Wednesday, June 08, 2011

After the Show

Well, Paradise City ended more than a week ago. As much as I love doing the shows and helping people try on hats, it's exhausting. But it was a great show, if unbearably hot—in the 90°s and no air conditioning. I have to feel a little grateful that the tornadoes came through Western Massachusetts after we were already back home, safe. (My family's out in that area, and fortunately, they're all okay.)

Of course everyone at the show wanted to talk to me about the royal wedding and all the hats. Literally, anyone who came into my space mentioned it. It had its benefits. It meant that people were more open to the idea of wearing hats. I didn't seem to have to drag people into my space, as if I were a dentist, as has happened in the past. I invited them in, they mostly came, they didn't bother trying to resist me—it's pointless, anyway.

The show opened on Saturday, May 28th, and I sold more hats in a single day than I ever have before—sixteen to be exact. I guess all the serious art buyers know to show up on the first day. I had made a lot of new pieces, and some were spectacular. After selling that many hats, and each one-of-a-kind, I felt like my space looked a little bare. I usually take about eighty hats with me. This time I had about sixty. The holiday weekend progressed and my sales diminished along with my stock—they still happened, but it was more typical. On Monday people were still coming and telling me how much they loved my work, and I'd say, "I wish you could have seen all the stuff I had on Saturday." But that's how it goes. I can't complain about something good like record sales.

There are usually some memorable moments at each show. The best moment came, not from the woman who bought three hats, but from the woman who didn't buy a single one. I wish I knew her name. She was looking at my work and I invited her in to try something on. She insisted that she looked terrible in hats and that everyone said so. And I let her go on and on for a little while about how unfit for headwear she was. Finally I asked, "Can I just put one hat on you? Just one?" She sort of shrugged as if it was useless and she was going to teach me a lesson. So I gave her face a good look and grabbed a lovely straw that I knew would suit her. I had her stand away from the mirrors while I put it on, and then I brought her to see herself. She was quiet for just the briefest moment and then a soft "Oh," escaped her lips, and I knew she could see it. She knew she looked fantastic. She didn't buy the hat, but I didn't care. I had helped change her mind about herself. It was pure bliss. So why didn't she buy it? It doesn't really matter to me. She took my card—maybe I'll see her again. As for the woman who bought three hats... She bought them for herself and her two daughters, aged four and six. I'm sure they were going to make some special events up just to wear them. What an amazing way to create a mother-daughter relationship!

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