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Monday, June 27

Roycrofting in the rain

Oh how I used to look forward to the Roycroft Summer Festival. It's one of those shows that I envied before I turned pro myself. I was inspired by the accomplishments of the Roycroft Artisans. I won't bore you with the details but you can read about the movement and the artisans here:

Eventually I started to apply to the show and almost always got in. I loved it.

So, anyway, 2 years ago there was construction happening on the site so they moved the show from the historic, charming campus to the parking lot of an elementary school a few blocks away. Major bummer. So we lost the trees and the ambience and the history and the cache. They marked our spaces so that the booths actually touch each other making set up a real challenge. Elbert would not have approved of some of the adjectives being tossed about as artists struggled to squeeze their fingers between metal poles so they could zip the sides of their canopies. But we managed. In this business you adapt or die.

The fine art show that traditionally runs concurrent with the artisan show still is held across the street from the old site and there is now an antique show on the grounds so I think some patrons think they have seen it all and fail to ponder what happened to the Roycrofters.

Oh, plenty of people come to the school parking lot, but it's not the same. We had hoped that the 2nd year in the new place would be better, that people would remember. But not enough did. I guess we aren't the only ones who believed location is everything.

It is still an honor to be in the show with the amazing certified Roycroft Artisans. I have regulars at this show who come look for me, people who actually collect my books and want a new one every year. We had a laugh-filled good time with a group of friends at the artist picnic on Saturday night and the next day I was mentored anew by one of the Roycroft masters who also happens to be a cherished friend. She's gonna make an artist outta me if it kills her. And it isn't the Roycrofter's fault that the weather forecasters said sun and warm when the reality was damp and cold.

But the thrill is gone. This used to be one of my best shows. I never had enough inventory. I would spend Saturday night finishing up stuff to bring on Sunday. Hard to believe I am wondering what other shows might be better at this time next year. I miss the old place, the funky buildings, the traditions. I think the customers miss it, too. Many of them mentioned it.

Oh, I'm sure that next year, with snow on the ground and echoes of the laughter from the picnic still echoing in my memory, I will adjust my expectations and apply again. The businesswoman in me is always at war with the sentimental part of my psyche. There is a little soft spot in my heart for this show, this place, these people. Oh, if only I could deposit soft spots in my bank account!

So, on to Chautauqua, my true number one, with visions of new, mentored work that will knock their sandals off.

Hope is that thing with feathers.....

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