What a crazy long week it seems to be. And the more I work, the further I am from being finished. I’m using further instead of farther because the proverbial finish line is in my head; although if I considered Check In at the festival the actual finish line, I might use farther. I mean, I know that’s 850 miles away. Anyway, with the Salt Lake City Utah Arts Festival opening just ONE WEEK from today– I should expect this mental tick. I mean, I’ve been in the “business” for a dozen years (or so, ok, definitely longer, but don’t I seem younger by only saying a dozen?) and I know my own habits.
This is what happens right before a big show… sort of… let’s back up 6 months to get up to speed.
I put the festival on the schedule and apply after researching through Art Fair Source Book, asking other artist friends and occasionally going on gut instinct alone. This normally happens approximately six months out. For Salt Lake City, that means in January I was beginning to ramp up for the show. When I apply, I normally use one of two online systems, Zapplication or Juried Art Services and a cadre of wonderful photographs taken by George Post and Hap Sakwa.
Oh wait, back up again, another 4 months.
First, I have to produce the work to be photographed. True creative work and “Hero Shots” as they are called in Artist slang, can take quite a while to come up with and production is often a steep learning curve. I only have 10 seconds to make an impression on the jury, and it has to be amazing! So back up 4 months from the 6 months and that’s when I’m really thinking about what work I’ll be showing NEXT YEAR. And I’m hoping both the Jury and I will still be in love with it NEXT YEAR.
Fast forward a bit: Show – 6 months – 4 months + 5 months
I’ve gotten the shots (T-10 months), and I’ve applied (T-4 months). Now I wait on Jury results. I’m not sure I could explain Juries in a blog posting, I might do a pretty good job after an entire bottle of wine or Southern Comfort, but here– I got nothing. Jury results come (T-3 months) and I’m either bummed (not invited) or walking on sunshine (invited).
So, Salt Lake City Utah Arts Festival June 21-24. It’s March. I’m walking on sunshine!! I just have an average of two shows a month until June to make work for my current shows and keep an mental eye on my new stuff for the summer (of which the Utah Arts Festival is my kick off show this year). Plus I have special orders to complete, while logging 3,000 ish miles in driving every month. Driving is alright with me though– it’s my most creative mental time and many of my designs come while driving (if they don’t come while trying to sleep).
Fast forward again: Show – 6 months – 4 months + 5 months + 2 months
It is (was) May. I clear(ed) my last show before Utah Arts Festival. This show is so big and long and AMAZING that I do not schedule another June show. My Utah fans are so fabulous, I want to give them the best that I have. I’m lock myself into my studio, coming out only for lunch and dinners and wine. If it were a test, I would say that I am MAC DADDY CRAMMING. But we all know cramming doesn’t work– you know it or you don’t. The same is true of my work– I either know what I’m doing and get focused or I push a heavy cart further and further (mental distances here) up a hill. However, this is not a test where I get a grade that I can post on my fridge– this is a test where either my customers will part with their hard earned dollars and purchase a new piece or they won’t. It’s pressure in a totally un-academic way. I do not want to let my customers down. I want to be edgy, creative, technically perfect in production and proud. If my work is excellent, it will sell itself. And I will enjoy talking to all the folks whose business I truly appreciate.
Fast forward to NOW. T- 1 week
I have pushed out an amazing amount of jewelry this week. I have been making parts, plans, and pieces since 10 months ago, 6 months ago, three months ago and every time I sat at my work tables since. Right now, I am a jewelry machine. Check it out in just one week in Salt Lake City at the Utah Arts Festival. I’ve been looking forward to seeing you all there for just about a year!
And that is what happens right before a big show in the studio– sort of.
P.S. If you tell me “May the Force be with you!” at SLC UAF I will give you 5% off!!
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