Whoa mama! What a trip! I just got back Sunday from an amazing journey, so I will try and give you a quick update on an amazing 2 weeks!
Firstly we had a rather dramatic night before we left, as the travel agent hadn’t ticketed our plane tickets to the airline! Then the worst turbulence from Sydney – LA that I have ever experienced, lasted 3 hours, then a moment when we all thought we would die as the plane from LA to NY had to do an emergency landing in Detroit due to ‘leaking hydraulic fluid’!! Fire engines & ambulances waiting & everything! We had to be towed to the terminal! I really thought I was going to die, as did most of the passengers! It was also a long 7 hours addition to our trip, which ended up being about 35 hours from door to door I think.
Finally meeting my Forest Foundry girls was just sooo wonderful! Even though I was a jetlagged mess! (I think I totalled 6-8 hrs sleep in 3 days by that point)! They were so much nicer (if that is even possible) in person, than they are online! Considering we hadn’t met in person before, it was amazing how we all felt like we knew each other, just from our online interactions! We set up the rest of our booth, as the wonderful Katy had already hung the banners the day before, and it looked so much better than we could have dreamt! All the different colours and styles magically looked fab all together! Then we all had dinner together that night, at a cute little Asian fusion place that Victoria knew.
Next day was show time! Our apartment which housed 6 of us (+ 2 partners) was a very convenient 15 minute walk away, which was a great chance for us to all have a chat, and get a sense of NY, on the way. What a busy city! So many people, and such energy courses through the veins of that place! Surtex itself was pretty big, but at the same time was a stationary and a home show, so the whole massive building was completely abuzz with people, and overwhelming with so much visual stimulation! Our booth was conveniently close to the toilets, and just before the attelier section, in a nice middle row corner spot. It just all looked so fab together, and with most of us all wearing outfits with our prints on them, we were a-wash with beautiful colour!
There is nothing like a near death experience to put things in perspective, so when the show opened, I was suprisingly completely stress free! Except for the jetlag, I was so relaxed! I thought i would be nervous to meet all the MATS students, and Lilla Rogers, our awesome teacher, and especially potential clients, but it became apparent very early on, that the show was filled with the nicest and friendliest of folks, no matter who they were. I haven’t smiled that much in a long time. It was a bit like a giant social convention in some ways!
The best thing was, our booth felt like a total hit! We constantly had a buzz of folks around our booth, and people came looking specifically for us as they had heard of us online, or had been recommended by others walking the floor! We had students and other artists also come and see what we were up to, and wanting to join us! It really was a spectacular 3 days! We made so many contacts, and with some really diverse and interesting companies, some really BIG names as well! So cool!
On the Monday night we had a dinner with about 35 MATS students in West Village (or was it East?) and that was fantastic too! I am not so good in large groups, i find it a bit overwhelming, but i managed to get some little catch-ups with lots of my online friends. Priceless really. Also that day there was a special Q&A session that Lilla Rogers organised for all her MATS students. Our booth was so busy that we had to take turn to man it though, so I only caught half of it, but it was really informative and helpful, and it was just awesome to see and hear Lilla in the flesh. She is so inspiring, a real dynamo. I also got to meet the fantastic Margo Tantau, she is a little bit my hero too, she is such a strong supporter of Artists, a real champion, (and super stylish to boot)!
After that, we all started to slowly leave the city day by day. I had 2 days to cramp in everything of New York that I could, but unfortunately the 3 days at Surtex killed my feet, so I was really struggling with all the walking. My partner Pete and I hired bikes, and I managed to walk the Highline, rode through Soho, Little Italy, and over the Brooklyn Bridge, where we had dinner at a funky restaurant. Next day we went to Moma, which was fabulous, and a first time visit to an Anthropology store, (had only been online) and a brief traipse in Central Park. We finished off with a brilliant Broadway show – The Book of Mormons, by the writers of South Park, which was very funny, and possibly the tightest, best set construction I have ever seen, with seemless interchanges for such a small stage. It was a real highlight!
Next day we were up at 5am, for our flight to Mexico! Oh Mexico, how I loved it so, I was completely enchanted by it! We stayed in a funky cafe in Zona Rosa, very hip, urban part of the city, lots of funky shops.Then we did the Frida Kahlo tour, which was spectacular. I am such a fan of her work, and my heart aches for her story. Her house and garden was amazing.
We then flew next day to Cancun, hired a car and then drove for 2 hours, where we stayed inland of Tulum, in the middle of the Jungle! It was an amazing Air BnB place that was so magical, and the hosts were so warm and generous, and with their tips we fit in so much in our very precious 4 days. In the months leading up to Surtex, when I was feeling really anxious and couldn’t sleep, I had pictured myself swimming in the pool there, and it helped calm me. Well the real place had the exact same effect! We were generously upgraded from a room in the house, to our own jungle cabana at the rear of the property. We woke to the sounds of toucans and other birds, and went to sleep with fireflies! We also swam in cenotes, among the mini bats and stalactites, and zip lined across a lagoon with crocodiles, and saw monkeys in the jungle. We played host to gorgeous Mayan children, swam with turtles and mini yellow sharks and a mottled squid, climbed ancient ruins, shopped for beautiful handicrafts, ate amazing street food, and saw a coyote and pups, a jaguar footprint, and countless iguana’s! It was a truly spectacular end to an amazing trip.
Then we flew to LA, had a flight cancelled, got put up in a nice hotel, and had a day to explore LA, so we did a tour of Hollywood Boulevard, Santa Monica, Venice Beach,and the Sunset Strip! Then an unexpected detour via Auckland, and finally, home sweet home! (To the land of good coffee)!