So, two days after tearing down, I'm still tired. But I wanted to put the whipped cream and cherry on the top of the ACC show blog.
Personally, and for thea fine, beading design, the show can best be described as a "critical success." As with movies and plays so designated, they don't make money but are exceptionally well-received by the critics and audiences. Financially, it was not a winning event; but from other perspectives, I couldn't be happier or more pleased. Those who did buy will be surprised by a thank you note from me over the coming weeks.
Contacts: The contacts made over the course of the show will be worth their weight in gold. I've got a head of steam up for the Judaica line, thanks to some shops that showed interest. And a number of venues expressed interest in seeing more of my work -- including museum and synagogue shops. And the artists, the artists!!! So generous, so helpful, so supportive! More follow-up there required, along with some wholesale folk, some non-show artists with whom I visited, and with friends who visited the show, whether to buy or show support.
Public Reception/Perception: I've now a long list of people interested in classes; and that's my next project. Technique classes and stitch classes are high on the list. Need to identify mini "kits" that can be created for the classes; need to price out class costs; need to develop take-home hand-outs that are clear and well-writ. At the same time, I've got a nice-size list of future clients.
New Directions: New directions in design and in sales have been flying through my head since the very first wholesale day. I've applied to another batch of shows for the fall, not discouraged by turn-downs by several since the show ended. The cachet of ACC WILL be of help down the road, I know that. AND I'm considering putting a few kits together for sale in the website. If people want to make their own versions of some of my limited edition products, why not?! Again, working to think through precisely HOW do to it.
Media: I got to do print and TV interviews to promote the show and my work. My "circle the stone: plethora of circles" necklace graced the cover of the story in the Howard County Times (and, I'm told also the Baltimore Sun) , with the story title ("One of a Kind") inside the necklace's ring. AND, one of my pieces (circle the stone: unakite starburst) also was included in a montage of artwork from the show in the Annapolis newspaper. And while the TV interview was on Presidents' Day at 5:45 am, it was a great interview!
The blog will now become a weekly summary of where I'm headed with thea fine, beading design and what I manage to accomplish to that end on a regular basis. I also promise a few pictures.....as I can....of the studio and other venues. Anon!!
Welcome to Sunday morning before leaving for the show. Dressed, packed, coffee-ed and ready to go.
Yesterday was, in a word, "meh." Lots of looking; lots of ooohing and aaahing, but not so much BUY-ing. The usual "oh, I bead, too" comments (or substitute "my daughter," "my daughter-in-law," or "my sister" for the first person singular!) Many asked me for lessons on a particular item so they could make their own.... Perhaps when I decide to end the particular items in the line they'll go on-line as kits....way to do it, methinks..... or perhaps now?
All will become clear today, I hope.
Pictures coming AFTER the show of some of my colleagues -- and that is the BEST part of the show for me! I've met some wonderful artists -- primarily wonderful young women. It's been a joy to be around them.
Tearing down is at 5 pm after the show closes. Collapse sets in thereafter.....but with a smile on my face because I made it through the BIG TIME ACC....for the first, and I dearly hope, NOT the last time!
Off to the show!!!
So, it's Friday morning at 5:55 am! Why am I up? Well, I was going to be interviewed on Good Morning, Baltimore -- the local ABC affiliate-- about the ACC craft show. Apparently the "power who art" at the show decided I knew how to do a good interview that promoted the show in a positive, upbeat way....Got up at 4:15, since I had to be ready to go live at the Convention Center by 6 am. Poor husband got up even earlier as my "driver-in-chief."
Checked the e-mail and cell phone at 5:00 after breakfast and copious amounts of coffee and, damn, there's a message from midnight from the PR folks: "Interview cancelled, trouble with getting a reporter on site." Can you say #%#%$^$&^$# ?? So, here I sit, over made up, with Calista Gingrich-style immovable hair (sans the "Calista curl," mercifully) trying to smile about it all. Guess I'll get some beading going since I've got a few hours before we need to leave for the show.
Retail begins today! Keep your fingers crossed for heavy sales!! I'll be back at blogging on Monday, after we're through with the show.
Wholesale might better be titled "No Sale" for me. While my next-door neighbor Danielle -- a long-time artist at the show-- did gangbuster work on wholesaling her work (wonderful, whimsical felt pins, scarves and outrageous necklaces), I sat or stood, smiling, chatting, and NOT getting a single wholesale order. This was not entirely unexpected; it WAS boring, however.
Some contacts WERE made with stores that carry Judaica (so I better get off my bottom and finish up the two other parts of the line!) Once I get them photoed, I'll get pictures to the folk who were excited about it and, perhaps, just perhaps, they'll place orders for the three items I've got planned. One is a reality; the others are a-comin'.
What made the day good? Well, first and foremost, many of my fellow artists! What talented, generous and warm people. And so many of like mind, politically, socially, intellectually. It's a joy, and a wonderful change for solo work at home with the cats for companionship. (I love them, but great conversationalists they are NOT! LOL)
Fingers crossed for retail days beginning tomorrow!!!
No picture, just a web link for this one.
On Monday, as I reported earlier, I had the pleasure of participating at a 5:45 am (!) LIVE television interview at the local NBC affiliate in Baltimore. As a morning person, the hour didn't bother me...the fact that I had to be up at 4 and drive to northern Baltimore didn't bother me, nor did the heat of the lights and being the test guinea pig as the first of a number of artists being interviewed to promote the show. What bothered me? Only one thing: the visuals of my jewelry, sadly, were out of focus! Guess the cameraman ISN'T a morning person! LOLBut here's the even better news. I joined three other artists participating in the ACC show from this nearby county in an interview by the arts reporter for the local weekly newspaper. The story will run in tomorrow's edition of the Howard County Times. Since it's a sister paper of the Baltimore Sun, it's possible the story may do double duty there, but I can't be sure.Much as I would like to toss a copy on each of your front doorsteps, I've got a show to do. So instead, I've provided the link to the on-line version of the story (for as long as the link is live). Doing the interview was intriguing -- four artists and one reporter who managed to corral us and, to my mind, came up with a lovely article. What do YOU think? Here's the link: http://www.baltimoresun.com/explore/howard/events-entertainment/ph-ho-go-craft-show-0223-20120220,0,2092087.story
the booth -- better picture to come tomorrow. Doesn't my new sign look great?
Well, the booth was set up over the course of Monday and Tuesday. I spent Monday night making a "pole condom" (thanks to the artist who told me this name; it's forever stuck in my mind for better or worse). It's a covering for the corner pole required to ensure the new configuration of a corner booth didn't fall down. And, because I had to do a full square of header so I could put up my lights, I made pretty little valances to hid the metal poles running across the top of the booth. I thank my 8th grade home economics teachers for teaching me how to stitch straight and my grandmother for the vision to find ways to use minimal tools to create beauty.
Now, Wednesday and Thursday (today and tomorrow) are wholesale days. Buyers, generally unused to bead art jewelry, don't seem entirely sure what to make of my jewelry. As in the past, a little demonstration helps. [It also helps keep me awake! The traffic is slow in the extreme, but I was warned it might be!] I'm not expecting much by way of wholesale, but the contacts, particularly for my Judaica work, should well be invaluable!
Sana, my "buddy" (a long-time exhibitor paired with me to act as a mentor and advisor) has been fabulous -- as has her husband. They've provided me with invaluable advice and sent folks in my direction who might have an interest in the quirky work that I do. In fact, most of the folks in my environs have been wonderfully helpful to this newbie!
Gotta go put my tootsies up -- perhaps a nice warm bath will be a good thing. Just thinking about it makes me feel warm and cosy!
It's strange to be so casual about putting together the booth and materials to cart to the Convention Center. Perhaps it's because I have two days to set up everything in a manner that makes me happy. Or perhaps it's because I've done the set-up so many times before. Or, could it be that I know if I've forgotten anything, it's not hard to run home to get it?
Whatever the reason, it's been far less the hassle than past efforts to get ready for a show. The new carpet has me excited -- but also requires a small van, instead of my CR-V. An 8x10 rug just doesn't make it in the car, and I'm not ready to tie it to the roof this time.
So, a small van it will be. That 'll make it possible for me to simply load the pre-constructed display into the van and download it at the show. It'll require minimal additional knocking together once there! Huzzah!
Tonight MUST be an early one -- gotta DVR my Masterpiece Theater soap opera (Downton Abbey), since I've set the alarm for 4:00 am I need to leave at 4:30 to arrive at the local NBC affiliate (WBAL-TV) in Baltimore by 5:15. I'm on camera at 5:45. Then home, breakfast, and a ride to get set up going. Mercifully, my DH and younger son will be toting barges and lifting bales for me.
I'll take pictures and post them tomorrow when we're done!
Here's a picture of the "old" set up
Oh, how I miss my "bag lady"...She lives with a client now. She's got the face of what I imagine was that of Helen of Troy.
The "let's get the booth organized so we can transport it to the show" effort became a basement clean-up as well. There IS a floor down there and there actually IS space that isn't covered by boxes and books, display items and wine bottles! We've organized and tossed garbage and made a huge pile of gently loved items that will go to the local recycle/reuse group. Oh, and there are two other piles -- one for each of our children. They will be required, as adults living on their own, to assign to one of several piles: "pitch," "give away," or "take." Ultimately, it all leaves our basement! Huzzah!!
We've cleaned up the booth materials. The drapes have been washed and gently rolled and bagged for the show. Not sure if I'll go all black or use my purple surround.....Guess I can try both ways....Ironing is in order for the purple, however. The new overhead lighting has been tested (it works!) and boxed with some extra light bulbs. The multiple (!!) extension cords, surge supressors and heavy-weight cords have been coiled and velcroed into submission. And the new carpet-- bamboo -- will be perfecto!
Tomorrow, I lay out the booth in 2-D on the basement floor, rather than in 3-D. Once happy, I'll get the 3-D display put together so we just carry it in in several large pieces on Monday at set-up.
And on Tuesday evening, I pick up beautiful live flowers for the booth. With luck, they'll be good for the entire show; if not, we can easily get some more.
PHEW.....now for a cup of nice tea and some beading to relax...
AND WATCH FOR ME AT 5:45 ON WBAL-TV ON MONDAY! I'll be on, promoting the ACC Show! What fun!!!
Today was a day for shredding. After half a day of work on a bracelet with a wonderful handmade copper cabochon, I took my tiny sewing scissors to it....beads and thread everywhere. No more bracelet; only a magnificent cabochon searching for a home on a wrist. But it has to be the RIGHT home to put on a wrist and today's effort was NOT.
Unsatisfactory products such as this yield the need for rethinking, revising, and reworking. Never mind that I'm days from my first huge show. Never mind that yet another project has been brought up short. If it doesn't pass MY muster, it's consigned to the "think again" pile. And that pile is getting larger as the show gets closer!
It's time to stop producing and start packing, which is what I will accomplish tomorrow down in the basement. AND I must make a few pole tubes (what a colleague refers to as "upright condoms") to beautify the poles that aren't adequately "draped" with my curtain material. That and an ersatz curtain for the track light pole, too. Velcro works wonders! Whoever invented it is deserving of great praise from artists everywhere. [That's in addition to the thanks of mothers who no longer have to tie and retie their toddlers shoes!]
I must research the history of velcro -- but AFTER the show.
It's time to start blogging...and its about time, too. I made my living with words for so many years, it's hard to stop painting pictures with them and to rely on the pictures crafted with my beads.
Let it suffice to say that I'm waaaay past panic mode. With my first participation in the American Craft Council show at the Baltimore (MD) Convention Center less than a week away, I'm deep into the "I can get this done, somehow" mode. Perhaps by Saturday, I'll evolve to another more realistic state? Who can tell?
I hope to blog before, during and after the show to share the view from Booth #428 and beyond. Stay tuned!
This blog is where Thea Fine, Beading Design meets Fine WordCrafters (my writing/editing activities). I hope you find it a happy collision of my two artful worlds.