So, it is June 4th, 2020 and we are still in the thick of Covid-19 and while things in Ontario are slowly starting to re-open, the landscape of future promotion and sale of my and my fellow artists’ work is still uncertain and, to be honest, a bit scary and stress inducing.
I know that when the lock down hit Ottawa in full force, it was March 13th and I was just on the way out the door with my car packed to set up for a wedding show when I received the email – show cancelled. In the back of my mind it was expected but, until I received the email there was still hope that maybe everything wasn’t as bad as the news was making it out to be. Maybe, things would still go ahead that weekend and I could pretend for just a little longer that all my hard work and creative flow over the winter months would not have to be put on hold until whenever. Nope. Then a few days later, my spring show scheduled for early April was also cancelled. It hit hard at that point that this was all very real.
There were some tears and some frustration on my part and of course, well wishes from others once they found out about the cancellations. Transfer of show fees and refunds were issued by show organizers and plans to re-schedule the shows initiated. Once this was all accomplished and settled, it was a few weeks later towards late April. I now had the rest of spring and the whole summer stretching out in front of me. On lock down. Now what?
I gave things some thought and realized that this was the opportunity to just be creative strictly to keep myself going. To keep myself from dwelling on the negative and what could have been and to fill my days with the joy and positivity that creating brings me. I was pleased to discover over the next month or so that other artists were also doing the same. They were going back to crafts and artforms that they had let fall by the wayside due to lack of time and needing to create pieces that would sell. They were using supplies and materials they already had on hand because being able to go out and purchase whatever you wanted was at a standstill at the moment. Some were even discovering new art forms that they enjoyed. Artists were supporting each other and lifting each other up with sympathy, encouragement and hope. I was never so proud to be part of the artist community. It seemed to provide us with the realization that we could all bring much needed pleasure and joy to others by still creating wonderful things and sharing them with the world through our social media accounts and websites.
So, I made a few more dresses for the re-scheduled wedding show for March, 2021 and started designing pieces for the fall shows still scheduled for September, October and November. It felt good to be productive and response to the pieces I posted was good. I have been carrying on with my usual plans and schedule at this time of the year and allowing myself the occasional couch days of doing nothing but reading and watching movies. It is actually kind of nice to have no real agenda some days and to allow myself to just breathe and get through this pandemic the best way I can.
I have to say though that I have been thinking off and on about what shows in the future will look like.
I usually have a 10 x 10 booth in size and can have as many customers in it as I and they wish. Customers look through my offerings on the garment racks, try things on in front of my floor standing mirror, laugh and chat and overall, have a great time shopping and socializing with me and each other. No worries, no restrictions.
Come the fall, does it mean me confined to my booth and not out in the aisle of the show at all? Does it mean one customer at a time in my 10 x 10 booth? Does it mean I will need to wear a mask at all times? What about customers who attend the show? Will I need to have hand sanitizer in my booth for myself and customers? Can customers try things on? Will they even want to? Do I take it off the rack if they try it on and don’t purchase and then not make the piece available for anyone else to try on for 72 hours? Do I bring my steamer and sanitize it so I will be able to place it back on the rack? Will anyone even be interested in or feel safe attending artisan shows by the fall? So many questions and no answers as of yet.
For someone like me, it is the uncertainty and wait and see that gets to me. I like a plan and knowing what comes next. This whole Covid-19 situation has taken away my safety net and I am left to balance the tightrope step by nervous step. There has been some progress and things are starting to rev up again and people are out and about more now. I am cautiously optimistic that if things continue to improve, by the fall we may be able to give events and gatherings like artisan shows a try.
For now, I am going to be grateful for what I do know and have, for that is also a huge part of who I am – pick yourself up and carry on, be joyful and find the positive….once you’ve dried your tears. 🙂
Stay well, stay safe, stay hopeful.