This weekend I participated in my second art show. This exhibition was a juried show with a tenured track record – they’ve hosted this event for nearly 40 years! I was so delighted to participate in the event and learn more about the community it serves. There were nearly 8,000 guests and attendees that made their way past my booth and many popped by to visit, say, hello, and make some purchases in the hot August sun.
That’s another note – the days were sweltering. We had the tent but no electricity – so no fans or air conditioning. My deepest and sincerest gratitude goes to the amazing friends, family, and fans who made the trip out to the event! It absolutely filled my heart to see some littles who not only remembered and still loved my art – but also remembered me and their fresh sprigs of mint. I’ve taken to sharing sprigs of mint from my garden with the youngest attendees. When you’re shopping at an outdoor venue the day can be long and honestly who doesn’t like a little treat?
Kids and creatives are my favorite art show customers. Children know what they like, there is no effort to impress or appeal to someone else. When have you ever held a conversation with another adult about your third favorite dinosaur? It’s as if we grow up and forget what is truly relevant. Seeing the joy in my littlest fans fills me up. I love sitting down on the ground and connecting with kiddos and learning what they notice about the art they are viewing. I even keep hand sanitizer in the booth so that they can feel the artwork and enjoy the sensory experience of the piece as well as its visual appeal.
Talking with kiddos about art brings me true joy. I also love pets! Meeting so many fluffy friends at the show was a pure delight. I met fluff-balls Teddy and Layla – who brought me to my knees as the song goes. Her owner proudly explained the song was the inspiration for her title. It was so comforting and delightful to have fuzzy company to break up the day. Next time I will bring a little doggy bowl with cool water for my furriest guests to enjoy. I am also thinking about suckers – because even the bank hands out treats. I may have to think about a cool way to tie the treat back to my art and keep it from melting or making curious hands too sticky!
All that said, I learned a lot. I learned the simple joy of sitting out in hot weather with a good book. I appreciate fully the gift of guests to keep my spirits lifted. Displaying art publicly is a humbling and vulnerable experience. It is intimidating and who you have beside you makes a real difference. My plan is to make sure I continue to surround myself with people who lift me up and encourage me to blaze my own trail, stay true to myself, and believe in my own capabilities. That is a real gift – especially when in the heat of the day (96 degrees by my calculations – in Ohio for Lord’s sake!) traffic slows down and you’re left with only the parameters of being present and still, waiting for what is next to come. Sometimes a little distraction can be a real lifesaver.
Speaking of lifesavers I cannot thank my husband or cousin enough for popping in and out on both days, setting up the tent and carrying all of my supplies back and forth. It is an absolute dream to share this process and experiences with my family. To let my kids see me trying, failing or succeeding, I have taught them a valuable lesson about showing up. And my partner has taught them about showing up for those we care about. Our examples are molding the people they will become. Their examples are also molding us. My favorite being my son making fast friends. No sooner had I struck up a conversation with the child’s mother than they were laughing, running around, and playing tag together. It’s that easy to make a friend. I’m so glad to have the openhearted lovingness of children, as my guide to relate to others.
I’m proud of me. Proud of my art. Proud of the art show and the strength and turpitude it took to get to this point. I am sticking with this craft and I am grateful to myself for staying the course. This is not an easy path but it is a joyful one. And as I consider textiles – fabric design, wallpaper, draperies, etc. I am eager and excited for what comes next on this creative journey. I am growing and learning more each and every day. And even when it’s hot and I am doing it for myself and I am proud of me. I did it!