I usually go to the shows to get inspired by ideas, and buy some smaller items... there's usually a row or two of gourmet food items and that always makes good gifts. This year I bought a small pottery dish that has these little spikes in the middle of the bowl... it's for rubbing garlic cloves on, then add a bit of olive oil and dip in some crunchy bread. Yumm--I looove garlic. I also bought a couple of small stained-glass ornaments to hang in my kitchen window; I bought two last year so now I have one for each "section" of the window, one to represent each season of the year... I have a "thing" for the four seasons, too.
I also have a serious love of words. So when I stumbled into Rebecca Grace Jones' booth I felt right at home. She makes Words and Weavings, and I just fell in love with so many of them. I especially love this one that's on her website, and a whole bunch that aren't. Most of her work that was in the booth was like this one or this one--a weaving with words, with or without a small watercolor, mounted onto a handmade paper or mat. But there were a few that were paintings with a weaving with words mounted on top.
Although this was not the first thing in the booth that caught my eye, when it finally did I stared at it for a long time, and my throat got tight. Rebecca saw me and came over and we stared talking. I told her how much I love the piece and how beautiful her artwork is. I told her how lovely it was that everything she makes is actually handmade and hand-written; I was disappointed with the number of artists who were selling digital prints of their original artwork at prices that you'd expect to pay for originals. She said that a lot of people just don't notice or don't care, and seemed happy that I appreciate the difference.
I looked around some more, and decided that it was a big enough purchase that I needed to think it over overnight at the least... and knowing me, I knew that that would probably mean I'd talk myself out of it and come up with a lot of reasons why I shouldn't buy it (some of them true and valid, some of them false and self-defeating).
So I left her booth and walked around the rest of the show; at one point I thought it was only 15 minutes until the show closed, so I ran up and down the last two aisles to see if there were any must-haves, just in case I decided not to come back the next day. When I realized that nobody was leaving I looked at my watch again and laughed out loud realizing that there was another hour left, so I looped back around at a more leisurely pace. :) Then I went back through the whole show floor to the booths I'd marked to check out again--I try not to buy on the first go-round in case I find something better further later on... yes, I'm a Maximizer, remember? :) After I finished that, I decided to go take another look at the painting one last time before I left.
And I felt the same thing I'd felt the first time I looked at it. Like I was seeing something so true and real and beautiful to me that my throat tightened and my eyes welled up. I told myself that I could always come back tomorrow, and if it was gone then it just wasn't meant to be. I talked to Rebecca again and told her that I'd probably be back the next day; I had to crunch some numbers to see if I could make it work. She told me that it meant a lot to her that I loved it so much; she'd had it for quite a while and was wondering who would fall in love with it. I told her that I understood, I've experienced the same thing making jewelry; I've made some things that didn't sell for a while and just when I'm starting to question it, all of a sudden someone will order it and tell me how absolutely perfect it is for them. Everything lines up.
As I walked away yet again, heading towards the exit, I knew that everything had lined up; it was meant to be mine. I don't feel that way often, at least not about purchasing things, so the fact that I felt this way was significant. So I sat down and called Jason. We have a rule about purchases over a certain amount, plus it's Christmas, so the budget for the month is
So I went back and told Rebecca the good news; I had to have it. Because I could pay with check (rather than credit card), and I think also because she was happy it was going to someone who loved it so much, she even gave me a very generous discount! As I carried it out to the car I was so happy I cried a little, and I couldn't stop smiling in the car on the drive home, even in stop-and-go traffic. :)
I propped it up in the hallway at the top of the stairs, and in between hammering jewelry orders today I keep sneaking upstairs to sit in front of it and just take it in. I'm so, so happy with it. I love the words (which Rebecca wrote) and I love that it's Grace with a capital G. I love that it's in both warm and cool colors. I love that the trees and the colors and the slanting purple shadows remind both Jason and me of Italy. I love that the words are written on shimmery paper the same color as the frame, and that the threads in the weaving match the colors in the painting perfectly. I love the balance and the reaching branches and the blue sky. I love it.
I hope that this weekend you're finding whatever is true and real and beautiful to you, too. :) [Click on any of the photos to see them larger.]