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Monday, May 15

a weekend at the mansion

The Knox family is famous in Western New York for their wealth, philanthropy, ownership of the Sabres and establishing the Albright Knox Art Museum in Buffalo, one of the most respected venues in the country for contemporary art. What does this have to do with me? I got to set up shop in their "Summer home" in East Aurora. The Knox Farm show is held inside the mansion, with artists in all of the rooms and in the hallways and even outside at the turnaround.

The show draws really well because it is an opportunity for the public to roam about the house. The Knoxes donated it to the community and it is now a State Park. We were set up in the "gentlemen's closet" which was very cool for a closet. A full wall of built in drawers of several sizes and 2 walls of closet doors. This meant little room for my art work and I was a tad worried, but it turned out great. People came in, out of the bustle of the hallway, and had time to really look at my stuff and read the quotes. It turned out to be the perfect place for us. I setup a few things just outside the door to alert folks to our presence and strung fairy lights around a window and through our frames. It worked.

Not everyone had a good day and I can never anticipate who will sell a lot, who will crash, who will just make expenses. If I were in charge, certain items would not be in the show, but if people are buying it, kudos to the makers. There was plenty of real quality, creative items and it was a pleasure to be in their company.

Downside? No elevator. With the aging of art show artists, schlepping display pieces and product up the stairs is problematic. Upside? Free lunches! Nothing wins the hearts of artists more than free food. The beauty of the venue didn't hurt either.

So, I am sleeping in a bit while Russell goes to the Dr for a follow up on his hernia surgery. Yes, he was schlepping stuff up and down the stairs with a six week old hernia scar. He is the youngest old man I know and he is a gem. Love that guy.

Next up...Kenan Center. Our first "big" show of the season. HopeI am as happy after that one as I am today.

Saturday, May 6

Jake saves the day

The season has started. Set up to do a small Spring show at a beautiful gallery. I had stopped doing the show because, frankly, the sales were so bad it felt like doing penance. But I missed it. My "tribe" is there and I needed them. So, I applied and resigned myself to making just a little bit of money but using the show as a preview of the season, blowing the dust off, deciding where we were going. And that is pretty much how it was. I was set up next to one of my favorite people and there were friends and hugs for days and I traded for an awesome copper and stone bracelet. All in all a pleasant enough weekend. And then we met Jake.

7 years old and full of determination, he strode confidently  to my jeweler neighbor and asked if she had "something with love on it" for his Mother because Mother's day was coming. Aw, man. He insisted he had enough money, although his older sister kept telling him he didn't. He pulled 3 crumpled singles from his pocket and when his sister, patiently, told him he needed 32 dollars, not 3,  for the necklace he had spotted as perfect, he smugly reached deeper into the same pocket (at this point I'm praying that his Dad or someone had slipped him a 20) and pulled out...2 quarters. In his mind, 3 singles and 2 quarters was 32. He was crestfallen when his sister explained the realities to him. And then the magic happened.

My jeweler friend rummaged through her supplies and found a half-finished wrap bracelet, added a charm that said "love" and a pink bead and called the boy over. She said he had enough for this piece of jewelry, was that good for his Mom? and he nodded yes and released the crumpled bills from his curled fingers. I was looking feverishly for something to add to his haul (because by now I was hopelessly in love with this kid) and asked him if his Mom like butterflies as well as dragonflies (the necklace he had wanted to but had a dragonfly on it) He said that she loved both, so I grabbed a box I had made with a little gold butterfly charm on the lid and asked him if he'd like to put his Mom's bracelet in there. Oh, yes, he said, how much did it cost. Nothing, I told him, it is a gift from one Mom to another. It was glorious. He was such a sweetheart and our contributions were more about returning love to a child that exuded it from every pore. We got such a kick out of it. Then the artist set up next to the jeweler on the other side came up to us and asked if we were the ones who gave the gifts to her grandson! We had no idea. She gifted us with a choice from her lovely matted photos. It was one of those "hallmark" moments. Love all around :)

When we talked about it later, we agreed that this was what made the art shows so special. Community, generosity, love, fun and the occasional Jake moment.

So on to the next one in a week. Hopefully it will be better  for us financially. Jake moments feed the soul, but Wegmans feeds the body and I need to go grocery shopping!