The Education of an Arts & Crafts Collector – GPI Style
As you know from following my daily posts this past week, my latest Little Journey has taken me to the Grove Park Inn, that magnificent Arts & Crafts hotel and resort cemented into the side of Sunset Mountain overlooking Asheville, North Carolina.
I’ve been living at the Grove Park Inn since last Tuesday, but am home this Monday morning, still waking up at four thinking about everything on my To Do list. I’ll be headed back to the G.P.I. in a few hours, picking up the last of my boxes, delivering an L. & J.G. Stickley bookcase to my father-in-law’s home and making sure the crowd I left in the Great Hall at midnight hadn’t gotten too out of hand….
(I still recall the year when one of them, on a dare, climbed one of the 24-foot tall granite fireplaces, much to the amazement of all of us at the bar, not to mention the concern of the hotel staff.)
Even though I am bone-weary and my feet ache, I still marvel at the enthusiasm, the energy and the excitement our crowd of collectors injects into this 98-year-old mountain of granite boulders, flagstone floors and quartersawn oak.
This conference has always been exactly that – a conference. Not just an antiques show. Not just a craftsfirms show. Not just a litany of lectures. It’s a careful blend of every desirable aspect of any event, with food, drink, family and friends to enjoy it with you.
One of the new exhibitors made the mistake of complaining to me that we had too many seminars, Small Group Discussions and tours, that they pulled people away from the show.
I didn’t lose my temper, though, as I pointed out to him what I have learned in my 24 years organizing the Arts & Crafts Conference:
An educated collector is a confident collector.
“Every time,” I explained to him, “a collector comes away from a seminar, off a tour or out of a discussion room, they know something they never knew before. And when they come into your booth,” (I was still staying calm, mind you) “you had better be thankful that they did – and you had better be ready, because (and here I was getting a little warm) they might just know more about what you are selling than you do.”
End of discussion.
We are starting work this week on the 25th anniversary Arts & Crafts Conference and you are going to hear a lot about it in the coming months here at this site as well. What I need to hear is what interests you, what topics would you like to see explored, analyzed and discussed, and what I can do to make you a more confident collector.
So, then, when you walk into any dealer’s booth at any show, shop or mall, you just might know more about what they are selling than they do.
Have great week!
Until next Monday,
– Bruce Johnson