ACE....... what a trip. Spending two months in the studio and letting life roll by; I watched the weeds take over the garden, the woodchuck stand on the hav-a-heart trap and hurl himself into the lettuce patch, the potatoes grow to size of softballs, tomatoes ripen, cucumbers harvested and given away to neighbors (no time for pickles this year), invitations to dinners and openings came & went, unattended. Grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning took on a new meaning or no meaning. Thank goodness I had purchased the pallet of toilet paper on my last pilgrimage to Sam's Club or the Grainger catalog would have found a new use!
I stayed in the studio with my nose to the wheel. And still after two months of working I still had a booth to build, a cap for the truck to be bought and installed, weaving to be done and at my darkest hour of running this gauntlet one of the kilns failed and I rewired it in the wee hours of the morning. The next day when the kiln reached peak temperature I stood a little taller in my flip flops.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here........
The truck was packed on Tuesday night. Butch packed the little Nissan as he was going to run back to Ohio Saturday morning and get Abby to Kent State on Sunday. Up at the crack of dawn, strict instructions left with Abby on dog and house sitting, NO PARTY we shouted to the sleeping princess. We were on our way........ well sort of. Jumping on Route 2 heading west, my phone went off. Butch following me, announced I had no tail lights. Jumping off Route 2 in Willoughby we pulled into the truck cap store, who had just installed the cap and waited for them to open. Yup, blew a fuse, an hour later we were off again.
We arrived on the Northwestern Campus long about 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. I jumped out, stretched and entered the cavernous exhibition center while Butch waited with the cars. I hiked to the front of the pavilion to pick up my "welcome packet". On the way back I passed artists erecting temples, shrines and cathedrals to the Gods of Fine Craft! Seeing artists & their work in the flesh that I only see in books, I was quaking in my crocs. What the hell was I thinking, who did I think I was? I sit in a studio with my dog and make stuff! The dog loves everything I make, especially if you can put food in it! He is an excellent critic and everybody should have one. I had spent the summer standing in farmers markets trying to sell mugs and plates!
I calmly exited the building, jumped in the car and announced; "We are going home, now!" Overwhelmed is a good word. I walked back into the building, looked for the director of the emerging artist area and calmly told her to let the artist on each side scooch in and have more booth space as I would not be needing mine. Walking around, practicing deep breathing, I was told by the director and Butch to set up and get over it. Let's see; little or no sleep over the last few days, a 7 hour drive, a two month build up and voila' I had myself one mini meltdown.
We set up pedestals and installed shelving in 12' x 6' space a gazillions times, finally finding the perfect setup by 10 p.m. We hauled in the pots and finished up by 10:30 pm. Off to find the hotel and something to snack on before calling it a day.
Finishing touches were put on Thursday morning before judging commenced at 12:30 p.m. ACE hosted a wonderful lunch for the artists while the judging took place. I had to pinch myself when I found myself eating lunch with Jennifer McCurdy and Tim Ludwig.
The preview party opened Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. and we were off to the races. Saturday morning I looked up and saw Annie standing there; a wonderful familiar face in a sea of people!
Sunday at 5 p.m. I found myself smiling, standing there alone and hugging my neighbors Chris and Francesca. We exchanged phone numbers, emails, websites, facebook information and vowed to have coffee.
Butch had long departed for Ohio; I was packing up alone and making the drive back.
Some where along a stretch of highway in Indiana, in the wee hours of the morning I realized my life
had changed this weekend. I was anxious to drive home and return to the work I have only dreamed about, never knowing if there was a market for it.
Now I know and yes, there is a market and yes I will be applying to other shows.
The dog is not happy about this...........