Well, you guys. I finally found the one thing that could potentially break up Henry and me: vending craft shows. It wasn’t so much the actual “vending” part, as much as the “getting shit together” part. We had an explosive argument Friday night which culminated in me savagely knocking over a bucket of water AND THEN HENRY LEFT IT THERE ALL NIGHT.
By morning, we had patched things up enough to get to Castle Blood with a little more than 30 minutes to spare. We drove in silence though, with me staring out the window and pouting to the soundtrack of Jonny Craig.
“I didn’t think you were coming!” Gayle said when we arrived. She and her husband Jeffrey were selling prints and jewelry in the room next to us.
“You have no idea,” I laughed without mirth.
“So, I guess you probably won’t be doing any more craft shows?” Gayle jokingly asked, after I ranted and raved about how stressful this was.
“Not with me,” Henry mumbled, walking away.
Then Gravely, Castle Blood’s proprietor, came in and was looking at my stuff while I whined about feeling like it was all crap and that I didn’t have enough to show.
“It’s fine!” Gravely insisted encouragingly. “You’re going to do fine.”
“I guess,” I whined even harder. I was even annoying myself at this point but I just couldn’t cheer the fuck up.
“There you go, Erin! That’s the attitude that will sell your stuff!” Gravely joked, and then I finally laughed for the first time in approximately 18 hours.
Setting up wasn’t too bad, except that Henry literally only brought me five nails to hang my pendants from the styrofoam heads, an idea I came up with several weeks ago and thought would be fitting for Easter weekend. You know, suspending things from nails. Woo, Easter!
So yeah, FIVE NAILS, wtf Henry!? I sent him away to forage for more nails, and hung up what I could with what was available. My heart was racing with so much hate-adrenaline, and then a girl (presumably either another vendor or a Castle Blood cast member) walked through my room and asked if I was having an ok time setting up.
Now, normally when someone asks me how I’m doing, I will always say “Fine” even if I just found out I have Snooki’s Kooka disease. That was something my pappap taught me — no one wants to hear some stranger’s dirty laundry, just say “fine” and move along. But I was a woman on the edge and this poor girl caught me at the wrong time.
“Oh it’s fine,” I started. “Except that my boyfriend and I FIGHT A LOT!!” I added with out-of-control huffiness. She laughed nervously, and I went on to say, “It’s going to be a long day with him in such a little room.”
Right on cue, Henry returned and barked, “Here’s your NAILS,” slapping them into my hand with force. Our spectator burst out with laughter and wished me luck before retreating. I never saw her again that day. I can’t imagine why.
I sent Henry away for coffee and immediately sold $65 worth of merch (two paintings and three pendants!) to my first customer! My outlook on life changed drastically after that.
Henry was so pissed because no one was actually looking inside the cards. We sold approximately zero of them. Tough crowd. A ton of people got a kick out of the serial killer Valentines though, and my business cards were taken for (hopefully) future reference.
I am cripplingly shy around strangers, ESPECIALLY when there is any sort of attention on me. I just can’t deal with it and the fact that I had to sit there while people filed through my room, scrutinizing my wares, it made me want to fillet Henry so I could crawl up inside his body cavity and strangle myself with his intestines. I let some people walk through and browse without trying to bug them with small talk, but sometimes I would get brave and blurt out, “THIS IS MY FIRST CRAFT SHOW AND I AM AWKWARD.” The honest/self-deprecation route seemed to work and I wound up having some pretty good conversations with some cool people.
And then sometimes I would resort to the classic “Are you from around here?” line, like I was trying to pick them up in some sleazy tavern.
Of course, there were also the people who would frown at my stuff and then walk into Gayle’s room, where I would hear them carrying on lengthy, jovial conversations. Gayle is fucking good at this shit! Maybe next time (IF THERE IS A NEXT TIME) I’ll just put all of my stuff in her room and go to the nearest strip club for the day.
I had a stack of my blog cards laying out with a sign that said “FREE – PLEASE TAKE ONE” and literally only one person took one (and it was the one with this picture on it — she said it was her favorite and I said, “Funny, that’s my boyfriend’s favorite too!”). God, even for FREE no one wants to read this stupid blog!
I would get so nervous when other vendors would walk through my room for a look-see. I feel like such a fake! My art is so childish and outsider, and even though it means a lot to me, I always feel like a fraud when I’m around real artists. My self-esteem was dry-heaving all over the place last Saturday.
I really am proud of these pendants, though. TEN DOLLA!
Laura came out to visit (and PURCHASE!) right around the time I started getting really slap-happy. I mean, I had been sitting in the same small room since 11:30AM and had eaten nothing but 20 almonds. I finally sent Henry to fetch me a chocolate rat pretzel from one of the other vendors, so that was good. But I was really getting out of hand with my giddines and even resorted to spying on Gayle through a crack in the wall at one point.
I think my favorite part of the day was when a couple who had already passed through my room actually had a Castle Blood denizen assist them in fnding their way back so they could buy one of my bathroom plaques. I think they were considering buying one of my octopi paintings, but that was the same time Laura arrived and snatched it off the shelf with purpose — she had claimed that one weeks ago! Now that I think about it, I should have charged her extra. And then had her repeat it each time a new customer walked through to give me the illusion of being a hot commodity.
This is what I looked at all day.
Ironically, I think I met the boyfriend of the girl with the pink mohawk that I see sometimes on the trolley and desperately wish to befriend. He was vending there too and when I spoke with him, all I could think was, “Wow, he looks familiar.” Then he told me where he lives and it’s right near the trolley stop where I’ve seen the mohawk girl get on (you know, as any good stalker would note) and there was one time when she was on the trolley with some dude and I’m pretty sure it was him.
A quick Facebook creep-session later and it all came together. Now if I ever see her on the trolley, I can tell her this entire story and she will either chuck her coffee in my face (she always comes on the trolley with coffee — of COURSE I would know that) or invite me to a round of Ruzzle.
My luck, she will probably have already read about it on my blog and I’ll get the coffee-punch before even saying anything.
GRAMPS. (Ironically, I made all of my sales when Henry wasn’t around.)
Janna and Chooch came out to visit later in the evening, as well as my friend Kristy, who bought one of the hand job pendants! I was really appreciative that they came out to support me. It’s just really hard to get people to take me and my stuff seriously (you know, “Oh, here’s Erin and her cheap crafts again”), so whenever anyone does, I feel even more grateful. (Maybe if it had been a bake sale, more people would have come out — I mean, if Henry was the one baking, haha.)
Overall, t was a really scary, yet rewarding day. A BIG THANKS to Castle Blood for having me!
(NOTE: Janna did not buy anything!! To be fair, she was pretty busy chasing Chooch around.)