now that i think about it, i can't even remember the last time i set a huge goal and chased after it, then caught it. really. i mean, i quite vividly recall my hungry desire to move from my home state of alabama to the mountains of western north carolina, and in my attic studio on rose lane in montgomery i posted a mission statement that read "everybody hear me: within five years i will be living in north carolina and making my full-time living as a jewelry designer!". well. indeed! that was decreed in 1992, and on august 1, 1995, our household belongings were boxed and packed and relocated to the small town of sylva, a place that is becoming less and less small as the months click by because of all the people (like i) who are flooding in from places like florida and atlanta, seeking the "quieter" life....
i remember, too, deciding in 1991 that i wanted to take a two week jewelry metalsmithing workshop in the prestigious crafts school called penland, here in western north carolina. the place, naturally, is not inexpensive, and i sent out a letter to my christmas home show regulars, as well as to fellow friends because they believed in me, asking them for money donations (very humbling, let me tell you) and promising to make them a jewelry creation with my new skills once i returned. the funds did come through, and my parents helped purchase expensive tools to set up a metalworking studio after i came back home. i look back to that action now and am amazed at my gumption; but it worked, and here i am today, right here, eeking out a living doing precisely what i love: creating works of art that express my heart and soul, passing those designs on to people who relate to them with their own strong emotions. i see it when they walk up and begin to read the words and look at the images. their faces move as they take the pieces in; it's an amazing process to behold.
i've sold my jewelry at art retreats before, where the vendor sale lasts three hours and there is a mad rush to my table (which takes one hour to set up, as opposed to a full day in an unairconditioned building in late july with minimal light), and after a very short three hours my work is gone. i'm spoiled that way. this show lasted four full days, in which i had to stand (not sit) and smile and look infinitely perky and fresh, neither of which are two of my attributes. it was draining, to say the least. i had THE most wonderful help with my good asheville friend paula heyes, who came to help me every single day of the show, hurt back and all, and give me her unending moral support. (she also happens to be married to the sweetest man in the whole world, her high school sweetheart; there really are fairy tales still out there). thank you, paula and dale! but the show was a success, i made my money, and best of all, i met some truly wonderful people in the process. the little earrings on the right there? a lovely gentleman, an orthopedic surgeon visiting from japan, purchased those and another pair to take back as "souvenirs" for his daughters. it gives me great pleasure to know that the jewelry will be adorning two beautiful young asian women, one of them walking the streets of kyoto, a city i greatly desire to visit one day. i explained to this nice man that the little house in the left earring is actually from my mantle, and is a japanese paper house made for decorating american christmas homes of the 1950's.
this display doesn't look complicated, does it? i'm smiling and even chuckling quietly as i write this. ah, the wisdom of retrospect. note the windows, how relatively even they hang? not easy, even with a level. note the curtains (and they are black in true life, not aubergine)? it never occurred to me that i'd have to worry about the person's booth on either side of me, or the fact that they, too, would be using the very same rods. problem solved, but not in an easy way. i have my wonderful, dearest friend dora and her son beau to be eternally thankful for spending the entire day setting up my booth for me while i stood and supervised (this way, no that way - lower, lowwwwwwerrr, lower, perfect!), all the while maintaining a cheerful demeanor...and the two of them returned again on sunday to help me disassemble and drive it all back home. i'll be taking them out to eat tomorrow night at the oaks country club restaurant not far from here, where we'll sit out on the patio and have a view that looks quite similar to the one that i have from my deck here, one that i fairly raced home each evening to see (it is an hour and 15 minutes from asheville to my front door, and believe me, it seemed to grow longer every day) .
i was too glued to my booth, tiny as it was (6' x8') to have much of a chance to wander around and ogle the wares of the other artists; but i did manage to treat myself to some truly wonderful mugs by the incredibly talented karen newgard, whose work i mentioned in the post i wrote about the "good luck bowl". those of you who know me by any slight means will understand why her work appeals to me, and why the one i nabbed before the opening of the show on the first day bore two grasshoppers on its sides. all of my emails are signed with mary oliver's marvelous words "tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?", from her poem "the summer day", which i think i listed here one day not too long ago. (who doesn't love mary oliver these days, who isn't addicted to her words?) the little bird on the left is a "karen" bird, the one on the right, a wren. i love, love, love this young woman's work and will be collecting it for years to come. make sure you visit her website. her heart is in the right place.
i'm still in my pajamas as i write this, a bit dazed and foggy from the past few weeks of pandemonium and extremely intense, hard work. yesterday, aspen and i made a rush trip back to the vet, as his tumor area has begun filling up again with fluid, but he seems to be feeling his usual fine self. keep those fingers crossed, would you? thursday is the gem and mineral show, a tiring day of shopping for beads; then on friday i leave for ten days in wisconsin, where i'll be visiting with my friends bill and kathy and teaching for my third time at the lovely, wonderful valley ridge art studio for two weekends in a row. hopefully for the five days in between, there will be some time to relax (and celebrate kathy's birthday).
it's nice, i will say, to be on this side of the show, with it behind me, and with me as a "veteran" now...xo