One Foot in the Past

After close analysis, I am convinced that William Morris always kept one foot firmly planted in the Victorian style, just in case this new Arts and Crafts thing didn’t quite work out as he had hoped.

In a slightly different manner, I’m no different.

Thirty years ago, back in the Dark Ages when we still groaned over our long distance phone bills and relied on something called the Yellow Pages, the first thing I did to spread the word about an Arts and Crafts Conference I was organizing at the 1913 Grove Park Inn overlooking Asheville, North Carolina, was to print a brochure.

I distributed them at antiques shows, I mailed them to Arts and Crafts auction houses, I sent them to Arts and Crafts sites, and I shipped boxes of them to Arts and Crafts dealers whose names I found in the Newtown Bee and Maine Antique Digest.

Thirty years later, I’m still doing the same.

While I don’t miss those long distance phone bills and I don’t even think we have a phone book in the office anymore, I’m still attached to a simple, three-panel, paper brochure. I figure if I continue to pick them up from information racks, maybe other people do as well. And, yes, I do recognize that those of you who are rolling your eyes at me would quickly ask, “But where are they now?” While most may have ended up in the recycling bin, the important ones are pinned to a bulletin board in my office.

(Yes, I still have one of those, too. Six, if we’re counting.)

But the 25,500 brochures I picked up at Advantage Printing last Monday differed in one regard to the 2000 I printed in 1988.

They now also direct the readers to for more detailed, up-to-the-minute information, along with color photographs, a slide show, a list of exhibitors, and much, much more than I can include here – or in a brochure.

And at the website I make a concession in recognition that it now costs nearly fifty cents to mail just one brochure. While we continue to send a 2017 brochure to each registered conference participant, anyone can simply go to the conference website and, with a couple of clicks, print out an identical brochure you can read anytime you don’t want to wake up your computer.

In addition, we continue to mail boxes of conference brochures to antiques dealers and historic Arts and Crafts sites. I also hope, however, that you will take a moment to click on our link to the National Arts and Crafts Conference website, for 2017 marks one of those major milestone years for the Arts and Crafts Revival.

I doubt if any of the 300 people who came to the historic Grove Park Inn back in 1988 would have bet that we would still be returning 30 years later.

Or that over a span of three decades 17 of those original curious collectors would never have missed a single Grove Park Inn Arts and Crafts conference.

And so, while we won’t be making major changes to our three-day format of seminars, tours, discussion groups, demonstrations, workshops, and shows, the Grove Park Inn, the exhibitors, and I will be giving away more than $10,000 in gifts to show our appreciation for your loyal support, not just of the conference, but of the Arts and Crafts lifestyle.

And we are still proud of the New York Times’ early declaration that this remains “the most important weekend of the year for Arts and Crafts collectors.”

Until next Monday,

We hope you will start making plans to join us.


The 30th National Arts and Crafts Conference and Shows at the Grove Park Inn

February 17-19, 2017