Charting the Trends
As the countdown to next month’s national Arts and Crafts Conference and Shows continues, the thirty-day mark gives me an opportunity to make a first assessment of the trends that begin to surface this time each year.
While I leave the technical aspect of the registration procedure to Alex, I make it a point to personally open and read each name badge form we receive before placing it in the basket next to her computer. I’m always pleased to find those familiar names of people who have attended the Grove Park Inn Arts and Crafts Conference several times over its 27-year history, as they have become the core around which the event has grown.
But the first new trend I have spotted this year is the increased number of first-year attendees who will be coming to Asheville next month. And they’re coming from all parts of the country: from Oregon to Florida, from Vermont to Arizona.
They are proof not only that the Arts and Crafts movement is still alive, but that young people are finding its century-old message of the quest for The Simple Life, for comfortable homes filled with durable furniture and artistic pottery, metalware, textiles, and woodblock prints is one still worth pursuing today.
And for those of you who are wondering, yes, even though this conference is 27 years old, it is still geared for the education of the typical collector. Everyone, from the seminar speakers to the daily discussion leaders (top picture), from the antiques dealers to the walking tour leaders, is focused on making new collectors feel comfortable, knowing that there is no such thing as a silly question.
The second trend that has been revealed is the speed in which our pre-conference hands-on workshops have filled up. These are purposely kept small, so that our instructors can give each participant the personal attention each deserves. At this writing, only the two workshops held in our largest rooms — the Stains, Dyes & Finishes Workshop, and the Basic Textile Embroidery Workshop (middle picture) — have but a few openings left in them. All of the others are filled, with a waiting list for any cancellations.
And what that tells me is that the Arts and Crafts philosophy of “Head, Heart, and Hand” is still relevant. Our hearts feel the passion, our heads fill with information, and our hands express our attraction to the Arts and Crafts movement, bringing into our homes not only antique and contemporary pieces, but pieces we have made ourselves.
So, regardless whether you would be a returning attendee ready to jump-start the passion you once felt, or a first-time attendee anxious to learn more about the field you have just been introduced to, we hope you will join us next month in front of the twin fireplaces in the Great Hall, sitting in one of the daily Small Group Discussions, or browsing nearly 125 booths.
And when you’re ready to make your reservation at the Grove Park Inn, please call the hotel directly at (828) 252-2711 and ask for the Arts and Crafts registration agent. If you are going to stay elsewhere, just call my office (828) 628-1915 to register for the conference events.
And we’re always ready to answer any of your questions.
Together we grow stronger!
Until next Monday,
Thanks for stopping by!