As I mentioned in my last post, art festival season has begun here in Virginia and it's really heating up for me. I am participating in shows for the next three Sundays. I think that once I've got my gridwalls, tent and weights loaded in the car, they'll just stay there for a while.
This Sunday, April 28, is Art on the Square here in Williamsburg. It is one of two really big juried shows held each year and my first time as a participant for this one. (Still waiting to hear about Occasion for the Arts in the fall. Last year I got wait-listed.) Doing such a big show is very exciting and very scary at the same time. The exciting part is meeting all the nice people who stop by to chat and enjoy your work. That part is always heartening. The scary part is whether there will be enough people who love your work enough to want to take it home. Will there be enough of them to recoup money you've sunk into the show? Do you dare to hope that you have something left over for your effort and motivation to do it again?
There are so many things to be done to get ready for these shows. Some of the things are obvious and easy to think of ahead of time--can I make enough work? what equipment do I need and how do I transport it? But beyond the obvious big things, there end up being so many small details that crop up and take time. For this upcoming show, I'd been concentrating on replenishing my stock of Free Lace scarves. Then I remembered that I needed to allow time to photograph them and update my listings on Square/Etsy so that I can easily process sales at the shows. So I spent my morning photographing my newest scarves and editing the photos to get them ready to post. When I'm finished here I'll work on those listings. Here are a few coming soon to Etsy. You can see them "in the flesh" this Sunday in Williamsburg, or next Sunday in Yorktown.
It's not easy to see from these pictures, but I have been experimenting with using Angelina fibers in my scarves lately. These are very fine polyester fibers that add a bit of sparkle and shine. I've tried to use just enough to catch the light and glimmer a bit without being gaudy. We'll see what people think. Trying something like this is all part of putting yourself out there in these shows.
Sunday May 5, I'll be at Art at the River at the Riverwalk Landing in Historic Yorktown. It will be my second time participating in this juried show. Last year I was fortunate to win 2nd prize in the 3D art category. That was a big motivating factor in returning this year. I have followed through on a suggestion from those judges and this year have added unlined jackets and vests to my wearable art offerings. I am hoping they are more attractive for the warmer weather here (compared to New England)-- and their lower price point. I'll also be adding some of my wall art to my offerings this year.
Here are a few of those new jackets.
I am still working to figure out the market here and what to concentrate on when I am making things. When I came down here I had been concentrating on wearable art - jackets and scarves - reflecting my participation in the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. Here it is seeming like I may have more opportunities for my art quilts and embroideries, but I'm not too sure. I'm kind of testing the waters by bringing just artwork for 2nd Sundays - coming up again on Mothers Day - and I'm thinking about applying to more juried festivals with my artwork in the future. Big decisions to make! Always something new to consider, keeping me on my toes. In the end, though, the decision will be made by others--customers and show jurors will "tell" me what to make...
That was our March - so much going on that neither of us quite managed a blog post. April looks a bit less chaotic, but though I have a slight lull in the early part of the month, festival season is starting so there's no time to just sit in the hammock. Here's the update on what's been going on.
One big event for me was having my "Word Power" quilt shown a the d'Art Center in Norfolk as part of their exhibit Persistence. It was quite an honor to participate in this show celebrating women's empowerment. I attended the opening and was just blown away by what I saw and what I read in the accompanying statements displayed with each piece. There are pictures from the reception on their Facebook page which give you a peek at the exhibit. Even from the photos you can get a sense of how well put together this exhibit was. Each item was beautifully displayed and lit. (You can get a glimpse of my work in the fifth picture - under the flag.)
The other big event was our participation in the Textile Extravaganza at the Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center. Sonja and I had several works in the exhibition, taught some workshops, and did a trunk show this past Sunday afternoon. It has been years since we'd done a trunk show or any teaching, so the prep work took more time than if we had been doing this routinely, but we made it through. Plus, we met many very nice people and learned some new tips in the process. That's the best part of it. Many people asked if we'd be doing more teaching, so we're giving some thought to what we can manage. Stay tuned for that. For now, here a couple of pictures from the exhibit.
These are the mandala pieces Sonja created as part of the challenge she set for us late last year. It was an amazing experience to pick up our local paper one morning and see that purple "triptych" in the banner at the top of the front page. Then on the inside it was there again in a bigger format as part of a great article about the Textile Extravaganza.
These are my mandalas. I hope you can tell that I had a great time with this challenge. It's wonderful to have an art partner who pushes you to try new things. We had just two rules for the challenge - a finished piece measuring 6" x 8" and a mandala (circle design) of a specified size in a specific place in the piece. I let myself try out a bunch of ideas. Though our official challenge period is over, I might do more. I learned so much in the process and it's such a satisfying form.
So that's the summary of the art part of our busy month. In the midst of all that Sonja was also dealing with big doings in her personal life. In March she also started the process of buying a house. So far things are proceeding well and it looks like come mid-June they will live even closer--only 5 minutes away, not 25 minutes. I think I'm the luckiest woman in the world!
Mother & daughter, Ann Lee & Sonja Lee-Austin share their joys and struggles in their art and lives.