Off the road for awhile! The fall show season definetly went better than I expected. We started off with Atlanta arts festival winning " Best in Clay" award and hangin with my good friends Erik and Luba from Mudfire. TACA in Nashville, to all those who do their fall show..... this was our best year ever there....CRAZY!!! Third show was Pink Palace in Memphis. This has been my best show. Its a 4 day show and 6 and1/2 hours away. Long time to be away from my family. My Best friend Toney came up to see me for a bit and Must have brought the good luck. Thurs, Amy Bethea, an avid Shadow May collector and friend came and grabbed a good amount of the cream of the crop pots and it dominoed from there. 3 of the 4 days still ahead for sellin. Thats exactly what happened. I Left the show on Sun with 3/4 of all my high end show pieces not going back with me. It's nerve racking enough just attempting to be an artist than trying to sell your work to an audience. We got rained out of two spring shows and the last 4 were not responding yet to my evolved work. Bills got paid and alot of stress but we got through still making new work. I really had to reason and go with my gut that this is important, my work is important, but my family is more important. With going into a showless summer to make work for the fall season, the restaurant came into the picture and helps us supplement the small stuff that adds up. This fall after our epic Pink Palace show I had three weeks to give a workshop @Applachian center for arts in Norris TN. and fire the kiln a couple times for the WNC potters Festival in Dillsboro NC and my last two shows of the year "Festival of the Masters" in downtown Disney World and Mudfire's annual holiday christmas show in Decatur, GA. Stayed with very good friends, Kelly and Joe Frank from Treehouse pottery in Dillsboro,NC for the potters fest. The Clay olympics were fri and I Participated but came in last this year floppin every pot that I put on the wheel. Not surprising because I'm much better at takin clay away then actually doin it right on the wheel. It was a good time. Sat was the show and we all woke up to snow and cold weather. For me, I hadn't seen snow in awhile and was pretty happy to be back in the mountains of north carolina selling more pots and seeing ol friends. Alot of thinking when your on the road. We had knocked out 4 shows so far, and I was headin back home for a few days before goin down to Florida. I had just got both our vehicles brakes, oil changes, new winshield and an axle on the car. Was able to fix some things on the house and get more supplies for the buisness(clay,glazes,tools.) Most importantly good shows allow me to spend more time at home with my son and wife for longer periods of time. I was still nervous gettin ready to head down to Orlando, Fl for the show. 9 hours away, four nites in a hotel and enough 7 eleven chicken tenders to gag you. I was conserving on money? This show was unique, being that all the artists have had to won a best of show or first place in another high ranking juried fine art show to even apply. The caliber of work was pretty incredible. It was the first show I had been to where no clay artist or potter had or put out mugs, cups or utilitarian items. Anyway I got selected two pieces on Fri for the judging on sun at the awards ceremony. I t really mattered to me for a min about the awards. Everyone likes gettin awards. Until I brought the work to where the judging was to be held. The other clay artists blew me away. I felt that I didnt even have a chance because the work was so good. Fri and Sat were a little slow. Sold a few pieces and had to pull out some mugs on sat just to make a few more sales. I had to remind myself that people actually lived here. With all the entertainment who comes and buys art at disney world? Sun morn..7:30, in the house of blues the award ceremony starts.They had a killer breakfast buffet for the artists an a professional presentation. There are twelve catergories for awards. I was in the "clay" catergory. There were about 40 clay artists in the show functional, semi-functional and non functional all lumped into one clay catergory. Clay was first for announcing and I'm not gonna lie...I was maybe hoping for a merit award. No merit award. By the time they had gotten to third place I knew there was no way, This is my first time at the show and There where clay sculptors that had more dramatic work so i started to head out so i could open up the tent and get ready for the last day of sales. Last sip of my coffee and one foot out the door i kid you not they announced "Shadow May" First place for his Lg Flanged Bowl of all pieces. I about pooped my pants. I really couldnt believe it. There was a man standing at a pedestal on stage describing my piece and the description I had wrote, Two of the directors and Mickey Mouse and a big ribbon with a big check. Back stage they gave me directions," Your gonna go out greet Mickey,get your ribbon, smile and take two pictures and then come back" The funny thing was that the speaker must have not seen me coming down the aisle cause he kept calling me a she until I came from back stage to recieve my award. He quickly said," excuse me...He" It was pretty surreal. A deer in headlights. There is a 2,3,and 1st place in every catergory and only 1 Best in Show award. I automatically get to come back next year without the jurying process. I have 10 diney passes from the show so It's gonna be a nice family trip next year. Rocket will have a blast. On my way home believe it or not I had some nice work to drop off for the holiday christmas show @mudfire in Decatur ,georgia. The show starts Nov.26 and goes till Dec.23 with an artist reception and holiday party Dec.4, 5-9 pm. So there it is I had made a 6 month plan to put it all out there, make stick your kneck out there work and supplement funds by working at the restaurant. I think I exceeded my expectations and got enough mental fuel and encouragment to keep pushin my work despite a bad spring. My recent acceptance into the southern highlands craft guild was huge also. I hope to be in the July show in Asheville and possibly doin a little wholesale with arrowmont gallery in Gatlinburg soon. If you want to make exceptional work, the kinda stuff that not everyone is gonna like theres gonna be a lot of rejection but what you do get back is extrordinary. By the way, This year I sold about 25-30 mugs and cups between 5 big shows....the rest were all show pieces, thats crazy to me and exciting. Maybe in a year i will have weeded out anything functional...maybe not but i am starting to see something big happening. Thanks everyone who came to the shows and supported me and everyone who took my workshops this year, hope to see you again. You really helped me and my little family more than you can imagine.With what we saved and a couple days at the restaurant a week I'll be making new work and applying to more shows for the spring. I now have a " for sale" page on my website www.shadowpottery.com I'll be putting pics up on it this week so check it out.