Six days since leaving our shrink-wrapped pallets behind at SOFA Chicago

Fourteen days before arriving at Art Miami

I’m still digesting the lessons learned on Navy Pier. When it’s gelled into something more coherent than I’m capable of today, I’ll put a post together.

In the meantime, the latest news: our SOFA return shipment arrived at the gallery in Portland on Friday. By end-of-day Saturday the tireless gallery team had packed, wrapped, and strapped the Miami pallets that are now waiting for a Monday pick-up.

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Friday inside the Saatchi Galleries, it’s all business. Sales are stronger than we’ve seen in years.

Without a doubt the most satisfying clients are the ones who return a year later to say they deeply regret the purchase they didn’t make the year before and would like to make up for it immediately!

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It’s a portent. Gallery. Mess.

Walking into London’s Saatchi Gallery to set up for this year’s Crafts Council COLLECT fair, I notice the signage over the posh café that’s pimping itself at the entrance to Charles Saatchi’s refurbished military barracks, aka Duke of York Headquarters, aka chichi Chelsea’s chicest exhibition space. We’ve arrived. That’s me, Jamie, our gallery’s assistant director, and Jeff, formerly our gallery’s head preparator until he moved to England.

How cool is this? It’s our fourth time doing COLLECT. We must think this makes sense.

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As the only gallery at Art Miami showing exclusively art made of glass, we’ve been the seed for some provocative conversations.

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Just because it looks posh on the outside, doesn’t mean that any Royal Treatment awaits within.

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Small children being forced to run endless laps on the track in front of Saatchi’s glam digs should have alerted us  to the drudgery that lay ahead.

And sure enough…much as I utterly ADORE doing  COLLECT  in London, it’s the same old grind when it comes to setting up for this art fair.

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We’re only a week away from SOFA Chicago. Love it or hate it, SOFA is THE event for artists and designers in our field. It’s where the most important collectors gather to spy and buy, to check out the best of contemporary glass (and other media, but let’s not get off track) and to see what’s new in the field.

An old SOFA. In 2006 we used our booth to spotlight some great talent, artists who had worked at North Lands Creative Glass.

This year we’ve dedicated the Bullseye Gallery booth to showcasing past participants in our biennial e-merge competition.

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I found North Lands in 2001. Although it’s probably more accurate to say that it found me. I was standing in a nearly empty booth at the SOFA/Chicago fair a month after 9/11 when Dan Klein stopped by. In reply to my musings as to where one could go to escape a world gone mad, he said simply “Come to North Lands”.

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Double rainbows are as abundant in Caithness as parking tickets in downtown Portland.

North Lands isn’t actually the name of a specific location – it’s more a state of mind. North Lands Creative Glass is in Caithness, Scotland, the northernmost county of mainland Britain. The school itself is in the village of Lybster. Surrounding Lybster is a landscape that is the most ancient I’ve ever experienced. And one where Doing Art makes uncanny sense.
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As art fairs go, so went COLLECT. Hours of endless chatter punctuated by moments of high hope crumbling into I’m-just-lookings, or I’ve-spent-a-fortune-alreadys, or call-me-when-you’ve-got-another-in-a-cooler/warmer/darker/ lighter-shade.
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Factory schmactory. I’m on my way to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to set up Bullseye’s stand at COLLECT, the international art fair for contemporary objects.

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Fifteen hours, three airports and a cultural canyon away from Garlic Gulch.
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