Phew! I vended my first craft show in Redding, CA and it was a really great experience.
Being fortunate enough to surround myself with quilters here in Eureka has spoiled me. Being fortunate to be part of a large online community of quilters that I consider friends (hopefully I'm your friend back! lol!) has realllly spoiled me. I very much take it for granted that sewing is completely normal because for me, it is. I surround myself with blogs of people who are creative, local friends who sew with me during the day, online friends who I text with daily and my three very best friends (Phy, Aric & Jenny) all are super creative in their own ways that I admire so much!
People were genuinely surprised that I love to sew, that I can sew, that sewing is my sole income, that I'm "only" 27, that I taught myself, etc. "YOU made ALL THIS" was something I heard over and over again. Incredible!
A lot of people that came by were genuinely excited by the stuff I make, which was REALLY neat. It's cool to be featured on blogs, have people leave comments on flickr, send sweet emails, but to have face to face conversations with people who really think your neat is kinda surreal. Mr. McPorkchop kept saying "I told you!", but heck, he's my husband, I figure he just says nice things because I make him brownies and cookies from scratch whenever he asks! ;)
I think that stepping away from the online experience of it all has shown me a few things:
- When people appreciate handmade stuff, they REALLY "get" it. They understand that they are buying something made by a person, not a factory.
- Some people don't understand why I don't work a 9-5, but still manage to support myself.
- Sewing *isn't* a dead art. Just ask the manufacturers of sewing machines, quilt shop owners, fabric distributors, etc. ;)
- The average person doesn't really care if your free motion quilting skipped a small stitch, or your seam is slightly crooked, they are genuinely amazed that people still "make stuff".
- People are curious and will ask questions to things that I assume are common knowledge...because they are..if you quilt, lol. But if you don't sew/quilt/craft, it's a *completely* different set of vocabulary!
- People want to touch quilts. They want to share their memories with you. Quilts bring out a really neat side of folks.
- Spending 15 hours on quilting? People are impressed in real life. They want to touch it. They are amazed. They follow the thread stitches with their fingertips. Spending 15 hours on quilting and showing online friends? Meh! Sure, they get it, but a lot of times they are comparing you to someone else who posted a photo 5 minutes ago on flickr.
- In real life, people are comparing you to a COMPLETELY different set of standards; it's more a matter of "I love this fabric, the scooters are so cute!" not "I love this fabric, echino is so great and you used it so well". The average person has no idea about fabric trends, they just like what they like!
- On the other hand, some people just don't get it and think you are crazy for spending a lot of time on something as "silly" as a quilt. And that's ok too!
While I love blogging, flickr, etc; it's really easy to be overwhelmed and intimidated by the folks who seem to make a quilt every other day, who can sew perfect straight zippers 24/7, who can basically do it all and I feel like sometimes I lose my urges to create...because heck, with some of the creative folks out there, why bother (these are also those days that require copious amounts of chocolate and a heating pad...if you catch my drift ;)) But it's nice to know that some stuff I make not only makes me smile, but other people too! And that's my personal goal.
I'm not going to lie, there were a few times during the day that I felt a little weird, having a little booth and putting all your creative stuff out there is a big risk. With etsy, you pay 20 cents and you can walk away from your computer...with a craft show, you have a lot into a booth space and you sit with your stuff and see EVERYONE'S reaction when they stop or walk by. Especially since the average persons first thought of a quilter, is someones grandmother, not a twenty something with tattoos. Whereas when I turn on my computer, all I see are hip quilters, lol.
I sold my Hey Geese quilt. I'd brought a few quilts to just hang behind my table to add some color since my banner wasn't made in time, it was an impulsive idea. I was surprised how many people were interested in them. I had a lot of offers on them but I couldn't bring myself to sell them until one woman came up. It was SO obvious how much she loved it, she was so incredibly nice and I just *liked* her. I wanted that quilt to go to a good home if it wasn't with me anymore. Today I'm rebinding it, I'd machine bound it and felt it was sloppy, if I'm going to sell a quilt, I want it to be done 100% right. I'm going to rent a movie on roku and hand sew.
I've been asked if I'd post more in progress photos or talk more about process, I'd be glad too! I feel like sometimes I'm a little too word-y in my posts but I realize I LOVE seeing those things on other blogs, so sure! Why not!
Mr. McPorkchop & I are moving on Thursday! Exciting stuff! This week I'm finishing up all my projects, packing all my fabrics and sewing on my little featherweight as my bernina is already moved! Eeep!
I have a lot more to share, but I gotta get sewing ;) This post is alllll over the place, lol.