Monday, May 30, 2011

Sweet Little Color Break

Peonies, originally uploaded by Lynn_EL/UnaOdd.

Every year I look forward to the peonies blooming in the garden. Some are plants that I started from sections of my parent's plants. They are old, originating with the first owner of their Victorian - probably 60 years old at least. Some are newer plants that I purchased.

Their scent is heavenly. The fuchsia flowers smell largely like peonies. The medium pink is the variety 'Sarah Bernhardt' and is my favorite. The older varieties don't have as showy of a flower - but the scent!... one smells very strongly of rose and the other - clove/cinnamon!

This overflowing and gloriously blowsy bouquet is the result of the inevitable rainstorms that flop my peonies every year. They give me a week of justifiably extravagant bouquets.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Weighting it Down

Your show tent that is! When doing an outdoor show with a tent weights are pretty much a necessity. Unless you want your tent to become airborne - possibly ruining your work, other people's work and risking injury to yourself and others, weight your tent!

There are a lot of options out there for weighting the legs of your tent. Some people purchase tent weight bags or make their own with sand. Others haul empty water cooler bottles that they fill with water. Since I wasn't sure that water would be available I rejected that method. Other people use weight disks from barbell sets, actual barbells and cinder blocks. I wanted something that would go with the look of the tent and was something I could make myself. A quick Google search brought up a fantastic tent weight tutorial on the Etsy Metal Blog.

I won't try to copy the tutorial here, please visit the links if you'd like to try to make your own. I just thought I'd show a few of my steps and my optional/additional handle method.

Here is my PVC in capping process, with the 8 inch eye bolt through the drilled cap. This end will be on the bottom when the concrete is poured. Nuts and a washer are threaded on the eye bolt for extra strength when embedded in concrete.

Here I have shoveled the Quikrete concrete mix into the tubes and I am waiting for it to set more before I cap the open end.

Here is a finished weight with my optional handle. The Etsy Metal Blog tutorial mentions an option where the handles are screwed on. I really liked the look, but the hardware store didn't have sturdy enough handles (everything is stamped/formed sheet anymore...where is the solid metal?!?). I opted instead to use two large hose clamps and a length of knotted rope.

The tent up, and weighted! The weights are approximately 35 pounds/ 16.5 kilos each.

Considering I bought the tent on a Thursday, started shopping for all the weight supplies at 9:00 am Friday, and had the tent up by 10:00 am Saturday I was pretty pleased with the results. Thank you Etsy Metal Blog!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Awesome Venue for an Art Show

I've been very busy preparing for a series of shows that I am participating in at an exciting new venue here in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Growing up here, almost everyone had ties to 'The Steel' - Bethlehem Steel, that is. Fathers, brothers, uncles, neighbors... someone you knew worked there. You couldn't help but be aware physically as well. Driving through many parts of the town offered impressive views of large office buildings, rail lines, and most spectacularly - the blast furnaces and stacks. I remember many childhood drives past the plant, being awed by the massive size and gritty, raw industrial power. Night drives were always a time to be on the lookout for 'the fire on the stacks'. Tall towering burn-off stacks with leaping, glowing flames at the top were mysterious and dangerously exciting to my young eyes.

But Bethlehem Steel's steel making days have ended and for many years the structures and buildings have sat empty and decaying. Still industrially beautiful, but in the way of age and rust.

I had heard a little about new developments underway at the plant. A new casino went in and I heard talk of an arts venue, as well as a skate/bike park. Other distractions kept me busy and I was unaware of the spectacular changes taking place - revitalization and new life taking root in an exciting new venture/venue called ArtsQuest™ Center at SteelStacks™.

I was approached by a staff member at ArtsQuest™ about applying for their new SteelStacks™ Arts and Antiques Market . The market runs all summer long, May 14th - Aug 28th. I applied and was accepted for four weekends - May 14th-15th, 21st-22nd and June 4th-5th, 11th-12th. When I arrived to set up I was immediately impressed by the power of the venue. My tent has the orange tablecloth.

While the first weekend was rainy and sales were slow, the enthusiasm of almost everyone involved was so infectious. There is a definite feeling that this event is just going to continue to grow! The ArtsQuest™ Center at SteelStacks™ venue is open and has events ongoing 365 days of the year. The view of ArtsQuest™ Center from my tent.

As I was leaving after the first day, my tent closed up tight for the night, the colorfully lit stacks as a backdrop brought back an oddly familiar sense of mystery and wonder.