'm sure that is not surprising.

Can't wait to see what ornaments come from the Hinckleys this year - mine are going to get done before February this year I promise!


susan m hinckley said...

Now that I know Zane loves "Eye of the Tiger", it makes me like that story even more . . . I'd pay some money to hear Zane sing that song. See if you can get that on video for your blog.

As for the "Sky Songs," I've decided that two or three are the right amount -- I think they will look best in a grouping, and I may actually hang some of my own work in my house for a change and put three in a row over the long cupboard in my dining room!

Anonymous said...

sniff, sniff...missed being there and seeing you Susan but ended up having a decent weekend in my shop. And now that I've read your post it's as if I had been there..all the laughs without the stiff booth fee! Your stories are priceless...

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