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Monday, June 25


I have whined about this before. Let the tradition continue.

ELbert Hubbard's Roycroft movement celebrates the artisan movement with a special nod to the book arts. AFter a few years perfecting my craft, I was able to get into the show and I was inspired and motivated by the company of the certified Roycroft artisans amongst us. That was intensified by the fact that we set up our little tents along the meandering pathways of the Roycroft campus. It was heaven.

So, of course, they moved us to a parking lot 6 blocks away on a side street.

There was construction and the traffic and the blah blah. SO we set up on hot, unshaded asphalt in front of an elementary school and the campus is host to a flea market.

If the sales continued to be as good as they used to be, one might suck it up and focus on the artist friends around you. But my sales are now about 60% of what they were. That is a problem.

It's a conundrum. The good shows are hard to find and to have one deconstruct before your eyes is a sad thing.

OK, enough of that. The good? Lots. Most of my favorite art show friends do this show and much schmoozing happens. The people who are drawn to the show by the Roycroft brand are not looking for tinsel hair crowns and "Peruvian" flutes. They "get it".

So maybe most of the people who wandered into my little tent left without a purchase. Many of them did. Which leads me to my new mission. To memorialize the best of the comments from my visitors. Comments that keep me going, that humble and encourage me.

"I came into your booth and saw your things and I thought "I don;t know her, but I love her soul" Sister Roseanne

"When I came in and looked around, your work brought tears to my eyes. It touched me" Christine Abt.

Can't put it in the bank, but I'll take it. It is still riches.

Wednesday, June 13

Allentown Art Festival: A love/hate story

I have written about this show before. I've whined about how they are the last show on the planet to require slides (they have since joined the digital world) and I have pouted when rejected. This show has been a part of my life since childhood and now I live in the neighborhood. It feels like the whole world comes out for this one. It means Summer is here.

So, yes, I sort of love it. It is not my best show of the season by far, but since I could walk home from there, you tend to forgive certain shortcomings.

This was our first outdoor show of the season and one of our fears was confirmed. Our new (ish) car is not quite big enough to hold our rig. We thought it would be, even studied the dimensions. Russell was a little concerned, I looked into the cavernous back of the thing and could not imagine it to be too small. Spatial relationships are not my strong suit. I figured since I had trouble parking the thing (a Honda Pilot), it would suffice. We made some changes to the display, making the shelves a bit smaller, etc. It was still like stuffing a size nine foot into a size seven stiletto. Impossible and painful. The proceeds from the next show may be going to roof racks.

Saturday, it rained. All day. Almost all the time. And it was a cold rain, so my carefully chosen-to-look-like-an-artist outfit was insufficient. I eventually pulled a grubby over-sized t-shirt over my gauzy summer shirt which helped a little. Surprisingly, there were lots of customers and I did OK with sales. But I couldn't wait to get home and dry out.

Sunday was gorgeous and everyone in Western New York seemed to be in attendance. In the morning, 2 of the young guys I work with came down with a box of coffee and a bunch of Danish and they had breakfast with me behind the booth in the quiet of Sunday morning pre-show. It filled my heart.

There were the usual head shaking moments. A lady asked if I sold my display easels. No. There was the usual questions about my web site. Yes, I have one, but you are here now. Too soon for ya? heh A woman told Russell that she would buy one of my photo albums if I provided the photo corners. Oh, OK, those are right over by the pens that I provide with the journals.

And there were compliments. About my skills, about composition and color, choice of quotations, creativity in general. Some veterans of this industry scoff at that sort of thing, Give me the money they grumble. But those comments feed me in another way. I need them. They reassure me, boost my confidence. One woman complimented my work and then thanked me for sharing it. Sweet.

So, when I was in the line for the porta-pottie and a little girl, spying the exhibitor ribbon fluttering on my shirt, asked if I was an artist, I could proudly say yes. Her widened eyes and whispered "Wow!" made my day.