It has been a couple weeks now, but my most recent art show was held in Ferndale, Michigan. I had heard mixed reviews about the show, but was told by a friend that I should sign up late since there were still spots open. I am glad I was able to throw it all together in the couple days before the show since it always makes me feel better to be working than just sitting at home on the weekends.
I have a friend who is living in Ann Arbor, so it all came together nicely for me to keep my expenses down and do the art fair in this quirky neighborhood outside of Detroit.
While the Ferndale area is known have a nice LGBT community and is supposed to be a popular artsy area, the show mostly stayed very quiet and slow. We stayed until 8 each evening which gave people plenty of time to come out, but I struggled a bit to stay awake in my own booth! I couldn't help it! The weather could not have been more beautiful and the wind could have easily lulled me to sleep! Plus my booth was right on front of a tattoo parlor, and I could hear the needles running all day... I know thats weird, but it is somewhat soothing.
After what felt like a long day, I was able to at least make my expenses by the end of the day Saturday so I grabbed up a cupcake for the drive back to my friends house knowing that Sunday would just be profit, but after the lazy first 2 days, I didnt get my hopes up. I can usually enjoy even a slow show, but this one in particular didn't give me any cool neighbors to chat with, plus I felt guilty being away from home if I wasn't going to pay any bills!
Sunday morning a breakfast was hosted for the artists which I only ever use as an excuse to eat about 10 pieces of bacon. I am definitely one to enjoy an all meat breakfast. The event planners also handed out show awards which I didn't get my hopes up about since I was a late entry, but I did have some of the better work at what I would sooner refer to as a craft festival than art show, but... c'est la vie- no award. I should've stuffed some more bacon in my purse for later. Especially since I was suspiciously approached later with an award I was meant to get that morning... Girl:"You're Sharon, right? No, wait... your sign says Elissa... but this award has the same booth number as you!" Me: "Yes I was a late entry, so Im sure your records show a different person being assigned this booth who didn't show up..." Funny though how someone who didn't show and didn't put up any work still got an award...? Hmmm...
While Sunday was still a yawn, it was a shorter day and ended up being a bit more viable than the rest of the weekend. After probably scaring a few customers off before lunch since I was so eager to have a conversation with someone, I was delighted by a couple who showed up and remembered my work from the first show I did this summer in Grand Haven! I remembered them and was happy to hear the house they were building then was ready for decorating and as they stumbled upon me again, they sacrificed the day's intended barstool purchase to buy one of my bigger pieces or art! I was excited and obviously glad they stopped by, but geez... sometimes those sales can feel painful. They would have no way of knowing how slow the weekend had been, so I did my best to not look desperate as they took a couple of hours deciding... coming back and forth as they danced around whether to buy or not. Whew!
Happily sending that piece on its way, I was also delighted to have another customer come back to me from the day before and decide to invest in one of my favorite pieces!
Her niece who was with her said, "Thats the type of thing your grandchildren will remember you having as they grow up..." And I thought that was such a touching sentiment. Makes you think about the attachment you have to all the things that became home staples of your childhood. I loved these girls and was happy to see one of my favorites go to a good home!
So at the end of the weekend, while it felt a bit excruciating at times, I did go home with less than I brought, which is always nice. I also sold my "Roots and Wings" piece to a sweet lady who reminded me of my Mother-in-Law. She even ended up posting a picture of her painting in her home on my Facebook page which I thought was amazing!
I know some people look at me strange when I talk about it being important to me to know my work is in good hands, but as an artist I feel a strong connection to those who buy my work. I know it seems too much to call it a life long connection, but maybe it is more a kindred spirit kind of thing. I knew from the beginning that anyone buying my work would have to have similar taste and a fun filled soul to want to take my art home and it just seems to resonate with me for a long time.
So happy and thankful for the kindred spirits I can meet on my creative journey.
Next up? Columbus, OH- Riverfront Art Festival. Let's see who I encounter in the Buckeye State!