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craft fair season + thankful


"Each day comes bearing its own gifts.  Untie the ribbons."  

--Ruth Ann Schabacker

It's craft fair season and I am busy in the studio.  The DIY Trunk Show broke all expectations! Thank you to all who stopped by my booth to say hello.  Your smiles were a great gift.  And to all who made a purchase, thank you again.  I woke up last week to find a giant puddle of water in the basement.  The leak was more than a leak.  Evidently everytime I turned on the bathroom sink, a huge waterfall came cascading down my basement wall.  What normally would have caused a major panic was offsett by such great sales and knowing I could easily pay the plumber.  So a mighty THANK YOU!

You can next find my work at the Out of the Box Holiday Gift Market (see image above).  I will be there 12/10, 12/11, 12/17 & 12/18 selling my beanies, berets, and bags as well as new charming paper ornaments made with vintage papers and colorful felted hats pins.

In the meantime, I am busy knitting more of the red "thread."  I picked up another 68 donated hats, so I guess that means another 68 yds of i-cord to knit over the holiday weekend.  Yeah!

My daughter and I have a tradition.  We make pumpkin pancakes followed by either pumpkin pizza or homemade pumkin ravioli (in a sage and brown butter sauce) followed by pumpkin pie.  Yes, being a vegetarian, it's a pumpkin theme around here rather than the focus on a turkey.  When completely full and barely able to move, we head out to the movies to watch the latest chick flick.  Unfortunately there aren't any chick flicks on offer, so I think it will be the latest Muppet movie.  While I will miss family in St. Louis, I am thankful for the down time we have together, giving us a chance to recharge the energy levels before holiday season swings into high gear.

 Wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving!

thinking ahead to spring

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Prairie Violet photo by Larry Sanders

"You can't be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet."   --  Hal Borland

A few more flowers from my Glass Prairie series. Violets are among my favorite flowers.  I love their vibrant color and delicate fragrance.

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Arrow-Leaved Violet photo by Larry Sander
Their arrival each spring is a sure sign that winter's frosty spell has finally lifted.  While the Prairie Violet and Arrow-Leaved Violet favor the prairie, the common blue violet can be found throughout one's garden and lawn.  I love to add them to salads for a dash of color and some extra Vitamin C, but this coming spring I think I will make some violet jelly.

These recipes show a gorgeous jelly, light purple in color and sure to be delicious.  Just imagine it with some lemon scones!

The Taste of Spring

A Sustainable Life

Prairieland Herbs

knitting pub crawl and a holiday market

Two great events this weekend!

The first is Unwind - a Knitting Pub Crawl with The Red Thread Project® - Saturday, 11/12, 3-6. Registration / check in is at the Rogers Park Business Alliance (RPBA) - 1448 W. Morse. You must check in and get a wrist band at RPBA, but then can travel to whatever bars in whatever order. The goal is to visit all 6 pubs. At each bar you will receive a playing card, the best poker hand at the end of the night at each bar wins a prize.

I will be rotating between these fine bars collecting hats for The Red Thread Project® and assisting with hat making queries. 

Participating bars: 
Act One Gastropub - 1330 W. Morse
Buffalo Bar at the Heartland Cafe - 7000 N. Glenwood
Chuckies - 1412 W. Morse
Duke's Bar - 6920 N. Glenwood
Glenwood Bar - 6962 N. Glenwood
Morseland - 1220 W. Morse

This event is presented by Rogers Park Business Alliance and Sifu Design Studio and Fine Yarns.

On Sunday 11/13 from 10-3 is the 3rd annual Holiday Market at the Emanuel Congregation, 5959 N. Sheridan Rd.  I will be there with new beanies, berets and bags, plus my latest line of hat pins and the ever popular all natural, moth repellant herbal sachets.  There will be many fine treats and a fantastic raffle!  Don't miss it!  And yes, I now accept credit cards.  Woohoo!  

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Enjolive Nixie Beanie
Here is Mimi the Mannequin modeling Nixie, a deliciously soft beanie knit from Highland Peruvian wool, merino and a merino / silk blend yarn with needle felted dots for a bit of extra dash.  As always, my mission is to brighten the grey winter landscape with bits of bright color!

teaching an old dog new tricks

Hemisphere"Experience teaches only the teachable." --  Aldous Huxley

Do I always have to learn the hard way?  I recently asked a curator for the return of work I had sent her in the spring.  She was confused.  Evidently my contract stipulated that the work was to be "donated" to the art center.  Didn't I know?!   I had read the contract, but nothing was highlighted, boldfaced or clearly written that the work was to become the exclusive property of this art center upon shipment to them.  This was equally clear as mud in the curator's emails.  Biggest shocker was to learn that my work had sold at the art center's benefit.  I haven't a clue as to who bought the piece, let alone receive a thank you from the director for participating.  What I received was a small stipend in the summer that didn't even cover the cost of my materials.  I should be grateful.  The curator's response to my anger at feeling so duped, "Well, I was surprised that you spent so much time on the piece.  It was lovely work."

Frivilous comments don't put food on my table.  Money does.  I had spent 60+ hours making the piece, not including the cost of materials and shipping.   I received less for it than if I had actually donated it and been able to write off the donation on my taxes.   The meager stipend guarentees that I can't write off the piece.

Worst yet was hearing from the curator and a colleague who had joined us for dinner that they don't think artists should necessarily recoup the cost of their labor in the sale of a work.  When asked if they expected to be paid when they taught, curated shows or did other art administrative work, their response was affirmative, but for some reason artists should give away their time.  Their labor and experience shouldn't be a part of the equation.

What the....?!

For some reason I've been hearing over and over that artists create just for the joy of it.  This somehow then implies that we shouldn't care if we are paid as enough satisfaction is derived from the process of making and exhibiting.  A sale of work is pure gravy.  Frankly, I am fed up with this train of thought and the sooner artists ban together to insist on real wages, the sooner we will receive respect and earn what we should. But I despair in thinking that I'm fairly alone in this line of thinking.

My mother loved to cook.  She cooked for her family.  She also owned a restaurant and cooked for others.  She found joy in the process and loved to see others happy eating her food, but she clearly expected to be paid and indeed did receive money for her creative endeavors.  No one quibbled at her prices. No one said she should be satisfied giving away her talent.  Her art is one that feeds the body, mine feeds the soul.  Maybe I'm just a stubborn old dog, because I don't get what the difference is as both provide nourishment.  

There was a Chicago Tribune article a decade or so ago about an artist living near one of the housing projects who earned a comfortable income from painting murals in project apartments. People who were at the bottom of the economic ladder found value in his art.  They needed to have it in their lives and paid for it.   I wish I could find my copy of the article.  It clearly blows apart the notion that art is an exlusive of the wealthy who have extraneous income, let alone that art is not a necessity.

Another news report that sticks in my mind aired on NPR a month before the US invaded Iraq. There was a sudden rush on the purchase of art at galleries.  The reasons given for purchasing weren't economic, but emotional.  The collectors knew what horrors were soon to come and wanted to know that a little beauty would remain in their lives.

I can't do much to change how the art world works, but I can tighten up my response to it.  I'm always a stickler for reading contracts, but based on this recent situation, I obviously need to have a lawyer review them each and every time.  As this is an expensive enterprise, it may mean I exhibit less frequently.   I can't afford a legal review for every exhibition I've been involved with in the past year, but I can't afford to give away my art either.  I'm not going to bother quibbling further with the curator or the art center.  They aren't worth my time.  I will simply chalk this experience as a teachable moment and try to do better in the future.