Last weekend was my first show of 2019. Best of the Northwest at Hanger 30 in Magnuson Park in Seattle. It's a show with a good reputation, and I was really happy to be a part of it.
See, I know a lot of artists hate doing shows. I understand: it's kind of a big hassle. But, I love (almost) everything about them. I love the rush of validation when you get the acceptance email. I love the organized feeling of making a show inventory and completing my packing checklist. I love the accomplished feeling when you fit everything you need into your trusty old car. I love staying in an Air B&B and meeting new people and seeing a city through their eyes.
I love set-up day when everyone is a little frustrated, but also really understanding and helpful because we're all in this set-up mess together. I love how my booth looks when it's fully stocked and all the pieces are lined up like a marching band.
I love talking to people about my work, their happy smiles when they pick up my mug and it fits perfectly in their hand, their excitement when they notice a potter whose work matches their modern aesthetic, and I love the money they pay me because it means I get to stay on this art journey a little longer. I love eating at the food trucks for lunch and I love treating myself to a good dinner and drink at a new restaurant after a long day.
I love talking to other makers and making trades and swapping gossip and advice. Most of my dangly earring collection I got by trading pottery for jewelry at shows. I once traded a set of votives for 4 jars of artisan nut butter. It was delicious and I hope those guys are at the same show again this year. For me, art shows are a central part of being an artist. It's a great juxtaposition to the silence and isolation of my studio. It's how I make a significant chunk of my money. It's how I get validation and know I'm making work that other people appreciate.
I've got my show schedule set for this spring and summer. I'm returning to some of my favorites, and trying a couple new ones. If you're in the Pacific Northwest, I really hope I get to see you there!