Wednesday, November 3, 2010

SOFA Chicago

The SOFA Chicago show opens tomorrow night. SOFA or Sculptural Objects and Functional Art does three venues every year but the Chicago show is the largest. When you make the SOFA show, conventional wisdom goes, you've hit the big time. This will be the second year after having our work shown there three years in a row that we will not be represented. Does that mean that we have unhit the big time?

Last year at this time, I was devastated. Yes, the gallery had fulfilled their promise of active promotion for three years when they took us on; yes although they have sold 5 good pieces, our work is not a fast seller; yes, I had done no new work in the previous year and a half; yes, the economy crashed in the month before my last appearance at the show; yes, the economy is still stagnant with galleries going out of business. All this I knew and understood, understand. It didn't really make me feel any better even though we were busy with commission work.

Now, this year, a year later, I think about it and am glad I'm not going, am glad I don't have to go. I still feel a twinge about not being represented at the 'big show' but I'm working in the studio again and I think I have some other options out there. The first thing is to keep it happy, keep it fun and enjoyable because I was not having fun at those shows. I was not having a good time standing by my work on display, a clearing in a forest of red dots. I was not enjoying all that traveling just to stand in that clearing.

It's an awesome feeling, being at SOFA. Row upon row of some of the most fabulous high, fine Craft. It is art and Making. It is humbling and intimidating to have your work there. Not only are the patrons looking you over, deciding what they want to add to their collections but other gallery owners are too. They will follow an artist's work (and sales) and try and entice them away if they can.  

I'm glad for the experience and I expect to have my work shown there again in the future but it may be with a different gallery. Right now though I'm just having fun with the making. I'll decide what I want to do with the pieces once they are done.

various works (wax models and some glass components) in progress (it's a terrible picture I know, but I'm feeling lazy)


  1. I am glad you have a good feeling about [is feeling the right word] about not going to the show, but I am sorry nonetheless.

    I need to ask - the last pic', with the works in progress - perhaps I missed it - but what is the piece all the way to the right - I keep seeing it pop up, but I don't understand what it is ultimately going to be. I get the castings, and the windows [personal fav!] but is that to be a box, dish, table ornament, sculpture - sorry for my poor understanding, but I am curious. Thanks

    Take care Ellen. Hugs!

  2. I can sure understand the relief you feel right now not being in the show. It still sucks! Sorry!!!!

  3. The show does sound like an amazing experience, and if I know you, at least from blogging, I have a sneaking suspicion you will be there again.

  4. making it big time in whatever world you work inside is a thrill and carries a ton of energy with it. when it lets you go or you let it go, access to that energy seems to also go . . . and then you find that you're working at your own level, in your own way, in your own time and in my own experience, there's wistfulness for sure but there's also a small measure of the relief you mention here and then a more defined purpose that feels more of your own. steven

  5. The fun is where the happiness is, the fortune will come when you need it.

  6. It's good that you had the experience and hopefully benefited from it in you've moved on to other avenues...

  7. I agree with Steven - especially since you are in a creative burst right now. It would be a shame to interrupt that with a show.

  8. It is good to b in a creative mode. I wish I could get there. It can't be forced and no telling what will trigger it as I muddle along. Today I was planning to disassemble my sewing room and put it back together. Until I saw the forecast. It will be a wonderful warm day, so I will be out in my gardens.

  9. Hey, you made it to SOFA. You made it. Lots don't. I'd concentrate on that aspect. Ignore the rest.

  10. Some you win, some you lose, some don't matter either way.
    Being happily busy is all that matters, the restwill follow on.

    Best wishes, Ellen.

  11. Enjoying.. loving what you do had to trump a show though I sure do understand the thrill of having been included.

  12. Your stuff is so beautiful, I can't imagine you'll have any trouble getting back into the show when you're ready.

    I often thought about doing Farmer's Markets and such, but I know what a grind it can be because my sister-in-law had a regular booth at an art fair in Eugene, Oregon. It's a major deal, but she decided it wasn't worth the hassle to sit there all year long just so she could have a good spot for her booth during the Christmas season which is when she made all her sales. I think the effort would wear me out and suck all the joy out my photography.

    It is quite an effort to balance the business end, the being seen part, with the creating part. I know I'd rather be creating than booth sitting, but then you never sell anything because you're not out there showing your work. It'll all work out for you and this could be a creating vs a selling cycle.

  13. Oh yeah, making it to the big time is exhilarating to say the least, but sometimes it's just nice to be home & be. Your work is beautiful.

  14. I'm glad you're glad you're not there
    seems to me that it's an honor to ever be there - and you were 3 times
    and you feel confident you might be there again if you desire

    it all sounds good
    continue to have fun creating :)

  15. As long as you feel like you're in a good space, doing the right thing, then that's wonderful! The show does sound like a really neat experience, but you need to follow your own guiding star when it comes to creating. I think it's the very nature of art.

  16. I love your art - functional or not. Hope you enjoyed Chicago!


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.