Levis Commons 2010 - In Retrospect

Art shows are such an experience! I often wonder if I could live my life on the art show circuit - could NOT having a 9 to 5 job make up for the physical labor and worry it takes to do shows? Probably not, especially with my medium - if I had fiber or jewelry, something easily transported, and could fit everything I would ever need into a truck or van, I think I could handle it. OR if I was 20 years younger! ;-)

Anyway, I did participate in the Levis Commons Art Fair this past weekend, and did quite well! Despite a near washout on Saturday and being windblown on Sunday, it didn't seem to faze a lot of the shoppers, and of course, it doesn't harm anything I sell! All of the birdbaths are displayed outside of the canopy, so the display factor was increased Saturday by showing off how just well the birdbaths looked filled with water!

Saw some old friends (Rhonda/Ken and Janine/Jeff!)...and made new friends!....

And I really like to talk to the other artists - every one of them have interesting stories OR great tips on what they do in various situations (like how to keep your canopy's top from filling with water! LOL). I learn something new every show. With this show, I was somewhat concerned that our display was too "homemade" looking compared to everyone else's, but no one seemed to notice or worry about it - they were more interested in my work - as it should be!

I do have to mention The (Michigan) Guild of Artists and Artisans, the same association that organizes Levis Commons as well as the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair . When I saw all the rules and regulations regarding the show, I actually lost sleep over all of it! Yikes! What if "they" don't like this? What if "they" don't want me to have these things over here? Well, I should not have worried. Evidently those are just set out so if someone IS being inconsiderate or unreasonable, there is something in writing.

Actually, everything was well organized (and VERY well advertised, so I stopped whining so much about the cost to be there). We always pack sandwiches and sundry food items for a show, but they had a very well stocked "hospitality" tent for the artists, with donuts, bagels, water, coffee, bananas (and my sincere appreciation goes out to a couple of local businesses, namely Andrew Z's- for providing PIZZA on Saturday and Max & Erma's for the WARM chocolate chip cookies on Sunday!), so we didn't want for much.

My work, as usual, didn't receive any awards, which is not surprising at an art show like this - there is just too much around I myself would consider extremely Fine Art, but it would be nice to at least SEE a judge glance my way once in a while! Hmmph...
Did have fun, nonetheless, despite the rain,the long hours, the wind, the dumb questions ("Oh, does this one hang?" - While pointing to a leaf HANGING up on the lattice... ), and getting thru the inevitable period of time during each setup and takedown where Hubby and I fight the urge to punch each other in the eye! (He's very organized; I'm not - need I say more)?


A New Venue! Levis Commons Fine Art Fair 2010

On August 21 & 22,  I will be set up at the Levis Commons 6th Annual Fine Art Fair. This is the closest to a "real" art fair I have participated in so far, since it is promoted by The Guild of Artists & Artisans in Ann Arbor, MI., which also handles the Ann Arbor Street Fair, the largest art fair in this area of the country. I have not, and probably never will, be involved with that one, since A) I would need 3-4 times the amount of inventory I currently have and B) I would not want to go beyond the capacity of our truck just to haul more cement!

Plus I'm cheap~Levis Commons is costing me plenty, and Ann Arbor would be way beyond that! Of course, it is true that you have to spend money to make money sometimes, but I have my limit. There is a rule of thumb I have heard from other artists, and that is you should make ten times what you spend on the booth fees for it to be considered a very good / great show. Since the fees are conservatively around $700.00 (USD) for one space, and I have maybe, on a GOOD day, $3000.00 in my TOTAL stock, you see how I could never reach that goal (believe me, three grand would make me happy enough, but that would be every last thing I had!)

But, back to Levis Commons ~ expensive though it may be, I'm happy as a rat in a restaurant dumpster to be participating this year. It is a very nice event, plus this is the first year I am finally confident enough to want to be included in the big leagues, and am looking forward to the experience!


..But Wait! There's More!

...So I told a few people, "I can't believe I only got this small blue Victoria Stone - I normally would acquire more than one little piece, unless it was really expensive."
Well, this morning, in my usual rush to barely make it to work, as I was rummaging around in the jewelry I hadn't worn in a while, I came across this....
NOW we're talkin'! A nice large pendant! Oh, yeah, I remember now - I DID order more than one...my poor, blonde mind totally misplaced that information (happens to me all the time, unfortunately!) I don't know if it's actually worth anything monetarily, doesn't really matter - the story is enough to make them valuable to me!


My Victoria Stone And A Pleasant Surprise...

I love the blue skies on a bright sunny day, so I am naturally drawn to that color. Years ago, I found a stone in a jewelry supply catalog called a "Victoria Stone". It was described as being somewhat like as a "Tiger Eye" gemstone, but man made. Instead of the straight inclusions in the stone, there were many fan shaped crystallized patterns. It came in many colors, but of course I ordered a sky blue cabochon (with a smooth polished top and flat back). I also ordered a fairly inexpensive, gold filled ring setting for it. I'm sure in those days I would not have spent a lot for anything like that, so it would have had to be a cheap deal!

I have worn that Victoria Stone on and off as a pinkie ring for many years, and have gotten a lot of compliments on it and inquires as to where I got it. As I was thinking about that, I realized I had not seen those stones mentioned for quite some time, so I went online to check on the reason why. Surprisingly, here is what I found:

“The Story of Victoria Stone”

by Vyonne Mack-WGMS Club Member
This article was printed in the McPherson Rock Club
Bulletin (Kansas)

Victoria Stone is also known as “Imori Stone”,

named after its Japanese creator, Dr. Imori. It is

not an artificial or fake stone. What Dr. Imori was

able to accomplish was to actually blend several

different minerals using a special process known

only to him to come up with an Imori Stone,

commonly called Victoria Stone.

This beautiful reconstructed gem is mineralogically

similar to Nephrite Jade. It has a harness of six,

specific gravity of 3.02 and a refractive index of 1.62.(For those of you who are rockhounds out there! ~ nanci)

It was laboratory produced from natural raw

materials such as quartz, feldspar, magnesite,

calcite, fluorspar, etc. for a total of seven different

minerals-fused together under high pressure and a

high temperature and again mineralized to make this

gem by adding special crystallizers and habit

This is not an imitation or synthetic but is a
reconstructed natural stone. The boule of Victoria

stone was slowly cooled down for 35 to 40 days to

make it crystallize into the pretty fan shapes.

Victoria Stone is minerlogically similar to nephrite

jade, but the arrangement of the actinolite crystals

is different. Instead of the crystals interlocking and

tying together as they do with jade, they have

crystallized in fan shapes to provide the beauty of

the stone. As a result of this difference, the rough

stone is more likely to crack or splinter if overheated.

Victoria Stone could be bought by the boule or in

slices when it was produced in 15 different colors

from 1960 to the 1980’s –green, sky blue, reddish

purple, yellow green, blue green, sky indigo,

chocolate, yellow, deep indigo, white, quiet green,

quiet yellow, quiet blue, grey and black.

The faceted Victoria Stone came in 8 colors,

including sapphire blue, emerald green, amethyst

purple, ruby red, topaz, aquamarine, garnet and

peridot green.

This is a scanned copy of an original sales color chart.

Dr. Imori died without confiding in anyone how the

process worked and no one has been able to duplicate it. There is only a limited and nonreplenishable supply of Victoria Stone in existence, when this material is used up to make jewelry and cabochons, it will become scarcer and about impossible to find.

And I found this article, also...

"Victoria Stone (aka. Iimori Stone) is one of the most beautiful stones you may run across. As much as I hate to apply the term “rare” to a stone, this one is very rare. It is rare because it is man made. Dr. S. Iimori, a Japanese doctor, created this stone in his laboratory in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

The sad thing about this stone is that Dr. Iimori was so secretive about his formula, that he took it with him to his grave. If I am not mistaken, in all fairness to the good doctor, he died suddenly in an automobile accident. The primary ingredient of Dr. Iimori’s creation is known but proportions and the secret ingredient is what the mystery remains. Upon his death, Dr. Iimori’s son continued to operate the laboratory but alas, he could not duplicate his father’s recipe.

Dr. Iimori’s primary ingredients were quartz, feldspar, magnesite, calcite, fluorspar, etc. These minerals were crushed to basically a powder then heated to a molten state. He then added his secret ingredient that made the stone crystallize with the wonderful fan shaped patterns in the stone."

So... my cheap Victoria Stone ring is not so cheap after all (I also hadn't realized I purchased it so long ago)! Of course, now I'm wondering why I didn't get more of them at the time...
And, although my stone is a fairly tiny thing, I do believe I will be getting a nicer setting for it soon!


Art In The Park 2010

~In the middle of my angst-ridden summer, reveling in and appreciating the acclaim I am receiving from my events and the Kuhlman Corporation exhibit, while at the same time fretting about the shows every two weeks and if I'm going to be able to keep up this pace with no vacation time left from my "real" job!
I would almost kill to have all the vacation time I had at my old job (in the days before "Creative Castings", when I didn't really need it!), while conversely, I would not want the irritation and stress of that same job! I have never been a realist. A realist would say, "This is the way it is, and no use whining about it", instead of buying Lotto tickets, wishing for an unknown wealthy relative to expire and leave me an inheritance, or for Robert Redford to come along and offer me a million bucks to have sex with him so I could quit!

But on to the useful information. :-) My next event is this Saturday and Sunday, in Port Clinton Ohio, at Lakeview Park.

Lakeview Park...

...and the lake! (Erie)

This is our first time here ~ all I want is good weather, and the rest will have to be up to us! Hope you can stop by, see my new pieces and the birdbaths that have shells (I actually found on this same beach) incorporated into them. I risked life and limb to get them (see below).
Ran across this beautiful creature while picking shells. But all involved went their separate ways without incident!