visit the web site

Monday, November 28

Christkindl revisited

I referenced the Christkindl Market in Canandaigua in my last post, but now I want to talk about it with pictures. I started to just write a little blog about setting up at an art show. Russell is always impressed by how I can pull it together despite missing display parts or booth spots that sport a tree smack in the center or neighboring artists that infringe on your precious footage, tossing your careful layout into disarray. I give credit to my years in theater as a stage manager. The show must go on and if it looks impossible you make it work anyway. Both activities...set design and booth set up...are alll about illusion. Once the play starts or the products are on the shelves, the "audience" is not going to notice that it is all held together by duct tape and thumb tacks. is our Christkindle spot before:

and after:

It all fits into an Odyssey van.

While I was gathering the set up pictures, I saw that I had some nice shots of the event itself that I should share. It really is a one-of-a-kind event for us. Based on the traditional German Christmas market, the grounds of a Victorian Mansion are transformed with huge tents and roaming elves.

The folks who run this show also are involved with the show at Sonnenberg Gardens. Both present you with a welcome packet that makes the usual manilla envelope of info look like an insult :)

The best thing the committee does, though, is bring out the crowds. I wanted to take pictures of the show, but all these people kept getting in the way,

Nice problem to have. I've said it before, but these people should give classes on how to put on an art/craft show.

I don't like to post pictures of my art carnie friends but I have no such reservations about funny signs my art carnie friends have in their booths:

A nice extra was our motel. Last year when we did Sonnenberg, we decided to stay at a funky, 50's style motel that was under renovation. The back of the place looked like an episode of "Hoarders", but the very nice owner assured us the inside was all done and it was and the folks who run the place are exceptionally accommodating.

I booked it again, curious to see how the reno was going. The deor of the place is retro chic and we loved our room and it's funky bathroom

And so it goes. There is more to this business than just selling our "stuff". It's about being part of an event, a family, a place.

If only for a weekend.

Thursday, November 24

ho, ho, whoa!

I've been busy. The sad truth about this business is that, like most retail operations, you really don't make much of a profit until November. You get out of the red by mid Summer if you're lucky, but you are really just getting breathing room. Art fair goers see us in our little white tents, taking money and handing over bags of our creations (which they know they could make if they just had the time) and assume we are making money like crazy. Crazy may be the only truth in that whole sentence.

Most of them don't know we probably paid about 300 bucks just to set up that tent. And that the organizers charged us maybe 35 just to apply. Hell, they often don't even know you have to apply. Many think you just reserve a spot. Nope. There is a jury, people, for which you need professional photos of your work. And so it goes. Supplies can kill ya.

But I'm not here to whine. I'm here to say thank you. Thank you to all the lovely people who made our last 2 shows profitable. You really count on Christmas shoppers and my stuff is infinitely gift-able. But this year, I also brought my "art". (At some point I will stop using quotes around that. I even do the 2 finger dance when I say the word out loud) I brought my new collage work because, honestly, I needed something for the back wall :) But I sold it! At Christmas shows! Seriously, I thought it was something I would pursue harder at the Summer shows when people are more likely to buy "art". I did not at all expect to sell it now. But I did. At both shows. I am positively giddy. More about that later.

There have been 2 big shows so far: Christkindl Market in Canandaigua and the Holiday Show at the Kenan Center. One more big one next week. Christkindl was packed with artists I have come to truly love over the years. A group went out one night for the best Mexican food I ever had and the next night we just hung out in our hotel room with one of my most favorite artists and her family, drinking wine and eating pretzels, talking about everything from politics to burglary.

At Kenan, another artist I truly love was having knock out sales at her first time ever at that show and her beautiful smile lit up the room. She has struggled against the odds as a jeweler and it has been fun watching her success this year. Doors are opening for her, as they should. She was happy for me, too, noticing how many people bought "art" and hugging me in celebration.

There were lots of familiar faces at this show, also, and we got to catch up. We had, sadly, lost a favorite artist but her family was there with her work, donating the proceeds. The happiest story was from a fiber artist who was overflowing with joy. After a long time waiting for a child, their son-to-be was due to be born on Christmas Eve. The birth mother's name is Mary. :)

So, yeah, finally I am feeling rich. But, somehow, it has little to do with money.