Who are you and what are you doing here?
That is the question I asked myself about a million times this past weekend. We did our first show since we left Crafted. Our first show since the move. It just didn’t quite gel for me and I have to admit, that was disappointing on a lot of levels. I was already filled with trepidation going into the weekend and I spent a lot of time feeling a little bit lost and out of my element. Lots of anxiety going on about putting myself out there again. But, I knew I had to dip my toe back in sometime, right? So we held our noses and jumped and I’ll be honest, it was kind of a belly flop, but at least we’re back in the water.
It was a cool scene, at least, and we spent a couple of fun days meeting some new folks (to us) and making connections with local artists and finding out about other shows. We saw some neat art, fun costumes and eclectic bellydancing. I thought the All Hallows Fest was a well run event and the folks in charge really had their shit together. Not their fault that the demographic was not our target. We really enjoyed working with them. It’s always a pleasure to vend at a well organized show, with adequate staff and vendor support. I’ll be looking forward to the Celtic Faire in spring.
This dragon totally breathed fire, y’all.
Our booth neighbors were more than cool. Beverly at Dem Bones makes these groovy garden stakes and Dia De Los Muertos inspired goodies like sugar skull kits and skellie sugar cubes. She’s a potter and if you are a tea lover, well, her teacups with bone handles are kind of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen. Spooky tea time? Yes please. She’s on Etsy and you really want to check her out. The Captain and I had a jolly time hanging out with her and her charming fella during the inevitable ebbs in the flow.
So coming out of our All Hallows weekend, it is pretty clear to me that I have a little more post-Crafted soul searching and healing to do. I really wasn’t ready for a show – not with stock levels and prep – not with booth concept or the all important Who The Heck Are We? – and not emotionally – things still feel… scattered. I have lost my grip on that feeling of surety and self confidence that I had going into our year at Crafted. Doing a show without that clarity of vision and with a wobbly self image was tough and it makes a difference. I haven’t been able to nail it down since we closed our brick and mortar doors. If I’m being real, I have to admit that I was feeling pretty unanchored during our last few months at Crafted too – somewhere in the constant and ongoing stress about everything market related, I misplaced my North Star. I don’t feel like I know it all anymore. That’s not such a bad thing. Not knowing means learning, and having new things to learn, well that means you can always do it better, right?
There were a few moments in our weekend that felt hopeful. Moments where I felt clear and excited and connected to my customers. I’m hanging on to those! Here is what I do know. I do love making jewelry. I do love making art. Color still inspires and excites me. And I still love getting really excited about an idea, executing it beautifully and sharing it with people who then get really excited about it too. The very few moments of genuine connection that developed this weekend reminded me that I absolutely love meeting folks at shows and talking to them, getting them excited about what I’m doing and sharing the stories behind my work. I love the feedback loop that develops when people are grooving on my work and I’m grooving on them and we make a solid connection, heart to heart. The bottom line is that connection is and always has been why I love to do this. That has to be why we are there. And if we’re not connecting, it’s on me to figure out why. I haven’t begun to refine what I want to carry forward from Crafted (aside from some clear financial lessons stemming from mistakes that I never want to repeat again – I’ll keep those) and what I want to leave behind. It’s nice to have been given an opportunity to see that I’m still in the interstitial spaces with all of it, even if it was an uncomfortable opportunity.
I’ve been spending some time in the studio this week just playing, and that’s never a bad place to be. I’ve been having some fun and I’m enjoying what is coming off the bench as a result. Remembering that I love stones, I love color, I love the intricacy of wire and the alchemy of metal. Love, love, love.
Love is not a bad place to start from. Some might say it’s the very best place of all.