Friday, March 9, 2012


I've had my booth at the Arts Market for about three weeks now, and it's been an adventure!

First off, remember that giant piece of masonite that would later become my booth's back wall?  At the last minute I decided (well, realized) that the idea of taking it on the subway to save money was totally whackadoo and that it'd be faster and easier just to splurge on a cab (special bonus: I could also fill the cab with more merchandise and tools than The Boy and I could possibly carry with us while manhandling that board everywhere).  But the cab companies I called said that their largest car would accommodate items up to 6' long...and the masonite is 8' long.

"But I was finally ready to stop being cheap!!!!"

Soooooo, The Boy and I ended up taking the masonite on the subway, after all.  And then we walked with it from Pape Station down to Queen Street (I'd guess the distance at two miles?  Maybe?) because we didn't figure they'd let us on the bus with it.  I'd tied rope "handles" through the holes all along the outside edge, which helped a lot, but what really saved our lives in the end (or at least our poor sore hands) was each of us looping a belt through one of the top "handles" and using it like a shoulder strap.  It was still pretty harrowing though because it was a really windy day; on several occasions the wind shoved the masonite around hard enough to almost knock us off our feet.  I was a little afraid The Boy would be carried off entirely, like Piglet in that Winnie the Pooh story about the blustery, blustery day.

But we did make it there in the end.

Arts Market administrator Daniel Cohen is awesome, by the way!  He's happy to help each artist get their area customized the way they want - in my case, he attached some beams to the ceiling girders for me so my wall would hang properly.  Look how pretty!

Since then he and his crew have helped me hang a second wall, too!  I'm grateful for the assistance because even if I didn't need to actually alter the building's ceiling - which I'd never presume to do without asking - I'm terrified of ladders and would never have been able to get up as high as he did without either a) falling or b) fainting (which is still technically a form of falling...).  So now I have two beautiful walls hung up and I didn't even have to risk my cranial integrity. :D

Further adventures: last Sunday I brought a folding chair to the Market and sat by my booth all day, just to see what it's like there when I'm not focused on getting things set up.  Well, okay, I didn't sit all day - I also took some time to walk around and look at everyone else's wares so I can (hopefully) talk intelligently about them if given the chance - I want to support my fellow artisans!

I got to polish up my slightly rusty retail skills* with some customers (mostly by chatting with them about other people's stuff, but still!) and I met some of the other booth-owners, who were all friendly and fun and generally awesome.  One of my immediate neighbours, Marjorie, even told me some cool stuff about needle-felting - an art I've always admired but never knew much about.  It's so cool to be surrounded by such creative talent!  I feel so inspired that I'm thinking of resuming my long-neglected Shoutout Sunday posts so I can write about a different cool market vendor every week!

So yeah.  I think I'm settling into the Arts Market nicely.  It's starting to feel like home. :)

I'll leave you with this picture of me setting up the inaugural wall of my booth.  This is just a bit of a tease - a hint, if you will, of what wonders lie in store.  It's the booth equivalent of cleavage.


*Believe it or not, despite my whole "painful shyness" thing I used to be a retail superstar.  Probably because I'm genuinely interested in helping  people find the perfect item - I don't have it in me to do the skeevy high-pressure thing.  Customers may have bought less with me initially than if I'd pressured them, but they liked me more and tended to give me repeat business so I figure I did better in the long run.  Selling my own products feels more awkward and scary than selling someone else's ever did, but I'll adapt.  Eventually.


Can't get out to Toronto to buy my work in person?  Fear not - you can always satisfy your cravings for funky, original paintings in my Artfire store!  In fact, I have some stuff on Artfire that's too, shall we say, family unfriendly for the Arts Market, like this "ad" for a sparkly pink lipstick or this pirate flag with a twist, so you get to see a side of me that my in-person customers don't. :)  

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