Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lessons learned at the American Craft Expo: Remembering the Why

"The Reality of Priorities" 9" x 9" collage on canvas by Crystal Neubauer

(this post was written in the form of a status update on Facebook this past Monday after my participation in the American Craft Exposition Show and Sale last weekend.)

The sky is dark and spilling rain in angry sheets, but there is that distinct glow around the edges of it that tells you the sun is not far away. It is the kind of weather that makes it very tempting to stay tucked in to the cozy cocoon of comforter and sheets just one more day. 

Today I feel more alive than I have in a while after spending the entire day in bed yesterday, but alas, the fact that my upstairs rivals any boys college dorm has forced me to put feet to the floor and set about the task of returning to a normal routine.

I have given myself ample time to think of all that transpired over the weekend, as a participant in the American Craft Expo, and still I find it difficult to express any of it in words.

There were conversations with people who made it a point to come out to the show to see me. Some who are very dear friends, and others who I met for the first time in person. And then there were conversations with those who were introduced to my work for the first time as they explored the show. I am always humbled and warmed by these encounters; I think it has to be one of my favorite reasons to be at a show like this. I am always awed by the stories I am told, and the glimpses into the lives of those who tell them.

Sales were not what I hoped they would be, but gratefully, there were sales that I am thankful for to be sure. In those hindsight moments, I realized I should have spent more time preparing smaller works, as there are always a number of folks who just can't invest in the frames or larger canvases that dominated my booth walls but still want a treasure of their own to carry home.

New opportunities have been opened to me from the being there. Some pretty darned huge and just for me. And others, the whispering of a promise for the future, perhaps the next steps on this journey God has set me on. That's the way it has always been with Him and me. I see something I want to try up ahead and he gives me just enough light for the step I am on, lest I loose sight of the why along the way.

That's the number one carry home from the weekend. Don't loose track of the why. Sure we're out here to earn a living, and doing it with what burns a hole inside from raw desire is pretty darned cool. But the why of it has more to do with Him. And them. Those people and their stories. What a privilege it is to be able to listen to them. It is like hearing the very breath and heartbeat of God.

If you were one of those that stopped by my booth, I want to thank you for the words you shared. Each one becomes inspiration for new work when I step back into the studio. Each word a scrap. Each scrap brought together on the canvas in the form of a prayer.