Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The #1 Art Fair Question........

Is not "Where do you find your pictures?" Yes, that one is asked a lot and I explain how I started with family photos but now find pictures mainly from estate sales and flea markets. Or generous friends.

Is not, "Is this Decoupage?" regrettably, that one is also heard like maybe once an hour, mainly from older people. Hopefully no one sees my jaw clenching as I patiently and politely explain the difference between my paintings and decoupage.

Is not, "Could you do this if I gave you my pictures?" I get that one a lot too. And yeah, sure I do commissions, I love working with people on their personalized projects so I always take time to talk about the possibilities. And for every 15,000 people I talk to at an Art Fair, there is usually one (that is 1, as in singular) who will really call me.

No, it's none of the things mentioned above, nor is it anything even related to my art at all. Truly, for both Kansas City shows that I have done so far, the #1 Art Fair Question has been.........drum roll please...........

"Where is Wildwood, Mi-Zurr-Rah?"

You see, the show producers make up these little laminated signs that hang in the booth. Mine says:

Mary Beth Shaw
Wildwood, MO

I am not from Missouri originally, so this is all just theory, but it seems like people from here generally know the state pretty well. Like they know the other towns and have heard of even the most obscure locations. But they sure haven't heard of Wildwood. Probably because it was just incorporated 10 years ago. It is one of those communities formed when someone got the bright idea to merge a bunch of unincorporated land all together for purposes of controlling development, etc. And it's not really a tourist mecca or anything. We have some lovely parks here, beautiful rolling hills, blah-dee-blah, but no one is advertising to "Visit Wildwood" or anything like that. Tons of maps don't even show Wildwood. And yeah, that's where I live. Which, during a busy show, I have to explain about once or twice a minute.

It was a good show though. Not the best of the year, but certainly right up there. My inventory has once again been severely depleted and I am doing what I can to re-stock before Shaw. Tough though since I stupidly forgot to place a new canvas order before I left. But! The gloriously reliable Dick Blick (he is a real person in my mind, the King of art supplies), has already processed and shipped the order I placed Sunday (at midnite) and I am expecting it today. And I had a few things in the works when I left. So I should be ok.


  1. i'm glad you had a good, if not great, show! always good to hear the inventory has been depleted.

    oh, and btw, i know where wildwood is...it's where all the wild women live!


  2. I had that idea, too (or just to put, it's near X-Chesterfield/Ballwin/etc.)

  3. Best. Comment. of the Year. award, as collected by my dear friend and jeweler who carves amber, jet and antler:

    "Is that real or did you make it yourself?"

    *mrfle giggle*
    I mean, how'd'you answer that?

    And I know what you mean about the "decoupage" which to the 60-somethings was about the only variation on layering additions to paint/collage there was. And you've got to admit: Modge-Podge is still around under that brand name.
    It's the ones who see the arashi shibori and immediately think "oh, Tie-dye" that croggle me a bit. Uh, sure. no, her venerable Japanese great-grandmother, to quote DJ Hamouris.

    onward and sideways - I'm thinking art silks for the wall, as opposed to shawls/scarves...


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