Inspiring conversation at yesterday's show

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Forum topic by Betsy posted 07-03-2016 08:50 PM 737 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3391 posts in 3861 days

07-03-2016 08:50 PM

My show yesterday was a bit lackluster in terms of sales. No one was doing very well – but that was probably due, in large part, to the stifling hot temperatures. So while I did have my lowest sales ever – I had a very nice conversation with a lady who I’d say was probably in her mid to late 80s. She came to the show with her son who was also a woodworker. They were both very kind and I really appreciated the son’s comments on how good he thought my boards were. But the best part of the conversation was with his mother. This lady who walks with a cane and shakes a bit, is a woodcarver and a pretty good one from the samples she was wearing. She likes little things to carve. I must admit I love to look at good carving because it’s not something I can’t do and there are so many carvers out there that can make a block of wood look alive. The intricate carvings she showed me were amazing. But what is more inspiring for me was that here is this 80+ year old lady and she’s still excited to talk about her craft and she doesn’t mind being the only woman in her carving club – which is cool in its own right. It just really made my day. It was nice enough for them to enjoy looking at my boards and talking wood – but just her obvious enthusiasm and cheerful spirit just made the whole day better – regardless of my sales totals.

i know I’m probably not conveying this well enough to do it justice – but this lady really made me feel good. Just shows me that you never know where or when inspiration will come your way. But when it does come it’s a feeling like very few others.

Just wanted to share this – just becauseā€¦.

Thanks for reading

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

9 replies so far

View lew's profile


12018 posts in 3721 days

#1 posted 07-03-2016 09:15 PM

Great story, Betsy!

It is so enjoyable to be able to talk with crafts-persons older than ourselves. Their experiences, knowledge and passions provide us all with valuable insights.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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Mr M's Woodshop

420 posts in 3033 days

#2 posted 07-03-2016 09:26 PM

I enjoy the craft, but I do it for the people.

My wife makes small batch lotions & soaps. In her real life, she’s a geriatric nurse practitioner … so she’s dealing with end of life care, chronic diseases, upset family members … her job is a challenge (and she loves it). HOWEVER, she makes her lotions & soaps because, as she says, no one has ever cried when she handed them a bar of soap.

Craft fairs are a great hobby … but you have to really enjoy bumping elbows with people. And you’re right, Betsy, one nice conversation provides me enough power to go back to the shop to make a whole new batch or two of boards!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3861 days

#3 posted 07-03-2016 10:29 PM

thanks guys. I must admit Henry – I’m not the best people person. I deal with people all day long – mostly on the phone and I’m usually the one calling the shots so it’s easy. But bumping elbows with folks outside of work has always been a challenge for me. But since my friends have pushed me (and I do mean push) to do shows – my confidence is growing and I’m actually enjoying the people a whole lot more now that I ever have had. Took my 50+ years to get here – but I’m glad I’m finally getting it. :-)

Lew you are right about getting with older folks and gaining their knowledge and enthusiasm for their crafts.


-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Vjeko's profile


135 posts in 3380 days

#4 posted 07-03-2016 11:06 PM

Betsy, thanks for that – you’ve just inspired me and given me confidence
that at 56 I still have a possibility of becoming a real woodworker ;)

-- Vjeko Balas - Croatia

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20289 posts in 3071 days

#5 posted 07-04-2016 12:51 AM

That sure is great, Betsy. I had a poor show a week ago, but any more the part I enjoy most is interacting with the customers and trading ideas and learning new sources and methods. That lady sounded most interesting and that is what keeps us going…keep doing the things you love no matter what your age!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View ellen35's profile


2734 posts in 3398 days

#6 posted 07-04-2016 11:12 AM

What an awesome story. Fairs can be tedious especially when involving moving large quantities of wood! Most people are polite and many are very nice. Every once in a while, you run into someone who makes it all worthwhile. She sounds inspirational… to all of us who do shows. I’ll be looking for that one inspiration next week at my second show of the season.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3861 days

#7 posted 07-04-2016 12:26 PM

Thanks all – definitely will be with me a while.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View scrollingmom's profile


1161 posts in 2429 days

#8 posted 07-05-2016 02:15 PM

Good story. I also liked the part where she is the only woman in her club. I don’t know about you, but I run into that alot. If both my husband and I are together and they want to know about the scrollsawing they start talking to him first about it. The look on their face when they find out its me is pretty funny sometimes.

-- Kelly, Allen,KS

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3391 posts in 3861 days

#9 posted 07-05-2016 05:37 PM

Kelly – not one show goes by where I’m not “tested” by guys to see if I really am the woodworker or I’m standing in for my husband/boyfriend. It’s aggravating to be sure, and it used to bother me, now I just let it slide. Of course times do arise when the questioning gets a bit out of hand – but generally and for the most part I’m okay with it. I do call time when they start sounding a bit aggressive trying to trip me up.

I’m with you thought – it can be funny sometimes. One guy not long ago asked me about my band saw. I told him I had a Jet 14” saw. He said I must be mistaken because he doesn’t believe there’s a band saw out there that has a 14” blade. I just chuckled to myself and moved on.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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