Thursday, March 31, 2011

Craft Boston........

After spending a month feverishly making work, picking up work from other shows and tweaking the booth I was ready.  No stone left unturned.  From the mastercard/visa swiper (which I love) to the foam mat flooring I ordered on line.

Craft Boston just happened to coincide with Kent's Spring break.  Abby was drafted to help schlep.  She would follow me in the Nissan Versa aka clown car and leave on Sat. to get back for Monday morning class.  In hindsight ......... this was stupid!
Back to UHaul this time I rented a 4 x 8 trailer instead of the 5 x 8.  It was loaded, clean jeans were packed and we were on the road by 2 a.m.  I gave myself 4 hours extra to get to Boston, normally a 10 hour trip.  Pulling out of the driveway three deer stood in the road.  Go back they said....... turn around.  We weren't even off the street.  We waited until they moved and we were off!  We hit the PA. line and snow flakes started falling.......... no, oh please not now.  We kept going onto Erie.  By Erie we couldn't see the road.  Hmmmm........ the deer were right.  Turn around, really?  NO. keep going while repeating;  The Greater My Obstacles, The Greater My Rewards.  The snow was really coming down when we passed Angola prison and I thought hmmm .... even razor wire is pretty with fresh snow falling.
On to Buffalo........ 35 mph...... we pulled off at rest area to chip the ice off the grill of the cars.

On to Rochester........ if it did not let up by Rochester we would get a room and hunker down.  It got better, we kept going.  Check in time was 3:30 p.m.  We crossed into MA.  called my sister-in-law and met her at the third exit where we gassed up.  I gave her tickets to the show and she thrust a baggie filled with fruit and chocolate into our hands.  I explained we were way behind schedule and had to fly, no time for even a cup of coffee.  Jumping on Rt 90 I called Abby to tell her we needed to step up the pace.  I called Beth in Boston and told her we running late.  She said;  The dock gates close at 4 p.m. if your not here you have to wait until 8 a.m. tomorrow.  I was sick as this was a new booth with lights, flooring and wrap station I was sure I would need tonight to get the bones of the booth up.  I figured the time and realized I was not going to make it.  I called back to Abby, I called Butch, I called Dolita..... Butch called Abby and told her;  There's $20 with you name on if you keep your Mother headed to Boston, DO NOT let her turn around.  Abby called back;  Mom go for it.  I did....... I punched the Colorado and I was doing 85 mph hauling a trailer in Boston traffic.  I did a U turn on Seaport Blvd and pulled into the loading dock with 6 minutes to spare.  We were hugging and yelling.  Then Beth yelled you have 6 minutes to unload that truck and get it out of here!  We did!
The Boston World Trade Center is awesome as we could park the trailer in the Trade Center giving us full access to our trailers during the show.  As I pulled out Abby pulled up in the Nissan smiling...... MOM I knew you could do it!  We parked the cars and started setting up the booth.  We had been on the road for 14 hours and now the work began but we made it.

We rolled out of the Trade Center at 8 p.m.  The walls were up, the lights were up, the floor was down, the pedestals up and the wrap table.  We could tackle the pots tomorrow.  Now back in the cars and try to find our Inn at Crystal Cove in the darkness......... 7.5 miles away.   God, we were tired.  Mapquest got us there in about 20 minutes.  We collapsed on the bed, I can't remember if we ate dinner that night or not.  Weary Road Warriors ........

The next morning we took the truck back in to the city and started setting out pots and polishing up the booth.  Thursday morning we could see Boston by daylight and it was grand!  We parked the truck and saw the sign

then we walked into the Trade Center and Oh wow....... we saw my pot on the entry way, somebody pinch me! 
Abby and I hugged each other spilling Starbuck's coffee all over each other........ it was such a Mary Tyler Moore moment.  
We started pulling pots out of shipping containers and placing them around the booth.  We touched each and every pot 10 or 15 times trying to get it just right...... who knows if we did or not.  It was 4 p.m. and we had to run back to the Inn to clean up and change for the gala VIP opening......

Running back by 6 p.m. to meet VIP's until 9 p.m.  I suck at schmoozing...... I sit in a garage with an old dog making pots and listening to books on CD.  He loves everything I make and he schmoozes when he wants a cookie or walk but he was home.   9 p.m. came and we headed back to the room........ I had sold one $85 pot.  
But the booth looked pretty good.........

Friday morning we got up and headed into Boston.......... can't say I was feeling very optimistic at this point.  It had been a haul and I realized I was a bit a fried.  Abby followed me into Boston in the little car.  I looked in my rear view mirror and watched her get caught in the traffic headed to Logan Airport.  That was all I needed to have a mini meltdown........ I pulled into the $11 a day parking lot, composed myself and thought she will find her way here.  As I walked to Starbuck's I saw the little black Nissan chugging down Seaport Blvd...... YEAH!!  I walked to the parking lot, paid her $11 parking fee and we splurged on large coffee's and a muffins.   We went directly to the booth and there was someone standing in my booth looking at pots.  Good Morning I chirped, let me turn on the lights.  The wonderful woman smiled and said .......... I thought about this all night and I have to have this pot.  The big horsehair pot?  YES!  But it's $1200.00  I know....... I stood there and then kind of fell apart.  Abby punched me and said...... Hey there is no crying in the booth, wrap it up!  I thanked her profusely and she teared up too......
I make these pots because I love making them and when someone else loves them it's great!  I had never sold one of my big pots and this was the day I had dreamed about for a very long time, I wonder if it would ever come.  You know if it had never come I would still make these pots.  As she was walking out of the booth she also purchased a teapot as a gift for a friend.  This is the single biggest sale I have ever made and this woman will probably get a Christmas card from me for the rest of her life or mine.   Friday was a day we artists dream about.  People bought pots and bought pots in groups, not just one but the group.  The collectors were out, the artists came to the booth.  One of other artists grabbed my arm and said;  You have arrived and looks like Craft Boston is your coming out party.   It was a day you were sorry to see end.

Friday also brought out our east coast contingency of relatives!  It was so great to see familiar faces wander into the booth.  Team Dawson, Giacometti, Ganong....... they all arrived.  The team took Abby to lunch and I stayed in the booth.  Abby had to leave on Friday afternoon to make sure she made it back to Kent.  I worked the rest of the show alone and you know it was OK.

Sunday morning I got up early walked around the seaport, had another Team Ganong visit and felt good we had made it through a snow storm, credit card applications, booth building, kiln rewiring and adding new dimension to my work.
In five hours the show would be over and I would packing up the booth and headed for Ohio.  I pulled out of the World Trade Center at 8:15 p.m. heading west on RT. 90.  I pulled in the driveway at 6:45 a.m. just in time to have coffee with Butch before he was off to work.  I unloaded the trailer and truck into the studio, returned the trailer, washed the salt off the truck , gassed her up and returned home by noon to face plant on the couch.

Boston has turned out to be my best show to date.  The Craft Boston crew was wonderful!  Helpful on every level and amazingly supportive.  I feel very fortunate to have had such a wonderful show and feel the fine craft gods had smiled on me last weekend.  I also know there were artists who did not make their booth fee back and wondered how they will make it to the next show.  The quality of the work at this show was jaw dropping, every booth was the best of the best.  I met artists at Craft Boston that I had seen in books over the years.  They were all gracious and welcoming, it is a wonderful community to be part of.
I had put all my eggs in the Craft Boston basket and had really come to the realization if things had not gone well here I would have to come home and figure out what I was going to do to pay bills.  Some how we must support American made craft.  More is not always better and the butter dish doesn't have to match the gravy boat.  Buy work you love and support your local craft people.  I came home with yet another mug to add to my collection and beautiful handmade wooden spoons.  Maybe next year I will be able to buy the hand crafted hutch I fell in love with. 

Growth is never easy and this had been yet another step forward.
This profession is not one for wimps or someone thinking this is an easy buck.  Those who
choose this lifestyle are the definition of hard work ethics.


  1. Good for you!

    Gives me strength to aim for something like that here

  2. Fantastic, Sandy! It is wonderful to hear a success story in clay amidst all of the others. You deserve it, and I hope the ball just continues rolling for you.

  3. Wonderful news Sandy! You and your work are an inspiration.

  4. Great story, Sandy. Sometimes..all the hard work and effort pays off. Sometimes not. But we're art fair artists - eternal optimists, we can't help ourselves, we HAVE to do the next show! Glad you had a good one, and I wish you many more!

  5. Thanks.......... she said very humbly. Believe me I was very aware of two artists next to me who sold nothing and their work was wonderful. I keep wondering why ....... I don't know. The paper maker who sold one journal and a handful of kleenex boxes said she sold out in Philadelphia and just could not understand what was happening in Boston. Sometimes it's best not to analyze and just say; Thank you........

    I think we are all living close to the bone these days, hopefully working smarter and not harder.

    I loved when the veteran artist said it was my coming out party.........I wanted to say...... Oh I have been coming out for 30 years, today people just came to the party :)

    Great to hear from everybody and now back to work and up to my elbows in clay again, good to be home.

  6. First visit to your blog and happy to read you had a successful time. Congratulations!