I have had the most extraordinary season of art shows this past summer. With just a little over a year’s worth of experience into the fiber medium I’ve been exploring through wet and needle felting I have been surprised no less than two times with awards from two regional shows.
- An Award of Excellence from the Lower Town Art Fair in Paducah, KY and
- A Merit Award from the Art in Speed Park, Sellersburg, IN.
Mind you, I’m not really sure what either of these two prizes means, nor why they were specifically given to my work – they don’t tend to tell you these things, but I was floored and delighted each time it happened.
But that isn’t what this blog post is about!
All summer long I was awarded an amazing series of prizes from the folks who entered my booth. I want to share two such situations with you.
Prizes From 2 Little Girls
The first happened about 2 weeks ago at the Woodland Art Fair in Lexington, KY. A young girl (maybe 9 or 10) waltzed into my booth (as only young girls can) and absolutely ‘fell in love’ (her words) with one after another of my soft sculptures. I will tell you now, this happens a lot. My soft sculptures are from the world of cute and soft and little girls are very attracted to both those characteristics. Generally what happens next is the parent takes a gander at the price tag, whispers something to the little girl and out they skidaddle.
That’s not what happened here. The mom asked the LG what she liked about each individual sculpture to help her pinpoint her favorite. She got stuck in a loop and they decided to walk around and come back later. Guess what usually happens in a case like this. Usually ‘out of sight – out of mind’ enters the scene and life goes on. That’s not what happened this time. This mom and daughter revisited these pieces at least 5 more times that afternoon. Evening came and as I was closing down the booth I sort of remembered they hadn’t reappeared and chalked it up to an ‘oh well’.
But Sunday morning came and guess who arrived with it! Yep, the same little girl and her mom. She still wasn’t quite ready to choose so they walked back out yet again. By this time I was enjoying myself eavesdropping on their conversations and marveling at the patience of the mom as she helped her young one suss through the decision making process. In the middle of the afternoon they were back and this time it was announced “We have something to tell you!”. She had decided! I said “Well I can’t wait to see who it is – because for the life of me I can’t tell!”. She thought that was funny and pointed to one high up on a shelf that I hadn’t even realized she had been considering!
An Amazing Feeling of Honor
I can’t begin to tell you how honored I felt at that moment. To have been so carefully selected by this young art appreciator out of not just everything in my booth from from everything gorgeous, colorful and exquisite throughout the entire art fair – was an amazing moment for me. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it was an award winning moment. I told her so. I hope she believed me.
The following week another wonderful moment arrived. Another little girl. This time she was with her mom and her sister. Her sister fell in love with and selected a mini felted wall piece from my display as the one mom-funded item from the art fair. That is awesome in and of itself. Her sister who had already selected and been given something from another booth nevertheless found one she said she couldn’t live without, but her mom reminded her, she had already gotten her one purchase.
The mom asked me if I could hold the piece for her for a half an hour to see if this little girl might be able to move on from needing to own it. Of course. So you can imagine my surprise when they came back a short while later and the little girl announced she would buy this work of art with the remainder of her precious Birthday Money! She could have a bought a new Barbie or many little kawaii somethings from a toy store – but instead bought and paid for a small work of art.
In both these and many other exchanges with customers through the season I am reminded how special it is to make something another person treasures. When we meet like this and I am present to witness the desire it always feels really great! Look, I’d be kidding if I told you it doesn’t also feel great to win a prize from your peers which is what those ribbons and checks represent – but that is an honor you can’t prepare or plan for. A nice moment, a feel-good experience for sure – but these others given by people who step up and wish to claim ownership of a piece is an exceptionally prized experience and why I work hard towards achieving excellence in each individual piece I make. I LOVE it when they find such happy homes!