Journey to the Grove Park Inn
by Bruce Johnson
I made my first little journey to the 1913 Grove Park Inn more than 32 years ago, having decided to trade those cruel Midwestern winters for the more moderate climate of Asheville, North Carolina. I had already read about the Roycrofters’ involvement in the furnishing of this Arts and Crafts resort hotel, so as soon as I realized it would be an ideal site for an Arts and Crafts conference and show, I embarked on what has now become a 32-year relationship.
Since we will be meeting at the GPI in a few weeks, where we will renew old friendships and make new ones, I thought it might be helpful to provide a few suggestions for getting the most out of what someone called “an Arts and Crafts on steroids weekend.”
1.) After checking in at the front desk, head to the Arts and Crafts Registration Desk in the Sammons Wing. The staff will happily point the way. In addition to your name badge, which is your entry to all the events, Kate and Stephanie will hand you a tote bag, complimentary poster, 2019 wall calendar, and your 88-page Conference Catalog. It will serve as your guide book and map for the three-day conference.
2.) Study the list of daily Small Group Discussions, marking your first and second choices for each day. These are held in meeting rooms with limited seating, so note the location of each on your catalog map. Arrive early enough to get a seat. We keep the discussion groups small to make it more comfortable for attendees to hold and hear lively discussions.
3.) If you have never done so, take one of the Friday guided Walking Tours of the Grove Park Inn. Guide Sue Angell is also a GPI employee and has been leading these tours for us for years, so she will show you how to get around the 510-room hotel, taking you places you might have missed on your own.
4.) Each year we offer free demonstrations by artisans at the far end of the Contemporary Craftsfirms Show. These last twenty minutes and are repeated daily, so you have plenty of opportunity to sit in on both. David Van Epps will be discussing Arts and Crafts furniture details, while Jennifer Pearson of Frugal Framer will help you make the right decisions in framing your artwork.
5.) Meet the dealers – and use them! Every antiques exhibitor in the show is an expert in their field. They have a wealth of knowledge and love to share it, but first you have to start the conversation. Ask a question. There’s no charge and you’re not going to experience any high-pressure sales techniques at this show. Learn what makes one example more collectible than another. Along the way you’ll become a sharper collector — and you will have gained a friend.
And friendships are what have held this Arts and Crafts Conference together for 32 years. As someone mentioned, it’s now more than a show, more than an educational experience. It’s a reunion of friends, and a rekindling of the passion we each have for all things Arts and Crafts.
Until next week,
“I love you because you love the things I love.” – Elbert Hubbard