One of the topics for discussion that is always taking place here in the office revolves around the ever-changing face of the media, as we have always depended on it to spread the word of our National Arts and Crafts Conference held each February at the Omni Grove Park Inn overlooking Asheville.
Ironically, back in 1987 when we were first getting the word out that the inaugural conference would be held in February of 1988, there were no Arts and Crafts publications. We depended solely on our three-fold brochures, which we mailed to our exhibitors, historic Arts and Crafts sites, and the few Arts and Crafts auctions which were then being held. As the Arts and Crafts revival grew, we came to rely on a number of emerging publications: Style 1900, Arts and Crafts Homes, Craftsman Homeowner, The Journal of the American Art Pottery Association, and American Bungalow.
The development of the internet spawned a plethora of websites, which soon began competing with print publications for both readers and advertisers. We embraced the new media as well here in the office, creating a website for the conference and this one for Arts and Crafts collectors. After that came Facebook pages and Instagram, as well as the recognition that some of our favorite Arts and Crafts print publications were being discontinued. Nevertheless, we have continued to and always will print a Conference Catalog to serve both as a guide for our attendees and as an historical record of our event.
In our continual search for new Arts and Crafts collectors, we are always watching for other events and print publications that would attract the same type of individual as we would hope to bring into the world of Arts and Crafts. Here in North Carolina a magazine called Our State has been published since 1933, a remarkable record for any publication. Last week a young writer for the magazine called up and asked to interview me. Needless to say, I found the time to answer all of her questions, undoubtedly at greater length than she had anticipated (or desired).
As I spoke and spoke and spoke, I could envision a two-page layout in my mind: an alluring headline, large colorful pictures of people shopping our shows, one of the Great Hall with our display cases and walking tours, perhaps another of the seminar audience conveying the size of our event. Convinced she might need four pages to include all of my pithy quotes and priceless insight into how a newcomer should best navigate the many levels of the Grove Park Inn and the multitude of events taking place over the course of three days, I asked what month the piece would be coming out.
“Oh,” she confessed. “This isn’t for the magazine. It’s for our website.”
I could lie and say it did not matter, that any publicity was better than no publicity, or that a website article might have a greater chance of catching the attention of a young couple living in a modest bungalow, but I could not disguise my initial disappointment, only because I still have a strong affinity for the permanence of a printed page.
I’ll look forward to seeing her piece on the Our State website, but tonight I think I’ll settle into my soft Morris chair, put my feet up on my leather-wrapped footstool, and turn the pages of the latest issues of Old House Journal and American Bungalow.
Until next week,
“If a book is new, it smells great. If a book is old, it smells even better.” – Ray Bradbury