Now that it’s all over except for the night-sweats, the story can be told.
Last year at the Circle Craft Christmas Market, I entered a raffle for several glass sculptures. When I got home, a message awaited me that I had won one of the sculptures.
For reasons that will soon become obvious, I don’t remember what the sculpture was that I allegedly won. But I was intrigued; although I own dozens of original pieces of Northwest Coast art, I only have one or two other original pieces. I immediately phoned Andrew Luketic, the president of the British Columbia Glass Arts Association, and was told to contact him in a few days later, when the business arising from participation in the Christmas Market had wound down.
When I phoned, he had some good news and some bad news. The good news (or so I thought at the time) was that I had indeed won. The bad news was that my prize had been broken during the cleanup for the Christmas Market.
Luketic assured me that I would receive another prize instead. Everything would be arranged in another couple of weeks, he assured me.
However, another couple of weeks passed with no results. Then another. Then Christmas intervened. Each time I contacted Luketic, he promised to resolve the matter. Each time, the schedule he had suggested wasn’t met. I started to get a little impatient, going around muttering that only I could win a prize that I never managed to receive.
At the start of 2011, Luketic seemed to disappear. After five or six weeks of hearing nothing, a few flecks of foam started to appear around my lips when I thought of the situation.
I contemplated a blog campaign, perhaps a conversation with a mainstream journalist or two in need of local color. However, deciding that such methods of persuasion were premature, I contacted the Circle Craft Christmas Market organizers instead and explained my plight.
Shortly after, Luketic contacted me for the first time in two months. His internet connection had gone down, he told me, and other problems had invaded his personal life. We had never been in contact via the Internet, but I choked back my sarcastic remarks in the hopes of resolving the situation.
Another holding pattern set in, and for the next four months, I waited, contacted the Christmas Market organizers, and received a promise of action, only for the cycle to repeat itself.
More than once, I thought of dropping the matter. After all, I had done nothing to deserve the prize beyond filling out a raffle ticket. But you don’t raise a kid on the story of Robert the Bruce and the spider without making him a trifle tenacious, and I persisted.
Early in June, Luketic organized a series of possible alternatives, saying that, after the long wait, that was the least he could do. With photos of my options in my Inbox, our interaction mellowed somewhat, and we actually had a friendly talk about the glass work of First Nation artists Preston Singletary and Joe David – a talk that, a few months earlier, I couldn’t have imagined.
A few weeks later and another prod or two from the Christmas Market organizers, and by mid-July, Luketic met me to give me my choice of an alternative prize. He also promised to send me some information about the artist, including her name.
However, despite more prodding, he never did. So, when I left ApacheCon North America earlier today and dropped by this year’s Christmas Market, I decided I would drop by the BC Glass Arts Association’s display and get the artist’s name.
To his credit, Luketic didn’t flee or throw something when I appeared (although I noticed that, this year, the display didn’t include a raffle). He wrote the artist’s name on a business card, and now, a few days short of a year after I won the prize, I am able to say that I am now the satisfied owner of Laura Murdock’s “Alice’s Teacup,” a bowl about a twenty-five centimeters in diameter and twelve high, and have been enjoying for several months how the gild in the glass catches the morning sunlight in the living room.
In the end, I suspect the alternative was better for me than the original. The original, Luketic reminded me, was tall and not very solidly based, which was why it broke in the first place. Considering that I live with three flighted and inquisitive parrots, a low, stable piece like “Alice’s Teacup” is undoubtedly safer in the living room.
So, finally, everything is resolved. I’ll probably even check out the Glass Art Association’s exhibits in the coming year.
Just don’t talk to me about raffles – at least, not until I finish therapy.