So here it is-the post Houston Quilt Festival blog post! Finally. It’s always such a stress to prepare for the festival and I always feel that I could have done more or better-but once I’m there, I’m there and no need to fret anymore about it. As usual, it turns out it was all fine- even better than that really and any doubts as to why I put myself through all of it melt away.
I made a little slideshow video of how a booth comes together. You might find it interesting…
Why is that? Well, mostly because of the people. The people who take my classes, the people who visit my booth, the people who help me in all the small and large ways (Yes, Virginia! Yes, Phil!). It’s the people. They assure me that I am there for a purpose- and not just the purpose of selling them something. Of course it has to be a financial success in order for me to return year after year, but it’s definitely something more than that.
There are the intangibles-not easy to define but oh so necessary.
The gal who came all the way from South Africa to take my class on making mawata (hankies) from silk cocoons-she had just successfully raised her first batch of 2500 silkworms to cocooning and needed to learn how to process them. She has big plans of starting a small sericulture business there to employ the local community and bring a product to market. Very cool.I am wishing her all the best!
The gal who took an afternoon flower making class and who had a terrible morning- she really just needed some therapy handwork and a place to find some success in what she was making. Even though she struggled a bit at first, it is my goal to make it so everyone can find success at their own pace and level in my classes. The more I do this the better I get at recognizing each person’s individual needs. You have to be able to do this quickly as the classes are only 3 hours long (in this case) and there can be up to 24 students at a time! Everyone gets my attention. Afterwards when the show opened, she visited the booth several times and she was inspired not only to make things for friends and family but supported my efforts enthusiastically (and financially!). I thank her greatly!
The 90 year old woman who came by my booth when she noticed I was from Long Beach to tell me about her life there before she moved to Texas. She had been coming to the show for many years even though she wasn’t a quilter- just liked to enjoy the many creative souls in the room for a day. She looked quite fine in her Gianna Rose (Donna, Frankie, Dawn, and others will remember…) jacket and flower pin. And she grew up very near where I now live. She had been an antique dealer (not textiles, she said , although nice things often crossed her path) and liked to mend things simply and was always interested in the handwork of quilting.
The grandmother and granddaughter who came by and reminded me that when the granddaughter was 10 or so that I had given her a piece of ribbon to ponder. They had made the show an annual event for the two of them and the granddaughter looked to be about 15 now, still interested in sewing and crafts and, more importantly, coming to the show happily with her grandma.
The gal who stopped by and reminded me that when I owned a yarn shop in Long Beach that it was her very favorite and she since has not found a better one (it was at least 12 years ago!).
The various folks who come by “just to check” and see if I happened to find a long lost stash of porcelain buttons I wanted to sell. Love ya, but no. That was my previous incarnation and I appreciate that you remembered it!
The folks who stop in “just to look” because it’s so interesting and beautiful and those that say they always stop because they always learn something new. (Thank you so much!)
Honestly, I could go on and on.
Like I mentioned to Jude via a post comment a few posts back, I feel like I’m a placeholder of sorts. Should I elaborate or do you know what I mean? It does give meaning to what I do, but like I also know, it has to be fiscally viable in order to continue. I was pleasantly surprised by the show’s outcome. So, thank you all again. Truly grateful as I continue.
I missed a number of my fellow vendors who are no longer doing the show for one reason or another. It has become more difficult to make all the numbers work out, not to mention that for some of the folks (especially the vintage textile dealers are no longer spring chickens) the pure physicality of doing a show makes it a challenge. Great to see The Scarlett Lady (no website) there- where I found some great vintage linen dyeables and a few other fun things -vintage stamens and some irresistible “kittens with clothes” embroideries I couldn’t live without…(I actually still have a few of my childhood books featuring kittens with clothes…)
Those of us “in the biz” know that every show is it’s own unique experience and that it’s prudent to count on one thing (at least!) to go completely haywire with the potential of disastrous! If you can do that and roll with the punches, you might make it. Only two major haywire events this time and it wasn’t disastrous at all- AirBnB host cancelling my res without explanation or notice and the rental car company who was a complete disaster but I was able to return to the airport the next day and rent from a different company. You just NEVER know what the issue will be but you KNOW it will be something! Rock and Roll! My good friend and seamstress/milliner/postal goddess, Virginia (of Yes,Virginia & Nasa Postal ) hosted me and facilitated many things for me that were of great service and much appreciated.
The workshops I taught were great fun and well reviewed- I always take the reviews seriously and almost always agree with the helpful criticism offered in them. It’s important to be able to see what you do through someone else’s eyes. I am usually SO busy teaching that I take very few photos of the actual workshop but I did manage to get a few of the Moth to Cloth class before and at the end.
(you can click into each thumbnail image to a larger view) We also made some silk batting for a lap size quilt which went home with the gal who volunteered to be the class helper (takes roll, handles the evaluations, and other duties for the Ed office staff). We did that at the end and it was a real surprise to them how much you could stretch out one cocoon! Always fun to end with a big bang! As a reminder, here is a video of us learning to do it on the Silk Study Tour a few trips ago:
And to finally end this long post (if you made it this far!), there was lots of fun in the shibori ribbon classes and I continued making flowers for demonstration purposes and custom orders for shoppers in the booth. I really enjoy making people wonder!
All for now thankfully. There will be a couple more posts to catch up with in the next few days…