Wednesday, February 28, 2007

They Gotta Live Somewhere

You might call this taking time off – I call it a different way of working. Spending quality time with a best friend, both of us artists, wandering around and feasting our eyes on the finest in American handcrafts. Hundreds of the best of the best come to Baltimore each February for the American Craft Council (ACC) Winter Market. If you are an artist, you don't just buy a booth and show up here – this is one of the toughest juried competitions there is, and the quality of the few who are chosen proves it.

As a former ceramic artist, and my friend a former glass artist, we try never to miss this special show though we have gone for different reasons over the years. When I was a working artist it was for ideas, for booth displays, learning about the artists and of course networking -.seeing my art clients there and staying in front of the public. Now that I am in real estate, I find that when I am doing something that I really enjoy, there are others with the same interests.

My cute little camera came along and I was able to get shots of some special pieces and even a couple of the artisans. Whenever you are with an artist, always ask permission to take a photo before snapping away. It's no different than when you are showing a home – you ask permission of the owner or the agent. Almost all the artists were delighted to allow the photos, and every one made a point of thanking me for asking. One asked what I was using the photos for, and I of course said, the world needs to see what is going on at the Baltimore Convention Center. If I am going to take a day off, I want to share it. There were so many interesting things to see, I just kept snapping away – here are some examples in glass, metal, ceramic, fiber, and leather:

Michael Szabo from California has a unique way of using stainless steel, concrete and bronze to create these beauties.

Jennifer McCurdy from Massachusetts works with wheel thrown porcelain that is carved and incised.

Wendy Ellertson from Massachusetts creates fanciful creatures from fiber and leather.

We spent extra time at the Josh Simpson glass booth while my friend chose a treasure from this incredibly talented artist from Massachusetts. His display included a video that showed him working with hot glass and creating his intricate vases, bowls, and "inhabited planet" globes. After much debate my friend settled on this "inhabited vase," adding a fifth piece to her collection. She blew her wad but has an extraordinary piece of eye candy. We calculated that she actually saved money since this is the kind of treasure you buy on vacation, but she didn't have to pay for air fare, a cruise, hotel, or taxi!

There was a little travel cost for the day – a whopping $1.60 for the Light Rail that lets you off at the door to the Convention Center. I even met a fellow art collector and business owner, and we exchanged cards. Which reminded me again that there is no reason to stay in a real estate office to feel like you are working. Just remember that no matter what the hobby or interest, they gotta live somewhere.

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