Veni, vidi, vici
Updated: Oct 24
Well, truth be told, not quite conquered, but at least my second Southwest Print Fiesta Print Market is done. This year's celebration of all things handprinted was as good to me as the 2022 version, or maybe better in that it didn't rain buckets, or blow gales, as meteorologists seem to be suggesting. The weather on the day turned out to be pleasantly, refreshingly, autumnal balmy. My assigned booth space faced east onto a cool dapple of shady green trees along a big ditch inhabited by marijuana smoking trolls and gnomes, from the acrid scents wafting on the wind.
The cloth does prefer to be displayed in shade.
In terms of sales I did about the same as last year but with way more stock. I realized at this market that there comes a point where the volume of stock and the variety of choices becomes a burden. It overwhelms potential customers like a crescendo of loud noise. I'm resolved to reserve some stock under the counter, at future markets.
Being a return vendor, I had longer time to prepare, and the just past summer of intolerable excessive heat had me seeking indoor activities over outdoor for most of every day from June onwards, so I printed a lot. I am so glad I invested in the magic monster on the roof who breathes refrigerated air into every room of the shala. It worked hard this summer to keep me comfortable and productive, and my electric utility bill reflects this. Note to self: start on a solar conversion plan.
My main gripes, besides the tedious, intrusive, racist, xenophobic and plain rude "you have an accent, where are you from?" questions, is what I will call the United States public's general lack of situational awareness, and well as so many having an identity tied to a canine on a leash.
In short the booth space was cramped. Men who needed to be attached to their wives (because at this market the genders fell that way in respect of space hogs) but had no interest in looking at cloth took up unnecessary space constantly. People with variously (un)trained and (un)socialized canines on or off leashes created tripping hazards, uncomfortable growling, biting and barking situations, and again just took up space.
Note to the United States dog owning public: if you cannot go to a crowded art market on cement and tarmac without your canine in tow (I'm not talking genuine service animals here) please give my booth a miss. I don't want your custom. I would rather you dedicate those dollars to getting professional help with your identity and dependency issues.
The 11 or maybe 13 vintage suitcases are all back taking up space in the shala now. They have been unpacked for the post market inventory, and repacked for the remaining five farmers markets and two holiday art and craft markets left in this year.
I'm back trying to make sense of an unruly and neglected garden, glad to have that fiesta behind me, especially the part where a not-very-essential-but-noisy piece of the Red Pony half fell off in Emory Pass on the return journey*.
After a long day in the marketplace, alone, after dark, on a narrow, mountain pass with very few opportunities to pull over and scary, steep drop offs: Red Pony couldn't have chosen a worse time and place to do a sudden loud scraping noise thing. I survived to tell the tale with an almost-forgot-I-was-carrying-it headlamp, and a bit of the old county boer maak 'n plan bloudraad resourcefulness which, I discover, hasn't all been Americanized out of me.
*for those enquiring minds who want to know: it was the splash shield under the front of the vehicle. Three days before the journey over the Black Range mountains to Silver City, I had a new one fitted. Not so well it turns out, as a whole lot of the bolts undid themselves on this journey, leaving a huge flat piece of molded plastic to scrape most loudly on the road. Bloudraad came to the rescue. Yes I did just happen to have a piece in the vehicle, thanks to my habit of squirreling away random pieces of desert detritus against a future need.