Sunday, September 12, 2010

Don't Count Your Chickens...

Image from the Cafesjian Carousel, St. Paul, Minnesota
Sometimes, things happen that are almost too wonderful to be believed.  I have decided to take a "wait and see" approach on this one, but I am hoping that I will not have to pinch myself, and wake up shivering.

Last Wednesday morning, I got a phone call from a man who introduced himself as an "agent."  I was immediately suspicious, because on Etsy, that usually indicates a scammer.  Fortunately, I listened to what the guy had to say.  He represented a gentleman who wanted to buy my "January Dawn" necklace from the recent State Fair exhibit, and asked if it was for sale.  I had not planned to sell it immediately, but thought I would do so eventually.  He mentioned his buyer had galleries worldwide, and that the piece would be shown in them as part of the man's collection.  I said I would consider selling the piece, but that it would cost at least $1000, and asked whether this would be off-putting to the buyer.  The agent said the price would not be a problem and that he would be in touch with me.  I thought, "we'll see about that," but I did begin to think about a price. 
Although I had not kept track as I went along as I usually do, I had timed certain operations, and felt I could reasonably extrapolate time and materials, which is how I price my work.  I think many beadweavers just guess what they think a buyer might pay, but having made custom costumes for a living for 25 years, I take a more practical approach.  I decided 60-70 hours was the right time range, and that over $150 worth of materials were involved.  I got out my calculator and created a price, but I was not holding my breath.

That afternoon, about 30 minutes before the dentist appointment where work would begin on the new crown, (partially paid for my my state fair winnings) the agent called again, and this time he wanted me to talk to the buyer, "Gerry."  I think the agent had mentioned the buyers last name, but I did not remember it, so I asked. Being a kind gentleman, the buyer spelled his name, very slowly and carefully, GERARD CAFESJIAN.  The name rang a bell, but nothing specific popped into my head.  I talked with him and discovered he did indeed own a breathtaking, state-of-the-art gallery, Cafesjian Center for the Arts, in Armenia.  He is additionally responsible for the Gerard L. Cafesjina Pavilion at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.  He also has another museum project in progress, the Armenian Genocide Museum of America  in Washington DC. 

He said he had seen "January Dawn" at the Minnesota State Fair, and had to own it for his collection, which contains glass by some of the foremost artists in the world. This was a puzzle for me. I could not imagine a world class art collector snacking on a corn dog and wandering into the Fine Arts building, but there is a connection (the bell that rang in my head) that explains how he came to be there. Mr. Carfesjian is an entrepreneur and philanthropist, and one of his first projects was the restoration and preservation of the historic carousel  from the fairgrounds in St. Paul, which now bears his name.

By this point, I was feeling overwhelmed and rather speechless, but I tried to keep up with the conversation.  He was pleased to find I did not make copies of my work, disappointed that I was not a full-time artist, and sad that many of the things he had seen in the gallery on my humble blog were already in other collections.  He liked the "Daisy Buchanan : Innocence in Decay" work in the ISGB show, which he also expressed interest in purchasing.

I went off to the dentist in a state of dumb-struck awe, and it did occur to me that perhaps the rest of the crown would now be paid for.  I am carefully not counting any chickens yet.  "January Dawn" has moved to another exhibit at the Textile Center of Minnesota Library, and can't be released until November.  But it was a most amazing day for me, and I am still a bit speechless.  The world is a huge and dazzling carousel, and one never knows who or what will be on the next pony that comes around.

15 comments:

  1. How exciting! My heart is beating just a bit faster just thinking about it. It's such a breathtaking piece. I hope everything works out wonderfully...because I fully plan to live vicariously through your well-deserved good fortune!

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  2. I'm just saying... not at all a surprise and soon jewelry may be the cash cow! I will withhold the congratulations until I hear about a check in hand but so happy for you, your work is so amazing and wonderful!

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  3. Oh my gosh! That is fantastic news. I am so happy for you Marsha. You certainly deserve this recognition, I hope the sale goes through with no hitches.

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  4. Thanksso much ladies! I can't wait to see what comes of this. He was such a gentleman.

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  5. Fantastic! Oh I am so happy for you. It is so wonderful when someone appreciates your artwork. Sounds like the real deal!

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  6. Wow! I do hope it's not just all hot air. I love it so when a bead artist is recognized!

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  7. This is wonderful news; I'm glad you were able to recognize the interested buyer's name. Congratulations!

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  8. Wow! Congratulations again! What a wonderful day.

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  9. How wonderful! Sometimes things work out in amazing ways. I hope this brings you future recognition.

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  10. How fantastic! You totally deserve this recognition. I hope everything falls into place for you.

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  11. Wonderful news Marsha! What a wonderful story to have and your piece is going to someone who will treasure it (I'm counting that chicken for you).

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  12. How wonderful! I hope it turns out, what a fabulous opportunity!

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  13. Wow, how great it is! I could only dream to have that happen to me. You are truly a talented lady.

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  14. Congratulations, your works are stunning!

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  15. Hi, Marsha! Chris :D here. I found your blog, and am thrilled! Your work is wonderful and that's understating it.
    Following,
    Chris :D (aka Tapdancer)

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