I guess it wouldn't be Artscape if there wasn't a long story to tell about it afterwards. This year the story was the weather that poured down on the festival. But could Mother Nature take down a juggernaut like Artscape?
I had planned one of my grand experiments, and had such high aspirations. As I've written about previously on this blog, Artscape is one of the shows where I typically have very few pots left for the last day. Until last year, I thought there was no point in bringing more pots, because last day sales were always slower anyways, and I didn't want to haul all the leftover pots home. But last year at the Festival of Lights
(the show I share with my students), I learned that having a full booth on the last day does significantly improve sales. So for this show, I packed almost 50% more pottery than last year, enough to keep the booth full through the end of the show.
Mother Nature landed the first punch, and it was a knee-buckler. I drove up to Baltimore on Thursday afternoon and setup my display. After I left, a fast and wicked storm tore through the festival site. Around 8pm, someone from the festival called "it looks like part of your display fell." I had just eaten dinner, and I thought I might vomit. I drove back to Baltimore, this time clutching the steering wheel and having an out-loud conversation with myself. It was dark and still raining when I arrived and opened my tent. A tall shelving unit had fallen down, and taken out the table next to it. Another table looked like it had shifted by a few inches. The last table looked fine. There were pots and shards all over the ground. I figured out that a flood of water at least six inches deep had washed across the floor of my booth. Street debris had formed into piles in a directional fashion. A six inch tall plastic box on the ground was filled with water, but any box taller than that was dry.
I got out an empty plastic box and started sorting the shards from the intact pots. Here is the Plastic Box of Sadness ...
By my count, I lost about 20 pots. I was pretty amazed at the number of pots that fell to the ground and survived. I allowed myself a brief moment of pride. Stoneware hell yeah!! (said with fist pump and growl). But I didn't celebrate for long. The total value of the lost pots was over $1000. Ouch. Shit. My experiment was cancelled. But the fact that I had packed so much inventory saved me. All of the backstock was safe in boxes on the ground, so I still had enough work to finish the show.
The next morning, the casualty count went down by one, when an intact tumbler was found in my neighbor's booth. Stoneware hell yeah!! I tried to keep my eyes focused forward. Mother Nature was not done with us yet. The forecast for Friday was for storms all day. My goal for Friday was to not break any more pots, thinking that if we had decent weather for Saturday and Sunday, the show could still turn out well. Saturday morning I woke up to pouring rain. The forecast said it would clear up around noon. But no. It rained all day and finally stopped in the evening.
So that left one rain-free day of the festival. Could it make up for the other two? I'm referring to the outcome as Reverse Artscape. My usual Artscape was good Friday, great Saturday, very slow Sunday (because I had no more pots). This time it was slow Friday, slow Saturday, great Sunday. In other words, when all was over it was a typical Artscape, only the days were reversed. I didn't get to run my experiment, but that can wait for another day. Mother Nature put up a good fight, but Artscape won.
It's been a busy week of firing, hangtagging, packing, and obsessively watching the Weather.com website, and now I'm ready for another year at Artscape. Here are some new designs I'm bringing:
At both of the shows I did earlier this year, somebody asked me if I had any berry bowls. I hadn't made any in a few years, but it was clearly time to do so. $55 each.
Talk about limited-edition pottery ... these vases were made with the radish blossoms that bloom in my veggie garden for a few weeks in June. I've wanted to design pots around them for years, this year I had time to do it! The tallest vase is 11" tall. Prices range from $45 to $85.
I named these pots the Talking Bowl and the Talking Jar. They are wheel-thrown and subtly altered, and I think they look like they're trying to say something. Bowl is 9" across, $68. Jar is 6" tall, $60.
I am bringing almost 200 pots total, so these are just a few of them!
And check this out ... Artscape produced a series of quick videos profiling all the diverse types of artists you'll find at the festival. One of the videos is about my pottery!
The festival runs from Friday through Sunday, along Mount Royal Avenue near the Lyric Opera House and MICA. Visit the festival's website
for complete details. Hope to see you there!
(On Friday, June 29, a rare "super-derecho" storm clobbered the mid-Atlantic region. My power was out until Tuesday afternoon.)
The only light in my basement studio was from an open door and a flashlight, so I spent my time making elephants, which don't require any power equipment and don't need to be precise. That's 20 elephant tea lights and 60 mini elephants. You know what else I did while making elephants in the quiet basement? I was able to think hard about a situation that has been bothering me off-and-on for about a year. There are some unknown waters ahead now, which is never a comfortable feeling. But I was able to sort out my conflicting thoughts. I clarified my priorities and my values. I decided what and who matter to me, and that everything else really doesn't. So going forward, no matter how things unfold I think I will make the right decisions for myself, if I use my values as my guide. Don't get me wrong, even though I got a lot done during the power outage, I sure was glad when the air conditioning came back on!