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Getting Your Feet Wet

You know that saying when you start something new about how first you have to get your feet wet? Well, umm...although no one formally told me that this would be a literal thing, fortunately I was given several bits of advice by a seasoned Emerging Jewelry Maker, Nina, of Nina Katherine Designs. She had formerly been a vendor in the Emerging Maker's Tent at the juried TN Craft Fair and forewarned me about how to be prepared as an Emerging Maker for the Fair this weekend. Her words of advice were: 1) Buy some rain boots and wear them. 2) Buy a Director's Chair so you can be at eye level with people but you won't have to stand up all of the time. 3) Prepare to be exhaused. The good news is that I heeded her advice on all three items because...her words of wisdom were spot on.

Set up day was Thursday, and so it began. I hauled all of my storage, display shelving, merchandise, demo equipment for mold making, and signage a fairly long distance from my car, making several trips, and a trip home for a second load. Although the loading felt like an eternity, I was just grateful that I owned a dolly. I was tired when finished, but finally set-up and ready to go for Friday, when the Fair began. My sculptures would be guarded by security, bubble wrapped, and in bins. I didn't have my rain boots yet, but decided to buy some on the way home from the set-up. Good to go, right?

I bought the boots before going home, slept a bit, woke-up at midnight, and finished a mold, working through the night in my garage until morning, leaving my phone beside my bed. Little did I know that I'd missed a phone call from my mentor on Friday morning, who had called to let me know that my tent had blown completely over during the night in a storm and that all of the contents had been scattered and were wet. The great news was that she and my peers were so kind as to find my things and leave them drying in the sun in front of my tent when I arrived to see mud EVERYWHERE. I was glad I had the boots and a lot of handi-wipes and was especially grateful that only one of my pieces had some damage, unlike a potter who had set-up the night before and reportedly lost $12,000 worth of merchandise in the storm.

It took a little longer than I'd planned on to get my booth organized for the day, but I got by with a little help from my friends, and before long, Friday and Saturday had passed, I'd sold a few things, was told that I'd be contacted by a few people for work, met someone who LIKES to make molds (which I've learned that I don't), and had great conversations with two other sculptors and many passers by. I enjoyed myself and was grateful to volunteers who intermittently gave us breaks. Then late Saturday afternoon, a [wise] decision was made to close the Fair Saturday night and not open on Sunday due to the prediction of severe thunderstorms and the possibility of 40-80 mph winds. Closing must have been a really tough call for the person who had to make the decision, but we all understood that safety had to prevail and frankly, I was relieved that I wouldn't have to stand underneath the fairly large metal poles of my tent during a severe thunderstorm. I've learned that the loading in and loading out process are the most exhausting part of the craft fair experience, have ultimately been glad to have had an extra day to recooperate, and am grateful to be home watching a brainless movie, petting my cat, resting, getting a Mother's Day call from my daughter, and writing this blog . I've learned not to try to make molds before an event and that I may not ever make one again. :) I've also learned to invest in a much more comfortable pair of rainboots for the future.

It was a muddy few days and somehow I wondered what Freud would have thought about me forgetting two of my larger and more recent portrait sculptures.  

Although the ticket says sold, this is the one of a kind original that is going to my friend who volunteered to give me photos of her daughter to sculpt. It was the hit of my display booth and one of the sculptures I reproduced. Like I say, I get by with a little help from my friends. Oh, and I don't have bucked teeth, I just need to either smile more broadly or keep my mouth closed when I smile. :)

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