Sunday, December 23, 2012

Packing up my crafts, thinking of mom and dad

My mom loved painting flowers. This is one of her paintings.
My mom was incredibly talented. She was an artist, a potter and a talented curator of all things. She knew how to hang just the right painting in just the right spot and arrange beautiful combinations of artifacts on every shelf or table. She was so good at it, that friends and family asked her to come over when they moved into a new home to help arrange their art and beautiful things. She was always happy to oblige as it gave her great pleasure to see every piece of art perfectly situated.

Unfortunately for her, she was not born in a time of handmade marketplaces like etsy, where all of her talents could have been transformed into multiple careers. Or in a time of great opportunities to sell art and crafts in inspired surroundings at holiday craft shows.

Instead, she packed up her paintings and sat in very drab and boring shopping mall art shows, which she hated. But still, due to her amazing marketing skills (and my dad’s amazing calligraphy skills) she sold her paintings and brought joy to everyone that bought them.

Did I mention that my mother was very organized? And that my dad was very handy? Getting packed up for each mall art show was organized to the last detail. My dad built and painted the stands and rigged up a dolly to keep them tightly fastened to each other during transport. He added velcro tabs to his hand lettered signs: “Artwork by Florence Fruman”, so that they could be easily attached and detached at each show. Mom had a “satchel” that had all of the hardware she needed to hang the artwork on the stands: her business cards, receipt book (so she could keep track of where her painting would be living), signage, masking tape etc. which was always packed and ready to go for each show.

Before packing up the car, the paintings, which mom and dad framed themselves, were first wrapped in plastic and then carefully swaddled in an assortment of fluffy towels, and stacked in a big cardboard box on another dolly for that purpose. The stands, the paintings, the satchel, the box and the dollies all fit perfectly into the car.

They had a system.

At the end of each show, as if the film was being rewound, the paintings that had not sold were taken down, wrapped in plastic and then towels, stacked in the box, carted in the dolly, into the car, out of the car, unwrapped, and into storage until the next time.

Fast forward to Winter 2012. Florence Fruman’s daughters, Naomi (in Brooklyn) and Leslie (in Toronto) are busy stressing about how to pack up their crafts and set up a booth at their first craft shows!

I know that each of us, separately, thought of mom and dad every minute of the process. I thought about all the advice and encouragement they both would have given their girls if they were still alive. Dad would have hand painted signs for both of us and mom would have come to all of our shows and talked to all of the potential customers, encouraging them to buy our wares. Although we both did well at our first craft shows, I know we both would have sold more if mom were there. She was a “closer” when it came to sales. No one would have walked away empty handed!

It is hard to believe (and our dad would have been very proud), but Leslie managed to get all of her wares, her “satchel”, numerous folding tables, dollies and other booth infrastructure and decor into her tiny Volkswagen Beatle. The eggshell blue bug was packed and unpacked through November and December attending holiday craft shows in the Toronto area.

As for me, I packed up my “satchel”, ketubah prints, pillows and framed prints into a car service (Brooklyn style) and headed for Williamsburg for the finale weekend of the Brooklyn Night Bazaar.

And wouldn’t mom and dad be doubly pleased to know it was their grandson who dreamed up and produced the incredible Brooklyn Night Bazaar, so that his mom could have a table at her first ever craft show?

Thanks mom and dad for a life full of creativity and support, in this life and the next (and to our aunties, who have taken over supporting our creative endeavors where mom and dad left off).

Pottery by Leslie Fruman

My sister Leslie is a self taught potter, crafting nature-inspired functional art for your table and home. She is based in Toronto, but sells worldwide through her online etsy shop.

My booth at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar

I am a ketubah artist, digital painter and wanna be textile/surface designer. You can find my wedding related and judaica products at my etsy shop and my website, my pillows at envelop, my textiles at spoonflower, and my stock images at imagezoo.

1 comment:

  1. That's a moving and beautiful tribute to your parents, Naomi and a wonderful post.

    And I had no idea they were mall art show exhibitors (you learn something new every day). I did know both of your parents had incredible style (hope some of your dad's sartorial savvy rubbed off on me). And I knew your mom painted and was as creative as she was warm.

    I guess, as they say, the acorn doesn't fall to far... (even though you never did live on Oak :) ).