March has come in like a lion and the wind is gusting so hard outside that it makes the studio windows rattle. I walked in the woods with the dogs today, and nearly ducked back inside. If I stood in just the right spot, though, I could feel the sunshine and hear Spring whispering in the tree branches..."Not long now...".
Author William Arthur Ward once said, "The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, and the realist adjusts the sails." As I spent the last few weeks researching and applying to art fairs I've tried to decide if I'm a pessimist or an optimist. Artists aren't doing so well at art fairs anymore...the economy has everyone tightening their purse strings and art can be seen as a luxury item. But there is always the hope that if you pack all your work into a trailer, drive a few hours or days, dump it all out in a ten by ten spot and stand around in all kinds of weather for two or three days...someone is going to fall in love with it and buy it.
As a realist, I decided to not to put all my eggs in one basket, and have been putting my energy into getting a new local art fair started for this spring. From a small idea that I shared with a few new friends, the concept has caught on and we now have a small band of local artists who are working to organize and execute the new "Artz and Gardenz Art Tour" in the Holland, Saugatuck/Douglas and Hamilton area of Michigan on May 13th and 14th (Mothers' Day weekend). I have to admit that I had no idea how much time and effort it would take to pull all the elements together, but it seems to be taking shape now and I am so excited to see it happen! Six studios and a lavender farm will be open so that people can see both the artists' workspaces and also their personal gardens and outer spaces. We will even have some professional growers offering garden and nursery plants to get a jump on spring. I just completed work on the tour website, and you can find it at www.artzandgardenz.com .
Since gardening is the theme, I've been working on some planters and garden items for the open studio. I came up with some very organic looking planters that might work well as bonsai pots. They are made of slabs that I cut from the pile of clay on my work table. I think they're pretty funky. I like 'em. Maybe succulent planters? You'll have to come to the open house to see how they turn out.