Monday, November 7, 2011

Chasing Whimsy Part II: From Michigan to New Hampshire

Phew, finally have a few minutes to blog. :D
I last left you dear readers with my tale leading up to my super amazing trip at the beginning of October. I hustled about, stayed up far too late, accomplished those 42 batts I spoke of and thankfully already had my car packed up (because I'd never unpacked it from my previous show!)

My pal Rita of Yarn Hollow met me that Monday morning the week of SOAR and we took off on our joint adventure caravanning to New Hampshire together. At the time Rita and I barely knew each other and I could not have asked for a better travel companion and roommate for this trip.  I had never travelled further east that Sandusky, Ohio so this in and of itself was a great treat and adventure for me. We stayed the night in New York with Rita's best friend from school whose family was incredibly inviting and wonderful hosts. So appreciated for the money saved and great hospitality.

I have to say that I didn't expect the surrounding to be so beautiful on our drive. I am always reminded very quickly how absolutely FLAT lower Michigan is whenever I get more than about 4 hours out of state. It seems so sudden that mountains, rocky embankments and quaint valleys replace the corn fields and cow pastures that are so prevalent in the Midwest.

Sixteen plus hours of driving in two days may seem like something to dread but I can honestly say between podcasts to help "pass the time," my traveling companion just ahead of me the whole way,  and how gorgeous this great country I live in is, it was quite a treat.

We arrived at our hotel Tuesday evening in time to devour burgers from the hotel restaurant and take over our hotel room with wet fiber we had dyed last minute for the show.

Wednesday we set up our booths. It was so nice to have gotten there the night before and to have the entire day to get our spaces setup for the coming days.
This would become my booth in a mere 5 hours.
A shot of both Rita and I's booths before we got down to business.
Rita in the middle of setup with tons of tempting and gorgeous braids. If you have never spun one of her gorgeous braids do treat yourself to one... or twenty. :D
The market opened Thursday morning and I will be the first to admit, my stomach did a serious flip flop when the countdown came down to the last seconds and the doors open. It is an amazing thing to got from the buzz of nervous chatter between vendors to the whoosh of exciting customers rushing in before they had to get to their first classes.
I think this shot is actually the end of day one... I'm so happy so many people love my batts as much as I love making them!
because there were WAY more batts at the beginning of the day as you can see here....
...and here!
The people I was able to meet at this event were incredible. Eating meals next to mentors you have followed in magazines and books, chatting with superstar wheel manufactures in your booth, having equal fiber superstars compliment your work, and realizing that despite their "star quality" in the fiber field, they are truly awesome laid back people who are just as excited about your craft and that alone links you in ways that are not understood by your non fiber friends, spouses, etc. There is something really incredible about being completely immersed and surrounded by like minded individuals who don't care that every time you pick up a braid or batt of wool your first instinct is to press it right to your face and drink in the scent (yes I know, this is crazy to those of you who are not into the wool thang. :D) An event where you will see several people carrying around so many shopping bags you would think it was the Black Friday of fiber. A place where you will meet some amazing customers from all the way across the country you never dreamed you would and are so pleasantly surprised to turn and see them and feel like you've know them for years. Tearful hugs with a perfect stranger who has touched you because they realize your passion and show the same support and encouragement you would only have ever thought your own mom could provide (she is certainly my biggest fan! <3)

Finally, Interweave Press/Spinoff Magazine put on the show and were some of the kindest, personable and supportive people I have ever met. Their main concern was the happiness of each and every person involved in the event. Sarah Rovelli, the Advertising Manager with Interweave, personally came around on several occasions to each vendor to make sure things were running smoothly and went completely above and beyond my expectations of a show coordinator. I would not trade my experience for the world and had my best show to date at SOAR. I hope to run into the amazing connections I made there often in the future and I know I will continue to meet amazing people on my journey as an artist. Some of those people in the week that followed SOAR.

Next time: Chasing Whimsy Part II: From New Hampshire to Tennessee

No comments: