Thursday, December 17, 2009

"I just want to hang out in here."

This is what one patron of Unique LA shared with me, and it confirmed that I was doing something right in my set-up for the event.

As I've mentioned, Unique LA came just at the end of my nasty cold, and prior to the event I felt very pessimistic about how it would go. This was not only because I was coughing like crazy and feeling entirely drained of energy, but also because I had to leave a sad pile of unfinished books at home. I just didn't have as much work ready as I had hoped, and many of my plans had to be put aside. (from maybe-piles to probably-not piles...)

I also handled most of the event alone, which was not impossible...but sort of a bummer. (thanks again to Erynn for helping on Saturday!) Having to stay in the neighborhood of my own stuff, I took zero photos of the non-Michelle parts of the event. Unfortunate, but this thing was ENORMOUS, and very crowded (which is good-don't get me wrong!) so when I did venture away from good ol' booth 4015, I felt lost and overwhelmed, and a lot less healthy. So I agreed with the anonymous patron mentioned above: I was happy to remain in my own pretty space.

Wow, I just reread this, and it sounds so negative! Unique LA was GREAT, and I had a successful, profitable weekend...I just know it could have been better, and maybe if I do it again it will be!

I sold a lot of work, and I had a few really good conversations.

I like to think I made thousands of people happy, or at least several hundred.

I sold almost all of the books pictured below, plus more, and found it encouraging that the ones which were MY favorites were indeed the first to sell. (and contrariwise, the ones I'm if-y about are still cluttering up my home...)

I delighted (and was delighted BY!) people who appreciate stacks of paper and tiny, subtle things.

I fell in love with strangers who love books.

I saw a few familiar faces amongst the thousands of unfamiliar ones, and was glad when people told me "I know your work from Etsy," or "I bought a book from you at the LA Printer's Fair."

Another comment I overheard and wrote down was, "See? That's where I got my art circles!"

According to the Unique Blog, over 6000 shoppers came on Saturday alone...and here you can see a few of them...behind the books...

The funniest thing someone said, (and I'm paraphrasing) was, "You make me feel like the most uncreative person!" I apologised.

I also liked it when one woman said, (nicely, supportive, in a positive way...) "I hope your Mom knows you're selling trash." This was in reference to the hanging stacks of paper, which are mostly made of my own scraps and pieces of old work and ephemera. I'll add that I believe my mom is delighted that I am selling "trash." I think my dad is too. They are big fans of "the bundles" (which is what I used to call these before I decided they were not bundles at all. Plus I like "the Stacks" as a library reference...) About three years ago when I was visiting my parents in Texas, I decorated their whole dining room with these hanging pieces at Christmastime.

My favorite comment was some gentleman who told me, "I like the way you see the world." Thank you: so do I. He and I also talked about my interest in making non-blank books, or "artist books" (a term I don't love) or "picture books" (a term I do love.)

In the works.


Jolly de Guzman said...

I just want to hang out in there. I wish I wasn't doing anything that day. I really would have love to be there and hang out. You're awesome!

Kelly Kilmer said...

I have three of your pieces of so called trash hanging around my apartment and they are soooooooooooo inspiring!!!! ;) I love them!

Sarah said...

I know this is a little (or a lot) late, but I was at Unique LA and finally got around to looking up all the sites on the business cards I took and I immediately remembered your booth. It was so fun and inspirational, especially for a bookworm like me. You did a wonderful job with all your products!

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