I decided in 2004 that it was time to get my gourd business "out there". To me that meant trying to sell my work to speciality shops. I went for the "big guns" and took them to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It happened that we were guests in a residence and I was able to mail gourds to an address ahead of our arrival. My daughter, Emily and I flew out to spend a week in Santa Fe.
Santa Fe is an amazing place, art is everywhere. The energy of this city in the southwest will inspire any artist who needs recharged. The landscape is so beautiful, the history is rich and colorful. Art is in every shop and gallery. I wanted to be a part of this excitement and claim to have my gourds in Santa Fe.
Well, I did make some major discoveries on my trip to Santa Fe in 2004. So many that it will take several writings to tell you everything.
I'll begin at the beginning, where Emily and I start our first morning in town with a rental car load of gourds and the optimism of a proud and excited artist, me. We had breakfast and from there visited a little shop, then moved on to another gallery. In speaking to one of the sales clerks I found this gallery to be filled with many artists who rent space and sell their artwork. The sales clerks are hired to take care of the shop and you just have to provide art and decorate your display area. Wow, did I ever find the perfect place for my gourds and they had some openings for artists! The clerk went to find the owner and he wanted to see my gourds. How easy can it get! He loved my work, he said all the right things to make an artist blush and thought my price points were great and wanted me to join the gallery. He was a good looking guy, maybe in his forties and was very charming, but most of all he LOVED my gourds.
I called Richard and he was a little less excited, but then he isn't known to make quick decisions and I had to decide before the space filled up and we were only there a week! I agreed to become a part of the Santa Fe Market. I choose my spot and then began the task of painting the space, gathering some display items, bought a rug, went to a Flea Market and purchased a couple antique looking display items and put what I had with me in the way of gourds to make a display. I would then mail more gourds to them when I got home and fly back down to get everything in order. Perfect.
Emily and I spent the rest of the week checking out galleries and enjoying our visit to Santa Fe. We went to really nice galleries and also went to a place called the Jackalope. A fun place with more affordable gift items for taking home. It is a giant space under several buildings and yards full of pottery, tents with the local Native people selling their goods. You can buy anything from t-shirts to furniture. Love going here to shop. A fun place and certainly well known to people who travel to Santa Fe.
We flew home after our week in Santa Fe. I then got busy making arrangements to UPS gourds to Santa Fe and buying tickets for another flight out. This time my daughter, Trisha and her 9week old, Kellen, were going with me. We were to leave on a Tuesday. The Friday before our trip back out, I got a phone call from the owner of the Santa Fe Market, Michael Soutar. He ask me if I was still interested in the space, I said, "Yes, I'll be out again on Tuesday to finish putting the space together." He mentioned he had others that were interested in the space and maybe I should have signed a contract before I'd left Santa Fe the first time. No matter, he'd just mail me one, in the mean time we talked price for renting the space and he agreed that I could try it for three months. This would certainly be prime time, Santa Fe Indian Market was soon and the Christmas season was coming! If there was a chance to sell, this would be the perfect time! So rent was agreed upon, time period agreed upon and contract was being mailed. To hold my space he wanted my credit card number. Sounded like a fair exchange.
Trisha, baby Kellen and I flew out to Santa Fe the third week of August. Indian Market was the weekend coming up and we'd be there for this event. I was so very excited. We arrived and immediately finished making purchases for the space, put everything in place and finally happy to call it finished. I called Richard and ask if the contract had arrived, it hadn't come before I left home. No, it had not come in the mail that day. So before Trisha and I left the space I knew I had to get this contract signed and we could go about our merry visit in Santa Fe.
I found the sales clerk I'd met the trip before with Emily. She was not quite as friendly as I remembered, especially since I was asking for the owner, Michael. I told her that I just needed to sign a contract with him and she said, "Oh, I wouldn't sign any contracts with him, he is in jail!". Red Flags went up! I ask why and she told me, "for former probation violations". It was then I decided to call my credit card company! Yep, that sinking feeling I got when I talked to the sales clerk was for a reason! He had way overcharged my credit card! I called Richard, and he said I should file a police report!
I knew the display I'd just finished could not stay in this place! The Santa Fa policeman came and took all my information, he told me to write it out on a form and take it to the police station. At this point the tears started. I had a booth to take out, I had a daughter with a nine week old baby and was at a loss what to do next. He was such a nice young man, my tears softened his position, he kindly said, "okay, I'll file it for you, you just do what you have to do and I'll take care of it."
When Trisha and I rented the car, we decided to rent a van, mostly because of the baby stuff. Well, the baby stuff was covered with display and gourds. We were packed to the roof and didn't exactly know what to do next. My mind is ever working on another plan and this seemed to be the case this day.
While Trisha and I were in Santa Fe that week, my "Anne Oakley" friend, Marcy was also in town, visiting her sister. (you can read about meeting Marcy in my Oregon Trail writings.) I called Marcy and we caught up with one another the next day. Before meeting with Marcy, I had decided to go to the Jackalope and talk to the owner, giving him my long and sad story. Now, I must tell you, this took a lot of guts on my part, I was really going to have to sell myself and my work. Most artist's would understand, making art is one thing, being your own spokesperson is another!
My daughter, the baby and I first spoke with a sales clerk at Jackalope, we were then taken to her manager, from there we were then taken to the secretary of the owner, telling the story over and over about what had happened at the Santa Fe Market and with the owner Mr. Soutar. We finally got inside the office of the owner of the Jackalope, his name is one I love, Darby McQuad! Something musical about his name. Mr. McQuad listened to my long story, interestingly he knew of the mess regarding Michael Soutar!
Mr. McQuad agreed to rent me an outdoor space under one of his tents at the front of his business for the weekend! How cool was that!!!! So for the weekend of Indian Market in Santa Fe, I sold gourds! I was really selling gourds in Santa Fe, NM...... While we were at the Jackalope, Trisha and I would take turns walking around and it was here that I first heard music from the Native American style flute, it was being played by a Native man, John Two-Hawks. I loved the music but was still too wrapped up in my own experiences to even consider purchasing his music. But...... I remember the way he looked and the power he held, it was very overwhelming to me, but in another sense very calming. I didn't understand it then, but that is another story.
My friend Marcy came to my rescue when we were packing up from the Jackalope to leave for the weekend, she filled her truck with my display purchases and gourds. Trisha, baby Kellen and I were to catch a flight the next day and Marcy agreed to pack my gourds and mail them to me. She would then deliver my display purchases to my home on her way back to her home in Massachusetts in a couple weeks. Talk about a turn of events. How lucky was I? When you think about all these events and how it all worked, you know there is a divine plan in everything that happens! If this boggles your mind, wait until you read "the rest of the story".