Monday, December 14, 2009

Macy's Calligraphy Ornament Personalizing Event

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to be a performing artist. I participated in the Macy's Calligraphy Ornament Personalizing Event held at the Providence, RI store. Management and the sales associates went out of their way to make me feel welcome. I had a lovely set up in the Holiday Lane/Trim Department. Displays were moved and a 6ft rectangular table covered with a red table covering was placed under an ornament festooned arch. I had plenty of elbow room to work and to spread my materials out.

I wasn't sure what the set up would be so I brought some scrap paper and a set of watercolor pencils along with my inks, pens, and markers. As it turned out, there wasn't any signage. So in the lull I quickly made a couple of quick and dirty signs to let people know I wasn't trying to sell them something or collect for a charity.

The illumintated initials are Kiesel caps (by Sherri Kiesel) They're very spontaneous and I thought would add a festive touch.

Some people came by to watch me work. Others stopped by to have ornaments personalized. Everyone was giving me compliments on my work. A two cowboy hat afternoon. A few people asked me how I got into this line of work. Rather than say the same way you get to Carnegie Hall. Practice, practice, practice. I said I got my start writing on walls when I was four years old. LOL. I was also asked how I was so steady and could write so straight. Ah, the benefits of a parochial school education and a ruler. Snicker.

Seems the trend in ornaments this year was either fabric or glitter or glittered fabric. All of which I couldn't write on. Still there were plenty of ornaments to choose from. The cutest ornaments I got to personalize were bells shaped like a funky Santa and a snowman. They had dangly legs which were the clappers and beads all around the bottom which not only added color but sound. I did three Santas and a snowman for a woman who wanted her nieces and nephews names on the ornaments. The snowman was for a baby's first Christmas so she asked if I could write Baby's First Christmas on the back. I asked her if she wanted the year too.

"Can you do that?"

"For you, I can do anything." I added the year to the Santas too. The customer seemed quite pleased.

By far the easiest ornaments to write on were tiny Snow Baby ornaments meant to be personalized. Some Snow Babys had names stamped on a small envelope the baby was holding. If you couldn't find the name of your child/spouse/favorite person, there were blank ornaments available. These were quite popular. Because they were bisque, they took the gold ink quite well and looked very nice.

At the same time I was working, the Tassimo representative was in the kitchen department next door giving free samples of lattes. One of the sales associates got me a delicious hot chocolate which was a nice perc.

There was also some excitement in the store. Seems an elderly gentleman had some sort of procedure in the morning and stitches broke loose. EMS was called and 6 technicians swarmed over the department like a swat team. The man was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

Shortly after the EMTs came by, an alarm went off and shouts of "Stop that kid" could be heard. Several people ran from the mall entrance behind the kitchen department through the main corridor towards the escalators. Some bright spark had tried lifting a phone from one of the phone kiosks in the mall and tried to make a getaway through Macy's. It didn't look like he got far.

The floor manager later told me, it was a pretty quiet day.

My four hour shift went by quickly. I had a pleasant time. Hope I get called back again next year.


  1. Sounds like it was a fun afternoon.

  2. What an experience! Good thing for a steady hand!! I went to parochial schools too, but I must have had nicer teachers--no rulers!

  3. LOL! Never a lull when you're around!

  4. CJ, sounds awesome, and nice that you had the opportunity to show off your talents, and earn enough money for Christmas presents this year, and next year too. Not only are you a wonderful writer, but you are a wonderful writer too! you have a fantastic way of retelling a story, happy holidays

  5. AWESOME. I wish I could have come by!!!