Tag: relationships

indiemade craft market, December 2 – Here’s the wrap-up

Yesterday, I participated in the indiemade craft market in Allentown, PA, a long-time favorite show of mine. The event was founded by Ann and Teri ten years ago, and I’ve been in nine of them. It’s a holiday party for me, I always feel; I see many art friends there as exhibitors and I have been lucky to find customers who return to see me year after year and who have become art friends as well.

Ann and Teri are retiring from the show this year and turning it over to Ken and Ron, who have a studio/shop, Mercantile Home, in nearby Easton, PA, as well as a lot of other art ventures that reach out into the community (they explain it better than I can: look here.) There is a sadness about saying goodbye to the founders and the hope that we will be seeing them still (I think they ought to take over one of the DIY areas at indiemade, just saying), but also a welcome for the new guys. Best of luck to everyone, I say!

OK. Back to the show. We set off about 6:30 in the morning and made our usual stop at the gas station, this time in Colmar, PA.

It is about 7 AM on Saturday and look at how busy this place is. People need gas and coffee.

We arrived about 7:45 AM. You may remember this show gives out a swag bag, filled with contributions from the artists, to the first 50 people in the door. Three people were in line as we started to unload and upon asking, I learned that Person #1 had been there since 7:15 AM (the show opens at 10 AM). Now, I think that’s crazy, but plenty of people don’t agree. I have heard stories of how friends get together to wait in line and have made an occasion of it. I like that idea.

We unloaded – I have tiles only at this show today. Our table was upstairs – the show takes place on two levels, with the downstairs being the majority of the vendor locations, but I like upstairs. Both floors have music and people chattering and so on, but upstairs is toned down from the first floor, making it a more relaxing and easier to talk to customers, I think.

Here is upstairs – we are the first people to arrive.

Vendors came in and got things going.

The table down the middle is a DIY location – the show features two spots where guided art activities for all ages take place. Upstairs, we had paper flowers and origami (many kids were wearing paper crowns made at this location); downstairs was macrame.

I snapped a few pictures of my table before the show started. As a note, each person gets an 8-foot table provided by the show – you do the rest.

Now here is where my chronicle loses coherence. It was a really busy day for me and I was very happy about that. I didn’t get to make many more pictures, though. Here is a view of our floor not too long into the show.

And that is about it. I want to say thanks to Ann and Teri for so many good years and for their friendship.  And here is a shout-out to John G and Missy M for stopping in to see me.

This being the last show for me in 2017, I also want to say thanks to all the people throughout this year have looked at my art, were interested enough to listen to me talk about it, who encouraged me or admired my work and told me so; who bought my art and want to live with a little bit of my vision of the world.

I am especially grateful for all the friends I have made in this art circuit I’ve been on for so many years.

And, thank you to my husband who has so faithfully and patiently and cheerfully supported all my doings for these past two decades that we’ve been participating in art shows. Here is to many more.

I wish everyone a happy 2018 in art and in all other things.

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Wrap-up: Lansdale Festival of the Arts

We participated in this show on Saturday, August 26. I’ve done this show for two decades and it has been held in Memorial Park under the trees for the past 29 years. It’s a short drive, about 25 minutes, from our house.

I feel at home in this show. It was one of the first ones I did when I started in my art career. The same people run it as did back then; they are unfailingly pleasant, helpful, and genuinely love the show and their work.

The event is naturally popular, then, and they get a nice group of artists showing 2D and 3D art.

Plus, it’s a Lansdale tradition to have free doughnuts and coffee for the artists, to keep us going as we set up. Here is a photo. It is dedicated to my friend Diane, who has moved out of state but did the show with me in the past.

We arrived a little before 8 AM. Now, this show has a different way of assigning spaces – the cars line up and are given a space in the order they arrive; the park fills up in an orderly way. We used to worry about getting a “good” spot and arriving very early. Now, we have realized every spot in the park is “good” and we just show up when we show up.

Here, we’ve dropped off the equipment and art at the spot, #79. The green cone (you can barely see ours peeking over the stack of wrapped art) goes in the middle of the space. You can see we get a lot of room. Another great thing about this show.

We did our usual routine and got the booth put together. The pink tags designate the pieces that I have chosen for the judge to view. No prize this year, but I did get nice comments and encouragement. That matters, believe me.

Set-up time is focused and not social.

Once everything is done, there is time to talk. My husband is the man in the pale blue shirt, talking to a neighbor artist.

Then, things get started. It’s quiet at first:

Later in the day, it was crowded. We had a nice number of people in the park.

Sales were decent and the weather was superlative. I also had the chance to catch up with some art friends, including one man I haven’t seen in a couple of years – our schedules just haven’t coincided.

All in all, it was a perfect festival day. Thank you, Lansdale Festival of the Arts!

Set-up for Tinicum Arts Festival

You might enjoy a walk-through behind the scenes of this festival. I can give you a good picture, at least as far as my role in the production goes. There is a routine we go through at each show to get ready for our performance. This show is a good one to examine – we have a set-up afternoon the day before the event, plenty of time for me to take some pictures.

Here goes.

We always shop for food before a show. We take our own. Fair food is not easy to survive on for two hot July days. Although I do have a soft spot for a nice hamburger right off the grill, or maybe a hot dog… Still, it is better to have our own food and drinks.

Shopping done, we have to load the car.

Loading the car is my husband’s specialty. He decides and I put things where he tells me when we are packing up after the show; before the show – he does it all. For which I am really thankful. The car awaits:

We are taking only the tent, racks, table, and miscellaneous items today. We will take the artwork tomorrow and hang it in the morning. I don’t like leaving it overnight. So, the car is not that full.

Loading up done, we drove out to Tinicum Park and arrived about 1 PM. Most shows assign a specific space, but this one puts you in an area, and you choose your location. We have been in this section for years and know it pretty well, so we don’t have trouble deciding on a space.

Lots of room. We park the car right in front. It’s not always possible to be this close to the booth, as many shows don’t have so much room.

Another person’s setting up across the way. Otherwise, it is really pretty quiet around our area.

We get to work. First the tent gets set up. Then we attach the sides. Then we set up the racks. I have covers for them but I’ll put them on tomorrow.

Finally, we zip up the front. The tent is all ready for the night.

Since we were not in a hurry, we decided to take a walk around. Tomorrow this field will be full of people but right now it’s quiet.

The music stage is ready to be opened for tomorrow’s performances. We can hear the music from our tent. I like that.

Next to it is the food vendor area.

A cheesesteak is a Philadelphia tradition. Thin-chopped beef fried with onions on a grill, put on a long soft roll with melted cheese. Yum.

The local garden club has always had a plant sale in the picnic shelter. I like the cactus gardens a lot.

We stopped to talk to a friend putting up her tent over on the other side of the park. Then we walked back to our car, completing a big circle around the show.

We will be back tomorrow morning.


Shout-out #1 to my husband: it is his birthday!

Shout-out #2 to my friend Diane: she has moved out of state and so is not here, but we did this show together for years and years. Good memories.

Art-in-the-Park, West Park, Allentown, PA – here’s what happened

We participated in this show on Saturday, June 17. Normally held in the park, the anticipated weather problems necessitated a move indoors, to the Masonic Temple right across the street.

Glad we were inside, as it did rain hard in the morning and off and on all day. I hate being out in the rain at a show. I do hate it.

Nonetheless, things were chaotic in getting set up, with everyone having to figure out the new layout, find their space, and haul items up and down stairs. Additionally, this is the first year for a new set of show organizers – the previous ones (30 years) having passed the baton. It all turned out fine and I give everyone compliments for adapting and making things really nice.

OK. So we had a spot in the lobby, right at the front door. Couldn’t have asked for a better one.

I stepped outside during setup for a minute. Setup is a time when everyone is focused on their own booth, and each artist has a routine for getting things put together. Not a lot of talking or socializing during this part of the show, just a lot of activity.

Once we were set up, I took a look around. The Masonic Temple, built in the 1920’s, is a registered historic site, and what a wonderful building it is. It houses the meeting rooms for Masonic functions as well as some office space. The whole place is solid, well-built, enduring – tile floor in the lobby, much wood trim, marble stairs. Just wonderful.

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Terrazzo floor, lower level.
Artists and crafters were set up in the main meeting space:

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and in the less formal room below it:

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Once we got in and were settled, the day went well. The venue worked just perfectly and I think the indoor location encouraged people to stay and wander around (always good for sales), since they did not have to worry about the weather. There was a good vibe – the closer quarters encouraged more conversation, a nice hum of activity.

I caught up with some art friends – when you do shows, there is a fellow-feeling among the exhibitors and you make friends, staying in touch from show to show. This year, the show was bittersweet for me. There have been losses in the last year for people I know here; illness and death, sadness and grief. I reflected on how many years I have been doing shows, and once again I understand that now I’m one of the people whose memories encompass events that seem from another world, almost, and involve people who are no longer with us.

For me, this show was different from how it had been in the past, and I don’t mean the temporary location disruption, but the feel of it, and it made me sad. But, as I watched the new group of organizers coping with the unexpected and feeling good about putting on a successful show, well, I remember that life is a flow and it always goes on. I will adapt, too.

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Parking lot after the show – we are almost ready to leave. See my husband by our car back there, next to the green plastic bin? I’d better hurry up!

Plein Air in Chestnut Hill – Take a Look at What Happened

I participated in the 3rd annual plein air painting competition in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia on Saturday, June 10. Here is what happened…

Chestnut Hill is a neighborhood about 15 minutes from my house. Though part of the city of Philadelphia, it very much thinks of itself as an entity and has an active business association that puts on lots of events such as this one. The main street is Germantown Avenue, lined with all kinds of shops. On a Saturday, it’s very busy with shoppers and pedestrians all day long.

We arrived a little after 8 AM and went to our spot in the 8500 block of the avenue.

I chose a spot in front of the Wells-Fargo bank. I thought it would be nice because of the trees (offering shade) and the fire hydrant, which meant no one could park in front of me and block my view.

The bank was closed, unusual for a Saturday, so I knew that I wouldn’t have to contend with traffic behind me, either. Also, we got quite a bit of amusement all day, watching how people went about figuring out the bank was not open – shaking the door handle, pretty much every person, plus a lot of peering into the interior through the door. We started off trying to warn people, but most did not hear us, and so we just let events take their course.

But I digress. I brought a table to work on, two 12″ x 18″ cradled boards that I had gessoed the day before, a selection of paints, water, brushes, rags…sun screen…

As you may know, I don’t mix paints, I work straight from the tube, so it pained me to have to cut down my color selection just to these favorites, but I had to do it in the interest of space.

I chose two views from my vantage point.

I planned to work on two pieces at once. I do this every time I paint – since I work in layers, and I work quickly, I have to make sure the layers dry before I paint over them, or the result is – mud. I find that if I work on a couple of pieces at a time, I don’t get myself into trouble.

Plus, I like the focus-switching it takes to do things this way. I think it helps me step back mentally, even if for just a little bit, and then when I return, I have the benefit of coming back with increased freshness. Even that small amount of time is meaningful.

All right. I set things up on my table. (Several people asked me during the day why I did not use an easel like the other painters. I got used to working flat on a table when I did fabric and collage work, and that’s that I like to do, was my answer.)

And I started right in.

I’ll show you the progression of each work as it went through the day. Here is the first one, the view to my right:

And here is the second one, the view to my right:

And the pieces as finished – these are same as #4 in the above groups, but larger.

The event was also a competition, and so the judge came by during the afternoon. I did not end up winning anything, but I appreciated it that he spent time talking to me about my work. I think that’s very important, for the judge to interact with the artist; I do not like a judge who stalks in, silently sweeps a gaze over the work, and then goes out, without a word.

When I finished, my husband and I sat back in the shade for a while and looked over the work, shown here with our every-faithful picnic cooler, a staple of every show we do. By this time I had moved the table into the shade – for the last parts of the painting, I didn’t need to look at the scenes but at the painting itself. It becomes self-referential as it nears completion – it needs to look right as its own entity, I find, rather than referring back to what inspired it from the outside.

 

At the end of the day, there was a nice reception inside a branch of the local bank who was one of the sponsors.

When I started the day, I had a couple of goals.

 

  • Stay unflustered while working in front of people, especially when they stopped to talk to me. I am used to dealing with people in relation to my art from my selling experiences, so it is not that I shy away from their notice. I do not have stage fright!

No, it is that when I paint, I really fall into a deep focus, and for me to come out of it takes some effort before I swim back up to the surface. Doing it again and again all day has bothered me in the past. I was determined to stay on track and yet enjoy talking to the people who stopped. And I was able to do so on this day. I had a lot of visitors and good conversations, and I was also able to complete my work. That was good.

  •  I wanted to edit the scenes I saw so that I stayed with the feeling that inspired me to choose them, to find the details or aspects in them that interested me, and to feel free to discard or distort the rest of it.

In the past plein airs I have done, I have gotten caught up in trying to depict the scene at the expense of enjoying painting. Since I don’t really care much about how much my paintings resemble reality in my usual work, I’ve been puzzled as to why such a thing becomes important in plein air painting. Pursuing that end has frozen up my fingers and mind in the past. I was determined not to go down that road again today.

I am pretty sure the majority of the other plein air painters would say that representing the scene is the major goal of the exercise. At least that is what I think from my observation of the work the other participants displayed at this and other events I’ve painted in. But for me, I wanted the scene to inspire me and to let me take it from there. In looking over my paintings, I feel that this year, I did meet this objective. And I felt more relaxed and happy while I was working. That was good, too.


I sold one painting right off my table – some people who had bought from me in the past came by, unaware that I would be there. I had not seen them in some time and I enjoyed catching up. We came to an arrangement for “Chance Meeting”. I named it for the occasion, and they took it home from the reception.

It is the experiences of such an event that matters. I rediscovered this truth at this plein air event.

Looking forward to next year!

My work on the table – my husband sitting next to it.

Saucon Creek Arts Festival – Here’s the Report

Yesterday, Saturday, June 3, I participated in this festival, held on the grounds of the Heller Homestead and put on by the Saucon Valley Conservancy. The event was held in Hellertown, south of Bethlehem, PA, about an hour from my house.

The show featured about 50 artists with booths set in the grassy area surrounding the house and in the gravel parking lot. I did this show two years ago but did not attend last year. It’s a new show – 2015 was its first year.

We drove to the show in rain. I was not happy. I’ve vowed to avoid doing shows in the rain any more, but the weather forecast was for clearing later in the morning. I crossed my fingers.

We arrived. It was pouring.

We were directed to our spot. Knowing the site from my earlier attendance, I asked for a space up near the front. Here is a show tip – you don’t want a space that is hard to access with the car. Setting up is not usually the problem – many shows, like this one, assign arrival times to keep congestion down. But when the show is over, and you want to go home, being able to bring the car in close to your space, when you want to, becomes important.

There is nothing good about having your booth all taken down but being unable to get your car nearby to pack up because – your neighbors’ cars are already in the way or you are blocked by the displays of people who take down more slowly than you do. Hard feelings can erupt when people are tired…

My space was right up front, on the gravel. In this kind of weather, the thing to do is get the tent set up and put everything else underneath it. Anything not water-proof has to stay off the ground.

It’s not easy to set up in these conditions. The things you want are always stacked underneath everything else. Trying to keep things dry is a challenge. The ground itself can be a hazard. Our neighbors’ spot was muddy and sloppy. The show organizers were ready, though – they had bales of straw on hand to scatter around. I am allergic to straw, so I didn’t ask for any in my space.  At shows, you just have to take what comes as it comes.

Well, we got things set up and without too much ill-temper. Having a corner space, I had extra display room. I appreciated that as I could hang two large paintings I recently did. There is not always enough room for paintings this size. They take up a lot of sales space.

Then, around 10 AM, the weather started to improve.

By the afternoon, well, we were in a different world, it seemed.

To top it off, I received an Honorable Mention for my work.

Packing up was a breeze and we were on our way home 45 minutes after the show ended.

This show had it all as far as weather experiences. But we got through it.

And I’ll take this time to say the volunteers were unfailingly cheerful and helpful, the show was very nicely run, there was a good selection of artists, and my show neighbors were pleasant to be with. (I traded a small painting for some tiny clay bowls with my neighbor across from me.) Sales were also good and the crowd appreciative. So, maybe a rough start but a good end to things. That’s a the way for it to be.

Tile Festival 2017 – Now a Nice Memory…

We spent the past weekend at the Tile Festival on the grounds of Fonthill/Moravian Tile Works in Doylestown, PA. Held every year, this show celebrates tiles. All kinds, but only tiles!

For information on the site, you can look up Henry Chapman Mercer on your own, but as a quick bit of background, he is the man who built the concrete house (Fonthill) and established the tile works. His life was dedicated to several things, among them being the preservation of implements and objects of pre-industrial everyday life, and making tiles. The tile works continues to produce tiles according to his designs and in a handmade manner. The house is Mercer’s interests all in one place. Both are open for tours and are worth seeing if you are ever in the area.

So you can see why the Tile Festival is held at this location. It’s an annual event and draws a devoted crowd of people who appreciate and like and love tiles! As a tile artist, it means a lot to me to have the appreciation I get for my work at this show. And I also am honored to be part of the group of tile artists in this show.

OK, I’ll get to the actual event. We set up on Friday afternoon, a blazing hot day. By Saturday morning, though, the weather had turned chilly and rainy.

We were able to come in and relax until the show started, but others were setting up.

Here are Joe (in the booth) and Sheila of the Tile Heritage Foundation. This organization is dedicated to research and preservation of ceramic and tile surface. I enjoy talking to them each year.

 

In the next picture, you see what art shows run on – coffee and dougnuts. And it’s great when the show organizers have some ready for you. This show also puts on a dinner for all the tile artists on Saturday night. We sit outside the tile works building and socialize. It is a great chance to talk to people – not something you get to do much of during the show, when we’re all busy.

Our tables were set in the middle of the second tent. I’ve had this same space for several years and I love it.

Some of my neighbors’ work:

On Sunday, the weather was still cool but the sky had turned a lovely blue.

I checked out the silent auction at the entrance gate: planters made by various artists in the show. I saw several I’d be happy to take home…

The show was very busy for me. Over the years, I have built up a group of people who look for me and my work; people come to this show year after year and they develop their favorites. As for me, the same thing happens. I have formed personal attachments to many customers and there was a lot of hugging and catching up on things. Several friends also stopped by.

I reflected on this aspect of doing shows – the bonds that form with people. Not only customers who become acquaintances or friends, but also with the other artists. As we were getting ready to leave after packing up, we made the rounds of our neighbors, wishing them a safe journey home, reminding each other that we will meet here again in one year and hoping that the intervening months will be good ones. I have sold tiles in my booth surrounded by familiar faces at this show now for some years and as one artist said, we are like a family.

Nice idea. Have a family reunion and sell tiles. That is what we do here at the Tile Fest!