Love Can't Buy Me Money.


Monday already?! 

Just kidding -- I absolutely feel like it's Monday
and I spent the weekend doing a show,
and I look a little like it too,
which is why there will never be a blog cam . . .


But what a privilege to participate in the 
2011 American Craft Council St. Paul Show!

Howdy from booth #2402, ACC St. Paul 2011 Show!

Because of the ACC's relocation this year from NYC to MSP, they really kicked things up a notch, celebrating what they referred to as their 70th "re-birth day" in grand style.

The Gala Preview Party was just lovely -- I felt it was appropriate to wear something special as a nod to the event, and so I dusted off my fabled red cowboy boots (since the party was only 3 hours long . . . you'll never find me in boots on a full show day!) I know -- I've owed you a picture of these for a long time, but unfortunately in this photo you cannot see the peace sign zippers . . . they're SWELL and put me in a perfect mood to kick off a weekend spent sharing the labor of my love with like-minded friends.

The booth looked good . . .


And did you notice the lovely flowers on my table?! 

Right after the show opened on Friday, the florist swept into my booth to present them to me, complete with a card that conspicuously lacked a signature.  

Flowers from Anonymous??!  
Why thank you, Anonymous!  (I suppose you know who you are.) 

The uncanny thing was, each bloom looked as if 
I had picked it myself to coordinate with my work. 

It was a wonderful way to begin 
what we figured out was actually my 20th show!

Unfortunately, I have to confess . . . it was my WORST show in terms of money.  There was enough to pay the bills, but I could really have used a thick layer of icing on that cake the weekend before tax day!

However, it was my BEST show in terms of love!  The audience was so engaged, so appreciative of my work, so willing to spend time with each and every piece -- and for me, that's really the best payment of all.  (Unfortunately, they were also for the most part victims of the same economy in which I find myself struggling.)

Most artists have had to change their focus a bit -- offering more smalls, lowering prices, sometimes switching mediums entirely -- in an effort to survive what is now becoming an extended period of lagging sales. I've been truly fortunate to have the luxury to just keep doing what I want to do, because I'm not in the position of having to use my craft to finance my health insurance.  And I know how blessed I am.

But being at a show always reminds me why the fine craft world is the best of all possible clubs to which one can belong.  

Because nearly without exception, everyone there is driven by a pure motive.  They're there because they love -- and NEED -- to create.  And they can't keep that love from spilling out, so therefore they must of necessity craft a container in which to hold it.  
The containers vary greatly, but all reflect the hands and the passion that created them.  

Although many must also do it for money, all do it for love.  

It continues to be a wonder to me.

And many who come to the shows come for love as well -- of the handmade, of the intimacy of forming a connection with an object's maker, of their need to plumb their own creative depths.

Shows are just full of goodness, 
which is infinitely better than money.  

(No one goes into craft to get rich.)

Which must bring us to . . . 

Overheard at the Show!

I'm a bit flummoxed today because, as I mentioned earlier, my work got so much love I have very little of a snarky nature to report.  People were almost unfailingly kind!

Although I could see almost immediately that "whimsical" seemed to be the new "cute" -- 
(and I recoil from both words equally.)

I did have one person inform me that I "do not look like my sense of humor."  I had no idea whether that was a compliment or a dig.  I DO know I'm happy I don't look like the characters in my work!

One woman confided that my work "needs more than a second glance," which is what I've been trying to convince people of for years.

And one of the other artists shared a tale of a terrible show in which she sold almost nothing, but invested a whole lot -- she said at one point she actually found herself crying in the arms of a security guard!  I believe it. 

(That's why I always bring my trusty booth hand -- 
to keep me from dampening the shirts of the show staff.)

And one woman spent some time telling me about the pottery she creates (I always ask people if they are makers because I love to hear them tell about their work). She told me that her work was mostly functional, although she also "makes many things she has not yet figured out the purpose for."

Amen to that! 

And amen to the woman who, with great feeling, exclaimed, 



Which is what makes shows so utterly worthwhile.  

As Russ said, "You can't BUY experiences like this," 

and then after pausing for a moment to consider the costs, added, 

"actually . . . I GUESS THAT'S WHAT WE'RE DOING!"


We had a good laugh, but we both absolutely agreed . . . 
it was most definitely a weekend, AND money, well spent.

(thanks for the love . . . 
which all the money in the world can't buy.)



Allie said...

Dratted economy - let's hope it picks up so folks can pay you what you're worth! Your work is simply priceless to me. The booth looks amazing!

Leenie said...

So fun to see your work in relative size to the world. "Meanwhile" is outstanding. Every one of your animals; the cat with fish on his mind, the dog looking at the cat, (those two works belong together) ...well, all of them are my favorite.

LOVE your boots! Nice how the flowers complimented the booth. Nice you've got such a good support staff.

SOMEDAY there will be money in our pockets to spend on beauty...(said after writing out a monster check to the IRS).

susan m hinckley said...

I wrote FOUR monster checks. Don't ask. I was a little cranky today.

Judy said...

I think some buyers must have been so entranced by your cute boots that they forgot to look up at your walls! Otherwise, how could they walk away from those walls without at least ONE work in their hands?

Ann Brauer said...

Oh how true that is--thanks for dealing with it with such a wonderful sense of humor.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin