Okay I can breathe! Renegade Craft Fair has passed and here are the things you need to know:
I got more value from the experience than I ever expected, but it came in a different format than I anticipated. This means that I did not make a lot of money but I gained a lot of intangible value. I made a lot of new connections and saw the way real artists are living and breathing. I saw the way they pour into their art in a constant flow and the way they believe in it. I saw the way their friends and families show up for them because they believe in it too. I saw the way my family and friends showed up for me because they believe in me. I saw the way I have to be if I want to be this way.
It was very cold and rainy and I was inside of a white tent which reflected the light in a strange way and made the whole thing feel kind of like a dream. Also I was very tired and drank a lot of coffee which put me further into the dreaminess.
I felt kind of like one of those old fashioned traders from the books who makes things and then goes on the road with their box of things and sets up shop on the road and then the city people come by and wander through. And at the end of the hard day’s work, I would put all of my things away in my wagon and take the journey home only to return again at daybreak.
My friends showed up as the angels that they are. They dropped me off early in the morning with all of my things. They came with almond butter jam bars in the middle of the day. They came with hot nutella-flavored almond milk lattes. They came to see my things and support me. I felt so lucky to see their faces amongst all of the strangers. And my new boyfriend came and stood in my booth for hours, letting me leave the whiteness of the tent and see the other artists. And I loved the pride in his voice as he talked about my work to the strangers.
When I saw all of my things in real life lined up together on the table, sitting atop a tablecloth. I realized of everything I had, the tablecloth it was all sitting on was my favorite. It was a thick organic linen printed brightly with one of my favorite patterns. The pattern has mushrooms and leaves and flowers and berries all over it. It’s earthy, yet bright and has a retro feel to its curves. And if I had a tablecloth for as many times as I heard “I would buy this tablecloth,” I would be a prosperous little pioneer. So I’m now veering in the direction of textiles. I love the feel of the fabrics and the realness of them and they seem much more practical than paper goods. Not that things necessarily have to be practical but it’s mostly just a gut feeling. So keep your eyes out for my new Renegade Pattern.
Then Sunday night after the fair I fell into a deep melancholy. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I was tired in a profound way that would not allow sleep to come to me. I probably definitely had too much caffeine and I got stuck on the thought that I could never be an artist because I just did not have what it takes. I decided I had absolutely no new ideas and that I never would and then I started thinking about how much I miss my parents and my sweet grandmother and the California sun. And everything poured over me and I felt it all very thoroughly and my boyfriend told me to name the things that I was grateful for and I said my friend Sue and him of course and that I got a chance to be at the fair and all the new knowledge I have and I can’t remember the other things. But basically it just reminded me that I am working every day to create myself and it is very silly to think that the work will ever be done. I can always be different and new and growing and learning and I must not imagine a space where I have made it and that is all to be done because that is not a real space.
So then I went to work the next morning and I got this article from Girlboss in my inbox that said “How do you know when you are burned out?” And I read it to determine that I was in fact burned out. But what was interesting was that it said when you really burn yourself out you need to be careful because it hurts you in deeper spiritual and psychological ways, not just physical ways. So I said okay this is my day and I went to the dentist and got my teeth cleaned and then I got my nails and toenails done a very beautiful blue color that everyone really likes and then I got my hair trimmed and the guy told me that my beach waves are highly desirable and this made me smile. Then I went home and ate a large yam with some Earth Balance and I slept very soundly. I felt a lot better the next day and I was ready to clean my house because it had gotten very messy in all of the chaos so I cleaned it a way it had never been cleaned. You should have seen me with my buckets of soapy water scrubbing my front door.
Then last Thursday was art club and it was a small group and there were new people which I love. I made vegan lavender scones and I had fresh berries and guacamole. We had a good chat and I pulled my dresser into the dining room to paint. This is the dresser I have literally been working on for six months. It all started when I saw this old floral-painted dresser that looked like it would be found in an old mansion somewhere in Japan (I’m going to Japan next spring to see the cherry blossoms!) and I wanted it very badly but someone got it before me because it was on Facebook Marketplace so I decided I would remake it my own way. This is the first time I have ever done such a big and detailed painting with acrylic paints which to be honest I really don’t like much because I find them difficult in the way they move under my brush. They feel very plastic-y and they are pretty see-through so you have to do lots of coats. But they had to be used for this project and it is really coming along finally. Slowly but surely. I love my art club so much. It makes me feel free to play and I think it makes the guests feel that way too which brings me a lot of joy.
That weekend I went to the Logan Square Farmer’s Market and bought some Hawaiian dark chocolate. I had a nice vegan brunch nearby with my boyfriend and then I met a friend at this little place in Logan Square called Common Ground. Basically what it is is a tiny little shack in the middle of the square and you would probably just think it was a shed for garden tools or something but no it is an art space and inside me and my friend who is this very lovely red haired artist who is the closest thing to a fairy I have ever come—we went inside. There was us and 5 or so others and the artist leading the event was a dancer and he had a sweetness about him like a puppy and they closed the door and turned down the lights and their was a trendy and techy-looking sound engineer in the front and the dancer directed our movement in a yoga like way, using the categories of direction, speed, flow, and space to explain. But basically what it was for me was that I felt so free twirling around in the afternoon light of a Sunday in a shed in the middle of the square. I knew on the other side of the walls, there were people picking up their veggies and passing by to get coffee with their family and just going about their daily lives which made it feel fun to be in there secretly and weirdly moving around to techno music. Then at one point the rain poured so hard that I thought the roof might collapse from the force of it and it all felt so liberating.
After that I went with my two of my new friends to a secret concert in a big warehouse in Pilsen that also happened to be hosting an alternative art fair and the whole setting was so perfect. I also ran into an old friend there, which was so lucky. We sat around on the floor listening to live music and then at one point we danced and then we had dinner together and it was all very, very lovely. It is honestly so exciting when you meet new friends and they feel like they are old friends right away and you are laughing and talking and not thinking about what they think of you at all, you are just being they way you are. That is the best.
Then I had a week of work and I started two new design projects and also went kickboxing for the first time and which I am now completely into. And my friend returned from her bachelorette trip to Cabo which also made me very happy. Then this week led to Memorial Day Weekend which was full of too much content for this already very long post. But basically the last few weeks as the weather warms and my first (and last) school year as a teacher draws to an end, I am beginning to feel myself again. All of the things I was missing are coming back to me. I am both terrified and liberated by the unknownness of the next few months of my life. Just last night I came to the realization that I would be just fine and I smiled to myself, saying “I TOLD YOU SO!”