It was the beginning of an art show, where you check out your space and wonder how it’s going to help you or hurt you. At first glance, I thought, OH NO! It was not level ground. So immediately I knew the tent had to be farther back than the people on either side of me. The browse bins and card rack would have to be on the top of the little “hill” to attract customers into the booth. You have to make these decisions quickly when you have 2 hours to setup. Ok, this will work. It will have to.
Another negative, I was next to another photographer. His scenes were mostly of Europe though, so I decided that we could co-exist. Macros of hummingbirds, flowers and dragonflies were not his thing. People that like nature would be drawn to my images wherever I was located. Good pep talk with self!
One positive. I was close by to one of my friends. I was going to buy something from her, so I could see if she was busy from my booth and know when to approach her.
Check in consisted of free coffee and Danish. A nice perk. Close to the porta potties. And there was soap and water! Small miracles.
All throughout the day, the looming dark clouds threatened rain. But then the sun would come out again. The spot I occupied did not bring a steady stream of people, it was not the most well trafficked area. But that’s the way I like it. Too many people can become a little suffocating. I like to have conversations with people that stand out in my mind late at night. Not just little pleasantries, but interesting stories that people sometimes tell you if you can get them to talk. And they don’t always buy something from you, but you enjoy each other’s company, and that makes the whole day a lot more pleasant. And who knows, maybe someone enjoys the friendly banter and finds your booth a good place to hang out! You just never know what can make someone into a customer. Or a friend. Or both.
I did not recognize the lady in front of me, although I did know her. She was wearing a hat and looked so different. We had slogged it out another art fair earlier in the year, when there was steady rain throughout the show, and hardly any customers. She had yard art, and no tent. So she got soaked. After talking to her, I realized she was wearing a hat because, she had just gone through a round of chemo. How much had changed in 4 months! But here she was, braving another art fair. And selling a lot! I was happy for her and I admired her courage. She said she couldn’t have people over for xmas because her immune system wouldn’t be up for it. I laughed inside as I thought that this was just as hard! Being outside for 2 days, braving the elements. But selling your art and making connections with happy customers is also good for the immune system. So, without realizing it, she was helping her treatment. At least in my opinion.
And then I had an experience that helped my immune system! Really gave me a boost. A mother and her 3 children were in my booth. And her youngest boy discovered my picture of a warbler in a cherry tree. The warbler is really small, in the center of the tree. But if you look closely, you can see his saucy look that he is giving me. His body is turned sideways as he is looking at me, and I’m sure he probably flew off right after the click of my camera. But in that 1 moment he was bobbing sideways, giving me a funny look, and standing out beautifully with his shockingly yellow body in that pink/red cherry tree. The little boy ooohed and aaaahed at this picture. He just loved it! “Look at this!” He forcefully showed everyone else around him. “I want it!” I love when I hear kids say that. It either means that their parents will spirit them out of the booth quickly! Or they will buy it for them. How many times have I heard, “We’ve already bought enough today.” “You don’t have a place for this in your room. What do you want to get rid of so you can buy this?” Those are the sounds of a customer slowly going away, and a possible temper tantrum in my booth!
But this little boy wouldn’t give up and his mom was agreeable to the idea. She loved the picture too. And she loved how excited it made him. I was entranced. And so then, after it was final that they would buy this picture, the older brother decided to use this as a teaching moment. “How do you spell yellow?” The younger one was a little annoyed. Because he wanted to enjoy the fact that his mother had just bought him something. But he went along. He thought hard and sounded it out. “whYYYYYYYYY”. You could see his little wheels turning! “Ellllllllllllllllllllllll….” And finally the last letter: “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”. I loved it! Yellow does sound like YLO. He was right! And in that 1 moment, I suddenly felt like this was sacred ground. With that imperfect annoying dip in the front of my booth. There was nothing wrong here, in fact things had never felt more right. Thank you God for this moment! I feel sooooooooooooooooooo good.