Michael is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.
I must begin with my Whole Foods encounter from this afternoon. Having set up my display at the Bonita Springs Art Festival, where I am exhibiting this weekend, I stopped in at the market on U.S. 41 en route back to my motel room in Naples. No rain while setting up but the skies opened up on me in the parking lot of Whole Foods. Super soaker. No big deal.
The cashier noted my soggy condition and asked if I was “all right.” What kind of question is that? When did all wet mean not all right? My arguably flip response was that I had been swimming around for the entire nine months prior to my birth so being wet wasn’t much of a thing to me. She gave me “the look” to which I simply said, “you asked.” Hrumph.
I’ve not done the January Bonita show before, so I decided to try it. I have scheduled a number of first time (for me) events this year. It is so easy to keep going to the same well, as it were, even as it shows signs of drying up. Most artists who’ve been around for awhile are slow to change their scheduling habits and are slow to notice that they may have saturated a market, preferring often as not to characterizing an event whose sales numbers are trending downward in negative terms.
To be fair I know plenty of artists who, as I do, rotate the shows to which they apply as a hedge against burning out markets. There is no guarantee, given the potential vicissitudes of the road show marketing model, that changes in venue will guarantee success. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for fresh horses. I embrace change in this realm. New vistas. New faces.