Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dispatch from Hell: Return to the Craft Fair Circuit

After a long time of not being on the show scene, today I plunged back in. It's been a decade since I've done these types of events and over a year since leaving the world of retail. Earlier in the day I attempted a tongue in cheek list of things I would do and not do, since setting goals seemed reasonable, right?

1. I will not
snap at anyone who says "I can make that". Lots of hobbyists tend to assume it's easy to create pieces of art and yet many of them never actually do. Saying and doing are two different things so I promise not to take offense because if you could do it then you wouldn't be talking about it.

2. I will make a conscious effort to tune out people who say "ogmigosh it's so cute!!" Smile politely, acknowledge people and let it go.

3. I'm refusing to get sucked into the trap of "oh you SHOULD do this or that", including the suggestion that (God forbid), you should "open a store".

4. I will not slap anyone.

5. Comments are just that...and don't need to affect my mood. Maybe I can learn to move past them. After all, one day I might wind up doing these types of events so I need to perhaps have a tougher skin....


Update Wednesday 11PM:

So....well, I made it. Harder than I would have imagined to see people, some who I knew and who were either aware that my shop had closed after 19 years, or completely clueless to that fact.  Regardless of which category they fell into, it seemed surreal to be having those conversations. I felt like I sort of floated through the day and didn't quite understand either the detachment from reality I was feeling or the twinges of sadness at needing to acknowledge what had happened. Now a few of the people I ran into were genuine in their conversation and despite my reluctance at "putting myself out there", I left the event feeling slightly better for having gone.

At one point a small business owner that I knew from having a local store, walked through the craft fair. She stopped and oohed and aahhed over some stuff on my table, saying, and I quote, "It's SOOOO NICE that you have these because I can never find them!" I mentioned they'd been in my shop for 19 years - because I just couldn't let it go - and she smiled and nodded as if she knew the whole story. Which of course she did, seeing as how a year ago I'd burst into tears in her store when asked how mine was doing.

She is one of those creatures that is difficult for me to understand; one who doesn't pay attention to anyone around her it seems, and despite the closing of my beloved shop being in the local paper and on the news and advertised, she appeared to have entirely missed the story. Following that last painful episode I never returned to her business, one that I had faithfully supported for 15 years. Because, not to be petty but more "realistic", in some small way I DO believe that loyalty is important....

That experience with her was hard to take, I'll admit it. But when one, then two and then a few later visitors paused to admire my artwork, the anger I'd felt began to subside. They liked what caught their eye; seemed attracted to the pieces and for a change, rather than just going through the motions of selling product, the excitement felt over something that I'd created came flooding back. It was a good feeling to witness others appreciating those designs and the work that went into them, and perhaps that's a direction to consider. Creating sculptures and shapes at one time had brought a huge sense of relief to my shattered mind, and maybe I've failed to see that during the last year. We'll see.