Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Chapter 21 - 100% Handmade Bullshit

Florida crafting is a hard go, especially if what you do is indeed made by your own hands and not the hands of a hungry child or factory slave. At the show today at least 50% of the vendors buy their stuff wholesale and sell it as if they made it. They lie outright and their deception causes mistrust in people who have believed that what they are getting is not mass produced. I listened with mounting anger as a shlub vendor across from us went on about how she invented her "hair fancies", little curly colored pipe cleaner things that hold pieces of hair. I saw another woman on Pier 60 in Clearwater with the exact same thing. Well, she wasn't directly across from us, she was kitty corner. Right across from us was a Mayan or Mexican playing renditions of "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You", "Feelings" and the ubiquitous (at these sorts of shows) "I'd Rather Be a Hammer than a Nail" on the pan flute. We definitely felt like the nail at this show and the pan flute, if not quite the hammer, was certainly the countersink tool.

Right next to us was a woman selling table cloths from France and wooden roses. Pretty enough but they were exactly the same things the woman sold next to us at a small farmer's market in Phoenix Arizona a few months ago. And this craft show touts itself as featuring only things that are handmade by the crafter. Of course if Rhonda enforced this she wouldn't have enough vendors to do as many shows as she does so she looks the other way a lot. And I hold nothing against her for this. She always sees to it that we have a good spot and today I saw her give me a look of anxious hope that we do well. She is an old pro, having started as a crafter and she knows where our stuff will do well.

Naturally it went badly today. 80 bucks. A nice day. A first rate booth spot. A decent crowd. But all shlubs, mouths full of hot dog and kettle corn and gyros meat, heads as dull as TV. And a lot of TV must be consumed by the over fifty crowd, actually it could even be considered as the official "pasture" that they have been put out to after a life of mindless routine. But one has to wonder if some of these vacationing midwesterners aren't glued a little too tightly to the old pasture. I watched as two women in their late 60's scanned our booth briefly, muttering "That sure is diffarent" as they shambled past. There was a loud crash a few booths down. Somebodies display had tipped over and they hurried over to it, craning their heads for a better look and shoving handfulls of kettle corn in their mouths

To be sure some of these people come to these shows just for the action. It's hard to believe it's only a few miles from the Bell Tower show where we did over 1,500 in two days. At least the weather is nice and we are getting a lot of stuff made. The rust pendants looking good, more bolt jewelry, a long copper chain necklace that I pieced together link by link after winding wire around a long bolt and cutting them off the coil one link at a time. A form of prayer that the rosary may have it's roots in.

* J created a scenario worthy of Spinal Tap where a few angry crafters get together to complain to the promoter that the Mexican guy is "flute synching" his music.


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