2016 was the year I decided I was going to throw everything I had at my small business and see what happened! And BOY DID IT HAPPEN. I got into some of the most competitive shows in the south and while challenging to keep up the pace have enjoyed every minute. Two shows a month- two and three days long. Its been a marathon!
A true fall highlight was being a part of the Kentuck Festival of the Arts. Being surrounded with that caliber of creatives was so inspiring. I had the privilege of staying in a fellow artist’s lake house with three other festival artists, and we laughed and shared so many stories sipping wine lake side. Our dreams, or journeys, the odd ball moments that make you wonder how you ended up with the craziest/ best job on earth. The people I met at the show were so excited to be there. So involved in the individual work. I left the show floating on air- and as competitive as it is to get into- I know I will cry every year I don’t get in. Just to have that high again any year down the road will truly be a privilege.
Another exciting event that I tried for the first time and absolutely loved was Made South in Franklin, Tennessee at the Factory. I haven’t done Maker events. I kind of feel like the dorky kid- not cool enough to be admitted to these modern events. I’m a tiny found and handmade business. I don’t brand myself very well. I’m not shiny and polished. I’m unapologetically myself- but definitely feel like an outsider to anything the hipsters are into. Imagine my surprise at getting to plop my mountain of crazy wares in the middle of the modern. And imagine my double surprise at the amazing reaction to my Stories. Women walked in and exclaimed ” You are My People!”. They recognized the sarcasm, the twist of humor, the wink and the nod I so often incorporate into my work. They loved seeing my set up (my booth is wholly my own- not seen on Pinterest- and took me years to assemble to the vision I had way back when it became my desire to eliminate tables) They snapped up my one of a kinds. And I discovered that I DO belong among Makers. Because the original is welcome in any venue. And I cannot wait to join another Made South event!
I returned for my fourth year at Moss Rock Festival here in my home town. Very year has been different. These outdoor festivals are so weather dependent- and the past two it has blustered and it has blown- and I have frozen and had to hold my tent down! But this year? Perfection. And I have built name recognition here in my city- I was even nominated as one of the favorite artists in Hoover. How crazy is that?? So I enjoyed the steady stream of familiar faces and the collectors coming back to add to their ever growing story collections. Moss Rock I can never quit you. I’ll be back every fall that I can!
I still have a few more shows this season- Southern Junkers, one last Pepper Place, and Park and Crest right here in my neighborhood. I may never do this many shows again in a single season- but boy have I enjoyed this one. Energy, connection- and all the best stories begin with those elements!