Sunday, May 18, 2008

Locally Grown Arts at the Farmers Market

About 2 years ago, a couple of friends of mine started a craft booth at the WNC Farmers Market. Because they mostly make jewelry, they needed other members of the crafts community to help stock their store. It is run as a coop and you are expected to work the booth regularly, so while I was still in grad school, I could not take on another project. But last winter, I joined in the fun. Although late in the game, it has been an interesting experience. The shop pays it's rent from consignment splits and the few purchased items that we sell, and it's not terribly profitable for anyone. I view my time there as studio time - I usually spin or needle felt. But it is a good outlet for yarns, roving, hats and cute little felted pins. Oddly enough, it's fun! Although I have long ago lost my joy in retail sales (if I ever had it), I like the 'everything here is locally made' ethos that makes the little shop special.

This weekend I spent some quality time in the garden, digging out a healthy crop of Bermuda grass. I also planted cilantro, basic, a couple of tomatoes, prepped a bed for chard, pruned the shrubs that are past blooming and weeded all around.

Meanwhile, the dye crock pot has been working all weekend, making blues and greens for the Felter's Paintboxes in my Etsy shop. I also plan to make 'all natural' multipacks - just deciding the size of the pack.

On Friday night, I called the Advanced Dance at River Falls with the amazing Cailen Campbell. Although not my finest hour, the high skill and energy of the dancers combined with great music made the dance lots of fun.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sunday at LEAF

If you have ever been to the Lake Eden Arts Festival, you have probably experienced its magic of music, dance, the healing arts and the community that it creates over the 3 days in the spring and fall. Growing out of an earlier festival held at the same site for many years, it is a uniquely wonderful experience for a very diverse group of people.

Although a long-time contradancer, I find myself more drawn this time to different kinds of music: gospel, New Orleans funk and the pure singer-songwriter ethos of Nanci Griffith. Don't get me wrong - the dancing was great! With music by the Latter Day Lizards and the Great Bear Trio and calling by Cis Hinkle and Robert Cromartie, there was lots of room to dance on Sunday (though the earlier dances were tight). Plenty of high energy dancing, great music and interesting people who come from all over.

Big Sam's Funky Nation played the set list from my father's funeral - but in a much more lively and exciting way. It also demonstrates that dear old dad chose his religious music from Elvis albums - I'll Fly Away, Just a Closer Walk with Thee, Amazing Grace. Third generation Charmaine Neville rocked the house too as she got off the stage and danced with the festival goers. She looked the part too - funky, fun, unglamorously beautiful.

But sitting in the 5th row for Nanci Griffith was pretty sweet too. Even with a bandaged right hand and aggravated voice (BBQ smoke blowing in from a nearby food vendor), she sang old favorites and a few cuts from her newest recording 'Ruby's Torch.' I always like her writing, choices, phrasing, and her amazing voice.

All in all, a very fine LEAF.

Obligatory Fiber Content: On Saturday, I staffed 'Locally Grown Arts', our farmer's market coop shop. Not terribly busy, but I got a good bit of spinning done, made a few stitch markers and knit a bit. I also knit most of a hat traveling to and from LEAF and while waiting for Nanci to come on. Next on the agenda, make up grab bags for the Etsy shop and the LYS. Staying ahead of the Etsy shop has been a bit of a struggle lately, what with the end of school, the DC trip and the rest of life. Gotta get on it!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Greetings from our Nation's Capitol!

I have a wonderful life.

In my professional work, I develop and implement Teacher Education workshops based on using primary sources in the classroom. I have been doing it for about 7 years after stumbling into a administrative support job that I considered not much more than an office temp gig. Turns out I love what I do, returned to grad school and began teaching undergraduate courses as well as the professional development workshops. The project had been funded by a Congressional earmark but is now funded directly by the Library of Congress.

One of the perks of this job is that I get to go to DC for meetings at the Library. This week, because there were a number of new project staff involved,they scheduled tours of a few different divisions, including maps and manuscripts. Extremely cool.

Because I have been to DC many different times,I have foregone most of the touristy things, although I did drop in on the new show at the National Gallery of Art, In the Forest of Fountainbleu. Lovely paintings. I love taking the Metro to get around! I feel like such a grownup, city slicker.

I have tried to make at least a part of this trip as a 'mini spa' vacation. We are staying up in Bethesda, Maryland. Although the Library staff was concerned that we were out in the burbs, the area is lovely and there are lots of restaurants. There are pretty neighborhoods behind the hotel, lovely landscaping - huge azaleas in full bloom. I have been taking long walks outdoors (about an hour each morning), crunching the abs in the hotel room and using the hotel exercise room for upper body work. I am eating light and healthy - at least most of the time. I really need to get in better shape and now is my opportunity to get started. Is fact, I hear the work out room calling me now!

Not much fiber today! A bit of sock knitting and the Etsy shop is doing fine without me! Selling a bit, but I'm not listing anything, so it's kind of in suspended animation.

On a sad note, Bunny FooFoo is no longer on the planet. He had (probably) a stroke over the weekend, all of a sudden couldn't walk or eat, so I had him put to sleep. He's in the garden now!