When Kate and I decided that in place of a three-day live 34th National Arts and Crafts Conference at the 1913 Omni Grove Park Inn we would organize and host a 28-day Arts and Crafts Month, I had no idea how people would respond. I literally laid awake nights wondering what I would say to a Small Group Discussion leader if we opened the Zoom meeting and no one was there.
Turns out, I could have gotten some more sleep.
It’s not that I didn’t think Arts and Crafts collectors were opinionated. It’s not that I didn’t think Arts and Crafts collectors had a thirst for knowledge. It was only because I wasn’t sure if Arts and Crafts collectors would warm to the idea of a live Zoom discussion on their computer.
This from the guy who once told a web developer in the early 1990s that Arts and Crafts collectors would never use the internet.
And never was I happier to be wrong….
In my 34 years of hosting the National Arts and Crafts Conference I have sat through more than 230 seminars ranging from Ansel Adams to Marie Zimmerman, but I was amazed at how much I learned this past month sitting in on each of our daily live Small Group Discussions. Our topics have included art pottery, tiles, woodblock prints, furniture, textiles, historic homes, philosophy, music, plants, landscaping, window treatments, photography, metalware, and more – and what made each one so enlightening and enjoyable was the insightful combination of a leader’s experience along with probing questions from participants who spanned the country from Southern California to Maine.
On a personal note, having lived in Iowa for several years, it was not until last week’s Zoom discussion with Patti Bourgeois that I learned acclaimed Arts and Crafts woodblock printmaker Bertha Lum (1869-1954) was born in Tipton, Iowa, then a small town of just 1,200 people. I am now determined to find out how this young woman rose out of a small prairie town and set herself on an unconventional path toward becoming one of the most respected print artists of her era.
All because of a Small Group Discussion on Zoom….
All of which reinforces something we have seen time and time again: that Arts and Crafts collectors are as determined as you are enthusiastic, as innovative as you are passionate.
And as we move forward with our planning for the remainder of 2021 and into 2022, we will do so knowing that we will have your support, along with your willingness to experience whatever new modes of communication become available to keep us connected.
Until next week,
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson