Something in the Mail for You

I’ll leave it to someone more qualified than me to write an appropriate Christmas column, for around here for the past 28 years the two weeks before Christmas have been more consumed with preparing the ten-page Pre-Conference Packet than with last-minute Christmas shopping. Last week I irritated about a dozen people at the post office when instead of buying a dozen Christmas stamps I asked for enough $1.42 stamps to mail out 500 large envelopes.

My tradition of mailing the Pre-Conference Packet in December began prior to the first National Arts and Crafts Conference at the Grove Park Inn in 1988. Without the internet or emails, or even an Arts and Crafts magazine, letting those people who had signed up for the first Arts and Crafts Conference know in advance what was going to be happening each day proved to be a challenge.

I decided back then that the best time for anyone to receive a packet of information for a February event would be during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. My reasoning was that until Christmas had passed, the Packet would get set aside, or perhaps even buried beneath a mountain of crumpled wrapping paper. If it arrived after New Year’s Day, it would then have to compete with distracting work projects and deadlines.

So, if you have made your reservation at Asheville’s Grove Park Inn for the February 19-21 National Arts and Crafts Conference, or if you have registered directly through me and are staying someplace other than the Grove Park Inn, you should receive your Pre-Conference Packet next week.

If you do not, then it either means we did not get your reservation information from the Grove Park Inn or you have not yet reserved your place at the conference. Either way, please give Alex or myself a call at (828) 628-1915 or call the Grove Park Inn at (828) 252-2711 (asking for Kelly or Michelle in Group Reservations) to make your room and conference reservation.

This might be a good time, then, to recap your three options for attending the 29th National Arts and Crafts Conference. Those who want to stay at the G.P.I. while attending all of the events taking place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only need to call the hotel at the number above to register for both. Those who plan to stay elsewhere but want to attend the conference events need to register through my office to pay your $150 Conference Events fee. Everyone in these two categories will receive the Pre-Conference Packet, which includes sign-up sheets for the Craftsman Farms Kick-Off Party Thursday night, the Preservation Society house tours on Saturday and Sunday, airport transportation reservations, the Art Museum’s Saturday evening reception, the Thursday and Friday hands-on workshops, and much more. Those who only want to shop the afternoon shows can pay $10 at the door and do not need to make advance reservations. For that reason, we would not be sending you the Pre-Conference Packet.

You can find the answer to just about any question you might have at our website, but if you can’t, then please call Alex or myself at (828) 628-1915.

Despite the flurry of activity generated by the Pre-Conference Packet and our fast-approaching 88-page Conference Catalog deadline, Alex and I will both be enjoying the holidays with family and friends, so if we don’t answer, just leave us a message or send us an email.

And from our office here in the Blue Ridge Mountains to you wherever you might be, we both wish you happy holidays — and a new year full of optimism, plans, and exciting projects.

Perhaps including a trip to the Grove Park Inn in February — to meet both old and new Arts and Crafts friends.

Until next Monday,

“If you don’t fit in, then you’re probably doing the right thing.”


Top: Alex and her assistant Daisy (on the couch) stuffing envelopes for the conference.

Middle: Artist Laura Wilder teaching the Printmaking Workshop at an earlier Arts and Crafts conference.