ACC St. Paul 2012 Edition --
Another show has come and gone . . . . *sigh.
Hannah did a great job hanging my booth -- it never looked better!
It was particularly bittersweet because it was my last show for the foreseeable future -- I'm not sure when I'll be doing another, and particularly one with the American Craft Council.
I was planning to do San Francisco this year, but have decided that things are a bit too up in the air for me to commit to that comfortably. So I will look to next year.
But what a delightful weekend it was!
Although my regular booth staff was busy doing things like taking a business trip to Delaware and then flying to Singapore (makes my weekend look easy), I had the help of the next generation. And that was a true pleasure.
Hannah was more than happy to perch in my booth for the weekend and say nice things about me and my work. I am not sure whether she would say the same smiling things in a therapist's office or not, but she was full of glowing tales of growing up on the floor of the studio. And I couldn't have paid for a nicer report.
She volunteered to help because she is wondering whether she'd like to take on the show life for herself and wanted a real taste of it -- she helped hang the show, worked the show, and also helped tear down, and handled it like a natural. Despite being diagnosed with mono the next day....but that's another story! (If you met her this weekend, you should be fine as long as you didn't kiss her...but I will admit to wanting to do that several times. Thanks for your kind words and your wonderful support, sweetie! I will always have fond memories of our weekend.)
And speaking of help, the rest of the fam jumped in to fill the gap as well -- sons-in-law helped set up and tear down, as well as driving the truck and putting everything away after, and it was accomplished in record time. I have assured Russ that he is not fired, but I cannot tell a lie -- having a few strapping young men around wasn't half bad. Thanks, boys! Always deeper in your debt.
And now: Overheard at the Show . . . .
We've played a similar casual game in my booth for years, but instead of a bingo-board we have a little checklist. It contains things like: "if I win the lottery..." and "cute for a kid's room" -- stuff like that.
Of course, there are also some really nice things on the list, like: "this is my favorite thing at this show" and "this work is just so happy".
I must admit that, besides comments, there are also a few other artists on our list: the fighting couple who seem to barely survive booth set-up and remain married every time, the woman who wears a muscle shirt and does yoga in her booth during lulls, the way-too-old-for-his-ponytail guy in the might-have-been-sexy-once-hip-huggers who travels with a pretty young thing and puts on quite a sales show, the gal who wears that uber-dramatic severe black thingy and looks like she's been wearing it non-stop since perhaps the 1960's...
And once again, we were able to check off every box! That bingo board assured me that every artist must share a similar experience.
But surely every artist does not enjoy the good fortune of having the kind of wonderful people connect with their work that I do! I love watching people's lights go on. It makes every stitch worthwhile.
Hannah observed that I definitely come to art as a writer. She said that she doesn't really care whether people connect with her images or not, as long as she's happy with them. But after a day in the booth it was her conclusion that the idea is much more important to me than the image is, and when I fail to communicate the idea to the observer, I feel my art has failed. I think that's why the label "cute" chafes me like no other. I'm the first to admit that some of my images get dangerously close to being cute, but if you take time to engage with my pieces, there's usually something behind the image that goes a little beyond that. And THAT'S the part I'm interested in.
That's where my heart lives,
and I think that's what has the potential
to make my stitches art.
So to everyone who said "cute," of course I do thank you. I know you meant well.
But to those of you who smiled, or sighed, or laughed, or read every word, or felt compelled to tell me your own story, or even told me I had a very strange and twisted sense of humor (yes, I mean you, sir!) I thank you more.
Because we shared an idea, a little moment of understanding, and that was the whole point of me threading my needle in the first place.
And I hope to see you all again soon....
here, or perhaps there. Or anywhere.
Keep your eye out for me,
and I'll be looking for you too.
(p.s. Goodnight, Terri!)