Monday, September 14, 2009

A pleasant end to a hard weekend

This was a difficult weekend for us as we joined family from around the U.S. and hundreds of local friends in saying goodbye to our good friend and sister Kate Billings. We had dinner Friday evening at a local fish-and-chips kind of place with the family, then joined a big crowd under a tin roof in heavy rain for Kate's memorial service at nearby Coonamessett Farm.
The service was full of tears, but also full of laughter and love and good stories. There was a line of people waiting in mid-ceremony to come up to the microphone and tell stories about Kate. When the service was over, we stayed under the roof and ate a huge meal of Jamaican food, cooked by the fine Jamaican guys who work at the farm throughout the growing season. Kate loved that Jamaican food, and she would have loved the whole evening.
(Sunday before the service, we also saw Dan Finnegan, who dropped by on his way from the Truro woodfire workshop to the airport in Rhode Island. Dan left us a big bag of tomatoes and at least one beer. You can see his story about the woodfiring at Castle Hill's kiln on his blog, Finnegan also gave me some advice about displaying many fewer pots during shows. I took the advice ... more related to that in the following paragraphs.)
After the service, at about 8:30 p.m., I began packing pots for a show in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston, a show I almost didn't do because of Kate's service. At 5:30 the next morning I headed north on a wet and empty highway, pulling into the Charlestown site, a lovely city park, at 7. Grumping, growling, whining to myself, very tired ... I unpacked, set up the tent and set about the task of being pleasant to buyers as the sun began shining on the sodden grass and people with coffee cups and leashed dogs began arriving.
Making a long story short, it was a good day. My neighbor was my friend Judy Miller, a decorator of colorful wooden bowls and a conversationalist, and the people who came to the park bought good pots, which always lightens my mood. Halfway through the show, a small crowd of show organizers appeared in front of my booth and in an informal little ceremony presented me with First Prize. They had inspected and taken notes on the displays of all the wonderful craftspeople and artists there and somehow made me the winner.
Thank you, Artists Group of Charlestown, for a very nice show, for the ribbon (pictured above) and for being some of the most caring show organizers I've ever met. Really. I'll be back, if you'll have me.

9 comments: said...

Hey! Congratulations, did you take pictures of the prize winning booth?
I was looking at mine this past weekend and thinking I really have to do something. I kept it simple for Saturdays at the Framers Market but it's a bit too simple for bigger shows.

Hollis Engley said...

Well, Tracey, coincidentally, a photographer who was shooting for the festival just sent me a photo. I'll post it. And thanks.

Hollis Engley said...

Better yet, I'll email it to you.
Honestly, I don't think the "design" of the display is anything special. And I still feel I need to go a bit higher, so that some of the bowls, for example, can show off their outer surfaces. Right now, people look down on to the table and see inside the small bowls. Anyway, I'll send it. I generally hate photos of myself ... so this will keep it between you and me.

mengley said...

That's my boy :) Congratulations Dad. That's great, and a nice counterpoint to Kate's service.

Hollis Engley said...

It was, Marco. Thanks.

Dan Finnegan said...

Way to go Horace!!! I'm assuming that you gave the pots more space to breath!

FBF said...

Well done! I must get back to your studio and look around for more special pots.

Hollis Engley said...

Thanks, all. Yes, Daniel. More space to breathe. Fewer pots, and probably sales that amounted to more or less what I would have done anyway. Or maybe more. Who knows? No one seemed to think I didn't have plenty of pots, even though I perhaps had 75 fewer than I had at the last show.

MVBLH said...

Sorry it's been such a tough time but what a lovely end to it all. I bet Kate whispered in the judges' ear (not that you need the help with such beautiful work…it's just a nice image...)