Parting ways with a labor of love

sunArtwork, Design

Fence post and conduit cut to length with a cutter you spin by hand. Holes bored with a handheld drill. Brightly colored ripstop nylon cut and sewn. Grommets hammered into place. Canopy fittings ordered. A little assistance from someone to weld a couple of pieces and another to help sew a few pieces. Steel cable cut and crimped with connector pieces. So much planning, research, so much time and financial investment. A gazillion trips to Lowe’s. A couple of long drives to a retail display store. Nearly everything done by hand. Jumping out of bed each morning with excitement to build and plan what pieces go where and how it can be reconfigured for different layouts, how to ensure it will fit in my car. Trial and error through a first iteration that didn’t work so well at my first show, to the beauty I have now. My art show booth.

To me, it is an industrial work of art itself. I find it gorgeous, and it’s so typical me, in both good and bad ways. It’s me expressing my creativity and love of engineering and floor plans and building things and working with my hands. It’s me going all-out and over the top into something unnecessary that may never pay off. And oh, man! The ideas I had that I never even built, because they were too involved (haha) or too expensive. They’re flooding back to me now. Crazy beautiful and fun. I’m getting excited all over again.

At a show one day, as the wind was really picking up, a patron noted that my rock-solid booth wasn’t going anywhere.

No, not then.

But today.

I might actually shed a few tears, but it’s time to let this go.

Building this provided one of the stretches in my life when I was happiest to get out of bed each day. This type of project excites me in a way few other things do. I almost built a geodesic dome booth for the year my spot was on that round platform, but I wisely chose not to! Yes, there were times I neared exhaustion and broke down emotionally, as I furiously worked on it with looming deadlines, but I still have a huge attachment to this framework. It has felt like an extension of me. Who else would appreciate this like I do? Especially the imperfect first run, below.

I’m currently doing a minimalism challenge: day 9 of 30 (I’m actually ahead of the game, done with day 11). I’m at a point in my life where I’m just ready to let go of things that are more of a weight than a positive, at least to a certain point well beyond what it was previously :).

I considered if I would attempt to sell this outright as a whole. I’m not sure I actually recommend anyone use this as a booth! There are much easier systems available that are lighter in weight and easier to assemble. No, I will sell off or recycle individual parts, keeping a few elements of it that are quite useful on their own.

While a bit sad, I know the freedom I will gain from lightening my load wherever I can will be even more wonderful. I haven’t used this in years nor do I foresee needing it again, thus despite all the effort that went into it, it can go. I’m trying to detach the memory from the object, and attempting to not hold onto things indefinitely just in case. This was easier when the parts—current + spare + rejected pieces from the first iteration—were just stored in the closet :). Looking at all these photos I just pulled out makes it harder to want to part with my core new frame! But, it also reminds me how much can be accomplished with just those grid panels (which fold flat), a folding table, and a few accessories I already intended to keep that have proven useful for other things over the years. It’s like a bonus backup plan while still parting with the bulk.


Side note, I recently have had a replacement for this type of creative outlet as I researched and planned a portable framework for our Vulnerability Wall at RTC that we can reuse. There were lots of measurement sketches involved :). We used this framework for the first time at the most recent Social Venture Network conference to great success. No conduit needed!