Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Adventures in Babysitting, I Mean Festivaling...

For those of you asking for pictures from my road shows, here you go! Click on any photo to enlarge. I must admit Halifax was not as good to me [pictured here] this year as it has been in the past, but I’m sure that was due to the dragging economy and, on Sunday, the weather. Saturday was a glorious shopping day with bright blue skies, windy but at least sunny. Crowds were not as big as they have been in the past, but I understand the Daytona News-Journal was not able to sponsor this year because they are in the middle of an ownership change. I imagine that greatly affected advertising since in past years they’ve done a special section on the show listing all the artists and events. Regardless, sales were still decent on Saturday given the economy. Sunday, though, was a complete washout. Literally! It rained on and off all day, mainly on, with a few very heavy, windy thunder storms. But let me back up to my Sunday morning arrival.

[Picture of my booth here] When I arrived at my tent Sunday morning, some kind soul had added an additional clamp to the bottom right front zipper. Apparently a pretty bad storm had come through overnight and that zipper didn’t hold. I opened the tent to find a full set of shelving and displays scattered everywhere. My guess is that the gust of wind that opened the zipper then proceeded to take out that facing set of shelves. Luckily, I do not leave my jewelry on display overnight. (And in the midst of all this, I lost my keys…after Patty and I both searched off and on for a couple hours, Patty found them in HER pocket! I had put them down next to my jewelry case when I discovered the scattered display, so she had evidently picked them up and put them in her pocket so they wouldn’t get lost!)

[Nice street shot here] Back to the rain. About 11:30am Sunday morning, we got hit with a particularly stormy band of rain, so we zipped up and tried to wait it out. This time, it was my center front zipper that gave way (if I’m going to continue to do this, I apparently must replace my zippers….). The wind was really whipping and the rain was coming down in sheets, and here I am in the middle of my tent trying to hold the front panels together to keep the rain out—no way to rezip with the wind blowing as badly as it was. It was a fruitless effort, and by the time that particular band passed, I was drenched from hip to toe, in jeans. Yuck. I tried to suck it up for about an hour and then gave up and went back to my van to change clothes. My van was parked directly in front of a very popular restaurant. Have you ever noticed that your front windshield isn’t tinted? Oh well, at that point I was wet enough that I didn’t care who saw my bum.

[This is Patty!] Towards the end of the day Sunday, we had all given in to the weather gods and were standing out in the rain talking. Patty and I were talking to the artist a couple booths down from her, an acrylic artist named Bruce, and Patty jokingly said, “Tell me why we do this again?” And Bruce took that opportunity to respond with, “Hmmm, let’s see….I don’t want sick leave, I don’t want health insurance, I love spending two days outside battling the weather trying to protect the art I spent countless hours creating, and um, what else…oh yeah! Paid vacation time? Who needs that!?” Are you catching the sarcasm here? By that point, we were all punch drunk from rain so everyone just laughed about it. (If you’d like to read another very entertaining report of a disastrous show, click here.)

[This is Malcolm, winner of the Canine Costume Contest] Bruce’s answer really made me think about that question though. Unlike Bruce and Patty, my art is not my sole, or even my primary, income. I do have sick leave, health insurance and paid vacation time. I do have a “real job”, as some full-time artists get accused of not having (ridiculous accusation, by the way…). So why do I do this? Why do I spend hours creating at night and then long weekends away from my family to show and, hopefully sell, my art? I thought about that on the way home, and I realized the answer to the question is two-fold. For me, it’s not to make money. Sure, it’s nice to make a little profit and hopefully at least not lose money, and frankly I often spend the majority of the profit I make at shows on other people’s art! But I love the people I meet, whether they be fellow artists or customers. People like Ken Dames and his wife Theresa, my neighbors this weekend. Ken’s hysterical “Bathroom Art Series” reflected his sunny personality and definitely kept people laughing as they passed by his booth. I’ve also met some great customers that have become great friends and have shared their lives with me. Wonderful people.

[Battling rains on Sunday, before I changed my clothes!] The other reason is maybe a little more intangible. Though I know it will realistically never be my life’s work, I do have that drive to create. And while creating may be a very personal thing to some people, I get so excited about new things that I create that I just want to share them! (And DH and the girls can only express so much enthusiasm on any given day.) So for me, it’s just really cool that there are people all over the world wearing a little piece of something I created. Like little pieces of Kelly scattered all over the world. That’s a cool concept, don’t you think?

So I guess I’ll keep at it. I always get a little burned out during the fall because I’m not only juggling arts festival travel and work travel, but I also have that football schedule to contend with. Gotta have my ‘Noles and my Barnaby’s. I’d love to beef up my online sales, but that requires more time than I have right now since I’m traveling so much. Maybe in the spring you loyal blog readers can help me spread the word… Till then, next stop is Tallahassee’s Market Days December 6-7. And, yeah! It’s an indoor show!


ELLIE said...

your stories about your trips just crack me up - sorry you got rained on but it sounds like a weekend to remember - art on sistah!!

cath c said...

i love your why do i do this answer! of course besides the joy of creating. ultimately i believe the main reason we're all here is to connect with each other.

love that sunflower dog!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

The average girl wouldn't understand the work that is involved in doing a show.
Here's to sunshine and indoor shows!!

e.beck.artist said...

excellent post ... long and interesting and newsy ... with a titch of soul searching at the end ....
well done!