The Kentucky FiberFest Wrap Up

Welcome Back to the World of Outdoor Shows, Marti!

felted fiber booth

Sunday morning and ready to go!

The week leading up to the Kentucky Fiber Fest had been dreary and rainy but the weekend opened up with gorgeous blue skies! Setting up my brand new tent for the first time at a show was a breeze and I could see the the company of fellow exhibitors was inspirational and filled with smiling beautiful and talented people, not to mention their enticing array of offerings.

New Friends

Otto Strauch of StrauchFiber.com Fiber Equipment with a drum carder I long to purchase.

I got to meet and chat with Otto Strauch of Strauch Fiber Equipment (strauchfiber.com) who is as personable as can be and has a deeply dedicated following of happy customers who speak incredibly highly of the integrity of the machines he makes.

Unicorn Fiber made on a drum carder

His hand built drum carders help organize assorted fibers into perfectly workable ‘batts’ (that spinners and we felters then use to create yarn or other fiber pieces with). I hope to get one so I can make my own “unicorn fiber’ batts.

I bumped into Marlene Williams who was there selling her sheep fibers as well as spinning and talking and chewing gum all at the same time! She keeps a fun blog at woolridgefarm.com.

Marlene Williams

Marlene Williams of Woolridge Farm in Waco, KY

She and I have a mutual friend in Lindy Huber of Seldom Scene Farm who got me started with the felting in the first place. Lindy was there selling her luxe fibers, yarns and pieces made from much some of the fine alpaca and sheep fibers she and her family raise in Versailles, Kentucky.

$12 in Total Sales?

I met spinners, weavers, knitters and all manner of fiber afficienadoes who were there to explore materials and developments in fiberarts. The feedback on my new felt-painting work from knowledgeable and seasoned fiber pros was positively uplifting! Ok, so my own sales were abysmal; the simple truth is I probably am going to need to focus on sticking with up fine-art shows with this work and go about the business of educating art appreciators to my new application of this very ancient art form. But what a fun way to motivate me to create a body of work and build a booth full of it for my next steps with it!

Hello, Mary? We found your lamb!

Bleating + Spitting

So, despite disappointing sales I had super fun with my booth neighbors and all the other vendors I got to meet that I’ll be connecting up with on the network just for fiber arts (www.ravelry.com). Besides how much fun is a show where there is a parade of cutie pies being lead by Future Farmers of America members past my own space. What a hoot! I’ve attended shows in the past where I was surrounded by much bleating and spitting – but this time the bleaters and spitters weren’t bellyaching they were lambs and llamas!

Speaking of Belly Aching…

My poor brand new - it's first show ever tent frame in a sad unsalvageable heap after the Big Bad Wolf blew it down

Sooner or later everyone who sets up a 10 x 10 festival tent outside is going to run into ‘some weather’. We did at this show too. On Saturday night a big storm blew in and tried to Big Bad Wolf everyone’s tents after we had gone home for the evening, but all survived. Then during the final stages of disassembly on Sunday another storm blew in and blew my house made of sticks and fiber down into a mangled heap. That was a new experience for me. Luckily the art was packed up and I wasn’t stupid enough to try to hang on to the thing so art and artist were fine. I will say this – there may have been some colorful grumbling as I salvaged what I could from this miniature disaster. But I think I came by it honestly – after all it is fitting to swear like a sailor when one is dealing with wind-blown objects in a driving sou-easter.

Postscript to disaster:

I posted a sad little movie I shot with my iphone on my Facebook wall and my friends have been cheering me up. My absolute 2 favorite reactions were from Marco and Jo Bunny. Marco suggested next show I have a pre-disaster sale.Jo Bunny posted this insane version of “Whip it Good” that even has a unicorn in it!  Both made me laugh out loud! Oh, and my hubby left me a little disaster relief check in the kitchen to replace the frame which I already did. So you see? I am one lucky artist. 🙂