Monday, November 20, 2006

Dress for Success

Coffee in the New York Skyline mug, "Shut Up and Get on the Plane" by the Drive by Truckers on iTunes. "When it comes your time to go... ain't no use in thinkin' 'bought it, you'll just drive yourself insane. Comes a time for everything and the time has come for you to shut your mouth and get your ass on the plane." Except for the fact that I am worried about going to a show, not dying, and I am driving, not taking a plane, this song is for me! Three days left in the studio to prepare for the One of a Kind Show, and they are all slump load days--what's made is made, and that's all there is to it.

This past weekend saw my first "Weekend in the Studio" and it was great fun. Diane Anderson from Chicago spent Saturday from 10:00 am till 8:00 pm in the studio with me learning about the compatibility of glass for kilnforming (coefficient of expansion AND viscosity/surface tension), kiln wash vs. shelf paper, firing schedules--what happens at each stage and why it's important to go slowly where we go slowly. She also learned how to cut glass, layer frit, program a kiln, and she created her own 13 X 15 Morceaux de Verre cheese tray! We skipped yesterday as we got the fuse load in so late the kiln wasn't cool yesterday till 3:00 pm, and she is coming back today to clean her piece, smooth the edges and put it in the kiln to slump. Pics tomorrow, I can't find my camera right now (and she's not done anyway).

Yesterday I prepared to dress the part of the artist. I am not a small woman. In fact it might be said I am large on two axes: I am 6 feet tall, and there is no way in hell I will tell you my weight! I am... comfortably padded. So clothes shopping is usually not a joy for me. Even when I was fashionably thin, I had a hard time finding things long enough. Now add the weight... it has been truly dismal... until yesterday. Yesterday I went to Coldwater Creek in an upscale mall. They need to change their slogan (if they have one) to "Clothes for the Amazon Artist Who's Not Afraid to Be Seen." I bought skirts and pants in plush (machine washable) black velvet, stretch devore velvet tops with beads and sequins and silk fringe... Oh it was a sumptuous banquet of color and texture. If Liz Claiborne is Frank Lloyd Wright, Coldwater Creek is Louis Comfort Tiffany.

One might question the relevance of posting about clothes on a glass artist's site. If one does, one might be a twit. One of the first phrases I learned in high school Latin was Vestis Virum Redit, or Clothes Make the Man. As professional craft artists we obsess about our booths and displays for shows, but we often overlook a vital component of the presentation--ourselves. For the past several years I have worn dark, drab conservative clothes to my shows (because that is what I had and I couldn't be bothered to obsess about it). Other artists have actually commented on the inappropriateness of my look. They don't say "Your clothes are boring, you should dress more like an artist." No, instead what I hear is "Wow, your personality is as colorful as your work, why do you dress so soberly? It isn't you at all."

So this year (to insert and mangle another metaphor) the butterfly is emerging from the chrysalis (thank heaven for the blogger spell-checker--I am giving it a workout this morning). I will stalk the floor of the One of a Kind Show in my sexy slouchy black leather boots, long swirly velvet skirts and glittery, drapey, peek-a-boo devore tops (ponchos! and shawls!). Instead of fading into the background, I will stand out in my booth. And with 449 other artists at this show, any differentiator is a good thing.


Bill Paley said...

If you were a California girl, you could wear a bikini and flip-flops...

Jodi said...

Good for you! I finally bought some clothes with color last year at the prompting of my husband, who actually helped me pick out something in hues other than black, brown, and dark green. I do love my earth tones and often gravitate back to those, but can also be found wearing pinks, reds, oranges, and bright blues from time to time. Gasp!

Smasty said...

Hey Brenda, I'm 6.0" as well! Yea for us!

Anonymous said...

Good for you. Color is in. Karen & Chrissie love Coldwater Creek. Did you sign up for their emails. They send you coupons and info about sales and also what's new. We like it so much that we even bought some of their stock. And it has gone up.