One Step Back, Two Steps . .
Going to a show is always a gamble, but lessening the possible blows through calculated risk is the way to go. Even with all this fabulous wisdom and over twenty years of selling creative creations, I still haven’t figured out all the ins and outs. The NY Market of Young Designers had the feel of a NYC flea market; many amazing jewelers and clothes designers, and some unwelcome buy-and-sell vendors. I felt nostalgic recalling over 25 years ago setting up my hand-made suspenders stall in a small artist / designer Market in Soho. Back then, two things fueled me: one, the possible financial gain, and two, meeting people who could help / educate me about the craft business. A third motivation I didn’t acknowledge at the time was the adrenalin rush of the process of finding materials, creating products and selling them to customers. Every stage had a plateau, a sense of pride in accomplishment, and a spark to move to the next step. Back then I didn’t know that this process was going to feed me as an artist; the little nuggets of joy from step to step providing me the fuel to move forward. Stepping back sometimes informs one about the eternal threads that lead us to where we are going.
I meet a beautiful Barbados milliner this weekend, Cynthia Hunte’s Chapeaux. We exchanged our different methods used in creation. I got fuel from the passion in her words and her hats were exquisitely finished. She had the old school touch of perfection with flair to transcend time. She shared, “One day while I was working it came to me I had been creating since I was 5 years old. My mother would give me a tablespoon of cod liver oil every morning and a wedge of lemon to get the taste out of my mouth. On my way out to school I would turn the skin in side out, shape it into a Cloche style hat and place it in the sun to dry. When I came home it was hard. I gathered wild flowers and decorated the hats to match my rag dolls’ outfits.” Throughout the event she continued to share, about how the local seamstress would save her scraps for her, how one of the trees had long thin leaves she'd use to lace up her shoes and protect her legs, and how the wet tar from the road got attached to the heels of shoes to assist in making a high heel sound. She said, "Although I’ve spent many years at Chase Bank, I have always been a designer." I think she is right.
Over this weekend I met many creative artist/designers who were excited about sharing their process. Although the dollars were not flowing as much as much as I'd hoped, there was a lot of communication around the creative process. So, for anyone looking for more than just a bargain, for a hand made item filled with care and a story, please support the artist/craft designers. I believe it is truly special to wear something that has been made with loving caring and has a story.