Even with the economy being down in the dumps, this was the best year I've had in the eight years I've been doing Open Studios. I went into this event with a heavy heart and low expectations, since all the big shows I did this year never paid for themselves.
That all changed after the first weekend, and disappeared after the second. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of you who bought my instruments and folk art. I know you'll enjoy your artwork now, and I'm sure your future generations will enjoy it too.
This year we set up my exhibit differently. Instead of putting everything outside under the event canopy, we set up the guest bedroom as a gallery. This worked out great for display and also for demonstrating instruments.
In a normal size room, the instruments sounded great. Sound is lost in large convention center halls or at outside arts festivals, and people can't get a good idea how an instrument sounds. So... they say "nice, see ya," not "wow, I'll take one!" In our bedroom gallery setup, they did say "wow, I want that one!"
So, some of our old favorites seemed like they were heard like they've never been heard before, and several customers fell in love with them. They all went to very appreciative and loving homes.
Now that I've taken a few days off to put everything away for the year, it's time to finish current projects and start thinking about what to do for 2009. The next year will be an interesting one, since I'm not planning to do a lot of the shows I've been doing. I'll stay off the road until the economy picks up and stabilizes again. I may do one or two fairly local shows, but nothing expensive and away from the west coast or immediate southwest. There will be a change in my company name next year too. Instead of "Coog Instruments and Folk Art", it will be simply "Ron Cook Studios". That way I can go beyond musical instruments and into other sculptural realms.
Stay tuned! There's more to come!