Greetings, everyone, and thanks for visiting my blog! First things first: thanks to all who came out to visit at the McKinney Arts In Bloom festival! I thank you one and all for your continued support of my quest to create and sell art jewelry. The show was an adventure and a learning experience, which I will get to, but first, it's time once again for some shameless self-promotion!
This coming weekend, April 28-29, I will be in Wimberley, Texas (which is outside of Austin) for the Wimberley Arts Fest. Wimberley is in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, and for those of you following along, just down the road from Dripping Springs, where I exhibited at The SHOW! in the Fall of 2017. I'm looking forward to visiting with my art show buddies (shout out to Mara my gracious hostess, Robert, Lacey, and Travis!), making new friends, and hopefully selling a lot of my pieces both new and old! I'm also hoping to catch the tail end of the bluebonnet season, but one never knows how these sorts of things work out. We shall see. If you're planning on coming out to visit, here is the link for more information: www.wimberleyartsfest.com/
So this past weekend was a learning experience as far as outdoor art shows are concerned. As you may or may not know, the weather during the last show I did was... um... typically Texas springtime weather. That means wind, hail, rain, thunder, tornadoes, and COLD. Thank goodness I got to set up promptly at 7am, because it took every bit of the nine hours until the originally scheduled opening time to sort through the problems the wind was giving me. The first thing I discovered was that due to the prevailing wind direction, the side street my booth was located on was like a wind tunnel. The wind was gusting up to 40 miles an hour, which was too much for my 160lbs of tent weights to handle, especially when I got my side walls put on. Much to my surprise, my tent began to skid across the concrete and into my neighbor's space! My husband's coworker (who manages outdoor events for his side business) told me to put my tent down low and that would help with the wind. It did help somewhat, but in order for me to feel comfortable enough to put the walls back up, I felt I needed more weight. Thankfully, McKinney is part of the Dallas metroplex, so off I went to a nearby PetSmart to buy, yep you guessed it, kitty litter!
I wrapped the boxes of kitty litter in plastic garbage bags to protect them from the rain that was coming down, then strapped them to my tent legs with bungee cords. Once secured, I could put the walls back up. I decided against raising my tent back up to its full height for stability reasons, but that made it very difficult for tall people to come in my tent and have a look around. Oh well. Part of the perils of having to put your tent on concrete. I'm confident that the Wimberley show will be easier since I'll get to stake my tent to the ground. The next obstacle was to put up my tables. This proved troublesome because suddenly the heavens opened up and dumped all the rain the area would need for the next month. Thankfully I had the foresight to use outdoor upholstery cloth for table covers, so they protected everything. Eventually, the rain slowed and I could get back to work. I'm not going to bore you with the rest of the setup details, but a lot of duct tape and industrial velcro were involved in keeping my display pieces in one place. Note to self: next time, use wood table tops instead of cloth. Cloth will blow off and take ALLLLLLL your jewelry with it.
By the time 5pm rolled around, the sky was looking like this:
And yes, that sucker was rotating. I learned that I can strip my displays and close up my tent in a little under 12 minutes. I also learned that going with my achy big toe instead of waiting for the weather alert from the organizers got me to safety in plenty of time. I was told that during all this, on the far side of Highway 75 they had jagged golf ball sized hail. I'm very glad that missed us, because that stuff would have destroyed every single tent in the place, and probably caused a tree branch to drop on mine and my neighbor's. We were given the all clear to open around 7pm, so I stuck around until 10 to show some stuff, and went home.
Another thing I learned was that keeping my displays low and backed up against more solid objects kept them from falling over. Hidden swathes of duct tape also help stabilize things. Here's a tip, kids: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS CARRY DUCT TAPE. IT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE. Or your art. Here is what my booth ended up looking like. (P.S. Note to self: get more lights!!!):
The rest of the show was less eventful, precipitation-wise, but boy howdy was it windy! I spent most of Saturday hanging on to the struts of the tent to keep it from blowing away, and I even roped a friend of mine in for tent-clinging duty for the afternoon. We made a lot of "holding down the fort" jokes. One helpful soul decided to help me rig up a makeshift weight with an extension cord and one of my storage boxes in the middle of the tent. It wasn't pretty, but it made the thing more secure, and at this point I wasn't really looking to win any best of show prizes for booth layout. I'm going to have to come up with a better way to stabilize everything, but I think the main takeaway from all this is to maybe go with a center booth instead of a corner booth next time. Sunday was pretty much more of the same, although the wind was kind enough to die down by the time teardown time came. This gave me time to run to Emporium Pies to indulge in a slice of Smooth Operator. Seriously, go try it. You'll thank me. Another friend brought me a delicious cheeseburger from Square Burger earlier in the day, too, so I pretty much ate like a king on Sunday!
After the show, I decided to create a more wallet-friendly line for my collection. I haven't decided on a name, but it's made from textured argentium silver and these really sweet freshwater pearls I picked up from one of my suppliers who happened to be visiting from Delaware. Here's what I've got so far:
There's more to come from all this. I just ran out of argentium and have to wait until Monday to continue! The price range for these pieces will be anywhere from $30 for a pair of earrings to $190 for a long pearl and silver necklace. I hope these are a hit at the upcoming shows. In the mean time, thanks once again for reading, and stay tuned for further adventures!