Sunday Morning: Arts and Crafts Week

There are times that words simply cannot convey the energy, the excitement and the significance of an event.

And this morning I struggle to find the words to describe everything that has happened here at the Grove Park Inn these past twenty-four hours.

Do I start with the speakers who brought the fruits of their fresh research and shared it with a thousand avid collectors?

Or the antiques dealers who carefully packed and displayed some of the finest work — early Stickley furniture, great lighting, art pottery that left you standing in awe, metalware that looked as if it had just left the anvil?

And, of course, there are the contemporary craftsmen and craftswomen who poured their souls and their creative energy into the tiles, the jewelry, the pottery, the furniture and the artwork that they, with great courage, put on public display, then must stand and watch and listen as the jury speaks.

And the looks on the faces of those — nearly everyone, it seemed — who left the shows clutching a new addition to their home or collection, which we know are one and the same.

And I will never forget the laughter last night that filled the hallways as everyone tasted the finest desserts the chefs at the Grove Park Inn could concoct and sipped champagne that flowed readily from the servers who mingled with the crowd, all provided by the Grove Park Inn as part of this special celebration.

And how a thousand people sat in rapture, unprepared for the journey filmmaker Paul Bonesteel took us on, back to the Arts and Crafts era, as he explored the complex life of the Poet of the Prairie, Carl Sandburg, through photographs, rare vintage footage and interviews with Sandburg’s friends, family and fellow writers.

And how those who fought not to let the day end stayed in the Great Hall, where they danced like nobody was watching until the band finally said Enough and went home. And even then they would not leave, staying until the wee hours of the morning, sharing their stories and their excitement with one another while the fire continued to burn in the enormous fireplace.

Today is the day none of us wanted to greet, as we awake with the knowledge that this magical, special weekend will soon come to a close. But first we have two more seminars, another afternoon strolling the now-thinner booths and for some, a final evening again spent in the Great Hall, slightly more exhausted than last night, but still with the passion burning as bright as the flames crackling amid the oak logs on those enormous andirons.

As someone said last night, this is one the historians will write about.

Until tomorrow,

Make it an Arts & Crafts day.

– Bruce