Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stories and dragons at Ann Arbor Art Fair

Snarval and I drove to the Ann Arbor Art Fair
where we shared conversation and stories with customers and
other artists July 20-24. The Painted Room by Elizabeth Erdrich
on CD helped with the 14 hour drive there and The Magicians by
Lev Grossman on the way back. My booth location was under a
huge tree and thanks to a nearby flower bed, I was able to
open one side altho I "technically" did not have a corner.
For the first time,I had the show provide the tent for me.
The tent was sturdier and more waterproof than the one I would
have borrowed from a friend. Since I don't do many outdoor
shows, I do not have one of my own right now. Images below are
two versions of the booth. The wind picked up requiring the
phoenix and other winged creature to be moved. They enjoyed
flying around, but not everyone loved them jumping into their

I asked folks who visited the booth to share any ideas they
had about Snarval's story. Water dragon, fire dragon, lava
dragon were species suggested. Considering how much water we
experienced during the show, I'm leaning toward water variety.
We had rain 3 of the 4 days, with torrential downpours two eves
closing the show a bit early. Gee, wonder why I'm not too partial
to outdoor shows. I thought about removing Snarval from the
booth one night, but decided he would protect everything.
Seems he is a good protector since the 60-70 mile/hr winds
didn't develop either night they were forecast. The tornado
siren went off requiring us all to seek shelter one eve, but no
tornado arrived. Weather the first day, Wednesday, was
beautiful and nicer on Saturday than expected with clear skies
to pack up. So all in all not bad..another show survived!

I love engaging folks at shows and Snarval certainly drew folks
into the booth. One young person came up with the idea that
perhaps Snarval used to be a hot dog, went into a time machine
and came out a dragon. Another thought perhaps as a lava dragon
he was burned and needed a mask over his head. There seemed to
be a predominance of people who felt Snarval was a he rather than
a she. One young man had a discussion with me about bi-gender
snails. Another storyline offered was Snarval had been evil and
shooting fire inappropriately so a wizard made Snarval's head full
of holes so he could not breathe fire any more. One child was
sure he could explain the look of Snarval's head. It was obvious
that Snarval had gone into a log and become stuck. You have to
love what thoughts attending art fairs stirs up!

Speaking of stories and storytellers, I met some wonderful ones
at the Ann Arbor show. Two of my nest dwelling story nurturers
went home with story creators. One of the major reasons
I still go to shows is to see the creatures which leave
leave my studio find their friends. As I have said before,
once I've finished a piece, I know it belongs to someone else.
My job is to help that connection. I'm a strong believer that
art objects have an energy of their own and reach out. Seeing
that connection occur is magical.

Because I was at the show by myself, I wasn't able to wander
and savor all the art of the 4 simultaneous shows in Ann Arbor.
The show is beautifully run with lots of volunteer help,
offering short breaks,water,glasses and ice, but I still
had to stick pretty close by. But I was able to discover
a couple new (to me) artists whose work I love, and
connected with a couple long time friends. Next posts
will be about those artists.

Journey on! Wendy


  1. Wow your stall was amazing. Wish I could have seen it:) I'd have bankrupted myself and bought all your work though :(

  2. I admire your making a 14 hours drive by yourself and staffing a booth by yourself. Like you, I don't like outdoor events because they are so dependent on the weather. I have never planned an outdoor event, despite dozens of events planned over the years. I love the stories.
    Perhaps you can reach out to the local community before you come via Facebook or LinkedIn to get someone to staff your booth for a couple of hours to help you out. In the Boston area, I am willing to do so if I can get to the spot via the T or can hook a ride. I hope you made sales and connections

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  4. Thanks for the comments...(and offer for help in
    Boston area!)..Yes, I made sales..just predictably down from the past, but that seems to be the nature of the beast these days. I figure the important thing in these times is
    showing up...keeping the creative flow swirling!

  5. magical!! i agree with your about the magic of art! i so believe in it! making art, seeing art - it's all a magical process)