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 

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