We had a wonderful sale today on Congress Street. Everyone who came in the shipping container was genuinely interested in hearing about our smocks and panels. We had a lot of fun taking photos and watching loads of people try on everything. We debated what products were rectangles and which ones weren’t and one woman pointed out that none of the objects were true rectangles because a rectangle is a flat plane with no dimension whatsoever. I received some of the greatest compliments for my work I have ever heard- including comparing my quilts to Gees Bend (in the spirit of- thank you, Nancy) and I even got a little better at defining what the heck it is I’m doing!
I definitely had to take notes because these Mainers had some fascinating ideas to look into including hyperbolic plane crochet (I crocheted a huge sculptural web out of almost a whole skein of my Quince and Co. linen yarn I bought at Knit Wit- oh and by the way, the owner/founder/creative everything behind Quince and Co. showed up in the shipping container so that was exciting!). What about Panamanian moulas? I can’t wait to look those up.
Alex was the first person to buy a rectangle and we really appreciated her support. Then we had the cruise ship visitors passing through and although they were intrigued by the work they must have spent their dollars on other things because they weren’t too interested in buying art. Meanwhile, there were plenty of others who were ready and wanting to support our endeavors. Kenturah’s scarves sold like hotcakes- I think we might only have one left for Palm Springs which makes sense anyway because who wears scarves in Palm Springs? Tony’s cards and wallets were the most bought item of the night and I’d say Karen’s and Andrea’s tops were the most tried on/worn/handled rectangles of the day. I can’t even remember all the people who wore them and yes, one of Karen’s sold and one of Andrea’s sold. Maybe two. She’ll get back to us on that tomorrow.
By the end of the night, none of my work sold at all but it didn’t really matter. Not that I wouldn’t have appreciated some financial compensation for the time, effort and materials- but I think the authentic positive feedback was worth more than the price of the objects. I spend so much time doing and undoing, questioning and experimenting, drawing and sewing, changing and rearranging. All of it leaves me a little lost. That’s one of the reasons I loved being in school- there was constant feedback from colleagues and mentors. This show was similar to a one-day intense seminar on my work. The monetary value was sort of an aside in the discussion, like when you look at any artwork in a museum, it isn’t for sale but it is for viewing, learning and enjoying. I really felt that my quilts were like an extension of the Portland Museum today. They saw all the same faces the Hoppers did only they also got to touch them and hold them and help me understand them better, too.
One of my favorite comments on my work today was the gentleman who said, “Ok who’s the maniac?” I really loved that because I felt that I must’ve expressed something with the sewing machine. Of course, for me, it’s only standard practice, like cooking or cleaning, it’s just the way I sew. But it came across as something else to him and I appreciated that he had a reaction to it.
I also really appreciated Nancy. Nancy was so supportive of my work, she really encouraged me with her excitement over the quilts, and she even came back with her friends. She motivated me to do more.
Peggy did her performance on the table. Forget sewing, she’s so good at performing! I realized part way through it that I thought she was singing but it was really just her talking in her melodic way that sounded like a song.
Robert’s aunt and cousin came from New Hampshire and we walked through the block party together. The steam roller wood cut prints were so cool I wish I could’ve done one. I don’t know who imagined a steam roller (driven by Charlie, Karen’s person) rolling over giant carved and inked MDF boards but I loved it! We visited SPACE gallery, it was huge and welcoming and covered in printed walls and beautiful drawings and paintings. There were tons of people and the art felt accessible and pleasing and alive.
Anne and Kristi found an injured hummingbird on the sidewalk and random strangers helped to find a box, a “nest” and some sugar water for it. They found an emergency vet on the way back to New Hampshire that was willing to help him so off they went. I was so glad they came. Anne took plenty of the obligatory photos for Grandma and I was just relieved and grateful for the familiar faces of family.
After the sun went down things really started to roll. And since we’re in Maine I’m talking about lobster rolls. Wow! Karen ran and got us lobster rolls (yes lobster rolls, writing it is almost like tasting it) and although the container was at maximum capacity we ducked out and ravaged those things in no time at all. Delicious. Wonderful. Extraordinary.
Back in the container, the block party drew so many people I had to put the crochet down to keep talking. People just kept coming in and buying rectangles and loving rectangles and talking rectangles and I would describe it as a bona fide rocket launch to our new project!