I am a crafter. There, I said it. Being a crafter means that I spend a lot of time making stuff to sell, either online or at craft shows. And therein lies my story. Craft shows. Craft shows are not for the meek or hyper-sensitive.
You have to prepare yourself to have your hard work— the stuff that you have poured your heart and soul (and paycheck) into for months, the stuff that you have sweated at, burned yourself on, cut yourself on, breathed in burlap fibers from, and binge-watched Netflix while working—to be critiqued, criticized, picked up , shaken, and otherwise scrutinized and not get your feelings hurt, or worse, not get really angry.
I have been doing craft shows for six years. I have sold decorated mason jars, Christmas stockings, wooden plaques, twig and burlap wreaths, and framed sea glass shadow boxes over the years. Nowadays I just do burlap wreaths and sea glass.
I usually do three shows a year, but this year I threw caution to the winds and decided to do a two-day one in July at Peddler’s Village.
One of the attractions was that we could set up our tent the day before. It’s always stressful to have to set up the tent the morning of an outdoor show, because chances are excellent that we will screw up the tent erection somehow and have to enlist the help of our booth neighbors.
I got a larger tent for this season. Two days before the show, my husband and right-hand man George and I decided to do a practice run with it. So we dragged it out to our backyard and proceeded to try and set it up efficiently.
Oh, I forgot to mention that it was 175 degrees outside with a dew point of 1,000 and a rather large gnat and mosquito family reunion going on outside. I’m not going to go into the ugly details but suffice it to say that after about 20 minutes of wrestling with the tent while simultaneously spitting out bugs, I ended up consulting YouTube and finding a video of some guy putting up the same exact tent by himself in like 5 minutes. Easy-peasy.
The next day, me, George and our eldest son Georgie went to Peddler’s Village to put up the tent. With Georgie there, it went very smoothly, which is a miracle because anything that my family attempts to do always produces disastrous, or at the very least, hilarious results.
Craft Show Day dawned. At 5:30 a.m., tit was 82 degrees. By noon, it was equator-hot. Any attempt at looking neat and put together and not scaring potential customers away went out the window by 8 a.m. For that entire day, we were quite literally dripping wet.
It was so hot that the glue on some of my framed sea glass melted. We had to keep one tent wall up to guard against the sun hitting the sea glass because it would steam up the shadow boxes. So there we were, sitting in this blazing hot tent in our custom-made tee shirts, watching the sea glass steam up, making small talk with sweating customers and wishing we were in cool water up to our earlobes.
On the second day, we sat in that sweat box of a tent with all four walls up, from 10 a.m. till noon, while a storm raged outside. Rain, wind, thunder and lightning.
It occurred to us more than once that we were sitting on metal folding chairs in a tent, in an open field, with metal poles all around us. But we got through unscathed, except for losing about five pounds from sweating. At about noon, the storm dissipated, and customers started coming.
I love doing craft shows. Poor George hates the getting-up-before-dawn part and the lugging of all my stuff, but he loves interacting with (most) customers. He is extremely supportive of my crafting, especially since most nights find me working in my craft room, thus enabling him to watch whatever he wants on TV without my constant yapping.
So crafting is my not-so-guilty pleasure. It’s good therapy, it’s fun and it keeps me out of trouble. Most of the time.