Aside from some hip and leg pain from standing for three solid days, my first big craft show was enough of a success that I’m not in the hole. After months of preparing, it was a pleasure to emerge from the studio and meet attendees and other artists. It was also a treat to wander some old stomping grounds of Baltimore, to see DC-area friends and even have some gnocchi in Little Italy.
The lead up
Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t give myself a year to explore this new venture. Instead, I applied to the show not thinking I’d get in. But I did get in, and there seemed to be plenty of time to prepare. Between my day job as a brand and communication designer, I was running around town picking up clips for lights, fabric for a backdrop, tissue to wrap purchases, then I’d go back into the studio to hammer, saw, solder, file and form jewelry. While I worked on jewelry, I worried I should focus on the display. While I fixated on the booth display, I worried that I didn’t have enough jewelry inventory. Unlike other jewelry artists, I don’t have a backlog of inventory.
During it all, I reminded myself there’s a first time for everything. By the time I got to Baltimore, it was a relief to stop thinking about it. There are not many do overs in life. In the case of shows, every new show is a do over. You just have to resist the temptation to reinvent the wheel for the next one.
Me? Not very hip or pop
I have to laugh at the name of the American Craft Council’s Hip Pop program for emerging artists. I don’t feel terribly hip and the only thing popping was my hips from standing for three days. What a great program allows artists to be tenured into the show for three years. They can then move to a full booth for two years. Not having to be juried in year after year is privilege that long-time participants don’t enjoy. Artists are given a sturdy cardboard booth unit in a pod with five other artists. Because you share a pod, you’ve got people to talk to and watch your space while you wander.
Above is one attendee’s list with my name on it. Whatdya know? Below is the mess before the order. One pod mate had a 4-month old baby, another was pregnant. I can’t have imagined either scenario.
A full house at our Hip Pop pod at the Baltimore American Craft Council show.
My booth below, which, in the end, doesn’t betray the amount of time I spent working out the details. I used two sets of Ikea under-the-counter LED light strips on the bottom shelf. They’re very light weight and easy to transport because they break down into 3 short strips.
When I saw these pots that are almost as large as I am, I was thankful I chose a lightweight enterprise. This is artist Ron Artman.
One of my favorite finds was these delightful textile maps by Ayn Hanna. I regretted not meeting the artist in person.
Not only did emerging artist Carrie Bilbo have a kick ass sign but how can you not love those birch trunks? Yes, you’re seeing correctly. She embedded lights into the bottoms of the trunk sections so they lit the jewelry underneath. She had a lot of work but also a lot of time on her hands! Those crazy creatives.
Thanks to all who stopped by and bought jewelry or just said hello. And to all the artists who put their magic into the world and the patrons who support their efforts. And now, while I want to go for a hike and touch wet moss in a Pacific Northwest forest or pick up sand dollars on the coast, I need to get back into the studio to get ready for St. Paul April 8-10. Find me in booth #1110-1 if you’re in the area!
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