The Smucci Team arrived in Columbus, Ohio late Thursday night for the 7th annual Pet Expo at Veterans Memorial Convention Center with my Ford F150 and matching 16 foot v-nose trailer carrying precious Smucci cargo from my home and workshop in Temperance, Michigan. Expertly maneuvered by Justin Martin of Sylvania, Ohio, my rig and crew were driven right inside the convention center (I just love doing this...why I don't know) to a designated 10 x 10 foot area reserved as our temporary retail space in preparation for more than 30,000 pet loving visitors over the next 3 days.
As we unloaded and began creating the visually breathtaking Smucci Shop, my son captured special moments in the photographs I share with all of you now.
The expo has ended and it is late Sunday night as I blog on my laptop during the ride home. So much has happened, and I continue to meet so many wonderful people. I am bleary eyed with exhaustion and at the same time excited by several new business opportunities and overall success of the 3 day weekend, so I will defer to my son, and allow his images to tell the story... for now.
Matisse meets Milly Anne, a 12 year old persian who nestles in for a nap.
My rescued papillion, P-Nut, is a superb model during a one-hour photo shoot! Without whining or complaining, my adorable dog sat perfectly still and never took a bad photo. Contrast this behavior with her normal everyday routine full of endless barking (in effort to protect me of course), chasing Marcus and Maggie (my rescued sibling cats; Marcus frequently photographed in cat bowl beds and other Smucci products), and growling at my son, Jamie, the nicest guy in the world! Who would've guessed that cantankerous P-Nut would be a model Smucci dog?
Cat Mrcus is featured below in the new and improved Smucci Feather Bed wrapped in feather mac-tac.
Smucci Beach (above) and Smucci Feather are currently available on my website. The updated versions of these 2 fabulous beds with custom Smucci fabric cushions and Smucci mac-tac will be posted soon. New cushion options, including Smucci-2-Go cushions with handy fabric handle sewn by expert seamstress, Leigh Bodie, will be premiered.
There are currently 2 more beautiful fabrics offered by Smucci which will appear for the first time on the site! Enjoy the sneak peek!
more photos soon...
The leaves from the Ginkgo tree I planted in my yard, and a gift from my mom, were picked by my son in the middle of summer then artfully arranged for this fabric, SMUCCI GREEN GINKGO!
This picture says it all. Green Ginkgo is refreshing and breathtaking! And P-Nut really outdid herself in this pose.
My persian cat, Sunshine, languidly sat as I drew in pen and ink to capture his funny and favorite pose. Four other Smucci Art Cards will be offerred on the website, soon! And the recent photo shoot just wouldn't be complete without an impromptu climb into a cat bowl bed by my cat Marcus.
My beautifully robust male cat with tiger striped markings is sick. He is holding on, occasionally interested in the fresh water and food I bring to his side as he sits very still. His back arches when I pet him and softly call his name, but it is almost as if he is trying to react normally so no one will know. As he looks up into my face, his eyes are cloudy and unable to focus, but he holds his head high and steady. He tries hard to see me, gazing upward without apology, explanation, or request and then slowly drinks from his bowl, like he has done every day for ten years.
I remember when my kids and I brought him home at the tender age of 4 weeks. He was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand, and although we were told he had been weaned, it was apparent from his continual sucking on our clothing that he was still remarkably young. We loved him even though he was occasionally mean to us, regularly expressing his discontent by growling or biting us. Oh well, it was just Tiger Tom's personality, and we learned to be cautious of his moods.
When I look at him I remember the important things, like my kids smiles when they held him for the first time and their insistence on cuddling with him as he slept. I remember how they cared if he was eating the right food and drinking enough fresh water, checking on him frequently throughout the day. I remember the alarm on their faces when we couldn't find him one afternoon, were certain he had vanished, and were ready to call the police. A long 4 hours later, Tiger emerged well rested from a cat-nap in an undisclosed location of our house. I remember the sighs of relief as my children held him for hours after his "disappearance". I remember when we adopted our next cat, or she adopted us by walking right up to our back door meowing loudly, and how my children coaxed Tiger Tom to accept his new sibling. I recall extended visits at the veterinarians office for routine medical check ups and the time we thought he had the flu. I remember watching the kids give him medicine, trying to brush his teeth, and applying ointment to problem areas.
I remember life, incredibly full and ever present, at it's best. Tiger Tom entered our home and we learned the meaning of commitment, tolerance, patience, responsibility, love, generosity, and generativity...all from the connection we had with our domesticated pet.
I had the most fun however, as I got to watch my children respond and grow in their basic values as I gently nurtured them along their path. And for a brief period in my life, I have had the privilege of hugging, holding and loving the soft, furry, and very special cat, Tiger Tom, who taught us.
My first show, and Smucci is presented beautifully with a heartfelt display incorporating furnishings from my home, up lights from Lowe's, and the wise counsel of Kent Illenden at SFC Graphics. Kent's design and encouragement led to the sophisticated display described in this photo. And with Sue Hague Rogers whispering in my ear, I can't go wrong. Kent and Sue have been invaluable in steering the Smucci ship.
The Detroit Kennel Club hosted the 102nd annual All Breed Dog Show for 2 days, Feb 28 & Mar 1, 2009, welcoming 20,000 visitors and 2,000 dogs. Parker Fields of Traverse City was in charge of vendor set up, and walked me through the frightening process! I drove my F150 and pulled my matching 18 foot V-nosed enclosed snowmobile/ATV/or whatever is fun and has wheels trailer with expert help from my friend, Justin Martin of Toledo, loaded with Smucci inventory and my entire Smucci display on Friday night, a mere 12 hours prior to the event. Everything was set into place, and all my vision, inspired design, and hard work over the past 6 months was left behind at Cobo Hall in Detroit as I returned home to get a good night's sleep. Before I left, I wrapped the entire display and all of my product in 150 yards of aqua tulle in the hope that everything would survive the night without me...and be there in the morning when I returned. It was late, Cobo was dark, and I was the last vendor to leave. I gasped as I took this photo with my cell phone. It was gorgeous, and it was also everything I owned. All of Smucci confined to a 10 x 12 foot space.
Over the next 2 days, Smucci was well received which translated to respectable sales generating a lot of interest. Visitors couldn't believe that I enjoyed using power tools, thanks to the well stocked workshop provided for Smucci use by my sister and her husband, Carol and Paul Walker of Ottawa Lake, Michigan, and that I hand make all of my pet beds. When they realized that I had created the fabrics sewn into cushions for my beds, by picking leaves from my ginkgo tree and collecting feathers from my Macaws and making these images become real on commercial fabric...they stood quietly looking at me with their mouths open. When they closely examined the quality of my seamstress's work, Leigh Bodie of Sylvania, Ohio, they were even more amazed. I was delighted, although not prepared for the overwhelmingly positive response. I expect nothing less of me than the best I can offer for our domesticated pets, and insist on quality. For Smucci, excellence is the norm.
The Smucci Matisse Bed, en route to Cobo, and enjoyed as intended, hugging our pets as they sleep, free from worry or stress of any kind, like the sentiment protrayed by Henri Matisse in his colorful painting of a "Woman Sleeping on the Corner of a Table."
My secret wish is to have a retail shop. When I create my pet beds, in addition to serving the fundamental needs of our domesticated pets combined with the requirement of beauty for our homes, I think about how my product could be displayed. I love the image of beds towering large to small towards the ceiling, stacked endlessly on top of one another, creating a breathtaking and architectural
element not seen before. Or at least not seen in the pet bed industry. Oh well, I will keep dreaming and working on it.
The Smucciettes...Kelley Debora Walker, Amy Lynn Walker, and Carolyn Suzanne Kahn eating ice cream and helping with sales. The Smuciettes are incredibly indespensible, and have been die hard fans and extraordinary contributors to the big Smucci dream!
WHAT IS THIS ADORABLE DOG?! LOOKING SMUCCI FABULOUS IN THE LARGE GREEN GINKGO BED WRAPPED IN MAC-TAC; SMUCCI FABRIC IMAGES TRANSFERRED TO FLOOR GRAPHIC QUALITY PAPER, OFFERRED BY SFC GRAPHICS IN TOLEDO, OHIO. FOR MORE AMAZING INFORMATION ON SFC, CHECK OUT www.sfc.com.
LOOK FOR SMUCCI IN COLUMBUS, MARCH 27-29, AT THE COLUMBUS PET EXPO. VISIT www.columbuspetexpo.com FOR DETAILS.