Friday, June 6, 2014

Why Handmade: The Strawberry & Arts Festival, Behind the Scenes

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop

Prunella’s Workshop will be returning to the upcoming 2014 Strawberry & Arts Festival On the Common in Westford, MA on June 14, 2014 from 10 am to 4 pm. We hope you can take some time out of your busy schedules to stop in, enjoy scrumptious strawberry shortcake, and explore booths from several different artisans and crafters. The show is located in the heart of the historic district of this small New England town, a lovely backdrop for a pleasant day outside with the family.

We have been busy bees here at Prunella’s Workshop preparing for several upcoming shows. Brand new designs, including rings, bracelets, and necklaces will be available for sale. We are exploring new types of stone setting, and some new innovative ideas, both renaissance themed, and modern. We hope you’ll be able to stop in and say hello.

That is the external story, the one we want everyone to hear. Every last word of it is true, too. However, there is more behind the scenes than what meets the eye. The customer sees handmade jewelry on an attractive display, with a smiling artist ready to answer any questions. Hopefully they understand the hard effort and love that went into each piece they see. Even if they see this, they won’t know the whole story.

The madness has already begun, but long before I arrive in Westford, I will be in full force insanity. I like to spend the day before a show making certain any last minute details have been addressed. Instead, I will be taking one child to gymnastics in the morning. In the early evening I will take the other child to soccer practice. Immediately following, I am walking for two hours for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, coming home and heading for bed so I can be bright eyed and bushy tailed for the craft fair. On Sunday, I will attend the first of many gymnastics recital followed by a soccer game. Only four days later, I will be heading to a weekend long show. All of this will be accomplished with a business and life partner who is currently overloaded due to his other job.

I’m not complaining or looking for sympathy. Far from it. I am illustrating the importance of time management as well as consideration of one’s personal health. The better we organize before hand, the easier it is to deal with a jam packed weekend with a show sandwiched in the middle. There are many small preparations I can make as early as today to prepare for the show at hand, including packing the vehicle a day ahead of schedule. While it may be reasonable to perform last minute preparations the afternoon before, I need to assume I will be tired after walking. Sleep and eating right are essential. The truth is, I may be exhausted come the day of the show, but it is important the customer sees the smiling artist and not the frazzled mom. She needs to stay home and rest up to see her baby do her gymnastics routine.

As professional artists we already wear many hats, from bookkeeping, to public relations, to customer service/salesman. We also have our personal hats- spouse, sibling, child, parent, friend, and many others. However, when a customer is there in front of us, we need to be in the moment. We need to pay attention to what is going on right now-even if we’d like nothing more than to lie under the table and take a power nap.

How do you deal with stress? Time management?

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