Show Business!

For those of you just tuning in, I spent this past weekend, November 4 and 5, as an exhibitor in the
Artisans Fall Festival, a juried art show sponsored by The Unitarian Society of Germantown (USG) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It’s a two-day event featuring 30 artists, and this was my third year as a participant. Here's what happened:

The Customers and Crew
We had the same location as last year, right inside the door in front of the stage, and I was thrilled to have customers from last year looking for me! We had steady sales from the moment we opened, and they were evenly divided between the serious gemstone pieces, the more organic items made of tumbled stone and coral, and fun designs like my skull earrings and cherry jewelry. Everyone loved the art glass necklaces, bracelets and earrings shown in the photo above.

We were happy to be next to the extremely popular Stone Cottage Industries handmade soaps booth, not only because we dig the owner, but because when people asked “What’s that great smell?” I got to say, “It’s my jewelry, come take a look...”. We were also next to Gloria Del Piano Jewelry and Scarves. We are all in awe of Gloria – we watched her tie a scarf so many ways so fast it was like a magic act.

The stars of my show were my Mother and my husband. My Mom is the display and packaging queen – she expertly set up the jewelry and made purchases look lovely in our signature purple gift boxes (the crooked necklace in the display shown above was my handiwork, my Mom fixed it right after I snapped the pic). My Mother has a great eye for art and design, and we took turns being a bad influence on each other and pointing out cool things to buy. If shopping was fatal we'd be dead. Meanwhile, in our eight years together my husband has never taken off work except for our honeymoon, so you can imagine how surprised I was that he shifted his schedule and volunteered to work both days at the festival. He was funny, charming and entertaining, and he had the biggest sale both days.
He is soooo hired.

The Shopping
For the past three years I’ve been doing most of my holiday shopping at the Artisans Fall Festival, and I always find gifts for myself too (surprise, surprise).
I added to my pottery collection with items by Frank P. Tuplin and an artist named Allathea. My husband bought his Mother a colorful fused glass decorative plate by Sandy Chierici (it came with a wrought iron stand but this photo showed the work better), and my Mom selected an elegant acrylic key fob by Roger Justice. We all purchased shimmering peyote stitch rings from a talented young designer named Morgan.

I was thrilled to meet Charlotte Hummel, an artist who makes accessories with a mathematical twist. She has a knitted design called a “Mobi Scarf” fashioned after the Mobius strip; it can be worn as a hood, a scarf, or a shrug. One of her pieces was the same vivid red as my cherry earrings, and our work looked so pretty together I was enlisted to model Mobi scarves both days - that’s me in the photo. I look scary but the scarf is fabulous, so I’m posting the picture anyway.

I have an absolute passion for turned wood objects, and when I saw David Brethauer’s unique designs it was love at first sight. His booth looked like a MOMA exhibit! I bought my Mother a lovely box elder potpourri dish, and I’m looking forward to adding new pieces to my personal collection. Take a look at David's exquisite work in the photos below! I want them all!

The Food

The food at USG is yummy and it sells out every year, so I usually set up my booth then run down to the dining area. This year I did miss out on the chili because my table was busy (yay!) , but we feasted on sandwiches of olive tapenade, eggplant, zucchini and roasted peppers on whole grain bread, followed by Carolyn Scott’s version of famous foodie Jane Brody's "Three P" soup with potatoes (yams), peanuts and pumpkin, and I ate a whole loaf of cranberry-orange walnut bread by myself.

The Drama
I’m no drama queen, but this year I had my moments. I keep a photo of my late Father in my cash box – I like him watching over things. On Saturday just as the show was starting I opened the box to find there was fresh coffee spilled on the money and all over my Dad’s picture. There was nothing wet on the outside of the cash box or on the cardboard box I use to tote it around, and no-one handled or carried the money but me. I started to get a lump in my throat, but just as I turned my back on the room and reached for a tissue to hide my face I heard, “I’ll take both of these”, and it was a woman holding the two most expensive items I sell. My Dad and I are both tea drinkers, but I choose to believe the whole thing was a shout-out from him, and the picture makes me giggle now because it looks like he has a huge coffee stain on his shirt.

Sunday was high drama day. I was halfway through the door on my way to the show when I realized I had one of those clear plastic tags on the cuff of my jacket. I couldn't find the scissors so I did something so stupid I don’t even want to elaborate, but the result was I nearly severed the tip of my left middle finger. It didn’t come all of the way off because my finger nail stopped the blade, but it took over 20 minutes to stop the bleeding while my unmade collections flashed before my eyes. In the end I did a few butterfly stitches and gauze, and we made it to day two of the show with four minutes to spare!

It was scary but I’m going to be fine. The fact is we were all having too much fun to dwell on it. We blinked and the show was over! We didn't want to leave but we said our goodbyes and headed for home. The popular consensus? We gotta do more of these shows. Definitely!


So wow, if you read this whole long post you must really like me! Cool! Likewise! Thank you all for cheering me on, and thank you for the notes of luck and encouragement that came in before and during the event.
Hugs and air kisses to all of you!

Photo credits:
Show display and plate photos: Glamorosi
Scarf and earring photo: A.D. Amorosi for Glamorosi
Woodturning photos: on loan and used with permission from David Brethauer

Artist/Purchasing info: Like me, many of the artists in the show don't have websites or stores yet, but if anyone is interested in finding out more about any of the items shown email me, I'd be happy to make the introductions.

Special thanks to the jury and staff at USG.