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Stick to it

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I got roped into going to a craft show this weekend, something I normally hate. But I did notice something that I hope is a trend.

I’m not a big fan of arts-and-crafts shows. Too many people, aisles that are too narrow, and too much stuff that stretches the meaning of both “art” and “craft.” Craft-show wares generally fall into two categories: The first, accounting for about 30%, is “things that are sewn” – potholders, placemats, embroidered towels, sports-team doilies and anything crocheted. These things simply don’t interest me, and repetition in this category is mind numbing.

The other category, making up about 60%, is “things on sticks.” Unfortunately, this is the category that most woodworking falls into. If the craft show is in summer, it’s painted wooden cutouts of rainbows on a stick, cutout birds on a stick, flowers on a stick, mushrooms on a stick (which, if they were sold at the food booths, might not be so bad), butterflies on a stick, and on and on. In the fall it’s pumpkins on a stick, witches on a stick, black cats on a stick, turkeys on a stick (which, if they were sold at the food booths…), and the all-time stick champ, the ubiquitous scarecrow on a stick. Approach the holidays, and you get Santa on a stick, stars on a stick, Wise Men on a stick, reindeers on a stick (see food-booth comment above), and, of course, a Christmas tree on a stick. In other words, when it comes to craft shows, if you can put it on a stick, you’re in.

Then there’s that 10% of things that actually display art and/or craft talent. I saw some really good photography. There was some fantastic stained-glass work. No fewer than three woodturners were represented, and their stuff was top-notch. There was a box maker there, and I got a couple good ideas from his fine work.

But one staple of craft shows was singled out by its absence. You’ve seen it hundreds of times. One of your neighbors undoubtedly has one and proudly displays it, in spite of how tacky and stupid it is. You know what I mean: The painted wooden cutout of the fat lady bending over. These awful things at one time occupied an entire category of craft shows all to themselves.

So where did they go? Have tastes improved? Have people realized that these are just tacky? Did they all just outlive their faddishness and simply go the way of Beanie Babies? I’m hoping this is a trend, but there must be some reason you don’t see them at craft shows anymore.

My guess? No one’s ever thought of putting one on a stick. Thank goodness.

Till next time,


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