Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Re-tooling after Fourth Street

I’m finally settling back into a routine after Fourth Street, with a few surprises tossed in.  I put away all of the summer art fair materials—my tent, walls, aluminum poles and everything else.  Even as I’m winding it down, I’m thinking about launching into the fall and holiday art season shows.  I spent a little time this week making a bunch more sweater petals for Bloomingfoods on the east side.  I dropped off forty new ones for a display unit that sits on top of my cards.  I quickly moved into making new Re-Shirts for the holiday shows.  First comes the Spinners and Weaver’s Guild show on the second weekend in November.  The bad news is that as soon as I got a full head of steam assembling Re-Shirts, my wonderful sewing machine from Grandma started to give out again.  It reminded me of the story about Grandma’s lawn mower that was shaken to pieces from all its use—the sewing machine is in the same kind of shape.  
 Happily, Karen Charrington lent me her really-old-but-never-used sewing machine.  It’s a solid metal dinosaur from the sixties and just a fabulous workhorse.  I just put the petal down and the machine flies over the fabric.  I might be setting a bad example for Tommie, who was taught in Home Ec class not to put the pedal down more than half way.  I’ll have him straightened out before you know it!  I now have thirty new Re-shirts.  I would have had more if life had not set me back a bit early Friday last week.  I heard an intense hissing sound coming from the basement and descended to find the hot water heater steam-cleaning the concrete floor.  Fortunately it was warm and clean so it wasn’t too bad to stand in to clean up.  I spent a little time triaging the wet things we had saved in the basement to decide which ones we really needed, which was a good thing.  Of course it happened on our wedding anniversary.  When Jim looked up to see what gift he was supposed to give on the fourteenth anniversary it turned out to be ‘water heater.’  Who knew?

This past week has taken me into my annual paper work period. I have to tie up four proposals related to Fourth Street, take care of some tax things, and resolve some overdue (and very dry) business-related stuff.  I also need to complete a commission sketch that’s long overdue (it’s coming Sonia!).  Pretty soon it’s going to be ‘reward the artist’ week.  I’m hoping to start doing what I like best, which is to make some new art.  I’ll begin with the first of my commissions from the summer art fairs, which is a piece based on ‘Tap Water.’  It features a water tap that sticks out from a house, dripping water on a dandelion with a deep taproot.  I also shipped a weaving to Oregon—‘Beach Dunes’ has a new home.  I built a box for the safe passage west, although I understand it has to wait just a little longer until the house is completed. 

In addition to art, I blended back into my usual exercise routine of Zumba, Dance Fit, Bollywood and Sweaty Monday’s with Jenny.  Jim and I went to the Wonderlab fundraiser as guests of Cindy Creek and her father-in-law Jean Creek, who is a big Wonderlab supporter.  We had a great time, laughed a lot and had fun bidding through the iphone system.  I won a bike helmet that Jacob quickly adopted.  It’s neon green and came with two bike tune-ups, which is really why I was bidding.  We also had some amazing chocolates there from Peachtree Mountain Truffles.  I thought the only good chocolate in town was from Blu Boy.  On Saturday morning we made it to the Farmer’s market for hot chocolate (at Le Petit Café) and lots of produce—we got eggplants, cucumbers, onions, garlic, peaches, apples, sweet potatoes, and watermelon.  The peaches became peach butter, and I’m hoping that the apples become a pie soon!  Oh, and we all went to see the Blue Man Group on Saturday evening.  We all had a good time, and Jacob even got a picture taken with one of the blue guys at the end.  Did I mention I’m ready for a pie?

Until next week,

Martina Celerin 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Another Successful Fourth Street!

It has been an extremely busy two weeks, but Fourth Street Festival 2013 is in the rear view mirror.  Life is slowly returning to normal.  I have learned not to try to make any new art pieces the week before the festival, keeping my week open to deal with the last-minute craziness that always seems to happen for which nobody plans.  I keep busy with some puttery things, like painting frames and updating my bookkeeping.  Then the strangest things come up.  

 This year I needed to find a bullhorn at the last minute, because it was part of the emergency plan to notify artists in case something big and unexpected happened.  After a lot of looking I found one at the IU surplus stores, but it turned out to be a piece of junk.  Even though they explicitly say they won’t take refunds, I’m the person who put the ‘fun’ back in refund.  I ended up with an awesome replacement (actually, big thanks to the IU surplus store fellow who gave me his to replace the battery holder shaped like a dented horn). 
My security police friend said it was even better than his!  With the weather extremes of the past two years, I tended to check in to see the forecast every fifteen minutes or so.  Boy, did that ever drive Jim crazy!  He says I shouldn’t worry about weather that’s days away, but I checked anyway.  The first day turned out to be very hot and sticky, but the accompanying thunderstorms held off until after the show and the banquet dinner.  By morning the storms were gone and neither the art nor the artists were any worse for the weather.  Sunday was considerably cooler and a better sales day. 
All tolled, 36,000 people came to the event this year.   Despite running all over Fourth Street (and beyond), the show treated me very well.  I sold several pieces and had a few commissions.  I was also honored with the Best in Show award this year!  For as good as it was, I’m relieved and happy to have it all behind me for another year.  Now I’m working on commissions and taking care of the little business things that come up, like re-stocking my cards and T-shirts around town.  I’ve been making more sweater petals to sell at Bloomingfoods this year, which were very popular in the fall and winter months last season. 

In other fair news, Jacob and Tommie spent a lot of time caring for my booth and talking to patrons when I was off stomping out fires.  When I asked Jacob what his favorite part of the show was, he said it was using the credit card reader!  Many people told me what a wonderful salesman he was for my work, and some of my artist friends want me to rent him out to sell for them.  He does tell good stories about the work and makes a very personal connection to the art, so it’s good to have him in the booth.  I wanted to mention that the first piece to sell this year was my new willow piece called Sitting with Grandpa.  It was kind of hard to part with because I was still pretty emotionally attached to it.  The piece had some of Grandpa’s old army blankets in it, so there was a real connection to him.  In Czech, when you have problems you go and talk to the old willow.  I think Grandpa did that too, since he grew up around some giant willows in his backyard that were a big part of his life.  They were great climbing trees and just good places to hang out.  He liked to be near water, which is where the willows lived. 

When the show was over, I was treated to a delightful celebratory dinner.  After takedown we had Jim’s orange glazed salmon, rice, peaches and a bottle of wine.  For dessert, Jim baked a fresh apple pie using transparent apples from Grandma.  Boy, were they ever flavorful!  Jim, you can make another one any time now!  I know you have more in the freezer!  Which reminds me that I also started back on my Zumba routine.  I’m pretty achy and a little sore, but it feels good to be active again.  Oh, and I also went out on closing night to see “Urinetown” at the Bloomington Playwright’s Project theatre, a play directed by Eric Anderson.  After a delightful dinner at Samira with the boys home playing Minecraft, it turned into a fine evening.  What more could I ask for?

Until next week,

Martina Celerin