Thursday, March 8, 2012

Back from West Palm Beach .......

And never so happy to plant my feet on the ground and kiss the dog!  (He had a wonderful time at Camp Abby in Kent and Abby learned a dog is too much responsibility at this time in her life...... lessons for everyone this trip.)

Speaking of lessons and the learning curve of life, I have hit yet another speed bump on my way.  I had a gut feeling the week prior to leaving and even announced to the fam and a few friends, I wasn't going.  The show expenses were huge and at the stroke of midnight I just couldn't eat the expenses.  I loaded the  truck and trailer,  off we went...... 30 hours away.  We made check in time by 1:30 pm on Thursday and proceeded to sit in line for 45 minutes in 90 degree heat....... and we are off to the races. 

After walking around I quickly realized the difference between the age old question of "ART vs. CRAFT.  The answer......... price!  Finally set up and pretty happy with the booth one of the show promoters stopped by, looked around and I was told, again:  "OMG mark your prices up!"  Just put a 1 in front of all your prices or the collectors will never take you seriously.  And so it began....... 

Friday, the crowds flocked to the jewelers, purse makers and clothing artists.  There were a few collectors walking the floor and they did find their favorite artists and spent money.  Friday night I was kicking myself for not trusting my gut and staying home.  Saturday night more of the same and realizing Florida is not my market. 
The flashy glass artist next to me mentioned I was not glitzy enough for the Florida crowd; I might want to run out and buy a be-dazzler tonight.  He pointed out I had an "earthy look". 
 It's pottery, I retorted. 

The other thing I was surprised at........ interior designers are abundant in Florida and most want a price break.  New to this venue I was a bit daunted by this but for the most part stood firm.  What is your best price?.......... pretty sure that is my best price, have you walked around the show?

There were of course highlights at this show and I had a ball talking to several new collectors and most of all, clay artists from the area.  Gotta say clay people are just happy to talk about clay and techniques. Especially loved talking to the school teachers teaching art in the public schools, bless them! 

set up the first day.......

playing with wall pieces.  As a person who walks the woods and paths I pick up little gifts left for me to discover...... yeah I know, it is all about me :)  On wash day I empty my pockets and loving place these found objects in a shoe box next to the washer.  I have many shoe boxes and wondered what I would ever do with the contents of those shoe boxes.  Shadow box assemblage seems a natural progression to the collection.  The back of the framed piece has the story of the contents.  I am loving the process. 
Also think they compliment the pedestal work.

All in all looking back it was a haul.  I hit the studio the second week of January and never left.  Walking and other activities like blogging ceased.  If my fingers were busy they were weaving and not typing.
It was not a balanced life, sure I got my bread baked and the vacuum run but so much of life stopped to get ready.  
One needs time to day dream, walk and visit with friends.

I also believe this will be my last show with a promoter in lieu of contacting collectors.  I don't care for the arena and frankly would rather show work through the SAC in Boston or the MAG in Rochester.  
Support for organizations educating the collectors and general public to fine craft is where I would like to throw my support.  I might add they treat us very well too.

All in all I am so happy to be back in the studio working on teapots, getting ready for a workshop with the Clay Alliance in Cincinnati and Craft Boston the end of the month.  
March, so far has been a whirlwind! 


  1. I always wonder about shows, but how do we get known where we need to be?

  2. Exactly! Decided last year I want to know if I could get into the bigger shows. I started applying and to my surprise got in. Has it helped, yes, but ask me in a year or two. So far the expenses are pretty high and I am selling high end pots in a tough economic environment. The way we do business is changing, a far cry from the hay day of the 80's and early 90's.
    I think there are many avenues to get one's work out there. Articles in publications are one. I have also come to realize the amount I spent on the bigger shows would have bought a full page ad in a top collectors magazine and I could have stayed in the studio for a week.
    Thanks for the pebble gz :)

  3. oh sandy...that is such a departure from "my" clay world and frankly i would be so lost in that environment so it is great fun to hear about your endeavors. i agree wholeheartedly about the super long days when preparing for an event...i can get into the groove but boy does the rest of my sweet life just pass by. i can't imagine working those hours for any substantial length of time. we will miss you at nceca but i am soo looking forward to touching and seeing hordes of pots. later gater.

  4. Heidi! Will very much miss the west coast nceca crowd!!!!
    Will be so happy to see April as I will be in the garden and the river!!!

  5. Missed you; happy you are back in the blogging world.

    Waiting for spring!

  6. Smartcat....... ahhhhh..... happy to be back!
    now catching up on reading everyones blog!!

    Tulips and Daffs were busy growing while I was busy weaving and potting. Snowing today but Spring cannot be far behind as Orien is slowly moving west and low in the night sky. Happy Dance!!

  7. Gosh, they want "glitzy"? That brings to mind all sorts of nastiness, and not at all what your pictures show -- an elegant, inviting booth with equally refined work.

  8. Thanks!

    Just the word "glitzy" makes me laugh, especially after spending years trying to thrown grounded pots.

    When I saw one white pot in a white room while backpacking through Kyoto, Japan I knew I wanted to make work that strong.

    Just think, one piece supporting the space of an entire room!