When I was a child, my dad told me about his favorite storybook character; Uncle Wiggly the rabbit. Uncle Wiggly loved to go on unexpected adventures with his animal friends. My dad told me that I was like Uncle Wiggly since I also loved to venture out to strange places on my own. Over the last several years, Uncle Wiggly has lain dormant within me, but I recently brought him back to help me on an adventure of my own.
A Big Decision
I had made the decision to attend the biggest show I had ever been part of; the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle, Washington. This was a five day show of 11 hours each day. It was one of those decisions that "seemed like a good idea at the time", but when I started to think about it, the idea was quite daunting!
I wasn’t sure what to expect or how much product to make for a show of that size and that many days. In my excitement, I would wake in the middle of the night and, unable to fall back asleep, go out to my studio and make more beads, flowers and various pieces for the show! I worked diligently for four months to make sure I was as ready as I could be and, in the end, I had over 1,200 glass flowers and at least 150 pair of earrings!
The Adventure Begins
On the day before the show, I got up in the very early hours to drive up the coast to Seattle in my little PT Cruiser. Looking in the mirror that night as I got ready to go to sleep, I thought, “Wow, I’m on an adventure”! It reminded me so much of when I traveled Europe in the 70s. I was even staying in a Youth Hostel like I did back then; and just like then, there were many people there from all over the world who – like me – had chosen to stay in a reasonably priced hostel while they worked at the show.
I didn’t realize what a big deal this all was until I went out to explore the strange city and had to find the “Hand Carried Freight Elevators” at the Seattle Convention Center. It was then that I remembered Uncle Wiggly! I was out on my own having an adventure, discovering new places and meeting new friends!
On with the Show
I'm glad to say that everything went smoothly for the entire week! My sister Rosie helped me set up my booth on the first day, carefully arranging my glass flowers into little pots and beautiful bouquets. I made friends, established business relationships and also got some clarity on a direction for my little art business. The days were long and hard, but they were also fulfilling, profitable and fun; I learned a lot from this trip!
There many aspects to the show that I loved such as the creative part of setting up my booth and making it look beautiful and, of course, making the art beforehand. What I didn't love was schlepping my stuff from point A to point B and selling it in person! While I enjoy meeting new people and getting positive feedback for my work, I found other aspects of the show to be very draining to my spirit.
The most important lesson I learned from doing the Northwest Flower and Garden Show is that big shows are not for me!
I'm all about finding the positive in any situation and being part of this show helped me realize that I want to become a better artist and find my own artistic voice. Making glass makes my heart sing!
I am going to take a few weeks and regroup. I need some "me time", so I plan to work on a few quilts, do some mosaics, make curtains for the kitchen, plant all the flower bulbs (over 100) that I got at the garden show and, perhaps most importantly, rest a while before I get back to work on my art with a renewed sense of purpose!