Dear Blog Readers,
We have become the kind of blogger we never wanted to be — the kind who has a "read our blog" button on our website but the newest post is months old. We blame Facebook for this — it's so much easier to write something there and we seem to have more followers there than we did here on the blog. Still, we can't quite bring ourselves to give it up altogether yet — so instead, we're posting this little note to explain our lack of current entries. Please do check out our facebook page, we think it's fun, if not quite as long form.
sincerely, the Joie de Blogger.

Monday, February 20, 2012

How Far the Mighty Have Fallen!

So, I am at the Philadelphia Craft Fair - a wholesale craft show where I find jewelry, kaleidoscopes, wooden puzzle boxes and many of the beautiful handmade items you see on the shelves of Joie de Vivre. I think this is the 20th winter that I have attended, before moving on to the Baltimore American Craft Council Show where I will also find a few things. Both shows are struggling. For example - where there were once 27 kaleidoscope makers exhibiting their work, this year there were only six. The show is expensive to do, flying to Philadelphia, constructing a booth, hotels, dinners, and many have decided that they can't afford it, with the economy the way it is. The craft movement is also greying, so retirement as well as economic difficulty has resulted in fewer buyers and fewer independent stores. There are curtains sectioning off part of the gigantic exhibit hall to try to minimize the way the show has shrunk, but even so, there are empty spaces in almost every aisle. This is all a very long winded (& hopefully interesting) way of introducing my title topic. I was talking to Marc Tickle, a kaleidoscope maker, and glanced across the aisle - and saw a very strange booth. It was the New York Times, another grey lady herself, "manned" by two guys trying to convince people to subscribe to the paper. ?!? Huh? At a wholesale craft fair? In the aisles with the exhibitors? How desperate are they? And why did the show management decided the New York Times was an appropriate "vendor"? I think I have a pretty good idea about question one - but question two - I intend to find out! Stay tuned . . . ..

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