Today is a busy day at quilt market. Our authors are giving their schoolhouses and showing off their books. They have 15 minutes to convince shop owners to carry their books in shops around the world. Well, 15 minutes and the three days the booth will be up.
As soon as schoolhouses are over with, it’s back to the booth to hang the quilts, put the books in racks and finish setting everything up. Hanging the quilts – that’s usually my job. But I’m not there this year. Instead, I am at home doing family things.
My son and his fiancé scheduled their wedding for today. So I planned accordingly and told Doug and Diane that I would not be going to market. Then the little brats got married on 10/11/12 on the beach in Siesta Key, Florida. (That’s right close to Sarasota in case you need a reference point.)
But there is still some partying to do, so I left everything in Doug’s capable hands. I think he can hang the quilts – he’s done it before but I was usually being a straw boss. You know how that goes … “No, that’s upside down!” “You need to move it to the left a bit.” “No, that one doesn’t look very good next to this one. Let’s use this one instead.” Hmmm, maybe he’s okay with me staying home.
I have to admit that it feels very odd not to be there. I have gone every time since the first time The Star had a booth. That adds up to 12 years worth of markets, if my memory serves me correctly. I laugh when I think about our first appearance. We knew nothing about the need to decorate our booth. I guess I should say our half-booth since we shared a single space with another small vendor.
We had two books that first time. We didn’t know we would need something to cover those ugly metal poles. Oh, shoot, let’s face it, we didn’t know anything other than we had been told we needed to be there. And we were there, with cases of books but not much else to make our booth welcoming and inviting.
I do know we had brochures and I did quite a good job of making sure everyone who tried to walk past me ended up taking one.
That quilt market was our schoolhouse. Fortunately we were all quick studies and made note of how we needed to change things so people would come in and look around and, most importantly, buy.
The next year, we had black drapes, quilts to hang, sleeves to go over our ugly poles and a valence made to go across the front of our booth. We also had signage. We had props. We used those traditional colors that signify that old newspaper joke, “What’s black and white and red all over?” (Really? Okay, of course it’s a newspaper!)
Within a few years we branched out to two booths, then three and now we barely get by with four booths. It seems a bit crowded with only four but it forces one to get creative, especially when one is trying to make sure the space is divided equally so each author gets their share.
I’m feeling a bit whiny about not being there. I miss seeing my friends that I rarely get to chat with unless I’m at market.
But then there is the aspect of the long hours and the really hard work. Let me think, let me think . . . not missing that part so much!
I can’t be too sad about this. In six months, spring market will roll around and I’ll see everyone in Portland. That will be here before I know it!