Saturday, December 10, 2011

Let's catch up

 Second weekend of the tour and it was steady as she goes all day. Not the big purchases like last week, but I put out three dozen stars and at the end of the day I have 6 or 7 left. Thanks to those of you that shopped last week and came back again this week. You are the cream in my coffee, the sugar in my tea! (what is that from?) and Maureen and Bonnie, you two are just the best!
I am so humbled by all of this, I had people this week also saying that they had read the article in the N&O and were stopping by to see my work because of the article. I talked to several people today about how hard I have worked to get here. I was telling Bonnie about the days when I made work in my second floor bedroom, a 10X12 space, carried my ware boards down two flights of stairs, loaded everything in my car, drove an hour to Durham, waited for my stuff to get fired at Claymakers, packed it back up, brought it home, repacked it, sat at the Farmers Market on those hot summer nights, lucky if I made $100, one Saturday night I was the top craft seller, and I made $5! I was the only one that sold something that night. Then I moved out onto my deck and fought the cold weather and the rain and the leaves and the mildew..... I have discovered that I have tenacity! As I think back on having to depend on community studio equipment, then trying to work in a cramped bedroom, then outside on the deck, I can't imagine why I stuck with this. It was hard, miserable, frustrating, and I don't understand what made me keep working under such ridiculous circumstances. I think I remember crying a lot and throwing things frequently, definitely cursed a lot.
As I look back on what I have done these past seven years, I realize that success absolutely comes from hard work. It doesn't come easy, it doesn't come overnight (except I suppose for a lucky few). It comes from working every day at your craft and progressing, not standing still and not doing what is easy and familiar, but pushing yourself, challenging yourself to do more than you are capable of doing, and being excited about what you are doing, loving what you complete and taking pride in what you sell to others for them to enjoy. I noticed that every piece I sold today, I sort of said goodbye to it. I held it, looked it over, enjoyed something about the piece that maybe I had not noticed and then sent it off with a happy new owner. How does it possibly get any better than that!
So I guess by now you might be wondering about these photos. Let me tell you about them. but first, because I live in the south and this is what we do, I'll give you the back story, like my mama does :)
Okay, so, Gerry and I had to go to the mall Thursday, it happens, sometimes there is something that can only be found at the mall. I may go to the mall six times a year. Well, as we walked around the mall in Durham (we went to Durham for lunch at a place Gerry has been wanting to try) I noticed this feeling of mediocrity. Everything seemed to have been done in such a half ass way. There was this train ride thing for kids that was the saddest thing I have ever seen. Poorly set up, this pathetic tree there and a sad little man operating it. Really this was a bleak scene. I just stood there staring at all of it, writing a blog post about the mediocrity of our society in my head, wishing I had my camera to illustrate. Anyway, we went in one of those Hallmark stores to see the collectible ornaments. In the 80's I collected these beautiful tin trains they had. They are  little works of art. But the ornaments they have now are, again, the word pathetic comes to mind. Plastic garbage. Football player ornaments, really? Is that what it has come to? Football rich guys hanging on our Christmas trees?! fuck!
I'm going way off topic here, and I could go on for another hour about sports, and plastic store crap. One thing I did think of.... the trains I had were from the 80's, didn't N.A.F.T.A. get a hold on our country about that time, and didn't China soon after that take possession of this country? Just sayin' there could be a connection..... Plastic=China=crap merchandise. Okay, let me get to the point....
Every day that I have gone out shopping this week, I tried to think about the sales person and how they have been dealing with the buying public since bleak Friday and they must be tired, so I made it a point to compliment each person that took my money, smile at them, look them in the eyes and recognize that they are humans, just happy to have a job. I am determined to stay in a good mood through this nasty holiday that I don't particularly care for, think about little baby Jesus and the donkeys in the manger story, and have a good experience this year. On that note, here is the reason for the photos:
After the mall ick, I woke up on Friday with this odd feeling that I had to get to an antique store and reconnect with a time when things were well crafted, look at lovely things from my past and touch metal, glass and wood instead of plastic. So I took myself to a local antique mall, got there at 10am, and, people, you will now decide I am crazy, but I left that mall at 5pm! I went into every stall and looked at everything in each booth. Karen Carpenter was singing Christmas carols and for a while someone found the booth with the antique violins and there was live music playing from an old out of tune violin. This was heaven to me, soothing and healing for the soul. What that other mall did to me!
I honestly think that I have been so enveloped in art lately, looking at all of the beautiful work you bloggers are presenting on your blogs. seeing the work at fine craft shows that I am now a part of, and even being around my own work, that when I went into the mall it was a shock to my system.
NOW! the first photo is a box marked made in Germany, and the accordian folder has different glass lenses in each pocket. This will be included in a 2012 barn in some way. Maybe little notes will be put in the pockets, maybe there will be something behind the lenses, I don't know yet, but I am inspired!
And the little tiny perfume bottles. The barn that is photographed in my header is going to be a great piece for these little bottles, I can just see that Chanel #5 with this barn, maybe with two doors that open to reveal the bottle? I can't wait to make some pieces for all this treasure!!!
And the last exciting things: I have a commission for a barn with the glass door knob I posted a while back. Also, a very nice customer came back to confirm a project we discussed last week. Her grandmother's farm in Illinois is being torn down and the family is collecting salvage materials from her place. She brought a tiny finial and some other things today for me to see. We are going to design barns for the family members and incorporate some of the salvage items. I hope to blog about this more as it unfolds, but this project holds so much promise I am tingling, I can't wait to clear out the studio and get to work!!!!
My sweet daughter showed up this afternoon to go see a band in Chapel Hill tonight. Luckily we live in one of the greatest places in the country to see good music on any given night, so I am guaranteed to see her frequently!
I think that catches me up with all I have been wanting to tell you. It has been such a week, my hard work; blood, sweat and tears, so to speak, has paid off. I have had a very successful month, I have two amazing commissions to work on, lots of new treasures like doll parts and perfume bottles and german camera lenses to inspire me, and I will have work in five galleries so far for 2012. I hope the Mayans weren't right about the end of the earth coming in 2012 because I am just getting started!!!!!!
Sunday is the last day to buy work here and then it's going over to see what Sara would like to have at the NC Craft Gallery.
Peace ya'll xoxo


cookingwithgas said...

what seems without effort is just an illusion.
It has been a long time coming and now that you are here- the road is endless.
Carry on.

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks Meredith. I met a blogger fan of yours today that found me through your blog! It has seemed like a long and endless road, but the people I have met along the way! priceless!

brandon phillips said...

hard work and sacrifice? what's that? and what is this "earning" business?

Dennis Allen said...

Glad it's going well and very glad that you keep finding inspiration.

Tracey Broome said...

I can't say I'm going to live in a big fancy house any time soon with my "earnings" and I haven't really sacrificed for my "art", except maybe being cold a lot, but I've damn sure worked hard to do this, harder than some, but not nearly as hard as others, especially those firing their kilns with wood, like you and those that prepare their own clay.
Clay is work no matter how you look at it and you never get back what you put in to it because people gotta shop at Walmart!
I had a girl here yesterday that said she wished some of the artists on the tour had something out besides their expensive pieces because she couldn't afford anything, she was looking for $5 items. This required such a long answer of explanation that I just smiled and said nothing. She clearly had no understanding of the hard work and sacrifice part.....

Tracey Broome said...

Hi Dennis, thanks! Now to find time :)

Anna said...

I know just what you mean....I too surround myself with other artists types and just don't do the mall thing. And when I have to I feel amazed by MY apathy at being there. Years ago I loved to go shopping. Now I'd rather have a new painting for my wall or a cool new tool for clay. :)

I love the commission for the family in Illinois. Years ago my aunt used my grandmothers mink stole (no one in our family would have worn it) to make all the grand daughters teddy bears. I cherish that bear.

Tracey Broome said...

Oh Anna, the teddy bear must be incredible. I totally understand, I just want cool art for Christmas, not gift cards!

smartcat said...

I never knew the horrible side of Christmas until I started working in the wonderful world of retailing. (one of those talents I would rather not admit to. Mostly we stay in the woods.

So very happy for you that your work is being well received and selling. There's something neat in knowing that an object you have made out stuff dug from the ground is traveling in the world.

Melissa Rohrer said...

I think you go to the mall one more time/year than I do.
I wondered if you were getting commissions from people to include their special treasures. What a great thing to do!

Tracey Broome said...

thanks ya'll, the mall is a cursed place isn't it!
I love using these found objects, hopefully more to come!

gz said...

Making barns to remember the barn is a good thing to do