Saturday Morning: Arts and Crafts Week

We blew the doors off the G.P.I. yesterday.

After twenty-five years you might think that the energy, the anticipation, the excitement might begin to dwindle, or, if nothing else, at least begin to moderate. Rather than standing in line for five hours to get into the show or staying up until after ten o’clock at night to hear two seminar presentations, people would opt to just chill out in the Great Hall, linger over a glass of wine, or spend that time chatting with old friends.

Not this group.

Yesterday they turned out in record breaking numbers. Had the Grove Park Inn not been built of granite boulders, the walls might have started to bulge a little. The halls and the booths were brimming with people, from first-time attendees to those who for more than two decades have been making their annual early Spring Break to Sunset Mountain overlooking downtown Asheville.

But last night, after two great seminars presentations on the Arts & Crafts movement in the East and the Midwest, people returned to the Great Hall, had that glass of wine, and spent even more time chatting with their friends, showing each other pieces they had bought that afternoon, or just catching up on what they had been doing since last February.

Today, after getting a few hours sleep, they will return to the Heritage Ballroom for two more seminar presentations, then hit the shows again, returning to those booths that yesterday they only had a chance to briefly explore, making a decision on a piece they had seen, or something fresh that had just been brought out. Some will take an afternoon house tour organized by the Asheville Preservation Society, drop in one of the ten Small Group Discussions being offered, or perhaps just sit on the Sunset Terrace and enjoy the panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west.

As I explained to our group last night at the first seminar session, the Grove Park Inn never crackles with the same energy that the Arts & Crafts Conference brings to it. This is truly a magical weekend, and if you are within a few hours of Asheville today or tomorrow, you really should come and join us. There’s always room for another Arts & Crafts lover at one of the tables in the Great Hall.

And if not, well, perhaps next year you can plan to shake off those winter doldrums with a break to Asheville and the Grove Park Inn. You certainly deserve it. And as we all know, work will always be there when you get back….

So, today, after the morning seminars, the afternoon shows, tours and discussions, we will sip champagne together celebrating our 25th year at the Grove Park Inn, then slip back into the Heritage Ballroom to watch the Asheville premier of the new film documentary “The Day Carl Sandburg Died.” Then, in true Arts & Crafts fashion, we will return to the Great Hall where a band will be playing some classic tunes, so we can slip out through the doors and enjoy some Dancing on the Terrace.

Arts & Crafts collectors share a passion, and it shows.

Until tomorrow morning,

Have a great Saturday, wherever you are.

– Bruce

Note: The shows today run from Noon until 6:00pm, then again on Sunday from 11:00am until 4:00pm. Tickets are $10 and are good for both days.