We thought, for something different, we'd try a joint post. So here, without further ado, Sarah (and Karina) present: "Ad Astra 2006: Con Report GO!!!!"
(I'm sorry, I've been watching Teen Titans. Karina wrote it first, but I take full responsibility for leaving that in. Anyway…)
Both halves of Stellar Magpie wholly enjoy the con experience, and Ad Astra is one of our annual traditions. But we decided that we wouldn't just be going as authors this year, we'd enter Stellar Magpie as artists as well. So (with a rather large amount of scrabbling around and last minute emergency rearranging of display space) that's exactly what we did.
And we thought that this was a Good Idea, despite the fact that it required hours upon hours of work ahead of time, making new sparklies, doing inventory, cataloging and tagging each piece ... not to mention the nervousness that set in days before the con and refused to release its grip.
So after a frenzied afternoon of tagging, sewing, punching holes, and trying to make the frelling business cards actually fit into their allotted spaces (they give you a template number, oh, yes, but THEY LIE!!!), we packed everything into Karina's car (hurray for the box!) and set off for the con.
In the rain. In rush hour. With badly worded directions that, like the business card manufacturers, LIE, LIE, LIE. (Turning left is, in fact, the exact opposite of turning right, thank you very much hotel website.)
You think we jest. But we do not.
So, box in hand, we made our way to registration and the art show setup. We had no idea what to expect. We'd registered for panel space, then thought better and requested half table space, half panel space. Two kinds of display, what could be better! Only to have our email go astray. (Are you seeing a trend?) To our delight (and considerable relief) the fabulous people of Team Eh, the art show coordinators, were able to wrangle another table from the hotel, and yes, all was well in the world. Except ... um ... how are you supposed to set up for a con art show, anyway?
We thought we'd had a pretty good idea of how to do it. Unfortunately, it worked a little bit better in our heads than in reality. Though we did turn out to have a LOT more stuff to display than we'd initially thought. Which was a good thing.
We had an hour to set up before Sarah had to run off to her first panel, and we ended up needing every minute of it. Unfortunately for those around us, our panel space and our table space were on opposite sides of the room. The result? Two girls rushing about in a flurry, hands full of earrings and bracelets and necklaces, running back and forth, grabbing hooks and tape and trying to find a way to display everything to its best advantage
(great WHOOSHES of sparkly everywhere)
“No, we can’t put fossil jewelry on the brown background ... The sculpture necklaces can hang, can't they? OMG, where'd the ribbon go?!”
(Sarah dashes across the hall to the Dealer's Room to get various items and bits of display from Bakka)
The other artists stood out of our way, for the most part. I think they were amused.
We were definitely the new kids on the block. But the other artists are those nice kids who show you where your classes are, and not the ones who push you over and steal your bike. (Okay, I'm done with that metaphor)
Fortunately, by the time we finished, the display (especially the table) looked awesome. And very, very sparkly. We'll definitely be using tables from now on.
Very awesome indeed. You could see the glitter from the hallway.
And no more panel space for us! What were we thinking? (And don't tell me that Bacchus earrings need to hang; those ones were so full of crystal and pearl that they could prop open a door.)
Okay, okay, the panel space was a mistake. But back when we chose it, we were still on the old, not-exploding-with-crystal design. How was I to know?
Well, it was a learning experience, that's for sure. And for some reason I was expecting the panel space to looked like office dividers ... you know, those kinds that are covered with that bluish-gray fabric that you can stick full of tacks? Yeah, those. How someone would hang a painting on that I don't know, but ...
And that's half of the fun (and headache, and nausea, and...) of doing stuff like this, is learning.
It's an adventure, as I like to say, gritting my teeth and smiling.
And then it was time for the art show to open ... and so we banned ourselves from the room. It helped that we both had panels to attend before the day was over; there was little time for obsessing. At least in person. Obsessing from a distance ... well, that's another matter entirely.
So yes, it was off to panels, and only a little shameless eavesdropping to see if anyone was talking about us.
I think our ears were both peeled for any mention of the art show or sparkly jewelry. And ... okay, I have a confession. I went in once. Just quickly. Only quickly, I promise.
Oooh! The shame! Though I totally would have if I hadn't been attending panels till it closed…
So it was back to Camp Sarah's House to regroup until Saturday, which actually kept us busy enough that we didn't have time to look into the art show until mid-afternoon.
That and the fact that we made a vow not to go in (no, not even once -- not even secretly!) until after lunch. And I didn't even ask any of our friends who were checking out the show to see if any of the pieces had bids, or if there were crowds of admirers standing around and pointing. (Okay, come on, leave a girl her illusions.)
And it was probably a good thing we didn't. As when we finally did go in... nobody had bid on any of our stuff.
We tried to console ourselves with the thought that maybe the stack of business cards was smaller. If you looked at them sideways and squinted.
And that we were, essentially, walking advertisements for our own jewellery.
Well, if no one wanted to bid, I figured we could just keep it all.
Saturday afternoon was a little better. At that point, even though people STILL weren't bidding, a lot of people were coming up to us and complementing us on our jewellery.
So, not letting the lack of bids bother us, we headed off to the evening's entertainment. I finally got to see (at least part) of Heather Dale's performance (I seem to be carrying around a con curse that always schedules me during them), which was lovely. The masquerade was fun (and made me think interesting things about replica jewellery), and the dance... well, wasn't as fun as usual.
Little did we realize that before the art show closed at 6 PM, not one but two people had gone by and placed bids. Sale! And another sale! Woohoo!
So Sunday dawned bright and shiny, with two sales for Stellar Magpie. And yes, they were sales to people we know. But people we know are a big part of our target audience, so it really makes sense, when you think about it.
We were ... "giddy" is a good word, I think. And very complimentary to those friends of ours who had the good taste to buy our jewellery -- a hairband and a sculpture necklace, to be exact. "The River In Spring Flood" and "The Midnight Garden" had found their people.
And things go even better when we went back for one last look at our displays Sunday afternoon, for two reasons.
First, we walk in and what do we see but a great big honking ribbon on our table! "What is this?" ask the two bewildered magpies. "Ah," says Heather. "The Elizabeth Pearse Award for best new artist."
"SQUEE!!" the magpies reply.
Well, not in so many words. But you get the picture.
Second, though we might not have received many bids, according to the show coordinators and a couple of the other artists, our work had been the talk of the show. They mentioned some of the comments; we glowed. Apparently Ad Astra is not a con where people usually show high-end jewellery. Toronto Trek, on the other hand ...
So it was recommended that we sign up for the TT show, stat.
So the Magpies will have jewellery at Trek. Oh yes.
And here is our pretty table. Note the shiny ribbon. If you click on the second one, you get a closeup of Karina's FSW (frelling sparkly wreath), which was my favourite thing on the table. Sometimes Karina puts me to shame with her awesomeness. Yay!
Yay indeed! (And I think my fingers are still recovering from the month worth of twisting wire that went into making that wreath ....)
(which is one of the reasons I have not yet begun assembling my wreath materials into wreath form)
So what should con-goers expect of Stellar Magpie at the next show?
Most definitely. More sculpture necklaces, and Sarah's ultra-sparkly magpie bracelets.
(I'm also going to attempt a matching magpie necklace. And maybe an anklet).
Many more hair-related jewlery: hairbands, definitely, the wreath, and there has been talk of making hair sticks and clips and other fun glitter to wear on one's head.
Fun experimentation time, yay!
Also: no panel display space, and a truly kickass table display.
More earrings. And things with cool rocks.
And fossils! And pearls!
More crystal than you can shake a stick at!
Yes. All this and more can be yours ... (Funny how that voice from infomercials can stick in your head ...)
Oooh, also blue goldstone, and some stuff in gold.
You know, I was thinking about making a tipsy magpie in blue goldstone and dark pearls and dark, double AB crystal ... and, also, a sculpture necklace made of shell ... oh, and a twisty shell pendant, and ... um, yes. Many things. There will be sparkly things galore. You can count on us.
I think we both want to do tipsy magpie experiments with the blue goldstone. The call of the blue goldstone is strong. The dark side of the spectrum has many, many benefits, my child...
But yes. There will be much magpie goodness to be had.
Need to buy some more sterling chain first, though. You know, on our first trip to John Bead ... Ahem. I mean, this concludes Stellar Magpie's first con report (before we totally turn this into a planning session).
We hope you enjoyed it. And stay tuned to the journal. We promise we'll post more updates as we make stuff.
And take pictures of the new stuff we've already made. (Yes. Definitely have to do that.)
Thank you and goodnight.
You've been a terrific audience! Try the veal!
[Karina drags Sarah away]