Sunday, October 19th was a delightful and treasured day for me. The Textile Art Alliance of the Cleveland Museum of Art gathers together a wonderful selection of fiber artists for an amazing collective boutique spanning three ball rooms of the Landerhaven facility. And fashion takes center stage with a fashion show during a luncheon. Its a high water mark for me, as the fiber is the center of the event. And what i do is uniquely my own work. It is always a pleasure to be a part of the boutique, and every year previously i was assigned a booth space in ballroom 3, at the back of the facility.
This year we pulled up to the front entryway, and I walked into the check-in desk only to discover the assignment. I was brought to tears of joy when i learned my assigned space was in Ballroom 1, a very brightly lit room that has been for some of the high-end artists. And I had a corner spot… wow. I was speechless and tearful over this news.
So with the help of Steve we brought all of the work in, and i began assembling my display. i loved the opportunity to build my display by color, with the hot colors on one end, cool on the other, and the wire crochet in the middle. As i was finishing up setting up i began to meet the neighbors…. a bead weaver (beautiful work, very detailed and precise work) who i have been neighbors of in the past. Then i met the delightful milliners who were across from me. Nifty hats with style and panache… from the hand sewed from up cycled sari and vintage material and felted wool… one of a kind and truly unique. The other milner was also the cover feature of the post card… beautiful felt pressed hats with amazing detail, and fascinators, and hats for formal and informal occasions. Between them was Esther, who sews such beautiful one of a kind handbags, also from unique and rare cloth. Delightful work, well made. My neighbor to the right of me up-cycles and re-purposes quality women’s clothing and her recreations are delightful. I wish i would have taken a photo of a very soft light sage green cardigan that she delicately appliqued floral pattern on the buttonhole side of the sweater… wow.
And there were wet felted capes, and alpaca studios, and tailors, and bead weavers, silversmiths, lamp-work beaders, and my lovely friends who knit like you would not imagine…. a beautiful gal who knits her heart out making purses, which she then felts… amazing work that sold well, and the purly girl who knits wonderful hats and gloves and scarves from rich and colorful yarns…. such wonderful fibers. I was alone otherwise i would have gone around taking photos… but i had to stay close to my booth.
It was a glorious day, filled with blessing and encouragement. And i realized how far i have come when a charming midlife woman stopped at my booth and we chatted. She was nervous as a cat, wound up… and i learned this was her first time at TAA. I told her what a lovely women who was a neighbor that first year told me. “You can never predict what the audience is looking for.. Keep everything in perspective, and just enjoy the people. Celebrate the day with them, and that enthusiasm is contagious. Often when people feel heard, valued, listened to they make deeper connections, and value your work more. Let it be what it is. And know that the first year you are here is an introduction. People will come back next year looking for you again. Just love people, and stand behind your work, your price, your skills, remembering you have been juried into this experience.” Her face looked visibly lifted from the stress. At the end of the day she hunted me down to tell me she did well, and she enjoyed the varied women who visited her. Yes, full circle. I was able to pass on what saw me through that first year.