Why didn’t I think of this before?

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I made these gift certificates for an event I donated to and love the idea of having them on my table for sale. Why didn’t I think of it before? So if you are wondering what to get that person who is hard to buy for but you know they would like my work, why not try it this way? I will make them exactly what they want—perfecto!

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Summer stories….

2016 was a hoot! Such a fast pace and a wild schedule there was no time to relay the cool things that were happening to me on the road so I have time (hibernation) to do it now.

As I sit and do my tax reporting for the year I get to read the journal I write in when sales are made and people place orders- I jot down little funny things, ideas and such. My photos are also a part of my memory for the summer, and a few videos take me back to the cool places I had been.

The coolest of course is Rhythm and Roots Festival, this year was my second time at it, and loved it even more than before. I most enjoy the music and the joy and positive energy it butters people up with. Hyper-Social  people chat you up -some drunk and high on the festival fumes, both day and night. Last year one of the highlights was when we had a sleepover….. We arrive just in time to open the tent and be ready for the opening parade around 10 am. to find a woman passed out in the tent! In one of our sleeping bags, all curled up and comfy until we arrived.

She startled- with wide and bloodshot eyes, dazed and confused. She uttered a few grunts, managed to get to her feet and quickly stumbled off. She was obviously still drunk and quite wobbly, one of those strange moments in time-when all you have is eye contact and no words exchanged, and then she was gone.

We called ourselves a safe midnight rest tent and halfway home for fun,  we joked with others that our tent was always open to wayward drinkers in the middle of the night-we had everything you could need….a cooler full of snacks, tools, lights and bug spray. I thought it was great that she didn’t even eat the muffins we left out. Such a  normal happening at music festivals I come to know now, not unusual at all. For us newbies, (and not partakers)  between us tent mates it was such a funny story that we revisited it and told often over the year.

Well in 2016 she returned, still drunk, but awake and fairly able to recount the events leading up to why she crashed with us. We recognized her first, she did not walk into the tent and say,  “Hay it’s me remember…..Thanks for the good nights sleep last year!”

She told us how it happened, quite a hard story  to follow-the pickled storyteller may have been  the reason- but we listened and nodded, pretending it made sense….We took pictures and laughed, and then she bounced off, we extended our services for drunk crashing again just to be funny and polite, but we didn’t find her there the next morning.

 

 

Such fun vending at Rhythm and Roots festival, cant wait for next year!

 

 

Hibernation

In a way I have embraced hibernation as a way of life, even though I am a human and not a bear, it’s a great way to be! The summer is so hectic, go, go , go that I need time to STOP! This past year I was on the road and out selling 7 days a week for most of July and Aug. I cant do that forever! SO at this point, in January, I am full stop for a few more weeks. I have just thought about booking a show at coffee shops around town once a week, but even that seems too much. Soon I will have to be out there again, for now I am in here, under my fuzzy blanket, slowing doing my taxes, and just sitting still.

Tales from a three day festival-from inside a glowing orange tent.

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Now that I have rested and filtered through the memories of selling my work at Rhythm and Roots Festival this past weekend I want to put it in print so I never forget how amazing this experience was. There were so many things that happened to me over the course of three days its hard to fine tune and focus on it all. Here are just a few of the fantastical things that happened to me or happened in front of me in no special order.

  • A young boy named Kyle found me in the orange tent and told me he too was a wood burner-only he used a magnifying glass. I asked him to come back so he could show me his process which he did the next day. He schooled me on how to hold the heavy glass magnifier and we sat in the hot sun, burning our retinas together for a while. I had to take him aside after he nearly stole a custom order request from a customer. “Listen kid, this is my gig, not yours.” I showed him my hot pens and he made himself a yin yang necklace to take home. I will never forget his I know everything attitude and his confidence and passion for his craft.
  • I met Zydeco Bonnie! This 60 something woman with rainbow lighted rabbit ears on her head approached me dancing outside the tent -so of course I joined in and we danced around a bit together. After an introduction, a long history and other sorted stories she asked if she could use my tent, in her deep manly voice, to put on another pair of crazy colored leggings, she told me she was drunk and not eating enough on day three of “festing”. I gave her a container of trail mix, and danced her out of the tent.
  • Every day a golf cart with two paramedics would drive slowly by the tent making “rounds” it seemed with all of their life saving equipment aboard. A strange site for sure, as if they were fishing for sick people, peering into tents and making themselves available. My tent mate Jon and I laughed and laughed after he made the smart remark “bring out your dead!” I envisioned he and I stealing that golf cart and driving around screaming that in front of all of the tents, wish we had, Monty Python would have been proud!
  • Two nights in a row after we closed down the tent I went dancing. Both times I witnessed hefty women fall flat on their backs, spinning, twirling and falling to the ground with an earth shattering thud. I wonder how many people the sound guys saw drop after tripping over the cables and such that really were a danger to those drunken dancers. Next year I will ask them to count for me, my guess is at least 50. I was glad to be a strong girl available to pick them up, it was no easy task but picking up big drunk women is something I am good at apparently.
  • I bartered artwork for lobster rolls-twice!
  • I was told I was a genius by a late night visitor who thought that my hanging tree bark (intended as decoration) was brilliant and he needed to buy it from me. So I sold him bark for ten bucks.
  • I came within inches of a frisbee to the face and a cute little boy blew bubbles in my eyes with his bubble gun (costs only ten bucks with free refills)
  • The morning after-our tent became sanctuary to some lost camper woman. She was tired and lost apparently and found our refugee camp fitting for the night. Jon found her curled up in his sleeping bag when he arrived to break down. He snapped her picture for proof, woke her up and watched as she stumbled to the next door vendors tent where they gave her some water.

So some exciting things happened! In addition to all of that, I made many new friends, new connections for wood, and some money. In total 5 days were spent at Rhythm and Roots, crossing over the line of work and fun constantly. I am a new fan of a few bands, I feel like “festing” is an art form, and will surely be back there next year. In the end working 12 hour days felt like a hot breeze lasting a short while and the pain of loading in and out was like the heavy dust that collected between my toes-easily washed away-gone and forgotten. All that remains is a smile, I am one happy camper after this weekend. Thank you Rhythm and Roots!

An Artist under a tent….in a “Firestorm”

Signs O’ Fire was one of 10 artisans to set up and hope for the best at the Narragansett Arts Guild show that happens every Wednesday night across from the beach. It started well, but the end of the night was a much different story.We all were especially hopeful since the previous weeks show was cancelled due to expected thunderstorms which never came. Meteorologists lost our trust that night so we proceeded to set up and hope they were wrong with their predictions this time too.

After all was set up we watched as thunderhead clouds crept into view over the horizon to the north. They were ominous I must say, and the radar proved were we in for something. Most all who were there were prepared with weights, stakes and tent walls, and happily all tents were still standing when the night was through. Artwork and artists alike were needless to say soaked through, and some pieces were ruined. It’s a chance we all take setting up outside, in New England, at the ocean-side, but do so with the same passion that drives us to create and make a living selling our souls and hearts….our artwork.

As the darkness increased some of us thought that it would be a passing storm and rather than breakdown now, we would wait it out. It’s a lucrative night, and we we all there to pay the bills with our earnings, so we were hopeful, once again. This storm was like no other that I have sat outside through, fierce is a good word, and the wind direction changed many times as it does over the ocean. I watched a wall of dark grey scariness come over the ocean straight for us and that is when I decided to pack up, since at that point the walls of the tent were giving way to the wind and snapping  like flags in gale force winds. After I packed up, I ran across the field to my car, my bare feet splashing through the rising water in the grass, mostly water at this point. I started the car out of the parking lot to find a torrent of water flowing down the street, too deep for my car for sure, so alternate plans were to load my crates in a friends (my hero Bill) truck to keep it safe.

That next few minutes were sketchy in the tent, holding metal poles and flapping fabric proved silly no matter how well we did, it was no match for the wind. What was once a safe and exciting haven from the rain and wind  was now only slightly drier than outside. Bill and I walked about helping some, and talking to the others, all of us with the same look of lunacy and hopelessness combined. The lightning was fierce and all around us, loud cracking and certainly packed with electric energy.  This storm was on us, over us, and whipping through us at that point. “Soaked to the bone” fits, I only noticed how wet I really was when I sat on the leather seats in my car for a reprieve, puddling and sliding was much less comfortable than being outside I decided.

So in the end, it was not lucrative, but still gave us all the adrenaline rush we crave as people who do this sort of thing. I was laughing like a 95 year old crazy cat lady, and screaming after each strike and boom with excitement, but for some reason not fear. Lightning made a few uncomfortable, so this proved to be a difficult time to break down a tent.

Setting up and breaking down are our least favorite part of being an itinerant artist. It is hard work, and that’s only half of the job. I think many people underestimate the time and energy it takes to “pop-up” an art show. I also think its tough to make the call on whether to hold a show, or cancel it because of bad weather. I know from experience that “Murphy’s Law” exists and what you think will happen may prove to be like an opositional three year old, throwing a tantrum just to prove you wrong and they were right. So we lost one night because we were playing it safe and we lost another because we were hell bent to defy nature and the predictions, setting up rain or shine!

In closing I am sad for the loss of precious and valuable works of some of my comrades, but I am glad that I was one of the few and brave souls who experienced a monsoon first hand, it was a night to remember. I was rewarded at the end of the night, having to wait for the moisture on my windshield to fade, I witnessed a rainbow, fuzzy and full of rain still over the ocean. To make this an even more spectacular sight, fractured sideways lightning struck towards and through the rainbow many times. My arm cramped waiting for the perfectly timed shot with my soaked and stressed out cell phone.

Never got the shot. I wish I could share the images with you, so badly but the state of my phone is now desperate and all of my photos are gone. I did manage one before the storm on Instagram and am thankful for that at least. I will remember forever one of the most exciting nights of my life as an artist under a tent.

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Herding Cats…

Making my show schedule—–ahhhh!!!. Even though I love being busy, being social and selling and talking art, it’s getting rough around here! I feel really bad for the  people in charge of events and shows I schedule myself for because I am; always late, sometimes cancel and am terribly indecisive until the deadline for signing up. Then I apologize for the last minute commitment- oh man I am so sorry!

This poor guy!

This poor guy!

So this is a THANK YOU for all of those poor souls who are trying to schedule and organize artists, I have been that person in the past and now fully understand why I described some as; “flighty” “flakey” or “wacky” because I am now all those and more! I had a friend tell me at the time that organizing art shows is like herding cats, nearly impossible! So understanding, compassion and patience are more appreciated by me now and I will try to work on my commitment issues, promise!

Gearing up for SUMMAH!

This summer proves to be busy! Last year I promised myself to get better at pre-scheduling my summer shows and events and  I have. It proves difficult to safely schedule events when application deadlines are differing and responses to many applications do not come back at the same time. I also have a hard time looking beyond TODAY, and it freaks me out a bit to commit to something months in advance!  So here is a line up of my so far scheduled shows and events, some recurring and others a one time deal. There are a few still to be decided as well.

  • Every Tues 2-6 SK Farmers Market at Marina Park
  • Every Friday in July at Charlestown Farmers Market Old Post Rd
  • Every other Sunday at the Providence Flea, South Water St. Providence
  • The Narragansett Art Festival June 27 + 28th 10-7pm at the Towers
  • Java Madness table sale; 10-3—May 23, July 11th
  •  Tentatives; ( Block Island?!)    Field of Artisans pop up shows in SK


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Custom signs of any kind, really, anything is possible.

I recieved a message on my website www.signsofire.com after the South Kingstown Farmers market last week from a young man wanting to place an order for a gift for a friend. He did not have a deadline as this friends birthday is in December, he said he just likes to be prepared! SO I made it in a few days and will ship it to him, now he is covered for that birthday gift! Fun stuff happens to me everyday!IMG_20150416_231045