imago corvi

adventures in enamelling, stories, music and travel

Upstate New York

Now that my life on the road is getting less and less and my life at home more settled and even organized (!) I thought I would do a retrospective on one of my favorite places: upstate New York. Having just returned from a visit there I was remembering how much it has to offer. When I was making my decision to settle down – I looked at two places: Toronto and up-state New York. Many of my best shows are there, and certainly many of my best customers.  
 
The combination of great natural beauty and access to culture is very seductive – but I also really like New Yorkers – I like their attitude. When I do a craft show in canada the comment I get most often is “This is different” (said in a way that makes ‘different’ sound more than slightly disreputable.) In New York they love different. In canada I often get customers who need to ask at least 5 of their friends if they like the piece too before purchasing – that NEVER happens in New York: New Yorkers don’t need anyone’s permission to like something 😉 
 
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t regret my choice. I chose Toronto, and I love it. I have good Canadian customers. Both here and in the US people who really like my work are in a very small percentile. That percentile is just bigger in New York than anywhere else. 

 

And, sadly, the Canadian stereotype of the crass American does truly exist there too: not all my experiences have been great – there was that Syracuse Arts and Crafts Festival – the only time I have ever left a show before it was over. It was the last Craft show I ever did – finally learning the lesson that they were NOT my market. I remember the people in the booth next to me vividly. They were from Romania and the wife, Maria Ciucur, painted icons. Beautiful little luminescent gems – and the crowds (over 15,000 attended I heard) just walked by as if they saw Byzantine Icons every day of the week. I sold only one pair of earrings in two days, or I would have bought one of the icons…
 
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But this has been more than compensated for by Old Songs (which I have been doing for over 20 years) Catskills Irish Arts Week (over 10 years), The Hunter Mountain Fine Craft Fair (sadly now defunct but a really fine show), the Dance Flurry (which is new to me – but has been going on for 25 years), and there was even a World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs in 2007 when I spent a magical week at the hand built home of a friend out in the woods. 
 
My market is smaller than the big craft shows can accommodate (one of life’s paradoxes – that what is small cannot fit into something too big) My customers (and friends) are found at the places where people have different priorities than just shopping: folk festivals, cultural schools, conferences and conventions of people with interests outside of the mainstream:  mythology, history, folklore, music and stories.
 
That’s where I feel I can best do my work. So I will be going back to upstate New York soon …

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This entry was posted on July 30, 2011 by in festival, travel and tagged , , , , , , , .

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