The focus of the entire week was getting ready for the Open Studios Tour. This is the first year for the event and I wanted everything to go well. Jim and I spent a good chunk of time on the garden, which meant weeding and mulching along the pathway to the front door. We had lots of nice perennials in bloom, including lilies, bear’s breeches, penstemon, foxglove and astilbe. We even slipped in some annuals this year for a little more color, which was a nice touch. Jim has been out watering and applying spray to keep the deer away, at least until after the show. I love it when a plan comes together!
Of course when you invite all of Southern Indiana into your house you have to do a little cleaning. Upon a close inspection, I saw the years of handprints the boys invested on the walls. That took a good morning of scrubbing alone. I moved the table and our big plants from the dining room into the living room to create space for art. I set up my display walls all around the room and hung up all the weavings I had and a good number of my Discardia Re-shirts.
When a visitor came to the doorway, my son Tommie greeted them, asked them to fill out a brief survey, and showed them the layout of the house open for the tour. Guests passed from the dining room to the kitchen, where free cookies and lemonade were set out. They had to pass the T-shirt station, with my “Bike the B-Line” T-shirts and the boy’s new art creations they call T-bands.
They are made from discarded T-shirts, torn into strips and incorporated into macramé bracelets. They had some very cool color combinations and the pieces sold very well. It turns out that Jacob has a real talent for sales. This is good, because he’s saving money to buy an iPod Touch. After this weekend he’s well on his way. I’m proud of his ability to work and save for things he wants to buy. Anyway, once they got past the kitchen guests came down to my art studio to see a few pieces in progress.
The weekend itself was a huge success. We had 173 people visit our house, and I had some absolutely delightful conversations. There were a lot of people who have seen my work or followed my career and wanted to see the studio and find out how I create the pieces. I was surprised to meet so many people who weren’t the usual that comes to art fairs so I got to meet a lot of new people. I think everyone was amazed at my highly organized collection of yarns, felt, fabric, fossils and other found objects in big storage binds downstairs. I need materials in a broad range of colors so my storage needs get pretty complicated. Looking back, I was delighted to be able to share my workspace, pieces in progress and strategies for making art with everyone who came.
Of course art creation never takes a rest. I moved the big commission piece forward, creating some more of the leaf clumps I’ll need for the canopy. I attached the last tree on to the path, so I can tell the project is coming to a close. It always seems that as one project finishes another lands on my plate. This week I met with two patrons who want to commission a large piece that features a pathway through a forest, but this time in a landscape format. It took a lot of planning to re-design the layout. The focus is usually on the trees, but because it’s a horizontal piece the focus shifts to the path. It’s interesting how changing the layout of the piece re-orients the focal point and feel of the piece. The piece started with some sketches I did on the beaches of North Carolina and will come to fruition after the art fairs of the summer.
And one last bit of family news—Jim and Tommie went to Lake Monroe on Memorial Day Monday and came back with a bucket full of big bluegills. We had a delightful fish fry on Tuesday. As if I didn’t get enough good food last week on vacation, Jim also made me a rhubarb pie this week, which lasted until Sunday morning. Life is good!
Until next week…