This year in particular, those extra days made all the difference. I ended up doing four shows this fall in addition to this Backyard Sale, which is one or two more shows than I should have done. Covid uncertainty made scheduling very difficult. So I was cranking at full-speed since mid-August just to have an adequate amount of inventory, barely taking any days off. Still, I really did not have enough. I pulled out all of my tricks for making my displays look fuller than they were. For the last two months, I was making extra pots with each cycle, often working until 8 or 9pm.
Next year, I will try to plan my schedule better. Although Covid might still make that hard.
Here’s the bad part about doing an outdoor event in December: the weather really isn’t reliable enough at this time of year. It doesn’t help that local meteorologists tend to exaggerate all the time, which means it’s hard to know when to take them seriously or not. The forecast changed every day for a week leading up to the sale. Luckily on Saturday, the temperatures were quite warm, winds were gusty but it wasn’t raining.
On Saturday night, things turned ugly. The same storm system that caused tornadoes in the middle of the country arrived on the east coast. I was pretty tired from having gotten up at 5am, and had planned on going to bed early. When the winds began howling I decided to stay up as late as possible, just to keep an eye on my canopy. I only had a small inventory left, and it was all being stored under the canopy. This is one of those times when I am pretty sure I have a guardian angel. The angel told me to stay up late, and had me walk over to the back door in the kitchen to check on the canopy, so I there watching as a crazy gust of wind caused the canopy to slide over by a few feet, then start to collapse. Therefore I was able to intervene right away.
When I got outside, the tent was sort-of on its side and no longer in the shape of a cube. At first, I tried to stand it upright, and that’s when I realized that one of its legs had snapped into two pieces.
So once the tent was inside, I had to assess to damage to the pots. One of the tables had been knocked over, and those pots were on the ground. The remaining three tables were still standing. Of all the pots on the ground, only five of them were broken, and the rest were fine. The broken pots were all small things, mugs and cups. Pretty amazing how many pots landed on a stone patio and survived.
This doesn’t mean I will refuse to do this outdoors again. I definitely prefer to do it indoors, but if Covid is still an issue next December, I will do it outdoors again, just with different strategies in place.
On Monday, I called Creative Energies, the company that makes the Light Dome Canopy. The parts I needed ended up costing only $160. So while I was on the phone with them, I did something that I had wanted to do for many years, which is to buy another set of four legs, so I can cut off the very top part that curves in towards the roof rafters. I’m going to use the second set of legs for indoor shows, where the top part of the leg looks a little weird. You can see what I’m talking about in this screenshot:
Before, I wasn’t sure if it was possible to cut off that top part. But this weekend I found myself with an already ruined leg, so I took a hacksaw and tried it. And it worked! So going forward my booth at indoor shows will look a bit more polished.
My year is not quite done yet. I need to finish a wedding registry and deliver it later this month. I had already set aside many of those pots throughout the fall, so this week’s workload is very light. Then I need to clean the studio. Then I will take a couple of months off. I am skipping the ACC Baltimore show next February. (See, I’m already learning how to give myself a break sometimes!) My first show of 2022 will be the Smithsonian Craft Show in April.