What’s that you say? It’s been forever since I updated this blog? AGAIN???

I know, I know. But now that I’m here, I’m going to tell you a story about outdoor art fairs. Gather ’round.

I’ve had three fairs so far this year, and other than the first, they’ve all been outdoors. Which hasn’t been too bad, overall. The first two shows were both on absolutely lovely days: warm (but not too warm), sunny (but nothing that created oppressive heat), and overall pretty darn nice, as far as weather goes. I managed to get a pretty wicked sunburn on one arm at one of the shows, but that’s finally looking like it’s healed. (Wear your sunscreen, kids!) And I have to admit that after two shows of fantastically gorgeous weather, I was starting to get a little cocky. Well, maybe I was getting foolishly hopeful that all my shows this year would be just as lovely. I was hoping.

With shows nearing, the weather forecast always gets watched extra-closely. Ten days out, and even though I know that’s far too early to accurately forecast, I still eye up that 10-day forecast. And with my last show, there was unfortunately some rain in the forecast. I knew that at some point, I was going to have to deal with WEATHER as an outdoor vendor, but… I was hoping.

Surprisingly, my first tussle (literally!) with the weather wasn’t with rain. It was with WIND. Wind so bad that it needs those all-caps. WIND.

Watertown Tent Set-up

The tent! This year I have metal grid panels, which makes displaying my frames a lot nicer! I also have those new canvas print stands to hold all my sleeved art. I feel very professional with this set up, let me tell you!

We (my “road crew” and I) got to the fair site and found a good set-up spot (pick your own! very strange for me). Tent up, panels up, art up, good to go well before the fair opened. It was overcast and there was a breeze, but it was looking to be an okay day. Not too many sales right away, but I try not to let that deter me. I set up my watercolors so I could make new magnets (which is how I spend my time at most shows), and settled in.

And then the WIND started. The sort of wind that makes your entire tent wave back and forth. But let me tell you, I have weights and panels strapped to this tent. I’m good with it being pretty darn sturdy. The “road crew” went to go look at the rest of the fair, and I stayed in my pretty darn sturdy tent and greeted the people going by. But the WIND had other plans. The sorts of plans that include gusts that could probably knock a person over. And even the most sturdy tent isn’t a match for that.

The velcro that I use to strap my panels to each other and to the tent was also not a match for it. And (in slow motion, horrified) I watched as one of those panels came down. And landed face-down on the frames that had been hung on it. And shattered a whole mess of glass. Let me tell you that I’ve heard breaking glass before at the outdoor shows. I’ve seen people lose frames and fragile items (and I’ve only been doing this since last year). And let me also tell you that having it happen to you is a trillion times worse. Especially when you’re on your own for the moment and have no idea what to do.

Shaky hands (thanks adrenalin!) aren’t the most ideal when you need to pull down the front side of your tent to keep people out. Shaky hands aren’t the most ideal when you have to pick up two (large) frames worth of shattered glass from out of the grass. Shaky hands aren’t the most ideal when trying to velcro-strap your panels back together. Thankfully the “road crew” returned at that point and I was able to get things back together, but it was a less than ideal situation.

Sad Empty Space

That sad empty space above the wooden greeting card bin used to hold two frames. I was able to save the actual art from one, but not the other. You can also see some of the bungees I used to hold the frames to the panels against the wind.

And the WIND just got worse. To the point that we roped down and staked what we could and were still standing and holding onto the legs of the tent to try to keep it steady. I even bungee-corded my frames so that they wouldn’t blow up and away and off of my panels. To the point that I had sleeved art blowing away and almost lost a print (that a VERY kind gentleman returned to me, since I hadn’t noticed it blow behind a tree!). To the point that people started to give up and pack up. And to the point that I finally decided to as well.

The highlight of the day came in that I sold two (!!!) framed pieces, one of them to the Watertown Arts Council itself, for inclusion in their Circulating Art Collection! Yes, Murmur is now able to be seen at local business/buildings in the Watertown area, so keep your eyes open if you’re out that way!

Prints showing

That’s “Murmur” in the lower left. Complete with the custom hand-cut mat to go with it.

My next show is coming up fast – July 13th in the Oshkosh area. More details on my Upcoming Dates page. I know I’ll be hoping for some calmer weather! Either way, stop on by (though if it’s WINDy, you may get drafted to hold down a tent leg)!