The life of an artist is anything but boring! Every day can be different! So, I thought I’d walk you through my day when I recently participated in the Monumental Marketplace in downtown Indianapolis, sponsored by Indiana Grown. I’ve participated in this event since the beginning, which was three years ago. Here we go –
5:15 Alarm goes off. I’m staying with my brother, who lives in the NE suburbs of Indianapolis. Keep in mind that Indianapolis is on Eastern time. I live in Central time. So, 5:15 feels like 4:15 to me. Good times…
6:00 Out the door, get cash, drive to downtown Indy. The car is already packed, for which I’m eternally grateful. The manual labor will come soon enough.
6:50 Arrive too early. Circle around the block a few times.
7:05 Pull into Monument Circle. We have very specific instructions for which street to use, depending on what quadrant we are assigned to.
7:15 Unload car. My car is loaded like a real life game of Tetris. Nothing is too heavy by design because my upper body strength could be compared to that of a baby bird. The tent weights are the only real challenge, but I save them for last.
7:30 Find parking garage a block & a half away, and hoof it back to my tent. (p.s. Parking in downtown Indy is not inexpensive, but it is less than Chicago so I’m not complaining!)
7:45 Set up tent. This is mostly a one-person job – except for that moment when I need someone to pull from the other side of my tent to lock it in place. I’ve learned to scope out the nearest friendly-looking person and simply ask them to give my tent a tug. (This sounds slightly naughty… I wouldn’t recommend asking this of someone, unless you are in this exact setting… that’s just my two cents…)
8:30 Ready to go. Everything that needs to be out is out. Everything that needs to be hidden under a table cloth is hidden. Now, I simply tweak until people get here.
9:00 Make video to put on social media. I have tried to do more videos these days, but there are times when an image will simply have to do.
9:30 Early birds arrive. Because this event is taking place on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, there are no restrictions on folks walking around. I don’t mind the early birds! In some cases, they are scoping things out so they can come back with friends and coworkers. The more, the merrier, I say!
10:00 Officially open! I always bring my table loom with me, which serves two purposes. First of all, being able to show guests the process of weaving is invaluable. I can share the magic of weaving and explain how my products are created. But secondly (and many times, this is just as important), it gives me something to do. These type of events go quickly when there is a steady stream of customers to interact with. Yet I’ve discovered I’m not great when there are no people and I don’t have anything to keep my hands busy. Thus, being able to sit and quietly create is a life-saver! (By the way, this event included almost a continuous trickle of customers. It was great!)
Because the day is one million degrees, I planned for a bottle of water an hour. Let’s just say, you know it’s hot when you drink gallons of water and never have to pee. (That’s probably too much information, huh?) I like to bring a couple pieces of fruit and some snacks. But it’s tough to get away to buy lunch and I feel awkward trying to eat a full meal if it’s just me manning the tent. So today was simply snacks.
During the day, I met some amazing customers, contacts, and friends! Here are a few that enriched the day-
Kenda – Kenda contacted me a few weeks back about a custom project. We’re just in the beginning stages, but we’ve chatted on the phone and emailed back & forth a number of times. So it was simply wonderful to put a face with the name!
DeeAndria – Dee was a college friend that I haven’t seen in person in more than two decades! And I didn’t know she was coming, so I was shocked to say the least! It was very cool to reconnect.
Alex – A mother/daughter duo came into my tent and we struck up a conversation. Turns out, they are from Florida and are simply visiting the Midwest for a business trip. Alex (the daughter) was so inquisitive and sparkly, we immediately hit it off! I think there are times in life when you meet someone who’s a kindred spirit and even if we never run into each other again, it was a joy to be around her for a little while on a hot day in Indianapolis!
Christina – Christina is with the Hoosier Farmers Market Association. As a matter of fact, she started it just a few years ago and it’s growing like crazy. We had a wonderful chat about how this type of weekly event is quickly picking up steam and how fun it is to see folks appreciating local produce/flowers/art.
Neighbors – My neighbors included a bakery on my right (Marsha’s Specialty Desserts) and a winery on my left (Madison County Winery). How smart am I? Or lucky, in this case! They were all fabulous and we were able to help each other out throughout the day, which is what you hope for in a perfect world.
2:00 Officially closed, begin tearing down. It’s always fascinating to me how long it takes to set-up and how quick it is to tear down. I tend to take my time, since I won’t be able to pull up my car for awhile.
2:30 Go get the car. (What floor was I on? Where’s my ticket to get out?) Between the (7) hours of being friendly and the ridiculous heat, my brain has melted. So remembering simple things is tricky.
2:45 Drive back to my brother’s house. The Waze app was not exactly clear, which led to me going the wrong direction on highway 465. This is not a huge problem, except that I am ravishing and may start munching on my arm.
3:30 Pull into Chipotle. I realize that 3:30 is a very weird time to eat, with dinner being only 2-1/2 to 3 hours away. But at this point, I could care less. If you’ve ever met me, you know that I invented the word, “hangry”. So these sweet, friendly people at Chipotle should save it and serve up my food faster. (I believe there was growling involved… My apologies to anyone caught in the crossfire…)
4:15 Arrive at my brother’s house, go immediately to the shower. A shower is the absolute best after a day in the heat. The house is quiet since the rest of the family isn’t home yet. I love them dearly, but it is a really good thing that I have some time without another soul around. It improves the odds of me being a pleasant person by the time they arrive.
4:45 Sit, type out ideas for blog. I find that blogging is better when I strike while the iron’s hot!
5:00 Read my book. Oh, who am I kidding? I totally fell asleep about 2 pages in.
5:45 Some of the family arrive home. My sister-in-law pulls together some dinner for the little ones, who are ages 4 and 6.
7:00 My brother arrives home with sushi in tow. He’s a prince among men!
7:30 Little ones go to bed.
8:00 The adults put some sort of cooking competition show on and I make it through approximately one and a quarter episodes.
While this doesn’t represent every day for me, this does give you an idea of the physical, emotional, and mental requirements when participating in an outdoor event. Thankfully, this day was followed by quiet days simply working on my loom. It all balances out. The life of an artist is definitely anything but boring! Happy weaving, my friends!