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Posts Tagged ‘shows’

I just wanted to post a little note I wrote about my thoughts after the Start the Holidays show in late 2017. I’d shared to a group I’m in but realized I’d never put it up here.

As a not-wildly-successful artist/crafts-person, it’s often hard to feel like the things we create matter to others, but sometimes they do, and they matter more than you can ever predict. I do most of my selling in person, at shows and in the shop, so I do get to see the positive reactions by people coming back, bringing their friends over to see my booth or sharing what the stuffie they took home has been doing since it left. That is great, and always brightens my day, but this past weekend I had a couple of interactions that really made an impact and stuck with me so I wanted to share them.

It’s was at my last craft show of the year. It’s a little local one that’s pretty much the only “straight” (non-geeky) one I do. It’s 10 mins from home, in a lovely venue and has a great crowd and reasonable hours so it’s always very relaxed and pleasant to do.

The first was a woman I saw on Saturday. She came over to thank me for helping her son. Now, you have to understand that the stuff I make is strange, which I why I generally don’t do the “straight” shows. I’ve had people be freaked out and quite offended by my altered stuffed toys. (not that they are gory, gross or icky, just the fact that they are on the creepy-cute spectrum is too much for some to handle) My jewellery is all salvage, usually with some usual materials and I’ve always got a few more oddities floating around at my table. Anyway, a couple of years ago, when he was 11, they came by at this show. He is a kid who loves to make things and while his parents are supportive, he was running into trouble with his peers and some other adults since his stuff was also “different”. His mother had pointed my table out and he and I talked a bit about doing stuff that isn’t standardly pretty and how some people are going to react to it and how not to let that limit you. (I honestly don’t remember the details since not dwelling on these sorts of interactions is part of how I deal with my own show anxiety. I work on being open and honest in the moment but then let it go so I don’t end up rehashing things over and over again) She wanted me to know how much I had helped him accept his own work, that he was doing much better and how much she appreciated what my example had shown him. I’m….still working through my feeling about all this, but it was deeply moving to hear.

The second emotional hit of the weekend was a person who had bought a couple of my monsters at a show in the spring and SO excited to see me again. They told me how much they loved their monsters and that I was one of their favourite artists. It was clear that what they meant was how much they appreciated, and needed, having found soft, cuddly comfort objects that felt like them. The mutants may look different, and a bit scary, but they are just right the way they are and lovable. The very first mutant stuffie (a pair of conjoined bears) I ever sold to was to an older gentleman. (and by that I mean well over 65) I had asked if it was going to be a gift and he told me “No, it was for him”. I was surprised, but learned very quickly that I could never predict who would respond to the altered stuffies and how many wanted their own strange monster friends because so many of us feel like we are monsters on the inside. A few years ago, I’d had another customer tell me that I was doing a public service by making things that allow adults to buy themselves comfort objects and it was SO clearly true in this case that it hit me right in the feels.

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small demon bear, 2016

It’s been a difficult year and I’m (still) trying to decide if I want to keep trying to make stuff to sell stuff or just taper it off and this made a whole chunk of the struggle feel like it does have some value, even if it’s hard to see in the moment.

Tldr: I had a couple of people show me this weekend that my weird little creations are doing good out in the world, thus restoring some of my sense of artistic purpose.

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The store will be closed the weekend of June 23-24 since I will be a vendor at the Oxford Ren fest, just outside of London. This is the first year for us at this newer location but we’d been pretty regular when they were in Woodstock.

I’m moving away from the masks so will have a big selection along at great prices. The mutant stuffies, jackets and jewellery as well as some other oddities will also be under the tent.

As a result, the shop will be closed but we may be able to arrange it if you want to stop in. Just email or phone but I won’t be there for framing..

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IMG_6706I’ll be away from the store this Saturday and Sunday and vending at the Oxford Ren Fest. It’s great to have a full scale Renaissance festival so close! (it’s at the Woodstock Fair grounds) There will be a great range of acts and even real jousting! The store will still be open, but if you want to talk to me, you’ll have to come out to the faire.

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I’m going to be back in Toronto this Sunday for Bazaar of the Bizarre: Frostbite. It’s free to attend so stop in, 11-8, and check out the amazing range of strange goods! Just remember to drop me an email or phone if you are interested in masks or any of the Steampunk supplies since I’ll only be bringing those by request.
frostbite14

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On November 22 and 23rd, I’m going to be in Kitchener City Hall as part of the Altekrea show. I’m bringing the stuffies, the steampunk jewellery and a few other things I’ve been working on. There is going to be quite a mix of artists and I’m looking forward to it since I missed the festivities last year.
They’ve given us, the participating artist, an opportunity to talk about our works in advance on their blog and I’ve put together a short post discussing my favourite, recent creation, the Batterfly. (I know I shouldn’t have favourites, and I do love then all, but some just have that extra spark) Check it out and I hope to see you there!
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I don’t often get into shows in Toronto, mainly since the length TBOTB_toronto2014halloween-web of the drive makes it difficult to go back and forth but I will in town for Bazaar of the Bizarre on October 12th. I love that it is one where we can come in, set-up, do the show and break down all in one day! We’ll be right downtown at 6 Noble street. The Pia Bouman Ballet school. It’ll be open to the public from 11am to 8pm. While the bulk of what I’ll have with me will be the mutant stuffies and Steampunk pretties, there will also be some masks along, since it’s so close to Halloween. The gallery will be open as usual but of course, I won’t be available to talk about framing. If you are in Toronto and want to stop by, feel free to let me know if there is anything specific you want me to bring along. Especially important to talk to me in advance about masks since I’ll only have a few samples with me. I also won’t be bringing any of the Steampunk supplies to put out, but can certainly make sure to have special requests available for pick-up.

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Culture Days are happening this weekend and I’ll be taking part in the “Artisans in the Tent” right here in Shakespeare, tomorrow the 27th. It’s at the Perth County Visitor information centre, right as you come into town. (the Best Little Pork Shop is in the same driveway) The gallery will still be open and we are close enough that if anyone wants to do some framing, I can make it back to the store! (but it would be best to let me know in advance, if you’re planning on swinging by)

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