If someone told me in the fall of 2015 that I was going to do the One of a Kind Show in 2016, I probably would have laughed out loud - not out of joy, but out of disbelief. I remember first looking at the application forms in the fall and thinking, there is no way, this show is way beyond me, who am I kidding, that all sounds way too hard.
Yet here I am, April 2016, this show under my belt, done and done. Whew!
So, I thought I'd share 3 thoughts from the show upon digestion and reflection:
1. It takes a village, srsly
There's a reason I call this little business Olive Branch and CO, because although it sometimes feels like a one woman show, it isn't, and it has never been. The only reason this calligraphy business even got off the ground, even if just a little bit, was because of very loving and supportive family and friends, and that came out to me a lot during OOAK. My husband designed the booth and put up the shelves, my best friend helped us put together the gallery wall for the booth, my friends rotated in shifts to be at the booths with me, my family and in laws helped me put everything up and tear everything down, and there were so many other little details - from people bringing food to taking out nails to bringing phone chargers - I am surrounded by people who love me, and I am incredibly grateful for that. There were also so many people/strangers I emailed to ask and who were so incredibly helpful, so I want to recognize that it was in no way just me! It's the only way that something like OOAK could ever happen for me, to have the help of so many, and I don't take that for granted or take it lightly. (To any of my friends and family who are reading this - Thank you! I love you! But you already know that, right?)
2. Old and new friends are awesome
One of the things I love about shows is getting to interact with people and show them calligraphy in action - and that totally still remains! It was so special for me to get to share that with this Toronto calligraphy, but also with friends and loved ones in Toronto who I don't always get to see. One of my friends who came to help me out said that it was exciting for her to be there because she didn't get to see this side of me, which is true - I didn't start all of this until I left Toronto and moved to Montreal, so it made me keenly aware that getting to see me in person doing all of this was something new that I was getting to share with loved ones in Toronto, many of who have known me for 10+ years! The show was such an awesome opportunity to share my work with old friends, and I loved getting to see friends I don't often get to see. I also loved getting to meet new friends - people I had interacted with online or had worked with but never got to meet in person - it was awesome to turn online interactions into in person ones.
3. Dream big, girl.
Doing OOAK reminded me to dream big, to let myself dream about shows and things I want to do. When I first heard about the show, my first thought was, I would LOVE to do that show, immediately proceeded by, wow that sounds really hard and way beyond me. There was one point when I found out I got into the show but the only option for me was to build my own booth as opposed to be in the Etsy section, and I remember talking with my husband about what to do. I knew at that point that it would be beyond me and require so much work, beyond anything I'd ever done logistically and volume-wise, which I knew I was nervous and scared about. But my husband had asked me, okay, what if this was our (future) kids asking whether they should do this? What would you say to them then? I remember pausing, and thinking, I would tell them to go for it, to just try anyway, because I'd want to encourage them to take risks and to do things not out of fear but out of faith… and I realized I was just speaking to myself!
I don't mean that saying yes is always the wise choice, but I think for me, saying yes in the middle of being scared to has been a good thing. It's forced me to lean on the One greater than I, and to not just stick with what I can directly see in front of me, but to step into what's beyond me, what I can't see, trusting that the God who loves me is with me and is guiding these very steps.
So when I think about OOAK, I think I will think about how loved and supported I am, but also that I once thought this was impossible and too hard for me - but, with a lot of good people and hard work and a faithful God who gave me a lot of peace throughout it all - it was done, and done well, and is something I am proud of having done.
Friends, I'm excited for the hard but good things ahead. Thanks for witnessing these things with me!