Friday Morning: Conference Week
Yesterday was our day of biggest change.
We started the morning with an empty Grand Ballroom and surrounding meeting rooms, then precisely at eight o’clock in the morning the madness began. More than one hundred exhibitors in trucks, vans, trailers, and cars descended on the Grove Park Inn, anxious to get their booths set up in time for today’s opening at 1:00pm.
Suddenly what had been six pages of floor plans blossomed into pulsating booths, brimming with fabulous Arts and Crafts furniture, exquisite silver jewelry, matte green pottery, hammered copper metalware, artwork, and more.
Today they will have a few more hours to put the finishing touches on their displays before the doors open for everyone and remain open until 6:00pm.
Last night was our unofficial kickoff banquet, as the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms hosted a fundraising dinner in the Skyline Room, a rather recent addition to the Grove Park Inn with panoramic views down over Asheville from the slopes of Sunset Mountain. The food was delicious, the setting conducive to mingling and chatting, renewing friendships and making new ones, before settling in for what was billed as “Good, Better, Best: A Conversation with David Rudd.”
David is a nationally known and respected Arts and Crafts antiques dealer, who also writes a column for American Bungalow magazine. He has been exhibiting at the Grove Park Inn Arts and Crafts Conference for more than 25 years and agreed to take the stage last night to share with an audience of more than 100 people his insight into what defines good, better, and best when evaluating Arts and Crafts furniture, using four vintage Morris chairs from the inn’s collection as examples.
His introduction prompted a spirited discussion with the audience, who peppered David with questions that clarified in their minds such fuzzy elements as proportion, dimensions, and original finishes. The conversations continued long after David had left the stage, and were carried back to the Great Hall, where both enormous fire places were burning and where people were clustered around the five display cases.
Each year members of the American Art Pottery, volunteers from the Stickley Museum at Craftsman farms, and individual collectors arrive a day early to fill each of these display cases with stunning examples of craftsmanship from the Arts and Crafts era. I stayed around as late as I could, but even at midnight the room was still buzzing with energy.
And the energy builds today as we all are anticipating the show opening at 1:00pm.
And I hope you can clear your calendar and join us sometime this weekend!
Until tomorrow morning,
Thanks for stopping by!