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Wednesday, February 27

Lovely Kenan

Another "congratulations" letter today from one of my favorites. 100 American Craftsmen at the Kenan Center in Lockport. Love this show.

That helped assuage some of the frustration I'm feeling with my app for the Roycroft show. They want the images on the CD to be 4X6 AND 150ppi and I can't do 4X6 on some of my newer images. I'm guessing they put everything on a powerpoint and they want the images to have some commonality, but I've been banging my head on the desk for days. I really want to use pictures of some of my newer book designs, but they won't fit the criteria and I can't retake the picture because the books have been sold.

This is what happens to procrastinators.

I'm really going to have to deal with this tomorrow. The deadline is Friday.

Friday, February 22


I have not abandoned my blog. I was feeling poorly for a while. No idea what it was, but it's gone so who cares? And then we took a jaunt to NYC where I took in "Curtains" while my guy took in a workshop. David Hyde Pierce is so funny and I got to watch his comic tweaks and takes from the 5th row. It was wonderful.

But now it is back to work.

I am feeling timid for some reason, tentative about my work. That is sort of unusual for me. I tend to throw myself into a new project with abandon, not caring how it turns out because I know it is an experiment. It may be the beginning of a new "widget" that pleases me or it might be the death of a idea that seemed brilliant at one a.m. and now serves just to humble me. Either way, it has always been a "no pressure" situation. Not sure why I am so reluctant to go up and jump in. After all, my goal this year was to be ahead of schedule and have much done before the 1st show.

This weekend is my last chance to create something wonderful for the new round of jurying. I have to remember a line from the show I saw. They were singing about the realities of theater. "It's a business" they sang. Yep. It is.

And the boss is glaring at me and tapping her watch.

Friday, February 8

change of course/change, of course.

The quote I use in my header is not intended to compare me to Picasso. Obviously. But I love how it speaks to inspiration and how the creative mind works.

I was browsing the sites of some high end art and craft shows, the ones that show images of the artists' work. I am drawn to collage, assemblage and, of course, book arts. I saw some amazing work in all of those categories. Now, I do not place myself in the category of exhibitors at shows like the Smithsonian. But the artfulness of that level of craft is humbling and inspiring. I can absorb the vision even through my petty jealousy of the talent it took to realize it.

Anyway, I saw some wonderful books utilizing collage and assemblage and it brought me back to my first arts. So, I am dumping the lamp idea and re-focusing. This is where my heart is, after all.

There is a tendency in this business to keep trying to add "stuff" to your booth. It's all about money, of course. It is not easy to earn a living this way. You have to make tough choices, balance your heart with your head with your checkbook. when you are sitting in your booth on a day when sales are slow and you see crowds around the jewelry booths, you want to make jewelry. If you are at a show with a lot of traditional craft and every 3rd person seems to be carrying a cute doodad on a stick, you want to make doodads on a stick. That's human nature, I guess. At some point, though, you need to take a step back and remember why you do this for a living instead of sitting at a desk and earning a steady paycheck.

So, I am going to stay with what is true for me. Books, frames, mirrors of cast paper. These things utilize what I understand and respond to. Paper. Pages. Bindings. Nature. "a scrap of paper..a spider's web" feels right.

And on we go.

Friday, February 1

inside the jury room

A friend worked for an arts organization that hosts a respected show every year. She got to sit in on the jurying so I asked her about it. I know they are all different, but this is how it goes in this one.

These jurors are artists from different, pottery, fiber, etc. They come in early and have breakfast together. They bond. Then they go into.. (drum roll) ...The Room. The slides have been put into a powerpoint presentation and the artists are identified only by number and medium. All the images, including the booth, are shown at once. I've often heard that most jurors only get 10 seconds during this phase, but she said in this place, they tell the person running the presentation when to go on to the next. They score the artists on a scale of 1-10. This takes all morning. They turn their ballots into the promoter and they are done.

Some interesting things: Sometimes they discuss a person's work during or after the presentation. A glass artist might find a piece of pottery awful until the clay artist explains what it is they are looking at and this might change the score. Some juries silently mark their ballots while others enter into discussions about what they are seeing. Every year is different.

Now the organizers have the apps with scores on them and they have to make their choices. They start with the top scores in an amount that equals the number of spaces. Let's say 100. If the top 50 are all jewelers and pottery, they have to make choices. You want a show with nice diversity. So they start to make their show using the top scores, but sometimes a person could score 99 and not get in.

To me, it would make more sense to decide beforehand how many of certain over-represented media you will accept and if you decide to have 20 jewelers you take the top 20 scores and move on. This could be why I am not an organizer.

So, the lucky ones get letters that start "congratulations", the ones that came close get letters that start "there were sooo many wonderful artists applying this year..." and they get put on the dreaded waiting list. The unluckies get letters that start "thank you for applying...but"

Imagine trying to make a living this way. Makes me want to run screaming into the night sometimes.

No jury would convict me.

under the wire

Got the Allentown application out just in time. OK, I am going to be better about this. Starting now. OK. Yep.

I have a decision to make about July. We like the show in Syracuse and they changed the date this year which sort of screwed up my plans. So, now I have the first part of July to fill and I'm conflicted. Corn Hill, in Rochester, is a really lovely show but just mediocre for us in sales. I can pretty much be sure of getting in. The shows at the Chautauqua Institute are in July and August and I would to get into those, but I think my chances are slim. I have to choose because the notification dates will not allow me to cancel Corn HIll without financial cost if I get Chautauqua.

So, domestic discussion ensues and Russell convinces me to go for the gusto and if we don't get Chautauqua, we'll have some nice break time after a hectic June. And time to restock, too.Maybe even take a weekend away without dragging along a canopy and display racks.

Of course, all of this is based on assumption...the assumption that I will get into the shows I count on. The hardest part of this business is the uncertainty. It's like reapplying for your job every few months and not knowing if they are going to rehire you or not. Hard to get the creative vibe going with all this stuff weighing down on you. It gets lost in the paperwork and the little slide pockets and the self addressed envelopes.

Every year I try for a show that I had previously considered over my head. So far, I've been lucky. I like that analogy about reaching for the moon because at least you'll get some stars. Something like that. Of course, you reach too far and sometimes you come back with nothing more than a shoulder sprain. I'll reach for it, but I'm keeping the Advil handy.