Monday, July 10, 2017

Last Lavender Festival

Well, that was a busy weekend! A lot packed into July this year.  Friday afternoon I was setting up my tent for the festival, followed by a reception at Imagine Gallery that evening. I'm doing a group show there for the month of July with two other local artists, a potter and a glass blower.  The display is fabulous-I'll post a pic later.'s hard to describe how huge and wonderful the Lavender Festival is.  For two days thousands came to this little working farm to pick lavender, shop with about 30 vendors, sample lavender ice cream and lemonade, and take in the perfumed atmosphere.  And there really were thousands. They came from Buffalo, Rochester, Geneva, Ithaca, Syracuse, Binghamton, and our own locals from Skaneateles.  Traffic was backed up for miles, cars were parking in weeds when the plowed fields could hold no more.  Lines to pick lavender were long, but people patiently waited their turn to select a beautiful purply fragrant bunch.
Still more waited in another line just to get into the barn that sold lavender products produced at the farm.
And they shopped. We have all been preparing our wares for months to have enough product for this hugely successful event.  My booth was filled for two days with people buying my original art, prints and notecards. Saturday night saw me hurriedly packing more inventory and matting more originals for the next day as I was already running low.
Those also sold the next day.
As wonderful as it was, it was also bittersweet to watch everyone, from tiny children to seniors with walkers contentedly wandering the fields and selecting their lavender bouquets.  For this was to be the last year.  It has truly grown too large for the owners to handle and I don't blame them at all.  It's time for them to rest and settle into a more normal life and stay healthy.  For 10 years they have spent every waking moment getting ready for this event, as well as tending the farm and sheep and a full time job outside the farm.
I need to thank them, somehow, for giving me this gift of being a vendor at their event.  It was here that I first started showing my art, starting with just a few framed paintings and some notecards in Ziploc bags, and steadily adding prints, and matted originals in proper packaging.  I learned a lot about painting and merchandising, and enjoyed this chance to see people's reactions to the work. I've gained a following doing this show and I'll be forever grateful. Doing outdoor shows also tests your mettle, as weather can range from high heat and humidity to rain, wind, bugs, etc.  One time I had a case of shingles that stripped me of all energy but still hung in there, thanks to my friends pitching in to help.

You need strength, energy and patience to set up a tent shop for the weekend; found out I can handle it!
Thank you Gary and Karen for the opportunity to grow as an artist. Please rest and enjoy your freedom!
At the top you can see the stream of people arriving at the farm.

I was tickled to discover that in this photo, someone is carrying one of my prints!
It's the orange foxes in the beginning of the front row.

Me and my devoted friend/sherpa/agent/merchandiser.  
She loves helping and knows how to sell!

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