Last week was a blur as I frantically prepared for my (fingers crossed!) annual trip to Madison, Wisconsin. That’s where you would find the Art Fair on the Square and a base of exceptionally knowledgeable, fun and enthusiastic art buyers. I pushed hard to finish one last piece I’m calling ‘Riding Into the Sunset’. I’ve been moving that piece along for the past couple of weeks and wanted to take it with me to Madison. I had laid out the green yarns for the grassy area at the base of the weaving and the gradient to a setting sun in the distance. I envisioned a winding path through the gradient that flowed from a tangerine orange to a crisp lemon yellow at the top. When I had the background under control I delved into my container of bangles that I’ve collected at various places around town, including Opportunity House. I used those as the basic structure to created my bicycle wheels, which I then wrapped with silver cording. I also used silver yarn that I got from an overstock sale on Etsy (thanks Marilyn Brackney for the heads-up!). To create the tires I’ve been collecting black shoelaces of different thicknesses. That let me create different types of tires, ranging from thin racing tires to thick off-roading tires. Together they just roll off into the sunset.
When Thursday morning came, the whole family packed up and we headed out to Hollandale, Wisconsin. Deep in the rolling hills of southern Wisconsin, next to the headwaters of the Pecatonica River, we found our friend and host Wendy. Duane was off at a business trip in Texas, but we were greeted enthusiastically (although with some suspicion) by Jamie and Buddy, the fierce guard dogs. Along the way we stopped in Champaign, Illinois at Papa Del’s pizza and took three pies on the trip for dinner. They weren’t as good as the pizza in the restaurant, but they were well received after the long drive from Bloomington. We sat around and chitty-chatted longer than we should have, then headed for bed to get ready for set-up the next day. I had been following the weather forecasts with predicted highs over 100 degrees with chances of thunderstorms each weekend day. Fortunately, the forecast missed the mark and set-up wasn’t too bad with a pleasant breeze under overcast skies. After fortifying ourselves with frozen yogurt we set up the show without a hitch and headed back to Hollandale. When I arrived Saturday morning, the crowds were already there an hour early. They might have been trained to visit the farmer’s market there, or they might have been planning to beat the heat, but the crowds showed up in big numbers. Better still, I had a lot of fun talking to the show regulars who seem happy to visit with me and talk about my art.
They tell me about the pieces from last year that they remember and comment on the new pieces—I feel like I’m developing friendships there and the art fair is when we have a chance to catch up. Some of the new favorites this year included Solitude, which features a bicycle leaning up against a maple tree, and my new turtle piece. The bad news was that on Sunday the thermometer shot up and the oppressive heat took a lot out of the fairgoers. I could feel myself fading a little as the temperature approached 100 degrees. I decided to put some ice in a ziplock back (actually three nested bags) and slip it under my hat to cool my head. Within five minutes I was feeling spry and chipper. I’m going to have to remember that trick!
While we traveled to Wisconsin for the show, it was wonderful to spend time with Wendy and Duane out away from everything. Wendy made us delicious shish kabobs using fresh marlin and vegetables, which turned out very well. I really loved the barbecued onion from the grill. She followed that up with an amazing chocolate cheesecake with a layer of ganache on top—yum! A nice meal with a glass of wine, followed by something tasty and chocolatey just can’t be beat! Alas, good things must come to an end, and Monday morning we packed up and drove back home to Bloomington. It’s good to be back in my cool art studio, but I’m back in frantic mode to create more art for the rest of the summer shows! It’s a good problem to have. There’s only one thing that would speed me along, and it has something to do with ripe, juicy yellow-orange summer fruit and a crust. I’m thinking of a number between three and four—any guesses, Jim?
Until next week…