Monday, October 19, 2015

Recap: Long's Park Art & Craft Festival 2015

Long time, no see! Which is entirely my fault and I appreciate your willingness to read my sporadic updates.

The last time I took a seat in the blogging chair (which in reality is a wooden stool at a work bench in the middle of the shop) was a couple of months ago as we finished up "Buried Treasure" and before our big annual trip to Long's Park Art & Craft Festival in Lancaster, PA. Labor Day weekend the one time a year we break down and load up all of the immensely heavy speculation furniture pieces we have into a horse trailer and set it up under a tent in a beautiful park for the world to see/sit/touch/buy. Care to hear about it? Cool, because I'm going to tell you about it.

The week before the show was spent collecting all of our unsold speculation pieces into the shop for a mock-up of what we wanted to the booth to look like. When you have so many large pieces paired with the aim to make a tent that's cozy and inviting (instead of intimidating), it's good measure to do the rearranging and 'hmm, maybe try that over there' dance while we have the time and space in the shop. Amongst other things, we were taking along the big live edge walnut table sofaour two live edge walnut desks, and the Morris chairs and so we wanted to create a living room environment you couldn't resist taking a seat in even if it was located in a tent in the middle of a public park. When the furniture placement was decided, everything was dusted and detailed, broken down into it's smaller parts, wrapped up, and packed into the trailer, truck, and cars. The biggest and heaviest pieces were stacked onto a big cart tetris-style and pulled into the trailer with a block and tackle pulley system. Then it was onto days of gathering all the last minute boring stuff- price tags, box of cleaning supplies, tool boxes, business cards, overhead lighting, signs and posters, a lot of zip ties, etc.

Upon a bright and early arrival to Long's Park on Thursday, we rolled the cart out of the trailer and begin the unloading process. Thanks to Tents For Rent, our necessarily enormous tent was set up and ready to go so we just had to unwrap and assemble everything we had brought. It's the finer details that tend to take the longest- hanging lights, unwrapping moving blankets, attaching the price tags, assembling the 'Apprentice's Corner', and doing the final polishing. All in all though, I'd say (with the gracious help of my dear friend Abby and one of our stellar alumni Jimmy) we did a good job setting up a rockin' tent. Before we pull down the sides of the tent and tuck the furniture in for the night before show day #1, we all crack a beer and cheers to the hope of good weather, big crowds, fun times, and lots of sales!

The weekend was not only fun, but also a success for the Lohr Woodworking Studio. "Buried Treasure", the live edge walnut coffee table with a twenty year old walnut captured in the crotch of the slab, was sold before we even wrapped it up to bring it to the park. One of our alumni called up and bought it as a wedding present for his son before the public got the chance. Thanks, Dan! Beyond that, we said goodbye while the Bowmans said hello to Jeff's brown oak burl cocktail table which was made from what small bits remain of the infamous all-burl oak log that came to us from the UK to make "Resurrection" and "Frontier". Rob's ghost/ambrosia maple coffee table found it's forever home with a favorite loyal Lohr School of Woodworking alumni, Rob & his wife Deb (although I think it's safe to say the decision to snag the table was all hers). I even managed to sell a few smaller pieces from my Apprentice's Corner!

When the weekend wrapped, we were most excited at the lack of rain that was coming down. Last year we found ourselves in the midst of a monsoon as we tried desperately to protect and pack all the wood furniture. An event like that will make you appreciate a sunny Sunday more than you can imagine. Anyway, it's amazing how much more quickly packing up must be than unpacking. The show closes it's doors at 5pm on Sunday and it's always a personal goal to hit the road before it's completely dark. We count ourselves damn lucky to have the kind of amazing and kindhearted students we do because Jimmy & John traveled more than a few miles with smiles to help us and Eoin pack everything up in record time. Thanks fellas, you are truly the best!

There are few things better than a weekend spent among fellow artists, craftsmen, admirers, and shoppers in an open air, late summer park setting. It's always such a treat to get to talk with so many new and different people from all over the country. I am especially grateful to have the chance to step into such a creative and motivated world at such a young age and being so new to the game. I am beyond lucky to have fallen into the arms of Lohr Woodworking and it's weekends like this I'm proudest to show the world what these gents have taught me and what wonderful things we do together.

A HUGE thank you to the organizers of the Long's Park Art & Craft Festival, the festival goers, the fellow artists, and especially the people who fell in love with our work enough to take it home with them. Cheers to the end of a beautiful summer and the start of a cool autumn. Keep your eyes open for upcoming posts on several projects we have starting up for this winter!

[Inside Scoop: There's a desk, a veneer cabinet, a Woodcraft Magazine article, and maybe even the start of a new show room in the works for winter- and that's just the beginning!]