Thursday, August 13, 2015

First Friday art walk

 I've been wanting to get my artwork in a gallery and so, when the opportunity arose to apply for a guest spot at Missouri Artists on Main, I took the leap. I didn't know a lot about the town, other than it was in the greater St. Louis area and I didn't know much about the gallery either. I was pleased to see that it is located right in the middle of the historic part of town. In fact, it is a very historic building. The hanging system to accommodate the older building was a challenge to work around.
 It required either a single hanger (sawtooth or similar) or wired. It hung away from the walls so the pieces that weren't mounted or framed sort of shifted . It didn't help that those hanging sleeves required by the shows (4 inch with give to them) made them very loose for regular 2" slats and wires. I won't go into the details of hanging the show, but enough to say that my DH was wonderful, and so was the gallery owner, her DH and a random customer for deciding which pieces went were. I was totally out of my element.

 It was a good reminder that to me, some of these pieces are not new and I've lived with them for awhile. That meant that I was MOST excited about my new pieces and the direction I'm heading in. That was not the case for all the NEW people looking at my work. The caves got a lot of attention and , oddly, the cat. I told the gallery owner I had no idea of pricing, that was her area of expertise. While she tried to engage me in the process, whatever she said, I went with. She knows her market, she knows selling and I believe in letting those who know what they are doing to do it.
So, we made it to St Charles, on time, and got the show hung and priced on THURS. Which left DH and I all of Friday to see the sights.
 The Foundry Center is an art space in St Charles which was a former rail car manufacturing center. We were told a bit of the history before we got to look around. They have a very nice gallery space there and the current show was about the Circus. I thought this was a nice example of what you can do with a bowling Ball. No, it was great, as were several other pieces in the show. I'll be paying more attention to their calls of entries now that I've seen the space. Upstairs, is broken into several work spaces for artists to show and work. I'd be tempted if I lived closer, but the 8 hour commute would be a killer.
 We walked Main st. which is a mixture of tourists shops, restaurants and general downtown stuff. The street and sidewalks are made of bricks. I was generally impressed with the area.
being from Florida and (DH) Ohio, we know very little about the history of Missouri. I've picked up a bit here and there from 4th grade subbing over the years. So, It was interesting to see where the Lewis and Clark expedition left from, how part of the town has a strong french influence because it existed before the Louisiana Purchase, how Daniel Boone was here (for some reason) The first capitol and how all of these buildings are still in use.
 DH and my friend, Margaret's DH talked at the First Friday. There were several BOMH artists there, whom I remembered from a meeting a couple years ago. The St Louis area artists are very active and it was good to see them come out and support us. I was able to chat a bit more with them and a few general customers who came in. The reaction from the artists were that they had not seen anything like my work ( I THINK that's a good thing) and they all had differing pieces that were their favorites. They all thought the pieces took a lot of work (they did) and were surprised when I said I did it all with my home sewing machine (not a longarm). Mostly they were familiar with traditional quilting and some had been to AQA in Paducah. What felt incredibly freeing to me was absolutely none of them looked at my pieces and  talked about bindings or hanging sleeves or what techniques I used or materials. They looked at the pieces and talked about what they were saying with them. Understood I was working with depth, thought it was interesting So, in a lot of ways, I'm doing well.
All good things have to come to an end and, while I appreciate that I-44 got us there quickly, I could use a more interesting route home. I gave DH the option of the wine country or seeing the oldest Burr Oak tree in the country.He chose the tree. He's in the picture and he's 6'4".
  Then, we went through the real capitol and Lake of the Ozarks before hitting 44 at Lebanon, then south to Branson, where we met Delaney and attended Julie's wedding. Funniest line there-
  I introduced myself to Kendall as, "I'm Steve's wife" (since she didn't really know me) and she replied, "I'm Julie's wife". Hilarious!
  I went back to work on Sunday, discovering that all my back stock was gone and I've been working hard ever since to keep up with what is needed. It wasn't a great surprise that this would be the case and I've learned (trying to learn !!!)  to calm down and roll with things there a bit better. I have a couple more days of high sales opportunity and then it will drop as the kids go back to school.