AAAh Tremont, We always love you!

The Tremont Arts and Culture Festival is always a high point of our show season… It might have something to do with our 16 year history of involvement with the festival which began when Steve was on staff with Tremont West Development Corp.  It might be the beauty of that 17 acre park called Lincoln.  Or it might be the eclectic collection of artists, performers, food, and humanity.

Each festival has a personality of its own, and Tremont is a wonderful venture into the arts.  We had seasoned veteran artists on either side… Betty Drake brought her phenomenal pottery and was on our right side.  George Kocar brought his wimsical paintings to the festival and was the neighbor on the other side of our tent.  And across from us were the incomparable silversmith team of Posch and Galenas.  Amazing artists with skills beyond compare… such a wide variety of art and merchandise to view and purchase.

We were thrilled to see the beautiful sunshine of saturday morning as we arrived at 8am to set up.  The sun was warm and bright, and dappled through the old trees of the park.  We brought Big Bertha, or large tent, because we knew that she would withstand any weather conditions.  And she stood firm and large for us for the weekend.

As the sound stage began testing mikes and sound checking the equipment we realized for the first time in the 16 years we has a perfect front row view of the stage.  That was wonderful… and the stage was a constant flow of ethnic music, dancing, and tremendously talented performers.

As a child i attended St Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral on Starkweather, right there in Tremont.  And the second act on saturday took me back to my childhood and russian choir under the direction of Mr Baronoff (who is long gone).  The russian choir sang some of the old songs i learned in russian as a child.  i found myself closing my eyes and remembering learning words, and the story behind the song.  Like Klezmer, Russian music often told stories of village life, of daily things, of the process of living.  Those deep baritone voices, coupled with a base and a couple altos made the chorus harmonize impeccably.

And the belly dancers, and sword dancers were a big hit with huge crowds gathering to watch them dance.  And ofcourse there were a Puerto Rican dance troupe, and an Irish folk dance group, and a modern dance company that wandered through the paths performing a humerous dance medley (it was more fun watching the crowd try to mimic their gestures).

And our biggest thrill was when God turned on the sun on sunday morning after that overnight rain.  The weather warmed, the sun shined, defying the weather service prediction of rain, rain, rain.

And throughout the weekend we had the opportunity to talk with old and new friends, and had some surprise visits from friends we don’t often see any more since our lives have gone in different directions.  We were so thankful for each and every one who visited.

On a rather frustrating and sad note, we got home sunday to count our cash box, and discovered someone had lifted all of the big bills from the bottom of the box, leaving us with just a $50, the 10s, 5s and 1s… we have never encountered such an invasion of our space.  Yes, we have had a bar of soap or a brooch lifted, but never our income.  So this took us by surprise.  And it was an awakening to the need to have our cash box on our person at all times… so we are revising our procedures to ensure this will never happen again.  Thankfully most of our sales were charges yesterday, and that was sheltered by the encrypted technology we use on our phones.  These are difficult times, and we only hope that the person or people who took the money truely needed it.  God knows the whole story… they are in his hands.


Michael’s Soap

Steve has taken under his wing a bright young man who has a dream of going to St Ignatius for his high school education…  Michael just started 8th grade in Cleveland, and has wonderful grades.  He shared his hope and his dreams and Steve asked him how he wanted to accomplish them.  Michael said he is willing to work hard, and earn his way.  That said Michael expressed an interest in learning to make soap, and selling his wares.  So, several weeks ago they got together, and Michael made a large batch of Green Apple soap, and together we designed a label, and packaging for it.  The soap turned out awesome… large bars and small minis available for sale.   Saturday we launched the soap at Tremont, placing the soap at our checkout counter, front a center.  And we gave opportunity for Michael to tell his story.  He was flooded with an abundance of overwhelming enthusiasm, and support.  And we watched Michael get the courage to talk with perfect strangers about his dreams.  He began to understand that telling his story would open doors.  And doors were beginning to open for opportunity, information and lots of knowledge on how to take the next step to the dream.  Michael’s Green Soap sold well, with him making $145 in those two days.  The entire sum is being placed in a bank account for him for his dream.  And he is now thinking about what soap he wants to make next…. rumor has it that he has targeted Pumpkin Spice.  Ah, an astute business sense he has because he chose one of our best sellers for fall!!!  We will keep you updated on Michael’s soap story as it grows, and develops.  We are confident this young guy will find success at whatever he does, and we are so thankful to all who have offered insight, encouragement and wisdom to him.    One retired executive looked him right in the eye and said “hold your head up, be proud of the story you have, and the ambition you show.  If you were older and came to me for a job i would hire you immediately because I like you, and I like your willingness to work.  Don;t change that… that is what makes success stories.”  We certainly agree.

What’s next for Images in Bloom?

We are a busy bunch this week, making more soap, processing more silk, and i have to get the wire and crochet hook out and start at it again….

  • red logThis afternoon we are delivering soap, wire crochet and silk for the Autumn Painted Red 2014 gallery exhibit and show at the Log Cabin Gallery, located at 1671 Main Street (rt 303) in Peninsula.  This show opens at the log cabin on Thursday, September 25th, from 11a to 5p and runs through October 25th.   The gallery owner has planned a wonderful array of activities, and curated a beautiful selection of handcrafted works that include her very own photography, gourds, ceramics, quilting pieces,  leaded glass pieces, mixed media pieces, and our soap, silk and wire crochet.  I will be posting more in the next days about this.
  • The week will be spent making more soap batches.  While our supply is good, we have to always have reserves available for the shops, and galleries, as well as our own sales events.  This week on the plan are Coconut Mango (sold out right now), Apple Cinnamon, Pink Himalayan Salt Soap, Lavender, and Chamomile Calendula.  Also on the plan are mini bars.  We are low, and in need of restocking them.  (Our mini soaps are wildly popular for travelers, and for those who love to scent their drawers, as well as guest soaps)
  • This week I have 10 pieces of silk to finally finish… the plan had been to get them done for Tremont, but time ran out!  So i hope to have them steamed, pressed and ready for sale by saturday.
  • I also have a few projects (special limited edition soft fiber wearable pieces) that have to be done for TAA in October.  My focus is turning to getting them done.  These pieces are one of a kind, and definately unique.  Textile Art Alliance’s holiday boutique is held at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights on Sunday, October 19th.  I will be writing more about that in coming days.

  • 021Saturday, September 27th we are traveling to Alliance, Ohio and Mount Union College for their Art Fest.  We will be near the lake on the east side of campus.
  • 064Sunday, September 28th we will be at Edgewater Park for NeoCycle’s Hub Village of Artists.  Its a cycling festival, but we were invited by a cousin who is part of the planning of the event, and a fan of our soap.  More on that as we get closer to the date.

And there are more plans in the pipeline… stay tuned for them.  Thank you for your encouragement and support.  I had the joy of talking with a number of people who read this blog and follow us, and you made my day.  Thank you for your encouragement!!!