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Tuesday, July 10

i want everything. Part 2

If I was ever going to have luck at a show with no trinkets in the booth, it would be at Chautauqua. I have written of this place before and I won't bore you with more breathless accolades. Feel free to check out July and August from previous years. But here are a few moments from this weekend:

Artisans want to do Chautauqua because of the people who live and visit there. They have serious discretionary income.( It is very expensive to stay there.) And they choose to spend their time and money in a place devoted to the arts, culture, academia and spirituality. It doesn't get any better. Few people buy a piece because it matches the furniture, Instead they comment on texture and composition. It is like standing under a cool waterfall after a hike in the Gobi. This is not to say that the people who buy a piece from me because they like the colors or because it compliments the rest of the room are somehow lacking. Art is all about pleasing the senses. But it is nice to have the actual work involved appreciated.

The show is also run the best of any others. The organizer is a dynamo and her staff is the bomb. They ask what they could do better and the answer is always "not a thing"

I decided to go all out for this one. No cards, no magnets, no trinkets. I designed a wine journal page. I ordered baby book pages that were imported form Italy and printed in a gentle sepia tone. I made diaries with the months written in 3 languages. The miniature books were covered in sheet music paper. I used quotes from Proust and Ginsberg in the collage. I made new price signs and slipped them into plastic frames. I was ready.

The show started at 10 am. At 10:30, a jovial man in tennis gear strode in, took a rather quick look at the collage and with a big grin said "I want everything". I considered it a compliment. Like when you go into a shop filled with chocolates and you clap your hands like a child and say "Oooh, I want one of everything". I just smiled at him. He asked if he would get a discount if he bought everything. I laughed and said sure. He reiterated that he wanted everything and he swept his hand across the back wall where the framed pieces were hung. I laughed again, but rather uneasily at this point.

Let me say here that the man was Chinese and spoke with a bit of a clipped accent and part if me assumed I was not understanding him properly. To hedge my bets, I said he should just hand me what he wanted and I'd consider a discount.

By this time he had most likely assumed me to be sort of mindless. He started taking the collage off the walls, handing them to me, one at a time, reassuring me that he meant everything which he solidified by grabbing the matted works out of the browse bins and handing them to me also. I called Russell to come in and help. I was flustered and had to enter the sales a couple of times before I got it right. As I was getting the things together I asked what he was going to do with them, He laughed and with a twinkle in his eyes asked if I was suspicious. I answered that I wasn't, but a gallery had inquired about buying a bunch for a medical office and he nodded and said that was exactly what he wanted them for. He was a doctor opening a new office in New York. He paid with his AMEX card and Russell helped him carry the things back to his cottage where they had an interesting discussion about Chinese medicine and herbs and all that stuff that Russell finds so fascinating.

I had 2 or 3 framed pieces left, only because they were on a front wall and he missed them. I took down the front walls and hung the pieces on the back. An hour later he came back with his wife because he thought she might like the work of the artist next to me He spotted the new pieces and snatched them up, too.

Word of my good luck spread through the show like a brush fire or maybe a Lake Effect snow storm. By noon, dozens of my fellow artists had stopped by to congratulate me or to ask me to touch them for good luck. It was a good feeling to see how many of them really were happy for us.

The rest of the show was as delightful as always. Saturday, the day that some renters move out and a new crew moves in, is always quiet. Sunday is free admission so it picked up again. I left there exhausted and sweaty in places I didn't remember I had, but happy.

I sold all 3 of the wine journals I was testing. And a baby book and 2 diaries. I made more from the things I decided I wanted to make than I would have from dozens of cards and magnets that I thought I needed to make. It was a wonderful, freeing feeling.

My trinket days are done.


Vicki Newby said...

Pat, that is such wonderful news (and, as always, wonderful writing, too). I'm still awash with goosebumps! V~

Francesca DeCaire said...

I am tearing up so hard. Go you! This is a beautiful story.

Christine said...

I love your is indeed beautifully written. Thank you for sharing it.

Stefani said...

Yeah, what they said. A little goosebumpy and teary. You are a rock star!

You've got me thinking. I thought I was bored with my trinket designs. Maybe I'm bored with trinkets, period. I know I have been Loving making my new larger pieces.

I'm thinking I want/need/can be Pat Sorbini when I grow up. Which is tomorrow morning.


Kristen said...

Brings tears to my eyes- amazing story- so glad it happened to you!!

Kristen said...

What a wonderful story - so glad it happened to you!!

Kelley said...

OMG How utterly awesome. Art wins. Thanks for sharing your journey.

Patricia Jachim-Moore said...

What a wonderful success story!! I am so glad for you.. Congratulations!!

Patricia Jachim-Moore said...

What a wonderful success story!! I am so glad for you.. Congratulations!!

Anonymous said...

Holy Moly that is amazing! I think I would just choke and be laughing giddy the whole time. I am sure your super customer would think I was a bit simple-minded for sure! Thanks for sharing such a fantastic story.

Judy Olson said...

Yay! Yay! Yay! I am SO happy for you. I needed to hear this today, at the beginning of a local 3-day show. I will show nothing that I do not truly love.

Antoinette Magaletta McClure said...

Good bye trinkets! Great story, Pat.

linda said...

So happy for deserve it..Be in touch with me about housing for 2013..In jamestown,ny.