The tomatoes are done! I had a wonderful trip out to Iowa, which gave me lots of time to needle felt the rest of the tomatoes I needed for the piece I’ve been envisioning. I’m in a hurry to finish up pieces because I had such a great art fair in Des Moines. Now I need to replace pieces and expand with some new pieces for an exhibition that I’ll describe in a minute. In Iowa, the weather didn’t cooperate as well as I hoped, punctuating the show with some pop-up thunderstorms.
The patrons still came out to support the artists, though, which I appreciate and respect. Our visit to Iowa began in Iowa City to see friends we haven’t seen in sixteen years. We stayed with Ute and David, Jim’s friends from a previous life. Their two boys are the same age as ours, and we all just clicked beautifully as if we’d been visiting for years. After a delightful dinner, a good night’s sleep, and a wonderful breakfast we were ready to set out for Des Moines. Setting up the booth took us longer than usual due to frequent interruptions from the rain. On the bright side, that gave us plenty of chances to stop into our favorite vegetarian coffee shop, the RitualCafé.
In spite of the weather, or perhaps highlighted by it, it’s clear that the show is extremely well organized and administered. It ran like a well-oiled machine with lots of happy volunteers. There were always people ready to help, from directing us through set-up to squeegeeing the streets to help keep a dry surface between rains. What impressed me most, however, was the reliability of the patrons. When the rains came they scattered, but they popped right back into place when the skies cleared. I really like the feeling that my art is well appreciated; I certainly feel that way in Des Moines.
In the end, seven pieces found new homes. I also managed to break into the local television and print media, appearing in three videos that you can access online. Click here, here, or here for the links! My sons Jacob and Tommie appeared in some of the videos and were terrific in the booth with explaining my techniques and materials to patrons. I just love sitting back and listening to Jacob expound on my work, and he seems to love doing it. We also managed to find some time to walk through the Pappajohn sculpture park, which was the backdrop for the show and very close to my booth.
My favorite piece there is an amazing sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. It is built from fused metal letters that you may walk into and experience from the inside or outside. We also experienced the newest sculpture, which looks like a rainbow of panels built into a circle. I took a nice family portrait from the center of the piece. While I was busy, my family managed to sneak off to do some sailing on Grays lake close to Des Moines and hit the local water park. Unfortunately, heavy downpours cut short their adventures.
The show ended early when the organizers watched severe storms developing in the area. My crew broke all of our records for both take down and packing the trailer, which was all completed in an hour. Certain my art was safe, dry and protected for the drive home, I completed my tomato felting project as we drove through the hills of Iowa and the fields of Illinois.
Now I'm nestled back in my studio thinking about my upcoming exhibit, “Looking at Water”. One of the pieces I’m envisioning is a large format beach piece where the sand and shells lie in the foreground, the water and waves fill the mid-ground, and the sky is in the background. One truth that everyone who has visited the beach knows is that one invariably brings home sand. To capture that concept in my piece, I’ve spent some time coating the frame for my beach piece in sand.
We got home from Des Moines on Monday evening, which was just in time for me to slip off to the Tuesday Farmer’s market while the boys did TKD. I brought home some red raspberries, hoping against hope that they might be transformed into a victory pie. And sure enough, a pie appeared! It must have been a good show!
Until next week,