Selling Crafts in the Temple of Ungit

Last weekend, I “sold” my handmade books in a craft fair.  The lights were all on but I had to focus hard to see what these artisans had made.  The room was filled with the holy dimness of a Catholic school basement-sanctuary.

It was dark. And freaking cold, my kids would say. I could not get warm anywhere. Every once in awhile I managed to put my discomfort out of conscious thought, and then a cold wind would pass down the center of the room like a giant angry ghost.

I say “sold” because very little selling actually occurred. The invites for the show encouraged me to imagine a bustling, crowded springtime fair with moon-bounce, face-painting, and a show space full of interested shoppers. The reality was slightly different. In the huge parking lot setting the school far back from the busy road, passing travelers may have noticed a moon-bounce far away back there along with a few tables, all lost on the huge empty space. I wouldn’t have turned in either.

I didn’t make my entrance fee back, not even close. That’s always the chance you take, of course. You can never predict whether your work will happen to pique interest enough for people to actually give you money in exchange for what you’ve made. (It still amazes me every time it happens.) Customers are all individuals and their interests and tastes are varied. But the one thing vendors ought to expect from fair promoters is a good-faith effort to attract visitors.

And maybe to turn on the heat. Worst craft show experience to date.

 

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13 thoughts on “Selling Crafts in the Temple of Ungit

    1. madblog Post author

      A fizzle is always a possibility; maybe your stuff just doesn’t attract anyone. I’ve learned that you rarely know what to expect.
      I make softcover blank books by hand. It’s a skill I picked up in an elective at art college and a few years ago I started making some sketchbooks for myself and realized I could sell them.
      Thanks for asking!

      Liked by 1 person

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        1. madblog Post author

          I do make paper and incorporate some of it into the books. But as decorative elements, not the paper in the book. I’m not that good a papermaker!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. madblog Post author

          Thanks for your confidence, but good hand papermaking is actually an especially difficult skill to acquire. I don’t think I have the time!

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Andrew

    You describe well the crypt-like coldness of certain “churches”.
    Holy dimness ha ha ha (they need more Light )☺

    Was it in an actual church basement?

    My wife is from Central America. The few times I entered RC cathedrals in her hometown I was struck by how morbid and spooky they feel. Awful wooden mannequins of Christ and Mary, some half-way between a dwarf and a normal size. They look at you beseechingly from shadowy corners of the edifice (reaching out with those weird Catholic holy hand gestures) and make your flesh crawl. Carved replicas of Christ with painted blood and thorns, enclosed in glass-lined coffins… I shudder.

    You won’t find much “bounce ” in such places !

    Sorry you had a less than brisk sales experience.

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    1. madblog Post author

      I grew up in the Catholic church, a particularly “dead” one, so the surroundings were familiar to me. But my husband, who grew up in mainline Protestantism, had a fresh take on the experience which showed me how it can look to outsiders. And how humorous.

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    1. madblog Post author

      I said to my son that no one would get my nerdy joke. Ungit is the (probably) Babylonian god in C.S. Lewis’ Til We Have Faces. The narrator notes how, in her pagan orientation, darkness and cold and bloodiness equals holiness. When I started thinking how like a dark, cold cave this was, with its cavernous echoes, it put me in mind of the descriptions of Ungit’s temple. Not at all appropriate for a craft show venue, but I also knew how blind to its inadequacy would be the hosts.

      You really should check out this novel. It is my very top favorite and after many readings I still find fresh insights.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Andrew

        It did have that Canaanite/Ugaritic ring to it !
        Is the Lewis novel part of his Sci-Fi trilogy which I never read?

        I love “The Great Divorce”.

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