‘Tis the Season — For Conference Preparations

Rather than traveling this Christmas, we are staying close to home, as both of our sons arrived here last week ahead of the storm.

Both are now tall, young men who grew up knowing that Christmas at the Johnson home means stacks of pre-conference packets, not Christmas cards, piled atop the dining room table. Not long after they learned to walk, I taught them how to stuff envelopes and lick stamps, and they were applying those skills within hours of having stepped of their plane last week.

Christmas, New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day have each always had to share attention with some aspect of the preparations for the Arts and Crafts Conference. What started 26 years ago with just a few seminars and an antiques show has since grown to include nearly 30 Small Group Discussions, several workshops, afternoon demonstrations, walking tours, educational displays and, of course nearly 125 antiques dealers, contemporary craftsmen and craftswomen, book sellers, publishers and editors. Which means we can’t wait until January to plan and organize it.

And so on Saturday morning we hauled several boxes of labeled, stamped and sealed pre-conference packets to the post office, gingerly making our way past the long line of people waiting to mail last-minute Christmas cards and presents. What they must have thought were in all those boxes I can only imagine.

In case you aren’t familiar with our pre-conference packets, they consist of several pages of conference information that are mailed to everyone who has already registered for the February 22-24 conference, either by booking the Arts and Crafts Weekend Package (room & conference events) at the Grove Park Inn (800-438-5800) or who have purchased just the Conference Events Package ($150, no lodging included) through my office (828-628-1915).

If you are thinking about attending, you can request a packet by sending us your mailing address via email ([email protected]) or can see what will be happening by going to www.Arts-CraftsConference.com.

In addition to information on the agenda and seminars, the packet also contains reservation forms for some key events, starting with the Thursday evening Craftsman Farms Banquet at the historic Biltmore Industries next door to the Grove Park Inn. This is always a great way to start the conference weekend, support a great cause, and meet many of your past, present and future Arts and Crafts friends.

The packet also contains a reservation form for the Preservation Society House Tour that takes place Friday and Saturday afternoons, as well as the Asheville Art Museum Talk and Reception on Saturday, nestled between the end of the shows and the Saturday evening movie “John Muir: In the New World.”

Watch the mail this week for your large envelop with a picture of the 1913 Grove Park Inn on the front. It should give you some great reading material for the final week of 2012 and the opportunity to start 2013 with what the New York Times has called “the most important weekend of the year for Arts and Crafts collectors.”

Until next Monday,

Have a safe and merry holiday week!