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Thursday, September 18

appointment in eugene

So, for Market Research Pt 2, I had to go to Eugene to have my work screened for their Saturday Market. I had no idea what to expect or exactly where the office was, so we got there early and explored the town a bit. They used to have a pedestrian mall, Russell told me, but opened it to traffic a few years ago. Sort of what Buffalo is going to do. Sadly, it didn't look as though the area had revived and it made me wonder what will happen at home when the same thing is done.

As charming as that looks, many of those storefronts are empty and there were few people around.

They do have many artistic touches around the mall area still which make it a pleasant place to be. I especially liked the structures I called "totems" for lack of a better word, that mark the center intersection of the area.

They have lots of interesting little art placements, like the iron family here

and the turtles that Russ insisted on joining. Max's expression says it all.

And then it was time for the meeting. I found the storefront and was directed to the back room which was a big storage area with a large round table. About 6 or so people were sitting there and they made room for me and the other 5 applicants schlepping boxes and totes and plastic bags of their goodies. Forms were filled out and they asked who wanted to go first. Well, it was not gonna be me! I was used to anonymous critique. This was going to be weird. Not just the jury, but the other applicants were going to observe this process. Ha! Not gonna be me. I'll sit here quietly and watch what happens to the others so I can be prepared. So, of course, they picked me to go first.

I slid over to the team that would look at my stuff and was relieved when a couple with some stuff in squeeze bottles was called to be screened at the same time. There were lots of questions for them about content and labeling but I never got what it was they had in those bottles although at one point the director was asked if she wanted to smell it. She demurred.

They asked me a few questions about my process and for a moment talked about copyright issues with the flyleaf quotes. (I did not roll my eyes. I just waited it out) They OK'd me on the spot and I was given more paperwork and told to show up around 7:30 Saturday. Well, that was easy! The woman after me said she hoped it would go as well for her and she moved her china pots and cups with flower arrangements to the hot seat. I left but came back a few minutes later to use the restroom and there was lively discussion going on over the screening. Everyone else was still there. Guess I lucked out.

On the way out of town we saw a group of kids painting a mural and we pulled over to take pictures. That's when I realized my camera was in that storeroom and they technically closed 45 minutes earlier. Nobody answered the office phone and we sped back, hoping against hope that someone would still be there. The lights were off in the front office, but a woman motioned for me to pull the door and I was in. Phew. I expected the storeroom to be empty, but everyone was still there. The lotion folks, the teapot lady and another woman who was holding up a piece of material...maybe a scarf?...and arguing about some regulation or other. The teapot with flowers lady was right where I left her, moving her pots and cups around like chess pieces. Everyone was talking at once and never noticed me sneak my hand around the corner to grab my cherished Nikon.

When I got back to the car, I told Russ I thought I got off easy, they were all still in there! We went back to the mural to take pictures. I asked a young guy who was watching the process what the mural was for and he said it was "for not having to look a big ol' concrete wall". Good enough.

And so we are set to try one more market. I have to try to find an 8X8 canopy somewhere to rent or borrow. They sure like those smaller tents out here. Better get to it...

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