Monday, November 7, 2011

Rochester and back.........

There are shows and then there are shows.  The Memorial Art Gallery Fine Craft Show in Rochester is a show I will look back on and always smile.

These are the shows artists dream about.  This is the show other shows should be looking to if they want to run a top notch show.  My sales were great!  But even better I would attend this show if I only broke even.  We were fed, housed and hydrated by gracious hosts.  To be in the company of artists and collectors of this caliber was an honor and as I had been wait listed I felt very lucky.  The weekend was a bit of a craftsman think tank.  

The MAG show is a small show composed of 40 regional artists.  This year the show was juried by Jeannine Falino, Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.  The work in this show was spectacular.  Artists I have seen in print but never up close and personal were present. 

Some of my favorites: 
Steven Merritt

Hideaki Miyamura

Geno Luketic

Katherine Gullo

Justin Teilhet

Toss in Sophie Hughes; jewelry,  Dan Miner, glass; Scott Sober furniture and the show was a mini Smithsonian exhibit.  Truly an amazing show.  

The angst of getting ready for this show and wondering if I brought enough or too much or the right work made up for more than a few sleepless nights.  Wednesday, new tires were put on the truck, oil changed and gas tank filled.  Every pot was packed, unpacked, re-assessed with many weeded out and left behind.  The truck was full, the trailer was full, snacks were packed,  the thermos full of hot coffee, leftover Halloween candy stashed under the front seat in case we were stranded in a cow pasture and I waited for Abby's arrival from Kent.  

We backed out of the driveway by 4:45 p.m. Thursday night.  Waved goodbye to Butch and a worried looking dog. Not an inch of spare space anywhere in the truck or trailer.  Down Rt 90 and on our way; until the state of PA. decided to close Route 90.  Detour through the back roads and I thought we were headed to West Virginia, get the Halloween candy out!  Abby look out the window do you see the Donner party?  An hour delay but finally back on RT. 90   Arriving in Rochester by 10:30 p.m. checked in to our hotel and must say this trailer is a pain in the hitch to park.  I am a bit trailer challenged as I do not know my left from right and trying to back a trailer into a tight space with mirrors is akin to me squeezing into size 4 jeans, just plain ugly.  
Friday morning up at the crack of dawn and so happy the museum is just a short walk to the end of the road.  We were the second truck in line to unload.  Score one for potter from Ohio!  We were greeted by Charlotte Herrera, artist liaison and all around incredible host.  We were given a "welcome bag"; tickets to the museum, 10% off at the gallery shop, snacks, maps, schdules and tied with a lovely raffia bow.  

Now the schlepping began......... stairs.  RIT students had been hired to help the artists but then I had indentured servant Abby.  We opted not to wait for the elevator and use the stairs.  Remember the Hungarian motto;  Why do, when you can over do?  Forget the Hungarians we were Sherpa's climbing Everest with no oxygen tanks.  We were in and set up by 1:30 p.m.  Walked back to the hotel and cleaned up for the evening festivities.  By 4:30 p.m. we were walking back to the chili dinner served to the artists at 5 p.m. By 6 p.m.  the lecture started.  Panelists on the lecture; Rick Hirsh, ceramic artist; Michael Rodgers, glass artist; (both on the faculty of SAC) Charlotte Herrera, founder of the Fine Craft Show, collector and newly elected board member to the American Crafts Council; Jim Hackney also board member from the ACC and avid collector of southern potters.  Excellent lecture ending all to quickly for the Preview Party starting at 7 p.m. 
Several of the RIT grad students were present and I enjoyed our banter back and forth about what and where they were headed.  The crowd was large and eager to ask questions and purchase work.  It was a long day, we walked back to the hotel by 9:15 p.m. bushed.  

Saturday, up and out the door by 9:00 a.m.  The Council Members checked on us all day long on the quarter hour.  We were treated to hot coffee, water, a chocolate or cookie if requested.  Booth sitters were available throughout the day.  The day was very busy and again, sales were brisk and conversations enjoyable. 
The show closed by 5 p.m. at which time were hosted at a board members home.  10 artists were treated to hors d'oeuvres and an incredible dinner of grilled marinated tenderloin with a lovely dijon mustard sauce on the side, wild rice and mushrooms, haricot vert green beans with red relish, fresh greens served with chopped pears, walnuts and blue cheese topped with a light vinegarette,  a lovely pinot noir paired beautifully with our meal.  Finishing off the dinner was an incredibly decadent cake and hot coffee or dessert wine.  Abby leaned over and whispered;  "Mom, this is the best thing I have ever put in my mouth."  Abby did an excellent job holding her own in the conversations on art history and I will feel so much better when I write that next tuition check out. Exhausted, the dinner party broke up about 9:30 p.m.  Feeling like I had just attended a mini think tank I tossed in bed with my head spinning until 2 a.m. 

Sunday the council invited us to an artists brunch served at 9 a.m.  We arrived early and found Charlotte sweeping the floor and scraping blue tape off the atrium floor, we chatted and scraped tape too, how could not help?  The clock chimed 9 a.m. and it was a time to eat,  interact with other artists and participate in a question and answer on what the council might do better to enhance the show.  The room was quiet until Scott Sober stated he told other shows they should model themselves after the MAG show, the artists applauded Marcia Lowry, this year's chairman.  By 11 a.m. the doors opened and the public arrived ready to buy yet again.  I demonstrated in the ceramics lab at 1 p.m. while Abby watched the booth.  
At 4 p.m. the doors closed on the 2011 MAG show, the RIT students showed up to help artists pack and load and we were on the road by 6:30 p.m. headed for home.  What a weekend.  


  1. A grand weekend!
    I like the idea of booth sitters

  2. now home and wondering where those wonderful woman are who served us coffee and cookies....... reality and back to the laundry :)

  3. Really really loved reading your blog Sandy, makes me feel like this long year of preparation was worth it. Glad you loved our show and glad you and Abby came. I have to clarify one detail. We actually didn't hire anyone to help move artists in. They were wonderful volunteer students from the University of Rochester. The RIT students were part of our collaboration with the School for American Crafts there and they were selected by their faculty to exhibit. Guess we should have had them all wearing their school colors to tell them apart. Thanks again for your very kind words about our Fine Craft Show! Marcia

  4. Hi...I've found you via 'ook'. What a beautiful show, and fine people running it who make it work.

    Enjoyed your post on Show Season.

  5. Hi smartcat, love reading "ook" and travels of potting and gardening an ocean away.......

    thanks for stopping by :)