Last year, Andrew and our good friend Abby participated in the juried Maine College of Art Holiday Sale. It's a great time of year when everyone is feeling festive and shopping for unique, one of a kind gifts for the holidays <----- this might also be totally untrue, as I have seen my fair share of personal shopping happening as well. The sale for the two of them went great!
This year, Andrew and I decided to have a joint booth and luckily enough, we were accepted to be among 80 other artists that would be apart of the two day sale. We were also EACH chosen as two of 20 artists showcased from the Holiday Sale, to celebrate the 20th year of it's existence. We both couldn't have been happier!
Now that the sale is over, I think it’s a great time to reflect on how my first “fair” sale went, and the feelings I have reflected on after putting my work out there for more than a handful of people.
I usually shy away from putting myself out there too much, due to silly insecurities about my artwork. Being out of school is so hard, with the limitation of feedback, and the small support system I feel I have- which leads me to consistently question what I am making and whether it will be good for anyone else besides myself- and most importantly in this scenario- will anyone want to buy what I make....
To be honest, I did the sale for Andrew. His work is AMAZING and has proven to be a crowd pleaser. I was hoping the sale would bring more attention to his work and start really taking off so he could afford to create more and more. I kept the idea of making any money of my own out of my head to shield myself from being disappointed if there was no return on my investments into the show.
After months of creating work and making a mess of our apartment and more than a few sleepless nights, the First Friday night came. It was INSANE! I can barely remember the 4 hours of the sale on Friday. There were thousands of people that came through MECA’s doors to look at our work.
Andrew and I were amazed at the reaction to our table filled with our collections, prints, barnacles, framed work, wood blocks, and much more. For the most part, the feedback was great. We had an interesting and eye catching set up. People wanted to get in closer and see why there was felted wool, woodgrain prints, and oddities galore. If I can remember anything, it was the great feeling of people being genuinely curious about our work.
The even greater feeling- was we have followers! There were multiple people that had either seen my work at other shows, or Andrew’s work gracing shops in town or the fingers of past customers. They visited us and brought tears to me later in the day when thinking of how grateful I am to have people that truly find something meaningful in my work. It made me realize I am not alone when creating my work. I am feeling incredibly thankful to those people. They have inspired me to become a better me. To create more and create often.
On Saturday (the second and last day) of the sale, we were still extremely busy. I felt a little less than human from exhaustion, but people still spent time with us and found us to have unique gifts from the rest of the artists. With it being a slower day, people had time to spend choosing their favorite piece and really falling in love with how something was made. It was fascinating to know that people were there for the love of art/making.
To everyone that came to MECA and supported every artist there, THANK YOU! I’m not sure if anyone else is as gushing with pride and appreciation, but they feel the same way I am sure. It’s important to know how hard it is to put your work out there for so many people, and when supported it creates a feeling of accomplishment - one of the greatest feelings to receive as an artist. To everyone that stopped by to support Andrew and I, we were probably too distracted to thank you at the time, but it was meaningful to see familiar faces and know people are happy with the decision’s we have made as artists. To the family and friends that gave us hugs, water, food, nutrition, strength, help, and ideas- we are better people because of you.
OH, lastly- will I ever do this again.... Before the show I would have said, probably NOT. But two hours after the show was over, I missed the interaction with people. I went home and didn’t want to clean up the mess, I wanted to keep creating and making. Andrew and I are now working on figuring out what’s next- I’m assuming next summer we will become busy bee’s once again, as we are gearing up to apply to shows throughout the state.