I am just back from a week’s buying trip for the shop and the landscape company that took me to Georgia and Tennessee. I shop in Atlanta first and foremost for holiday 2011. What better time? The holiday and winter work is fresh in my mind. My holiday season goes way well into January-I am not complaining. I rather like it. Whatever work I do usually has a sidecar attached. What could be different? What could be better? Where do we go now? Shopping the Atlanta Mart for holiday is not for the faint of heart. Three buildings in the heart of downtown Atlanta, each in excess of 20 stories, is home to manufacturers of every description. Holiday. Gift. Garden. Museum. Children. This list is long. Atlanta hosts business owners from all over the country; this is the Mart’s main event of the year. The showrooms are packed. It takes every bit of 5 days to see everything, put an idea for a collection together, and place orders. This usually means 5 days that start at 8am and are still going on at 8pm. Some showrooms are permanent, but open only on specific days or specific shows. Some showrooms are temporary; Eva Gordon shows on the temp floors.
Eva is a Canadian ceramicist; I would guess she is in her mid seventies now. She comes to Atlanta every January. Though her work is well known, she comes to Atlanta herself. She wants to talk to people like me, who own shops, about her work. I greatly admire her work-I admire her more for this. The Atlanta Mart is a forum, a place to show, for no end of talented people who have the idea to convince people like me that their work deserves attention. The Mart is much about people meeting over beautiful work.
This is a shopping trip of a different sort. It could not be more different than my Monday afternoon Christmas trip to a store in town to browse and buy a gift for a friend, or for Tine. This is a working shopping trip. The Atlanta show-any hundreds of showrooms, each and every one stuffed with objects that I may or may not have a love for-this is work to focus, and really see what is there. The work is to make a plan, sort out what you like, and buy. What am I thinking will drive the 2011 holiday season, and what else is out there that will make my idea clear? I may visit the better part of the showrooms we like spread out over 60 floors 2 or 3 times. I walk until I cannot take one more step. Part of the fun of this shopping trip-I am not alone. Atlanta is alive with shop owners from all over the country- much like me. I meet some of them at Eva Gordon’s booth. All of us like her work.
Atlanta in January is my idea of a working vacation in a warm climate-but for this year. They were slammed with 7 inches of unexpected snow, and incredibly low temperatures just before I got on the road. Ice, and more ice. This city has no store of salt for bad weather, nor do they have a plan for bad weather. No plows. I delayed my trip there for two days, hoping they would sort it all out. The downtown area looked a little like the beach-tons of sand had been spread over the ice. The Atlanta police direct traffic at the intersection of the 3 buildings all day and every day- so everyone can cross safely.
The winter beach streets amused me-I am from a northern climate that handles wintry weather routinely. Meaning, we melt the snow. As there is no postponing the show, Atlanta did what they could to welcome their guests. It is a lively, energetic and friendly city. Who knows how Eva Gordon got here, but I am happy she did.
Any fruit or vegetable, any garden idea, any holiday reference to the garden-no matter the medium-I am in Atlanta searching. I searched for the better part of 5 days. Did I mention that Eva Gordon’s plates make my heart pound? My pictures are from a wall in my kitchen; I think they look great.