I've been hard at work the last few days, filling orders from the American Crafts Council-Baltimore show.
Today I had to run my son on an errand. While he blew his hard-earned money as fast as he could in the game store next door, I stopped in our local bookstore for a few minutes. I was browsing through a brand new book on the craft biz, "MAKING A LIVING IN CRAFTS" by Donald A. Clark. You can see the book here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1579906508/
I know Don from way back when I was first starting out making my wall hangings. He was/is one of the managing partners of Pinch! Gallery and Ferrin Gallery in Northampton, MA. It was the first time I ever approached a gallery about carrying my work, and I did EVERYTHING wrong.
I'll try to be brief. A friend said it was a cool gallery and my work would be a good fit. Sight unseen, I wrote to the gallery. Mr. Clark responded, saying to send a few slides. I did.
He wrote back with a nice letter saying the work was not a good fit, with my slides. I wrote another nice letter asking him why not. He wrote back, saying their gallery was mostly functional work, and mine was purely decorative. I wrote back, suggesting a modification in my work that might make them functional. He wrote back, hemming and hawing and said, well, okay, if I did that, they would take another look.
I FINALLY made a trip down to Northampton to actually visit the store. And as soon as I walked in, I saw my work was not really a good fit. It's a perfectly nice little gallery. It's just not the kind of place that would carry my work.
I was embarassed I had pursued Mr. Clark so shamelessly.
I immediately wrote back and apologized to Mr. Clark and thanked him for his incredible patience. He wrote a gracious note back.
Years later, I saw his garden featured in a home and garden magazine, and wrote him a note of congratulations. He mentioned he was now taking on some consulting for artists. Later I heard he was working on a book on the business side of craft. In fact, I think he asked me if I had a shot of my studio for possible inclusion in the book and I said I'd try--but I never got around to it. (Are you groaning along with me now?) A very, very patient man indeed!
Anyway, I'm looking at the book (it's a very nice book) and wondering if I should buy it. I don't really need it--but Don has been such a nice guy and I would like to support his "authorship".
I'm flipping through the book, the argument ranging in my head. (Devil: "Should I get it?" Angel: "Quit buying books!" Devil: "Aw, I should get it." Angel: "You don't need more books!") And the angel is winning.
And there, in the section on promotional materials (page 144 to be specific) is an image of my postcard from a few years ago! And my name is prominently featured on the front of that card. So.....I'm in the book!
Thank you, Don. And kudos for a very attractive and helpful book!
Thank you to Tine, a reader who shared with me her inspirational story about a potato chip today. Yes, affirmation can be found in many odd places...!!
And where did mine come from today? On page 105 in Don's book, an artist ends her interview with the advice she got from HER first experience with a store owner. He loved her work and told her, "Just continue to make them as beautiful, as original and as exciting as you can. That should be your only goal."
It's a relief, even if just for a day, to indeed make that my ONLY goal.
P.S. Yes, I bought the book!