Friday, June 3, 2016

A Pair of Fairs

It seems I am always rushing to write my blog last on Thursday night. And here I am again. It is the end of another twelve hour day. We put on seminars last night and tonight, plus there were meetings before them. Because of Memorial Day, the whole week has felt off. I can't believe it is Friday already and I'm leaving for Chicago Saturday morning.

I'll be there for the second day of my neighborhood art fair. It is the first art fair of the season in Chicago and I think the oldest juried art fair in the city. I grew up with it. It was a lot less elaborate in the old days. People set up open tables and hung their art work on my elementary school fence. The artists were almost all local and lots of them were my family's friends back then. Now everyone seems to have a tent and most of the exhibitors are from far away. Still I like to go.

One year I wanted to be a part of it. I had designed and sewed purses and other accessories. Juried meant that you had to show a sample of your work and be accepted to exhibit. I brought in a sample of my bags and the woman in charge scoffed at them and said they weren't art because I hadn't woven the fabric. She said I couldn't have a spot in the art fair.

The weekend of the art fair rolled around and I had a box of things that I'd made, so I decided if I couldn't be in the actual fair, I would just set up a table across the street in front of the playground. I hauled a card table and a chair and put out my wares. The woman who'd rejected me, saw what I'd done and marched across the street telling me that I wasn't allowed to do that and could be arrested because I didn't have a peddlers license. People had begun buying what I was selling and decided to ignore her. I'd already seen the cops drive by and pay no attention to me.

Sunday the weather looked like rain and I wasn't so sure about taking my table out, so I fashioned something out of a dress box. Remember when they used put dresses in boxes at real department stores where they waited on you? I made it so I was able to hang it around my neck. I hung the purses I'd made from my shoulder and put the other accessories in side the box and returned to my spot. The artists in the real art fair had their work hanging on the school fence and on open tables. The day grew darker and finally it began to rain. The artists in the art fair threw plastic sheets over their work to protect it which only did a so-so job. Me, I just closed the dress box and went home until the rain stopped. I returned to my spot and set up shop again. By the end of the day, I'd sold out. I saw the woman who'd kept me out of the fair, glaring at me numerous times.

It was the only year that I did that, but the next year other people set up shop where I had and it kept growing until finally it became a community art fair that was open to anyone who wanted to take part. Z smile every time I pass the spot where I'd set up shop.

The following weekend is the Printers Row Lit Fest in downtown Chicago. I will be taking part in the activities in the Mystery Writers of America booth. There are going to be fun panels and time for book signing. I just hope the weather is okay. I've been there when there were sudden storms and the tornado sirens went off, and also when it was so cold I wished I had gloves. Chicago in June - you just never know.

1 comment:

Linda O. Johnston said...

How fun that you helped to start a community art fair, Betty. And I've attended Printers Row a couple of times in the past and found it wonderful. I hope the weather remains good for you.