Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday and pass the leftovers!

After a day of cooking, eating and reading the Black Friday ads in the paper I contemplated running out the door to pick up a new thong at Victoria Secrets because nothing says go buy lingerie like a high carb, high fat, waddle out the door dinner.  Did you hear the gun go off at midnight this year; "Ladies and Gentleman, grab those credit cards............ GO!  

After hunting and gathering at the local Piggly Wiggly Wednesday morning, the DC traffic was a breeze!  Approaching the checkout line I carefully speculate which of the cashiers had all cylinders firing and opposable thumbs; throw a dart and pray I pick the right the line.
About the time I get half my stuff on the belt, the check out people do a side out rotate and I get Mimi, the glazed over teenager who has been bounced off the pavement one too many times when she was a baby. (but Hey, she has a job so you go girl!)

Mimi, I am here to tell you;  peeling black nail polish is NOT a fashion statement!! (or the white streak of hair down the middle of your scalp to accentuate you naturally luxurious jet black hair, think skunk, or the neck tattoo of your boyfriend)  Yes, I am a vision in jeans, LL Bean hoodie and clay encrusted hiking boots, but I did comb my hair...... bonus points and that makes me a fashion-ista at the Piggly Wiggly.  I notice Mimi is having trouble processing Ethel's fistful of coupons.  Really, a file folder of coupons the day before Thanksgiving.  Another reason to raise turkeys in the backyard........ there is never a back up at the feed and seed store and they never have BOGO on cow manure and I am going for Ethel in the parking lot.
While watching this play out my heart rate increases and I start my Lamaze breathing, just about the time I get myself under control, she flips that  flashing light button.  The entire line of shoppers lets out an audible gasp!
We are in check out hell with no way out!  I watched my peas defrost on the belt and ice cream turn to soup.
and the holidays are just beginning............ going off to load gun.

Listening to CNN this morning I hear they had to pepper spray holiday shoppers, why isn't it cinnamon spray at the holidays?  Also one shopper in a fit of "competitive shopping maced her other shoppers over a TV and fled the scene.  There is an APB out for her.  I only pray this happens in my booth someday.  I don't think this has ever happened at one art festival I have participated in.  So shoppers go support your local craftmen at the local venue.  There won't be camel rides or Harry Potter movies playing at 3 a.m. but you will have a face to put a purchase with and know your dollar went to sustain a local artist and you probably won't be pepper sprayed....... 

have a lovely holiday! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

adventures of a traveling potter.......

For those who read the blog you will recall in the last entry I predicted snow would be flying about the time I started the truck Thursday morning at 9:15 a.m.  I am psychic, no make that psychotic!  Snowing hard enough, I white knuckled it to Breezewood, PA.  Boy, I just love pulling that trailer in the snow, especially through the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  Hit Hagerstown, MD by 3:45 p.m. and thought I would be eating in dinner in Richmond....... until I hit Washington D.C. rush hour, which starts at noon.  I have never been in traffic like that in my life!  Talk about the creep and beep for 4 hours, or maybe the creep and crash.  If you live in DC you should be driving a rubber car.   I found a radio station that alerts commuters to traffic wrecks every 8 minutes.  It was a bit static-y and I swear I heard him say;  Stay off the 395 (long static pause)...... a deer burst into flames.  
I saw 5 models of cars:   
Hummer (so you could drive over the car in your way),  
Porsche Carrera, Black so you can drive on the berm 110 mph.
2011 Lincoln with congressional plates and some guy on a cell phone
Chevy Van or Pick up with Ladders and Wheelbarrows attached
teeny little Nissan Versa hatchbacks in a variety of colors
OH and me, in a Colorado Pickup (color; Arrest Me Red) pulling a trailer full of breakables.
I should have just painted a bullseye on the back door.  

Arriving at my hotel by 9:45 p.m. let's just say it was a long drive and gave new meaning to "crash and burn."  I was toast.

Arriving at the Science Museum the next morning I was shocked to see my pot hanging on the banner to the museum!  Hey, is this like having your name in lights on Broadway?  YUP! 

8 a.m. and time to set up.  Easy set up to be sure.  Pulled right up to the front door, unloaded and parked the truck.  Started the migration of booth stuff and inventory into the exhibition hall and the booth was up by 1:30 p.m.  YAHOO!  I had time to head back to the room, shower, nap, and make myself look human, if I only had opposable thumbs. 

Back for the preview party by 5 p.m. and we were off to the races.  Opening night was excellent.  
The lights went off at 9:30 p.m. and I was back in my room by 9:45 p.m,  flat lining.  Working solo this show I never took the time eat, drink or have coffee.  I reached for my rescue snacks; carrots and mini shredded wheat biscuits.  The hotels now provide us with a tiny one cup coffee maker, thank goodness and I perked away every single packet of coffee provided.  A couple aspirin and lights out. 

Up the next morning and off to the show...... figuring out the museum has a Starbuck's in the Cafe on the first floor, and thankfully found out I was next to the water fountain on the main floor.  Starbuck's and water; nectar of the Gods and I could go for days!  I walked the show floor before the doors opened and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the work.  Peter Saenger!  Love his work,  I have been a fan for many years!  Added the creamer and sugar to my collection by the end of the show! 

Stephen Zeh, the traditional ash basket maker from Temple, Maine was a treat to meet too!

I also had time to discuss design challenges with Akiko Sugiyama.  (Her work just sends me to the moon; wonderful! )

Ran into the hometown artists, Jenny Mendes and Mark Yasenchack too.  

Saturday, the crowds were slow but I managed to get the better part of pot collar woven.  Saturday night, the Craft + Design crew treated the artists to a great potluck dinner!  We were wined, dined, serenaded in candle light and able to tour the Craft + Design Center.

Back to the hotel by 9:00 p.m. and again........ lights out.  For those of us who talk to the dog in the studio it is taxing talking for hours to throngs of people.  By Sunday I happily checked out of the hotel and made myself ready to stand erect in my booth for another few hours.  By 5 p.m. the packing material was flying and the dollies were racing to the floor.  Most artists have this part down to a science, I do not.  I also think potters are the last to vacate the building and I held up my end of the bargin!  Slamming the door on the trailer by 8:20 and I was sweating like a turkey invited to Thanksgiving dinner and embracing the solitude of the truck cab.  Last vehicle out of the parking and I could not get home fast enough, until I hit Washington D.C. Sunday night rush hour.  
Kill me....... 
Painting the lines on black asphalt in the dark on I 495 and funneling down 5 lines of traffic to one is like me, in a pair of skinny jeans.  Ugly, angry and something is going to split.
If you want to know why the country is struggling just drive the D.C. beltway and it really doesn't matter which one you pick because they are all parking lots 24 hours a day.  Of course I took the wrong expressway because the 495 is not labeled east or west.  You have your choice;  Tyson's Corners or Baltimore, since I have never heard of Tyson's Corners I picked Baltimore...... WRONG!  Looking for an exit I could turn the Queen Mary around and go back from whence I came I closed my eyes and picked one.  I ended up in a fancy schmancy neighborhood with horseshoe driveways.  Perfect!!  I pulled around some home owners driveway with the big ass trailer and said(in my best British accent); Oh Love, can't stop for coffee, so sorry, Cherio!  and headed for the 495. 
I could see where I need to go but for love nor money could not get there.  I was on a 4 level bridge suspended in the sky and I needed to get to first floor lingerie'.   Then shockingly, in front me was deer!  Running down the bridge.  How did you get up here?   I wanted to pull up next to her and say;  GET IN!  This is bad!  Do deer merge?  Forget merging, just get off this bridge.  She moved to the side and I passed, we were both freaked out beyond words.   I have to say I don't know if she got off or how she got on but a deer did not belong on a bridge 4 stories in the air in downtown Washington DC.  Maybe Congress could pass RED;  Right to Educate Deer.  Probably not since a budget seems to be out of the question too.   I truly think if they could fix the road system this country would run much smoother. 

Finally headed back to Hagerstown in the rain and fog I creeped home.  I pulled in the driveway at 5:45 a.m, just in time for morning coffee with Butch...... Perfect!   I crawled up stairs and heard him say...... are you going to shower before you go to bed?  I yelled back...... I'll wash the sheets!  It was 6:20 a.m.
The phone started ringing at 9:30 a.m. and I was off to unload the truck...... what a way to make a living but I love it :) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I need a roadie.........

Time to head out one more time.  
This time off to the Craft + Design Show in Richmond, VA. 

Hey I made the postcard!  Very cool and a big thank you!! 

The trailer has been packed and unpacked too many time this month; I hate double touching anything, including pots!  
Kilns have been loaded and unloaded thus keeping the studio toasty warm.
I had high hopes of throwing many more pots during this 10 day down time but it did not happen; the greenware shelves are almost bare.
I have managed to weave three more pots and get handles on several more in my panicked attempt to replace inventory from the Rochester Show.  My weaving table is so full pots are stacked on the floor.   
Again under estimating my time to weave.  I thought I would have twice as many pots woven by the time I would be loading again.  How does this happen? 

On the return trip from every show I forget I need a down day to herd paperwork, tax info and go grocery shopping. 
A day to cook and fill the fridge again.  
You know this food thing is all a scam.  I hunt, gather, prepare food, store my nuts in the 
fridge and in a day or so it's gone.  
I can choose to embrace the scam or run screaming from the kitchen.  Must 
say I do miss it when it's so long I have to blow the dust off my cast iron frying pan.  
And I am a confessed "foodie" 

Oh and I just finished the best book!  
"My Third Husband Will be a Dog" by Linda Scottoline
for those who need a good laugh this is a great book. 
This also eliminates the need for me to ever write a book as Lisa and I have apparently been living in a parallel universe.  

Of coarse lake effect snow is on the way;  yes I am taking this personally as it will arrive the minute I put the key in the ignition and pull out of the driveway.  An 8 hour plus drive and over the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains.  I really need a roadie......... 

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.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

RIT School for American Crafts panel discussion Friday 6pm

Professors Michael Rogers and Richard Hirsch of RIT's School for American Crafts join avid craft collectors Jim Hackney of Atlanta and Charlotte Herrera of Rochester, both board members of the American Craft Council, in a discussion on collecting.

$10 includes Fine Craft Show admission for either Saturday or Sunday. ($5 students)

Preview party Friday 7-9 pm

Mingle with the artists and have the first opportunity to purchase their fine craft pieces before the show opens to the public. Complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres, cash bar. For tickets call 585-276-8910.

Fine Craft Show & Sale - Saturday & Sunday

Ceramics, glass, jewelry, furniture, metal, wood, wearable art and more... The Memorial Art Gallery's 11th annual Fine Craft Show features one-of-a-kind and limited-edition works by 40 master craft artists from 11 states.
Sale Saturday 10-5 & Sunday 11-4 / $10 each day