How an Artist Copes in a Covid World

Mad River Antler sign

It seems like just yesterday that I created and delivered an antler chandelier for Sugarbush’s Allyn’s Lodge. My, how things have changed since then.

I’ve been running Mad River Antler for for 13 years. I create home décor functioning art from real antler sheds from moose, deer and elk. In fact, you may have seen my display outside of Rumble’s Bistro & Bar over the years during the peak winter holidays.

The worldwide pandemic has changed the ways we all live and work. All the shows I normally do have been cancelled for 2020. Yet I’m very fortunate to live in Vermont where the COVID-19 cases are low in comparison to elsewhere.

It’s been weird, I normally would be going crazy right now preparing and showcasing my new work for fall shows. The greeting and educating potential customers is a huge part of the business. Shows work for me. I sell a number of my creations at shows. However, most of my sales come from following up with customers I meet and working with them to create pieces for their home. 

All artists are learning to adapt to a “new normal” as art fairs, exhibitions, and workshops are indefinitely put on hold. My focus was to strengthen my online presence, online gallery, and to add social media platforms and newsletter to my subscribers. In between creating custom projects, which represents the majority of my business, I’m creating new content for the website and experimenting and creating items that I would not normally. Kind of like doing stuff outside my comfort level.  

Additionally, I’ve been organizing my shop to gain some efficiency. During “normal life” it can be hard to focus your time and attention on organization activities. With deadlines, projects, social commitments, and shows, the details often get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. However, if I work on getting organized in the shop and with the items outlined above, it will provide a more solid foundation for when we are back to normal.

Pop Up Gallery

Given the current situation with all home and craft shows cancelled, I’ve opened a Pop Up Gallery in down at the Mad River Green Shopping Center in Waitsfield. And I invited my good friend Josh Axelrod Photography to join me. Together, we’ve done a number of shows including the Artisan Showcase at Sugarbush for a number of years.

My creations are available for sale and consultation is available. I’ll have an ongoing slideshow showcasing my past projects including actual installations of my work.

The Pop-Up Gallery opening is  Saturday, 1/16/21 – Monday 2/21/21 10am – 5pm. It will be open on weekends through Presidents week. I welcome scheduling appointments as well to fit your schedule. Masks will be required, social distancing will be instituted and sanitizer will be available. You can keep up to date on gallery hours and new creations I plan on working on by visiting my web site and Instagram @mad_river_antler.

I wish you and your loved ones continued good health during these challenging times. I look forward to seeing you in the gallery or back up on the mountain.

Ken Kenia
Mad River Antler