Play time is over.
Tomorrow is Oktoberfest, an annual event in my community that draws hundreds of visitors who drink beer and spend money. The artist’s group has a booth, and I will be selling my fused glass.
I’ve got 20 necklace pendants and 26 holiday ornaments and 5 tabletop sculptures. I’ve spent eight hours today to plan, prepare, pack and deliver my pieces.
That includes the time it took to untangle my bags of colored cord.
The small hanging wires on the ornaments had to be painted. Each pendant needs its own cord, cut to length and tied. They all have to be cleaned, priced, photographed … Then there’s figuring out the display.
Display is so much harder when you’re dealing with irregularly shaped pieces of glass. A painting is simple – you frame it, you put a wire hanger on the back.
But 20 pieces, each unique, none more than two inches on the long dimension, and meant to be worn against your body?
It’s like a math problem, or a logic puzzle on the GRE. How do you display small glass pendants so that they are appealing, secure from falling, not easy to steal, but accessible enough to be held and examined by potential buyers, and in a way that can be transported easily and then set up in a booth by a stranger when you’re not there?
Holiday ornaments are almost as bad. Each one has its own personality, but they need to be grouped so their purpose is clear. They should invite touch and handling, but be safe from damage.
Each of the tabletop sculptures has its own stand, so that should be simple. It isn’t. The remnant of Hurricane Matthew will creating 15 to 17 mph winds tomorrow, and glass sculptures even 5 inches high will be vulnerable.
After toying with many options, I settled on these:
For the necklaces, I arranged them in groups of five on 12 by 16 canvas board, draping their cords over the top of the board.
I taped the cords in place, making sure that the layout stayed aligned. The white of the canvas offered a plain, smooth background that reflects back the ambient light and shows off the colors of the glass. The board looks fine laid flat on a table, or it can be propped up.
The ornaments got framed. I separated them into a group that is predominantly red and green, and a group that is mostly blue and silver.
I arranged each group on a piece of white foam core that I popped into an 18 by 24 metal frame, then pinned each ornament by its hook with a pushpin.
The arrangement itself makes a picture, which can be shown flat on a table or propped up.
The sculptures will be surrounded by puffy mounds of fabric. Even if they topple, they shouldn’t break.
I set the prices lower than normal because I want these pieces to get out there into the world.
Tomorrow we’ll see if this marketing worked.
Today’s penny is a 2007, the first year I sold my art at Oktoberfest.