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In Retrospect

November 22, 2009



Bloomington Handmade Market

Originally uploaded by Conduit_Press

Yesterday I spent the majority of my afternoon selling (standing) at the Bloomington Handmade Market at the Waldron, and let me tell you, it was great. It was my first ever art fair/festival/market and I’m sure people are tired of hearing that it was my first ever event, but man, I was nervous. I’d been planning/creating for weeks, what felt like months, and with a little one by my side, it wasn’t so easy. By the time the Market finally arrived I’d managed to get 130 (yes, one-hundred-AND-thirty) items completed- can you say overkill? And the week before my ultimate goal was simply to photograph what I’d made, so I’d have some sort of documentation that, yes, I did make one of those one time, but instead I focused on how the heck I was going to display all those 130 items on a 6 foot table.

And I’ve learned. Boy have I learned. I mean, it’s not like it was a harrowing learning experience- no, not at all. I met some really superbly nice people yesterday, people that essentially are my competition in a way, but people that were nonetheless not only polite and cordial, but friendly toward me in a way that when I’d walked in the door yesterday I was afraid I wasn’t going to find. Just because I’d like to leave this entry mostly on the positive side, I’ll just say there were a few people/vendors around and about that were none too nice, that were ‘better’ than those that surrounded them (me) and made sure you knew it. But, you know what, meeting those nice people that surrounded me really overshadowed the not so nice ones. We’ll leave it at that, and instead focus on the amazing artists I met while out and about.

First and foremost, Megan Winn of The Binding Bee creates amazing handmade books (see, my competition) that are beautiful and well-made and something I really aspire to be. It’s kind of funny (I think) that I’m promoting another book-maker here, but, that’s what this is all about- helping each other out, and pointing out when people are perhaps better, definitely different, than yourself. I sort of compare it to music . . . in a way. Like, for some reason I like to think that Taylor Swift has really good taste in music. I picture her listening to Cat Power and Imogen Heap while in her room, but then, when she makes her own music, it’s something much more cute and innocent. And that’s sort of how I feel about Megan’s books. I Love them. I adore them actually, and would have purchased one (or more) if I weren’t poor (I really Love books, it’s an obsession like my new obsession with cloth diapers), but I don’t myself make books like her. Not that I’m not capable, I probably could if I wanted, but they wouldn’t capture the same feel that Megan’s books do, because they are her signature, her style, not mine. And I’m kinda like Taylor Swift, and the cutesy country music with my books. Ok, that was a long drawn out way of explaining something I probably didn’t even need to explain.

I also had the pleasure of being in a booth next to Miss Kathryn Dart whose art is something I should have spoken to her longer about, but is amazing even if I didn’t allow myself to speak with her depth about it. I believe it’s called Encaustic Art and I overheard her many a time explaining how and why and the history and really, I felt like it was really impressive. I didn’t get to walk around a lot myself yesterday, but I feel as though Kathryn was one of only a few ‘artists’ in the group. Yes! we are all artists in our own right, but when I say ‘artists’ I simply mean painting, drawing, sculpture- sort of the classical kinds of arts if that makes sense. There were four of us book makers, quite a few knitters and clothiers, jewelers . . . etc. Anywho, amazing art. Amazing. And such a sweet sweet girl (I’m saying girl not to be offensive, no not at all, just to point out that she’s a sweet young lady who has a great artistic future ahead of her).

As I was saying though- I’ve learned. I’ve learned that:

– having a wide array of prices ($1-$80) was definitely on my side in a troubled economy
– having tiny little cutesy buttons was beneficial when children were walking around and dragging their parents by their sleeves to my booth
– a cash apron might work better than a cash box, perhaps
– no one wants to pull a book of a shelf for fear of breaking it- thus, the shelves are gone and I have to find a new way to display said items
– even though they are books, and are durable and beg to me picked up and flipped through, people REALLY don’t want to; they’d rather touch every single knitted item you’ve made, move it around, and put it back, before even touching a book- which I find odd- but I’m a book Lover that picks up and touches every book in her sight. Interesting.
– bring food and water when your husband has to go home with the baby for the majority of your day
– buy a stool or a high chair to sit on because standing for 6 hours straight is something more akin to work, and this is simply Fun:)
– be thankful- because boy am I; I went in just wanting to make back what I spent on being in the show ($40) and I came out having ‘profited’ about $200, which is nice . . . very nice

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 23, 2009 12:42 am

    Thanks so much for your kind words about me and my art. ๐Ÿ™‚ My favorite thing about these events is meeting other the artists, like you. See you in December at the next one! I’m bringing a stool next time. ๐Ÿ™‚

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