In January of 2008, I took a bus to Reno and caught the last few hours of a engraving show. I walked in knowing two people. I left with a lot of new friends. I found myself reflecting on that a lot this last weekend, what a warm and welcoming group of people that is, because I talked to so many new people who noticed the very same thing. At the time I'd been doing scrimshaw for six months. I had a few samples, but I was an absolute newbie. But I was hooked.
It would be several years before I could actually exhibit, due to some restrictive rules about what sort of engraving qualified for the show. But I kept going every year, because I love the people and they do some amazing work and it inspires me. Last year I was finally able to exhibit. So this year was my sixth year there, second time exhibiting. And "wow" pretty well sums it up. I had SUCH a good weekend, I really hate to get back to normal life now. ;-)
It all boiled down to two things this year as I got ready for the show:
1) OMG I finally get to see the Greatest Generation Project all finished, in person, and OMG I finally get to meet the man who owns it and can shake his hand!
2) Holy cow I have to give a presentation. I had a lot of "what was I thinking getting into this!?" thoughts in the last week as I worked til the wee hours of the morning getting everything ready!
Dang it was good to finally see everything! I got so many wonderful kind comments from so many people who I admire so much. It's hard to explain how that makes me feel. SO GOOD, so honored. And sorta like you could just knock me over with a feather, because sometimes I still feel like that same newbie who walked in there six years ago.
Mike Dubber, who did all the engraving on the Greatest Generation Colt 1911 and the bowie knife, won Engravers Choice, Best Engraved Handgun, and Best Metal on Metal Inlay. I am SO proud and honored to be a part of that.
And the presentation, well, let's just say it was awesome. I'm feeling a little rock-star-ish at the moment. ;-) I was nervous ALL weekend, especially that morning, especially during the presentation before mine (when I found myself taking my pulse and noting that 93 bpm was a little excessive for sitting totally still), but as soon as I got up to the podium that all went away and it went REALLY well. I couldn't believe how many questions people asked me!
I've still got this grin on my face and am remembering all the good times, good friends, good laughs, music, late nights, and fun travel (no bus! carpooled this year!) from the last week. Next year the show is moving to Las Vegas, a week or so earlier in January. I look forward to the change of venue, I think that will be a very good thing for publicity and bringing in more traffic. It gets pretty empty and quiet in Reno, and while it's nice to be able to leave the table and schmooze with friends, it would be better to have more business! I've never been to Vegas, but of course I'll be going!
I didn't take many pictures this year. I don't like to leave my table more than necessary, I get wrapped up in my own stuff, and also I know that other friends are going around taking much better photos than I would be taking. For example, you can see Rod's photos here: https://picasaweb.google.com/rodcameron2/FEGAReno2013# Go check it out! Lots more pics of my stuff in there too.
This was my table, which pretty much looked like last year's table.
The coolest stuff I did was over on Mike's table, which was right next to mine.
All of us in the same place at the same time, finally! :-) Mike Dubber on the left, who did the incredible engraving. Dennis Swager in the middle, who made this whole thing possible and owns these beautiful pieces, and me on the right.
So yeah, back to reality now. I do have a bunch of things in the works I'm super excited about. I'll be buried in paperwork for the next few days (sales taxes, yuck!). February is a busy month with lots of travel, and I'll tell ya more about that as it comes along!
Oh! And "Thankful," the big graphite drawing of the Percheron, won Third Place at the Red Bluff Bull Sale western art show over the weekend (I was not able to attend.) And I REALLY missed all my friends down at the poultry show in Stockton. I wish I could have been there, but I wouldn't trade my weekend for anything!
That's what it feels like lately, like I'm living out of a suitcase. I only half unpack, because no sooner do I start to settle in then I'm off somewhere again. I do love to travel, but it's stressing me out a bit and I'm not keeping up with things I need to keep up with. Note to self, be better at scheduling every minute of the day, and sticking to it...
Last weekend was a poultry show down in Hollister, CA. It was sure nice to see everyone, there were some good friends who I hadn't seen for nearly a year, and I really had an enjoyable weekend. My birds didn't do much damage. One of the males got Reserve of Breed. I've only been showing the Black Breasted Reds this year. I love all the comments I'm getting about them when I show a big group of them, that means a lot to me. Can you believe I've been working on that color for 21 years now? That makes me feel old! I've got the breeding pens pretty well planned out as far as how many of what I'll keep. Oh yeah, sale birds are posted! Head over to Random Rosecombs if you want to buy birds! Hopefully we can finish up the chicken coop in time to start hatching birds in March, although I'm not sure at this point where all my brooders are going to squeeze in... :-) Most of the birds are here now. There are still a few more roosters at Mom's house that I need to bring up as soon as the rest of the pens are done, and some elderly hens who told me they'd really like to just live out their retirement down there in that nice big aviary...
There was some bitter cold weather up here recently. The cows are starting to have their babies, the first one was "Panda" who had a little girl a few days ago on one of those brutally cold mornings. There will be a lot more babies over the next couple months! These free-range cows still seem like such a strange feature to me. My family used to show cows when I was a kid, and show cows get pretty pampered. Babies were weighed and ear-tagged immediately, most of the cows were halter-broken, they got their hooves trimmed. These range cattle live a very different life. Not a bad life, they seem pretty content wandering around!
The last few days have been nice and sunny in the afternoon. I'm up to my eyeballs prepping for an art show, otherwise I'd go riding. But the "work harder" resolution beats the "go riding" resolution, I'm afraid. Hopefully after the show I'll feel like I can spend a little more time out there.
I'll have five pieces entered in the Red Bluff Bull Sale Art Show next Wednesday through Saturday at the fairgrounds in Red Bluff. Do stop by and take a look if you're there. I won't be there though.
I won't be in Stockton either for the ABA National poultry show. Believe me I'm catching lots of flack for that!
I will be in Reno at the Engraving Arts and Firearms Exhibition at the Nugget, January 25-27. I am also giving a seminar entitled "scrimshaw basics" on Monday the 28th. I have been staring at the computer screen til my eyeballs pop out the last few days working on my presentation, which hopefully will, as they say, "kick ass." Cross your fingers... ;-)
Okay, it's almost midnight. The fixative fumes and glass cleaning spray fumes have killed enough brain cells. My pointy-eared orange roommate went to bed, so I think I'll call it a night.
Okay, nine days between posts probably isn't ideal. ;-)
Things feel very "whirlwindy" lately. I went down to Wilton a couple days before Christmas and stayed til a couple days after New Years. And in the middle of that I went to San Diego for a few days. It was really great to see family and friends. Kind of extra great, since I live up here in boonieville now and don't see people as often. But it made for a whirlwind couple of holidays!
I'm really trying to keep my nose to the grindstone and my eyeballs to the microscope, I have a LOT to get done right now. I'll be exhibiting at the Firearms Engravers Guild of America show in Reno at the end of this month, and also giving a presentation about scrimshaw while I am there. No pressure or anything. (OMG!) Still working on that, and a couple new things. I'm SUPER EXCITED to finally see, in person, the completed Greatest Generation Project, and I'm SUPER EXCITED that it was published on the cover of the last Engraver magazine. Yay! :-D
There are also quite a lot of poultry shows coming up in the next two months. I moved a bunch more birds up here earlier this month. Still six more pens to go, but I now have almost all the birds here and can start to think about what to sell and what to keep. I do anticipate listing birds for sale on the website and facebook page next week, though I still need to take photos of everything.
I'm thinking that if I make the blog a wider format, I may be able to blog "on the fly" a little better via the blogger phone app. I do post more stuff on Facebook than I do here. It's easier, it requires less steps, I don't have to be at the computer using the slow internet to do it. We'll see. Updating the website is more important, and I think I figured out a way to do that pretty painlessly.
It's been pretty cold up here this winter. There are more cows now, the guy who leases the land for grazing cows brought over a bunch more of them last month, and they should all start calving very soon. That'll be exciting! You know, because they're not mine and I don't have to do anything with them! I see deer all the time. Haven't seen that white Red Tailed Hawk for months, maybe it just passed through and moved on. Too bad, that was a cool bird.
Well, my pointy-eared orange roommate says it's time to go to bed, and I think he's got the right idea. I'll leave you with a pretty sunset pic from yesterday though!
1) Ride my horse. Ride my horse every day that I can. I live in a gorgeous place, and it's really silly of me to think I can only go riding if someone else is going riding too. So yeah, more riding. Gotta get that horse in shape for the spring roundups!
2) Get back into the habit of walking up and down the hill, at least a few days a week.
3) Answer all my emails. I've had a long-standing love-hate relationship with email. It's been more hate than love for a long time, I need to change that.
4) Meet more people. I have two friends (I live on their property) and three acquaintances in the county where I live. Not cool, that needs to change, I need at least a teeny tiny social life that isn't 200 miles away.