Tuesday, June 26, 2012

3 Shows - 4 Days...A Crafter's survival

Over the past four days, I've vended at three separate shows. All three shows are very different from each other, so I thought I'd give you a glimpse into a crafter's life. So next time you walk by a craft booth at a festival, maybe you'll stop by to say hi for a personal connection.

My first show was the International Refugee Committee’s Artvocacy show. I've done this show for the past four years, but this year I wasn't going to do it, since I'm no longer a refugee. Now that Libya is a free country, and I can travel back and forth safely for the first time in over 40 years, I originally told them no. But they talked me into coming and it really is a fun show. Plus, I'm a big supporter of celebrating World Refugee Day. This year it was held in Pioneer Square in Seattle and the event included a naturalization ceremony. It really is so uplifting to see people that have struggled so hard to come to America and sacrificed so much for their life and families to become citizens. Although I didn't sell very much, it was still a great show to be a part of and I hope to do it again!  Next time, I'm going to leave Redmond earlier though, since traffic was so horrible on I-90, that it took me one hour and twenty minutes to go there in rush hour traffic.

Two days later, I was vending at the Punk Rock Flea Market. I've blogged about this show before and how much I love it.  After five years, there had to be a bad year and this was it. The show itself was great, and the organizers did a fantastic job, as always, but what wasn't cooperating was the surroundings. First it was the same weekend as the Rock and Roll Marathon. So what would have been an easy 20 minute drive into Seattle, took an hour and a half because of all the road detours and other cars trying to get around the police blockages. What I don't understand about marathons is why don't they run them in the country? Why do the have to shut down entire cities for runners? Isn't the concrete and asphalt and smog bad for the lungs anyway? Why not find a nice country road? I mean the Tour de France isn't biked around downtown Paris. Why should bikers get to enjoy the countryside? Okay, I'm done ranting. Back to the PRFM.

First the parking lot where we were going to be placed had some cars from overnight.  So we had to deal with cars trying to drive around booths the rest of the rest of the day as they were trying to get out.  Then, I had gone to Costco to buy a canopy tent, but unfortunately, one of the corners wouldn't latch. I only had my 10 year old daughter's help, so we got a neighbor vendor's husband to help and he was still having problems. After much struggles, the tent went up.  Lastely, we got hit with a torrential downpour two hours into the show, that not only got my entire inventory that had been sitting on the ground soaked, it keep all the shoppers away.

So we packed up and went home, wet and cold and still had to deal with marathon traffic. My daughter had come with me to sell her Dog Toys she had made as part of her Bronze Award for Girl Scouts.  She cut up tshirs in stipes of fabric that were one inch by 20 inches, then wrapped ten in one directions and ten in another.  She then took the two wrapped bundles and wrapped those in a different directions and tied them on the end.  She chose really fun colors and put a lot of sweat and blood (she cut her finger cutting them) into each one and she made the cutest sign for them, and wore her Girl Scout sash to the show.  They were really cool looking and I had really hoped that she would do well, but no one was shopping that day, so she only ended up selling one. 

The vey next day, I headed out to the Shoreline Arts & Crafts Festival, which was a great ending to the weekend. We were inside (no having to deal with the tent again!), there was a breakfast provided by the senior center next door (nothing better then a grandma bringing you French toast with a "here you go hon" in the morning) and it was a full day catching up with friends in the Arab Cultural room. We were represented by Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Palestine and the organizers did an amazing job of displaying so many cultural items. My daughter was with me again, and she sold more dog toys, so she was excited to now have money to be able to donate to the King County Humane Society. I took a lot of pictures that I'll post in my Facebook page, so I hope you enjoy looking at them.

I'm done with vending at craft shows for a little while. I'm going to be spending the next few weeks returning the broken tent to Costco, unpacking everything and listing what didn’t sell to my Zibbet shop.

So next time you walk by a craft booth at a festival, stop and say hi. You never know the story it took them to get there and what a smile and hi would mean to their day.

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