Running a show


Time's short and I too busy. Two or so years ago some artists and art advocates in Bend decided that the West Coast in general and Bend in particular needed a really wonderful show. What's more we realized we had all the skills to put one on. And so it started.

In 2 weeks the 2nd annual Art in the High Desert will come to Bend. Its a lotta work. We are an all-volunteer group.  Which makes it a bit crazy to work this hard. But we all agree that it is worth it. But today, for now, Arggghhh. Why do I have the good ideas I do? I'm way too busy. Our whole team is working hard, on their own art, and each of their show jobs.

Last year was our first year. We could have picked a more auspicious economy during which to start a show...but we like challenges. More important, the city of Bend, and central Oregon love fine art. They came out and bought last year, and they tell us they will be back again this year.

So while my life is filled with little details, final advertising pushes, (I even get to be interviewed on a local TV staiton) here are some images from last years show, taken by our photog Tom Hassler, aerial photograph by Matt Verdieck.  Enjoy the view, come and visit us this year. We have great artists coming again, don't miss them.


AHD_08 Along the river

BearAHD 2008

Long Day AHD _08

Aerial AHD 08

Great Zeus! - Zot! - Eureka!

"I so admire how creative you artists are. Where do you get your inspiration?"

.....waiting for inspiration

Good question. Every time I am asked that question I am flummoxed. Inspiration is a tricky thing. When I am very lucky, or very good I walk into just the right spot in my studio and ZOT! a truly great idea comes to me in a flash. The 3 rings in my top banner were a marvelous Zot moment.

My friend and fellow jeweler, Jack, challenged me to get over my prejudice to diamonds. I'd always thought they were over-hyped, stupid stones, boring, transparent, clear, no color; plus there are millions of them around.  Bah humbug, who needed them when there are so many other fine stones in the world. But Jack nudged some of my thinking around and I started relooking at diamonds.

My main gripe with diamonds is that much of the jewelry made with them, makes it all about The Diamond. I am a metal worker. I want my work to be all about well... My Work and the diamond's just a punctuation to my designs.

My 3 rings above came from this double-dare of Jack's. The idea formed in a quick moment of insight, fully-developed. I even found some colored diamonds to use. Bliss. I regularly thank him for his goading.

But mostly my designs are hard fought.

Jestsam & Flotsam
Jetsam & Flotsam

I am currently working on a design I know isn't that good. But the damn thing will not vacate my head until I make it. I know it will end up in my scrap pile...I have days like this. Its like clearing a plugged drain. Once I have design out of my head and at least partially realized I can go on to other things. I have a whole pile of dumb ideas that I poke at from time to time, trying to figure out why I made them. And sometimes they lead to inspiration, often not.

Usually my designs are evolutions from past work. No Eurekas! just hard slogging work. I make something like it or love it, look at it, start to examine it, think about it, and have a better idea of how to do it next time. This drives Dave-the-husband crazy. Why must I keep messing with great designs?  Why do I move on to my next NEW IDEA, when I have so many old great ideas I can still make? I  dunno. I think that's what it means to be an artist. We are always looking ahead to see what's there, how we can do it better, how it can change, evolve, morph into something else.

So when I go back to work, and I do find its work; divine inspiration is a rare event, no matter how good I am, or how many different places I stand in my studio waiting for it to happen.


Remind me again, why am I here?

Art Shows/Festivals are the inevitable end to months of production for art show artists. Some artists love 'em, some hate 'em. I love doing shows. I can't help myself. Hubby Dave has accused me of thinking each show is my personal block party, put on just for me to have fun with people.

Dave working, me gone visiting.....

I routinely disappear during set-up to greet friends, catch-up, laugh. While he is relatively tolerant of me waltzing off to visit instead of helping, he does ask I touch back in periodically to help.

But what's to love about shows?

Art shows are hard work, usually following weeks of long days in our studios. Shows are a strenuous 3 days of standing in all sorts of weather from blazing heat, to winter snow (it happened in Scottsdale, AZ), high winds-that can lift one's canopy and send it flying, torrential rains, bugs, dust, fumes, loud music, kettle corn smoke, etc are all to be endured.

Artists must pack up their precious work to get it safely to the show + they must also bring with them all the display apparatus, canopy, weights, stakes, credit card machines, packing materials, ground cover, nice clothes, food, and more. This gets stuffed into small vans, large vans, vans with trailers, trucks, trucks with trailers.

Time to set up.

Upon arrival at a show artists spend hours setting up their 10' x 10' retail space, setting out their art, arranging it. This requires schlepping all this from a van or truck, lifting, reaching, tugging, pulling, pounding, screwing, and sometimes painting....

Set-up in rain & wind at Des Moines 2008.

And then after long hours in the studio, a long drive, a long set-up we artists retire to a motel room to rest and get ready for day 1. We're exhausted.

But on show days we dress up in our clean clothes, slick our hair into shape, and try to remember how to be a salesperson, instead of a solitary artist.

We endure silly questions & comments, "Did you make this yourself?" "My niece does work just like this" "Its awful expensive, could you tell me where you get your supplies?," "What is it?" and try to smile and remember why we're here.

We get hungry, eat too much festival food, must use endless porta potties, our feet hurt, our backs hurt, we're tired, and often grouchy. This is no way to sell art, we think.

Then someone walks into our booth and starts talking about our work. Our head's rise and we realize this person "gets it." They understand what we are doing with our art, they love it, and they want to buy it.

A connection is made. I never know my end buyer when I create a new pair of earrings, but they are ever on my mind as I work. I consider how the earrings will hang in their ears, the comfort of a ring, how a bracelet will fit. And finally at the show, I get to meet these people, who I have had a silent dialog with as I create my jewelry.

It's a golden moment.

All the hard work, bad weather, funny food, lost sleep, is forgotten in the joy of connecting with people. Be it customers or fellow artists, I find art shows feed my soul as much as making my art.

Where'd she go this time?