Events from the past two weeks have again proved one of my favorite sayings about how unpredictable life can be: Whenever you think either A or B will happen, C will always win out.
Admittedly, I was a bit nervous going into the recent Artisans Gallery at ArtSpace Herndon. It was my first time participating in an art show at a mainstream gallery. Likewise, after much planning and organizing, it was the first time ArtSpace had held such an event showcasing local Herndon artists.
I never know what to expect with art/craft shows. You're really at the mercy of who walks through the door. What will sell well one day won't necessarily sell well the next. It can be frustrating at times. Last year, I spent weeks preparing for one show the next county over, working on new products until the wee hours. The day of that show, I watched as shoppers smiled and bypassed my booth to visit the vendor at the next table who was very successfully selling gourds with pigs' faces on them. Then I watched in disbelief as she lit candles in her gourds and placed them dangerously close to the drapes covering my metal grid, nearly setting my display on fire.
Fortunately, my experience at ArtSpace was a lot better. In fact, it turned out to be my best show ever! There wasn't a lot of foot traffic, but that was to be expected for a first-time show. However, the shoppers who walked into the gallery were there to buy. The more I chatted with them, told them about graffiti fusion art, how and why I do it, the more interested they were. Surprisingly, it wasn't only the younger people who were interested in this style, either. I had a great discussion with an older lady on how to use CitraSolv on old magazines to create interesting artistic effects.
On the second day of the show, I landed my first consignment agreement with the gallery. What a rush it was to display some of my Area 718 headbands and notecards with the other artisans' jewelry, pottery, glassware, and stationery! Have a look at the cabinet in the lobby:
The Artisans Gallery shop is now open during ArtSpace Herndon's regular gallery hours:
Tuesdays through Thursdays 10-2
750 Center St.
Herndon, VA 20170
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After the show, I was over the moon. Thankful for the opportunity. Thankful for hard work paying off. Thankful to have met and talked with many people who were interested in my work. Thankful for having met the other talented artisans. But there was one more surprise to come later that night, as I popped into Anthropologie to do some window shopping and look at color trends. At the time, I was thinking of my mother, who died nearly six years ago. Sometimes I wish I could just call her with the details and listen to her voice again. She often was my toughest critic, but would always admit after the fact, "See, I knew you could do it."
In the store, I accidentally knocked over a pillow. After picking it up and putting it back, I happened to see a stationery box on an adjacent table; it was marked Postcards From Penguin. I smiled. My mother always had a special fondness for penguins. She had hundreds (at least) in her collection -- stuffed, ceramic, glass, etc. Visitors to our house probably thought they'd landed in Antarctica.
I ran my fingers over the box. Postcards From Penguin -- the letters grew blurry as I wiped my eyes and tried to smile.
"Karen, you're crazy."
I put the box back, walked over to a holiday display against the wall. And there it was -- a penguin ornament.
"But I always knew you could do it."