From the Blog

Whining, Yarn and Art, Then Sunburn

I sometimes get a little crabby if it feels like my schedule gets too filled. I dislike being in a rush, and I don’t really like running all the hell over the place. Even if all the stuff I’m doing is fun. I need to have a certain amount downtime in order to stay slightly sane. I get a bit exhausted, and sort of whiney, and sometimes outright insufferable, if I have lots of STUFF to do. So here was my schedule for Saturday afternoon:

1. Help some friends move into a new apartment. 2. Go check out a knitting and crochet festival. Seriously. 3. Go to Alberta Art Hop and look at art. 4. Maybe go to Mt Tabor Art Walk and look at more art. 5. Go to BBQ held by moving friends from the morning.

I did this to myself. I created this schedule. It’s mostly fun stuff. But it was a lot of stuff. But I looked ahead at this day, and was preemptively crabby.

First, we helped friends move. I actually don’t mind helping to move people. We’ve had enough friends help us that it seems like karma to help out others. Further, I am a big proponent of “crowd moving.” I believe in inviting a crapload of people to help you move, because it’s less strenuous on each individual, and the whole thing goes so much quicker. Then you have beer and food for everyone. And you help next time someone else is moving. That way, everyone always has a built in “moving crew.” And if you have friends who haven’t helped you move, well, perhaps they don’t really like you. Just saying.

So, two hours of moving. Done. Quick deposit in the friendship karma moving bank. Then I was off to a goddamned Knit and Crochet show. This had come around before and I missed it. I wanted to catch it this time. I sort of crochet. I can make things that are striped and rectangular shaped. I taught myself. I don’t know many stitches and I don’t know how to read patterns. Reading crochet patterns is like learning a different language, or like reading music. And I know people go to school for that sort of thing. So I am at the lowest echelon of crochet skills. Somewhere below mentally disabled while missing thumbs.

But it’s relaxing to crochet. It’s repetitive and meditative. It keeps my hands busy enough that I can do some actual quality thinking. And for me, at least, it takes FOREVER to finish something, (see practical lack of thumbs, above) so there’s no urgency to hurry up. It’s good downtime activity.

But this is also a problem. Granted, after 100 hours, I might have a fluffy scarf or lopsided throw blanket. I have something to show for my time. But crochet can become a sort of an obsessive, escapist activity. I have lots of other more productive stuff I should be doing. I really like crocheting, and if I could speed it up or make nice stuff, I could maybe sell things. But for the amount of time it takes for me to complete something, I’d have to charge $4000 for a scarf.

But I wanted to check out this friggin yarn fest and sure enough, I was the youngest person there by about 20 years.

yarn

Pretty stuff, though.

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Most vendors were friendly and had inviting smiles when you looked at their items. However, some of the people were downright tribal. I was pawing through some brightly colored puffs of unspun wool. And the guy came over and said, “Beautiful, huh?” I nodded my head in agreement. “You a spinner?” He asked. I barely know what a “spinner” is, enough to know I probably am not one. I mumbled that I do some crochet. The guy said “Oh,” and said not another word to me. I think he literally turned his back. Wow. Yarn people are vicious. Especially the spinners.

yarn3

I was there for a grand total of 10 minutes, which meant it cost about a dollar a minute with the door fee. I intentionally did not bring cash because I didn’t want to buy a ton of beautiful yarn and be tempted back into to dark, addictive world of crochet.

After that, it was still early in the afternoon, and I sort of felt a bit more relaxed. All the rest of the stuff I had to do that day was mostly optional and leisurely. I picked up The Roommate at home and we drove over to Alberta to go to the Alberta Art Hop.

I haven’t mentioned that it was the clearest, warmest day so far this year. The kind of day when your cramped, achy, cold muscles thaw and relax in the sun. The kind of day that you sweat a little while just strolling. The kind of day when if you are smart, you wear a hat and some goddamned sunscreen. If you are smart.

alberta

There were a ton of people. It was stretched out over 17 sunny blocks. Art booths, parades, clowns, dancers, zombies, free advice desks, sticky kids with popsicles, etc. Perhaps surprisingly, I haven’t spent any time on Alberta at all. I was really happy to check out the galleries and see a cohesive art community. We peeked in vacant storefronts and looked at retail spaces for rent. We fantasied about an artist’s cafe. Where the espresso bar would go. How to arrange the tables. How to finish the walls and make it inviting. All way, way out of our league, of course. But fun to think about.

We were walking into the sun all afternoon, I was sunscreen-free (it’s how I roll) and by this time, I was getting a bit red. We popped into the lovely Every Day Wine and had a chilled glass of dry white Italian wine. It was perfect. It was great to get off our feet for a few moments in the air conditioning. I had read the story about Every Day Wine in this book. And surprise, the owner is cousins with one of Dave’s childhood friends. Small world. Go git you some wine there.

We ventured back out and met up with another friend. I wanted to see how people set up their booths and how they were pricing their art. I may try to get a booth in some of the upcoming summer street fairs. I wanted to see how people do it. I’d make a lot of small pieces. Less expensive, easy to carry. I don’t know how much artists make at these street fairs. It could be good for some just to get their names out there. But we didn’t really see a lot of money exchanging hands. I didn’t see anyone carrying art home. Interesting. I’m not sure how it all works. Can you really make money selling art?

At the fair, we passed by a “Free Advice” desk. It was just a dude behind a homemade desk with a painted sign. Like a lemonade stand. Someone was sitting with him at the desk, presumably getting advice. At the time, I didn’t really think I needed any advice. But now I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t try to find that guy later. I would have asked him if he thought the artists were able to sell their stuff. Alberta Street is a vibrant artist community and that day was a mother of festivals celebrating art. It was great. Probably thousands of people. But are people actually buying art? Are they paying money for it? Are they bringing it home? Could an artist make an income?

I would have totally asked the advice dude all those questions.

Comments

  1. My nose is still a wee bit red this morning, but amazingly my arms are still pasty white. SPF 45 works! It was fun hanging out with you guys this weekend. ^_^

  2. One of my roommates from The Crazy House did the booth thing. His art is ugly. And he priced it at about $200/foot (so a 6″x6″ ugly ugly thing would be $100).

    He didn’t sell many. Wonder why…..

    But yeah, cute, smallish, cheapish, I bet you get a lot of hits.

  3. Hey, I am a recent transplant to the Portland area with aspirations of doing more artsy things. This week there is a Portland Art Spark discussion on the Portland Saturday Market and “the importance of Market as an incubator for starting you own small business in the arts and crafts arena”. I can’t go, but it sounds interesting. See http://www.portlandartspark.com/

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