I just got back from a fabulous long weekend in Madison, WI. It would all feel like a dream if I didn’t have the booth walls laid all around the house to dry out. On Thursday afternoon I packed up all my available art into the 15 passenger gray rental van that the boys named the Stardust Dragon. We sped off to a motel in Urbana with an outdoor pool to spend the night, and the boys and I happily splashed around there as the sun set. Friday we stopped in at the Bradley Art Gallery in Stoughton Wisconsin to check the place out and visit some of my pieces. Stoughton is a quaint and friendly town on the outskirts of Madison, and Laura the charming owner gave us the tour. It truly is a wonderful gallery with an eclectic collection that includes lots of fiber, which I found welcoming and inspiring. It’s definitely a good place to visit if you’re in the Madison area. We left the gallery in the early afternoon and positioned the van for rapid art deployment when the square closed down and they let in the artists. My block captain and her helpers, whom I remember well from last year, were friendly, thoughtful and capable. We whisked the art and booth into place and the show was set up in no time. The boys scootered around the area to entertain themselves, while Wendy and Duane, our hosts for the weekend, helped us set up. So far so good! Then we drove out to the secret location in Hollandale, about a 40-minute drive from the show. It’s a beautiful trip through the country at sunset, and we were greeted by Bear and Jamie. They’d like to be guard dogs, but the house is just too remote for anybody bad to find it.
The show, and my weekend, started with a bang on Saturday morning. Jim deposited me at the fair a little later than I’d like, since the streets were already bustling half an hour before the official show start. Saturday was an intense day, and eager fairgoers and art buyers filled my booth. I sold eleven pieces, which is a record for me, and I had to endure praise from friendly and engaged fairgoers just about the whole day! I even got a Teddy Wedger veggie sandwich for lunch that the support crew brought me around noon. I met too many wonderful people to begin to mention, like the family with the young boy who sketches all the time according to his mother. He spent a huge amount of time in the booth, made a second visit, and decided that he wanted one of my weavings for a Christmas present. I’m so honored!
After a long day in the booth, my boys, along with Wendy and Duane, rescued me and took me to their remote hideaway for a lovely grilled salmon and fresh-picked greens dinner. I even celebrated with a local beer and a glass of wine, which is normally off limits during a fair. The meal concluded with a fresh pie from hand picked berries from the yard—what a treat! We enjoyed the utter darkness and quiet to be found in the wilds of Wisconsin, where they seem to have extra stars out night and no streetlights. That takes some getting used to, because when it’s dark at night here, it means that there’s no power and the basement is probably filling with water because the sump pump isn’t running. Anyway, big thanks to Wendy and Duane for keeping all my boys happy and entertained over the weekend.
Sunday was a totally different day, with one weaving sale, but still plenty of the warmth of the Madison art fair crowd. I was a little shocked when fair officials came by and gave me an invitational award for next year. Hooray! That means I get to come back near year. In the late afternoon, rain did come to the parade, so I slowly started taking down a few things before the close of the show. My roadies came a few minutes late, but we were picked up and on the road by 6:30. We headed south to Rockford to spend the night, then on toward home. We made a couple of stops, first at Papa Del's in Champaign for world famous pizza. From there we stopped in at a wine shop to pick up a few new wines to try that we can’t find around home. Then we headed straight for home and had frozen but homemade kluski for dinner. It felt really good to be home and sleep in my own bed. It was a memorable trip, made possible by a lot of good people that I care about.
And Madison, I’ll see you next year!
Until next week…