Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Back from Boston and recovering..........

There's no place like home, especially when the world goes off the rails.   The family was home for a couple days before I left.  As I packed for Boston in the wake of the bombing I was still basking in the after glow of family fun.  How quickly things can change; a blink, a breath, a bomb.  

The week prior to leaving I cleaned out the studio and turned it into a frame shop.  I have had framed pieces in the booth before and thought they added depth to my work.  It's such a change from throwing and a natural transition.  It was a long learning curve to frame them properly and figure out shadow box framing.  Good to know my matt cutter still works and rusty skills learned so long ago in a frame shop in Baton Rouge, Lousiana can still be dusted off and used.  

The truck was loaded with more pots than I care to talk about and 17 framed pieces tucked behind the seat.  Big Red pulled out of the driveway at 1 a.m. and arrived at Boston World Trade Center around 12:30 pm Wednesday.  
Set up until 8 p.m.  

I walked out on to the dark streets of the Boston Seaport and wound my way through the back streets of Boston hunting for my host's home.  Two hours later I arrived.  Boston has this quirky habit of not posting street signs and changing the names of streets from block to block.  I finally called my host and said I would just sleep in my car and find her tomorrow.  She alerted me to the fact that Boston Police frowned on this practice and would be towing me to impound.  I found Ellen at 10:30 p.m.  She was wonderful!  This was my first time staying with a host and it turned out to be the best decision I could have made over the course of the week.  Through the madness of the week I couldn't imagine being holed up in a hotel somewhere.........well unless they had a bar!  

Thursday morning I left the house at 11 am and wove my way back to the Seaport, getting unbelievably lost and as luck would have it found myself stuck on a bridge behind the Obama motorcade.  Helicopters buzzed over head with gunmen hanging out the doors.  I didn't know he was coming to Craft Boston!  We sat there for hours, I became BFF's with the Nigerian cab driver next to me;  I saw pictures of his wife and three children in Nigeria while we waited.  I got to the Seaport at 2 p.m. leaving me 2 hours to pull the booth together before the deadline of 4 p.m.  

Thursdays night we opened to a gala preview party although sparsely attended.  One small sale but that is pretty normal and felt it was a good way to kick off a long weekend show.  I found my way back to Ellen's and met my other house mates; Tristyn (think great jeweler) and Daisy (think great black lab)  and we all collapsed into bed around 10:00 a.m.  Friday morning I was up at 6:30 a.m. as the show opened at 10 p.m. and I scheduled in getting lost.  Coming out of my room I was met by Ellen........ have you been listening to the radio?  There might not be a show.  What?  I stumbled to the coffee pot, digesting those words and fumbling for my iPad.  Shoot outs, IED's tossed out fleeing cars, one bomber dead and one on the run.  Hmmm...... the Seaport is pretty far from ground zero so maybe it would open.  Then the executive director called and said she had SWAT guys on her front lawn.  The show might open at noon.  Great!  The the city of Brookline called and ordered a lock down.  We spent the day locked down in Brookline.  Ellen announced she had smoked pheasant in the freezer and bourbon in the cupboard.  We sat in the sun on her porch reading emails, answering phone calls, reading books and talking while CNN played in the back ground.  We ate lunch, we ate dinner, we drank coffee, we checked twitter and became twidiots and we waited.  Then everything moved very quickly, around 10 pm....... it was over.  The bomber boy was in custody and we could exit the house without fear.  Daisy could pee in peace and Boston cheered.  

The show opened Saturday morning as planned to a soft opening.  By 1 pm the rows were filling with people and I gave my lecture to a good crowd.  I wove my way back to my booth after the lecture and had a hard time as the aisles were packed.  WOW!  Where did all these people come from?  and I had sales!  By the end of the day I had made expenses so Sunday would put me in the black.   

Now the big lesson of Craft Boston this year.  My neighbors at the show were wonderful!  Fine Craft people are just the best, we are a tribe and they are my tribe!  A blog shout out to my super fab cohorts:
We worked through the booth issue of the dreaded giant building pedestal in the middle of your booth.
Electrical cords, knocking down rods and drapery and the no merging into another's sacred 10 x 10 space!  We worked it out, not one hissy fit, not one prima donna and it was a pleasure.   These are seasoned professional artists that I learned so much from this weekend.   

furniture maker and all around nicest guy to be next too at any craft venue! 

fantastic glass blowers, veteran show participants and all around nice people.  
so excited to trade for a beautiful set of glasses and candlesticks, I am a fan! 

jeweler to Madeline Albright I might add;  love, love, love her work.

fantastic jeweler and great room mate! 

And now I must stand on my shout out box to the

The right call was made on Friday to close the show, we were informed through calls, emails and tweets.  Thank you for housing us, getting the crowds to the show, advertising, checking in on us constantly..... and just plan rocking.  A heart felt thank you! 

This year sales were there, not like years past due to circumstances beyond everyones control but even with a closed day I had my second best sales to date.  Why?  Oh I had the high end stuff but I had $30 mugs and lots of them!  I had $32 bowls too.  By Sunday morning I had not sold one piece over $100.  Even though the aisles were so packed I hid behind my sales table and I talked to so many people I thought I was spitting cotton big purchases were not happening.  Boston turned out in droves to support this show and the artists.  Mugs, Bowls, small and med canisters sold like crazy.  During this crazy week, of course people bought mugs!  I bought a mug, I want to sit down in the quiet of my kitchen and have a warm mug of something; coffee, tea, cocoa, bourbon and know I am safe!   I tired of fastening my seatbelt and buckling up for the bumpy ride.  

And the highlight....... awarded the Artist Choice Award.  I win very few awards so while talking to a customer I heard my name over the PA system my first thought was ...... what did I do now?  I think I parked in the right spot, are they towing my truck.  Then I saw Beth standing in the booth across the aisle saying you won the Artist Choice Award.   Yup, that one brings tears to your eyes!  Voted by my peers...... honored, humbled and happy.  I'm hanging it over my wheel in the studio :) 

Yup, I'm getting old, yup, this is hard work, yup I have second thoughts every time Big Red pulls out of the driveway.  I swore this would be my last show..... and then I heard myself tell Alyce I'd be back for the Holiday show. 
I guess it's what I do and will do.  

Talking to so many artists and hearing so many, too many stories about how hard these times truly are.  Used equipment for potters is now cheap and we still can't afford it.  When I pulled out of the Seaport at 9 pm Sunday night I rolled these conversations around in my head all the way to Paine Falls.  How do we make this work, how do we stay in business, how do we work smarter and not harder.  So many questions........  I still had them when Big Red pulled in the driveway at 7 am.  

I cannot say how good it is to be home........ 

and back to normal........ 


  1. I'm so glad it went well in the end....with an award; that's the best!

    It was wonderful that you did not have to be by yourself during the in shelter. The time was scary enough without being alone.

    Happy days to be home!

  2. I was watching CNN that night at 10pm and wondering about you, so glad all ended well. Yes, art sales are tough right now, I'm just compensating by doing shows where there is at least good music and fun people. If I gotta suffer I want to suffer with some fun fools like me, haha!
    Money or joy, why can't there be both, ugh!

  3. So glad you made it home safely. David K

  4. David! Best neighbor ever! Thanks for dropping a pebble in the pond. Have a wonderful summer ........

  5. Tracey, I'm working on that one :) leave me my illusions......
    Gotta say, good to be home......

  6. Hi Smart Cat :)

    The paradigm shifted last week and it was good to b with a furry four legged and like minded two leggeds.

    All the struggling I do over this pottery..... The age old question; When there's so much need in the world, why am I making pretty things? I now understand why it's important to make pretty things while the world spins.......


  7. Next adventure........ Minnesota! :)

  8. Glad you are home safe. Love the framed pieces!

  9. I saw the link to your blog from Richard Aerni's post. We've purchased many pieces of his ceramics. I've tried to convince him to come to Craft Boston because I think he's so great. We purchased one of your black canisters on Saturday afternoon at Craft Boston. It's so cool you got the Artist Choice award. I hope we see you again- What a strange week it was! Margaret Eifert and Paul Wendelgass

  10. Hi Margaret..... And Paul too! Richard is a good friend and great ceramic artist! Boy, thanks for coming out and supporting CraftBoston and all the artists, it was a week to be sure. I know exactly the black canister you purchased and enjoyed talking with you! All the best and hope to see you at the holiday show!