Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spill Over

The big juried craft show is over and I am on the way to recovery--sort of. I find that these things really exhaust me. I try hard but am probably not cut out to be a retailer! Right now, I have these little piles of stuff in the living room, loom room, etc. that are all migrating slowly to be put"away" in slow motion. I find that everything is very tidy before I go off to teach, etc., but when I come home, there is this spill over exhaustion that keeps me from putting everything away as neatly as I got it out in the first place.

The craft show itself was interesting. The crowd was a lot younger and more hip than I expected. As a result, they spent smaller amounts of money. I did sell a bunch of stuff, but it was almost entirely handspun yarn and signed copies of my books. A lot of knitters and crocheters (again, majority of them under 45) snapped up my handspun. They fondled and talked about it with me, lovingly discussing gauge, texture, fiber, and yardage. In one case, a twenty something guy who knits came up, proudly showed me his handknit alpaca toque (hat) and then saw Fiber Gathering on the table. "Hey," he says, grinning, "I have that book!! NO WAY! You wrote that book?!" That was fun.

By contrast, occasionally, it was difficult not to be snappy or sarcastic...like when people doubted that I'd made the things for sale at my table. (NO, this is all an elaborate farce where I import things from developing countries and pretend I made them at juried craft shows!)

Here's another one. These same people started picking up copies of Knit Green and Fiber Gathering and I said I'd be happy to sign copies of my books. "You wrote these books?" those folks said, in an entirely shocked and surprised tone. (NO! I thought, I'm volunteering to sign other people's books.) Luckily, I didn't let that thought out even once, although this scenario happened more times than I'd care to admit. I'm telling you, my dear blog readers, because it was hard to hold this one in, believe me.

What didn't sell? Most of my handwoven stuff...you know, the stuff I've been working so hard on this past year. I sold 1 rug to a friend (and I would have just given her a rug, honest), 2 scarves, and 2 pillows. The rest came home with me. I even had people tell me that the rugs were "too nice to put on the floor" and I told them they could put them on sofas, chairs, or even on the wall if they liked. They fondled, touched, let their babies drool and roll on, and even put their purses and belongings on the rugs as they sorted through their other purchases...but they were apparently too good to put on the floor! (that one confused me...) I haven't quite figured out what to do with those, because although I wouldn't hesitate to put my rugs on the floor, I'm not going to put 14 of them on the floor. There is such a thing as, umm, over decorating...

The second case of spillover happened right in the middle of the craft show. Saturday morning, I wandered downstairs to have breakfast and noticed a weird grassy smell on our first floor. I raced back upstairs and accused the professor of having watered all our houseplants at once. (apparently a crime?!) He apparently hadn't watered them that morning, and the sceptical look he gave me was amazing. I mean, I know I've been weird while on this wacko medicine..and maybe I've accused him of some strange things, but obviously, even his patience has limits...

I decided to check out the basement while the kettle was heating water for tea. Uh Oh. Water on the floor in the distinctly grassy smelling basement. Not a good sign. I raced back up to the 2nd floor--the poor professor. I mean, poor guy was about to step into the shower when I told him the news.

We had to divide and conquer. He stayed home to have a date with the plumber. I rushed off to the craft show by myself.

A couple of hours and $440 later, the professor joined me and told me that the drainage pipe "had been cleared" but that we might have a problem with the sewer pipe that went out to the street. We'd find out on Monday, when the plumber could come back with a special camera that saw such things.

You'll note today is Tuesday. The news is not so good and we have a dvd of the pipe to prove it. At the least, some pipe is mis-aligned, but given that our house is nearly 100 years old, it's probably time to replace all those pipes before they all misalign, disintegrate or fill up with more tree roots...yup, we saw dirt and tree roots in there. Since the plumbing pipes in Winnipeg are roughly 8 feet underground (and under 15" or more of snow)--we'll be having another plumbing appointment with a backhoe soon.

Even if I'd sold all of those rugs, it probably wouldn't pay for this. Maybe it's good I'm on this stoner medicine. I feel very accepting about all this "spillover" in my life. Mess? Complication? Plumbing problems? Par for the course. Whoa. That's very laid back of me.

If you've known me a while, you know this is SO not usual...

The professor and I are having a very low key Hanukah. We're giving each other gifts:
On night #1: We'll get to flush our toilets. Hurray!
night #2? wash our hands!
night #3: take a shower!
night #4: do laundry!
You get the picture...? Little presents and sweets?--we can skip those. Sewer drainage from our house? That's priceless.

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Blogger AdrieneJ said...

Ouch! Sewer problems are the worst! Sorry to hear you're having a rough time with pipes and such. It sounds like you made a name for yourself at the craft fair, even if the woven items didn't sell as well as you'd hoped. That green item (is it a scarf?) is so pretty - I'm surprised it wasn't snapped up!

I hope you do find more of an audience for your woven goods. I know you've tried some of the Croydon shops, but maybe some of the ones in Osborne Village might be interested, or down in the Wolseley area. It's been a while since I spent time in either of those areas, but it seems to me that the right kind of buyers might be lurking there... who knows?

I will think of you as a flush today. Here's to the wonders of indoor plumbing!

November 30, 2010 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger Willow said...

I'm sorry for the pipe problems. I can empathize--hope things are fixed soon. And of course! They break AFTER it snows, right?

The fact that the crowd was younger may account for not selling the larger woven items. But still--that's disappointing.

November 30, 2010 at 6:32 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Oh my! Hope your pipes are soon flowing freely.

I guess one can never tell with humans - what they will buy, say, or do. Glad you had some success though.

November 30, 2010 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Talking to my potter friends who do the juried shows, they say the small items tend to sell the fastest. People like me who go every year to slowly collect an entire set of their stoneware help them out a lot, but most people can't quite see themselves going in patient slow motion like that or spending so much to do it all at once.

But they like Mel and Kris a lot--everybody who ever meets them does--and so they want to take a little of them home with them. And so the small things sell fast.

Just for whatever that's worth. And yes, I have a nearly complete set after ten years.

--AlisonH at spindyeknit.com

December 1, 2010 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger Geri said...

Happy Hanukkah, anyway!

December 1, 2010 at 11:08 PM  
Blogger mamaross said...

Happy Hanukkah and I hope your plumbing problems resolve quickly and relatively painlessly. I forget sometimes while I'm lamenting the lack of charm in my house that there are some advantages to having moved to a new building. Our old house was built in 1871 and there was always something needing attention.

December 2, 2010 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

At least you got to the craft fair and met some fans!

I hate plumbing but fortunately M is plumbing/electrical capable. However, tree roots defeated even him at our Victorian. Supposedly we moved to the newer ranch coz of the stairs and my knees but actually....;-)

December 5, 2010 at 10:15 AM  

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