A Little Conference Insight

For those of you who might still be wondering just who does come to the National Arts and Crafts Conference at the Grove Park Inn each February, allow me to share with you a letter I received in the mail last week:

“Bravo! The Arts and Crafts Conference was fantastic. My wife and I were first timers, and we weren’t sure what to expect.

Last year we happened to be visiting the Grove Park Inn for our first time, as we were celebrating our wedding anniversary the week before the conference. We saw the conference banner being hung on the front of the hotel as we were leaving. I guess our curiosity got the best of us, as we looked up more information, and decided to come.

We are so glad we did.

We were already leaning toward Arts and Crafts before the conference, but we had no context for those desires other than our admiration of Stickley furniture at our local furniture store. Although we admired the furniture for its craftsmanship, we’ve always been on the outside looking in because of the price.

This last year, however, was different. We bought three Stickley lamps and a bench. Those pieces really pulled our den together.

But why tell you all of this?

The conference helped us put our admiration in context. We left with an appreciation for the price point aimed at the upper middle class, with a better appreciation for the attention to detail, and with a better appreciation for that Ernest Spittle copycat named Stickley [this is a reference to one of the seminars].

We were overwhelmed by the number of exhibitors and the quality of their exhibits. We have been to a number of craft fairs, but nothing comes close to what you’ve pulled together.

In the words of Ruskin:

“It is only by labor that thought can be made healthy, and only by thought that labor can be made happy.”

You should be happy.”

Well, I will admit that this letter, as well as other similar sentiments I have received, did make me happy. My mother taught me the organizational skills that I have been fortunate to be able to apply to the Arts and Crafts Conference. She was also a teacher, and I was proud to follow in her footsteps in that regard as well.

Once a teacher, always a teacher.

Next February’s 30th National Arts and Crafts Conference will mark a major milestone for us. The sixteen determined individuals who have been with me at each and every conference, as well as those who have attended five, ten, twenty, or twenty-some times, will attest that the future of the Arts and Crafts Conference depends on people just like the couple who wrote this letter.

People just like you.

Besides, what else could the third weekend in February have to offer that would be more fun than a three-day celebration in an historic Arts and Crafts resort hotel filled with people who share your love for the Arts and Crafts style – and lifestyle?

Until next Monday,

Come join us on Sunset Mountain!