Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Friday with the Artist

Tower City in downtown Cleveland, Ohio plays host to an event called "Friday with the Artist" every Friday between 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from May through October. Last Friday I had the pleasure to participate.

The nice thing is the people who sponsor and promote "Friday with the Artist" provide the display table and chairs. All you have to do is show up with your art, craft, or baked good ... the culinary arts count. Browsing at all the tables is quite popular with both the office workers and shoppers of Tower City, especially over the lunch hour.

You get to people watch all day long and meet lots of friendly mall walkers.

Tables are set up all around a wishing fountain whose water streams in time to the mall music. Mall music includes anything and everything from Yankee Doodle to Phantom of the Opera to jazz to the Skater's Waltz to Pachelbel's Canon.

I plan to return this coming Friday.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's England in America

It was a surreal morning surrounded by fog with just enough of a breath of wind to lift the British Union Jack but not the American Stars and Stripes. I was staying at a British-themed bed and breakfast at the end of August, the Blacksmith Inn located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Very eerie start to the day.

Off the beaten path, and on the path to mystery, a spider web gleamed in the faint light of morning.

The house through the fog seemed to make reality itself shimmer in and out enveloped in intangibility. Here is a link to the Blacksmith Inn's website:

Looking out across the lawn into the realm of dreams, the mind conjures up a whole host of possibilities to wonder about. Beyond, adventure awaits ...

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Charlie Brown Craft Show Tent – Of Good Samaritans and Your Tax Dollars at Work

To qualify for the vast majority of outdoor craft shows, you need a 10-foot by 10-foot white canopy tent. I called my friendly neighborhood Pat Catan’s to see what they might have. Turns out they had just one left … the floor model display, and the cost was a whopping … * drumroll please * … ten dollars! An awesome find, since many of these tents cost hundreds of dollars. “Hold it for me, I’m getting in the car right now and will be there as fast as I can drive!”

On entering the store, I heard far-off clinking metallic sounds. I made a manager aware of my presence and mission. Off we walked towards the metallic sounds. Surprise! A couple of employees were dismantling the craft show tent. “Hold it right there,” the manager said, “You can’t take this home free for yourselves. We’ve got a paying customer.”

The tent went into a box with no cover and no set of instructions. At least I was able to carry it to the car myself. I’m small-built, so if I hadn’t have been able to lift it, this saga would have ended right there.

This summer I applied for the Rocky River Fall Arts Festival. Kinda nervous, I called a couple friends to ask if I could borrow their backyard and could they help me practice setting up the tent? I brought them a cherry strudel for their trouble. But between the three of us, there was no earthly way we could stand the crazy contraption up!

The big day arrived. I showed up and explained my predicament. Someone suggested I could live without a tent since it was a nice day. Only, the mayor hosting the arts festival would not like that.

And so it took SEVEN PEOPLE working AN ENTIRE HOUR to help set up the craft show tent! Come to find out, these Good Samaritans included at least one financial tycoon of Northeast Ohio and several high-ranking officials in the local city government! I asked the most helpful one who he was so I could thank him properly, but he preferred to remain anonymous. In fact, nobody gave me their names. Anyway, I am SO IMMENSELY GRATEFUL to everyone who helped me at the first annual Rocky River Fall Arts Festival. Thank you! You know who you are!

Later on, my friends from the backyard came to help me take down the tent … which of course was no problem at all.

As for the fate of the tent, I’m planning to drop it off at the Goodwill store. The good news is, at least it served its purpose on the day I really needed it!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What If You Held a Butterfly Festival, and No Butterflies Came?

In the photo above, a Wood Nymph butterfly focuses intently on a delicious meal of autumn aster. Picture taken in October of 2005 at the Holden Arboretum in Northeast Ohio.

Well anyways, the burning question was answered this past Saturday, September 12th. The Monarch Butterfly tagging portion of the Butterfly Festival on Kelleys Island had to be cancelled due to lack of attendance on the part of the butterflies! Apparently they didn't receive their invitation. It was also being said that as a matter of fact, the butterflies weren't migrating normally in general. There were also no Monarchs in either Mexico or California. Maybe it's this crazy weather we've been having.

Having looked in on friends elsewhere in the blog world and the Flickr photography website, it seems the butterflies are hanging out in places like Indiana (hi Mary at Faith, Fabric, and Photos!) and Georgia (hi ruthalice43 on Flickr!)

Link to Mary's blog post:

Link to ruthalice43's photo:

Anyways, it was a beautiful day to sit out on the porch of the new Kelleys Island Historical Association building and sell landscape photos while right next to me sat an author who lives on Kelleys Island and just published a book on the island's colorful residents from earlier times in history.

A friendly slobbering Golden Retriever named Zeus who was very old and allegedly had a "delicate stomach" spent the day following around with big, sad, begging, hungry, puppy-dog eyes anyone who bought a hot dog. It's almost too bad we couldn't have tagged Zeus and sent him airmail on down to Mexico or California, but that pesky ole dog was just too doggone nice and provided a bit of entertainment.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Market Street Art Center Members Exhibition

Two of my photos are currently on display at the Market Street Art Center in Lockport, New York as part of the annual Members Exhibition. The show runs from September 5th - October 4th. The reception will be held this Saturday, September 12th from 5 pm to 8 pm. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend because I have a different event going on that day, the Butterfly Festival on Kelleys Island. That will be a whole 'nother adventure, and is always a good time.

Here's a link to the Market Street Art Center current show information:


The first photo, Lockport Cave Raceway, shows the entrance to one of Lockport's best-kept secrets when it comes to underground caves beneath the city streets. Tours are now held there.

Here's a link for more information on the Lockport Cave and its Underground Boat Ride:


Another one of my photos, Skeleton Barn, is also on display: A dark wooden frame framed itself by the bright glow of autumn woods in the Hocking Hills of Ohio.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dream of Freedom

Stirred by a wind coming down from the mountain and bathed in the last rays of quiet sunset majesty, a horse lifts its head. Soon the sheltering fences will find themselves enclosed within the folds of night that will turn even the blue ridge to a sleeping black. The horse will remain awake, to graze, and to dream of freedom.

This photo was taken two weeks ago on a quick trip to a Bed & Breakfast in Virginia, and to my mind made the whole journey worthwhile all by itself.