Festival of the Arts, Brookings, Oregon and Starfire Glass Plate

Starfire Glass Plate

Hello everyone, this is David (Christine’s husband), and this is my first post here.  Hopefully not my last.  Depends on Christine’s reaction…….  This post will ramble a bit, because it was a varied weekend with a lot happening, but hopefully you’ll get to know me a bit and get to know Christine a little better.

Wow, what a wonderful time we had in Brookings this last weekend!!  Thanks to everyone who braved the wind and the sun and the rain to join us, both vendors and guests alike.  Things started out a little frustrating, as you’ll soon find out, but overall we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at this event.  Learning curve is definitely growing. 

We set up both camp and our glass booth on Friday in a fairly strong wind, much to our dismay.  A note to campers, always check for one thing before leaving home:  Tent Stakes!  So starts my first trip to Fred Meyer.  I returned with stakes, only to find:  Always check for two things: stakes and Hammer!  Fortunately another camper loaned us his axe, and we got the tent set up, tossed all our camping gear in and rested a bit.

Onward to the harbor, where we started to set up the booth and it attempted to become an instant kite.  Fortunately, with some heavy concrete weights we kept it anchored in place, along with an ingenious eyebolt anchoring system we borrowed from the booth next to us, where the bolt passes through the boardwalk, gets turned 90 degrees, and is then anchored in place with washers and a nut.  No damage to the boardwalk, but very sturdy.  Trip #2 & #3 to Fred Meyer.  Are you sensing a repeating theme??

 Our booth was on the Boardwalk with a lovely view of the harbor.  We’d add a photo of that, but we both forgot to take a picture of it…. which is a little unusual, since Christine is usually photographing everything.  We got the booth set up with all our glass art in it and as we were closing up the booth, another vendor mentioned that, “Wow, you guys haven’t blown any zippers yet?  That’s amazing.”   A half hour later, we were both staring at our booth, trying to figure out how to keep it closed after the zipper had broken and was unzipping itself with just the pressure of the wind.  Talk about jinxed.  Fortunately, the weekend went much better than this forboding foreshadowing predicted. 

We did manage to get it closed and secure for the night, and came back the next morning to find everything intact and as we’d left it.  I dropped Christine off to get started opening the booth and headed to Fred Meyers (#4) for makeshift parts to make closing the tent easier that evening.  Oh, and I bought a hammer, since pulling the tent stakes out of the hard packed gravel under the grass had turned out to be nigh impossible when we needed to adjust one while setting up the tent.

Saturday’s weather was beautiful.  Clear skies and bright sun brought out heavy crowds right from the start.  We started getting to know our neighbors.  As always, our Grey Goose bottle trivets were a big hit, and everyone that stopped by was enthusiastic about them.  By the afternoon, we’d sold out of all our Grey Goose and Belvedere bottles, and were back to displaying the old Hypnotiq bottle that pulled parts of the mold away with it when the enameling burned through the kiln wash and fused with the mold.  But that’s another story.

The weather made the dichroic glass shine and sparkle as only bright sun can, and really showed off the jewelry that Christine had spent so much time making.  We really have got to find a better way to display our pendants though.  I’ve got an idea, but don’t know if I’ve got the skill to build it.  Sort of a folding box that transforms from a display case to a transport case to make closing up easier.  Christine could really use that to speed things up at the end of a show when I can’t be there because I have to be at work.  And yes, I used transforms  ;o)  so now you know I’m a geek and an artist.

My glass Christmas tree ornament was the first item off the shelf, which surprised us both, as we hadn’t even set it out yet.  A guest saw it peeking around the corner of the table cloth on our storage shelf.  Christine is doing her best to reign me in with her research on booth display, with “less is more” vs. my “can’t buy it if they can’t see it” theory.  Don’t know if there’s a clear winner on this concept yet, but I’ll let her talk about that in another post. 

A couple of Christine’s (and my) favorite plates got sold on Saturday.  The highly textured iridescent red plate and Christine’s clear glass plate with circles and triangles moved on to new homes.  Christine’s basketweave art piece and Starfire, the plate pictured above, sold Sunday.  Starfire was made with Spirit glass by Spectrum, and we hadn’t actually named it yet, until I was filling out the credit slip.  Instead of writing glass plate like I had been doing all weekend, I wrote “Starfire Plate”.  I still don’t know why, it just seemed to fit, but I guess that’s how art is sometimes.

For the Starfire Glass Plate, we cut two pieces of glass the same size, then quartered them on the diagonal.  After we’d ground the edges smooth for a flush fit, we matched the ‘direction of the streaks’ for two separate plates, placing all the ones that went side to side together (a different plate that we sold at our last Festival), and all the ones that pointed into the center together (Starfire Plate).  We cut a piece of clear glass the size of the entire piece and placed it on the bottom.  We put the two layers of glass face down on the kiln shelf and did a full fuse.  The final firing was a slump into a plate mold. 

Back to the Festival.  Saturday night was an exercise in frustration.  We struggled to get the booth closed up and what had gone simply Friday seemed impossible Saturday.  Storm clouds had been building on the ocean all day and by evening they were over us and building even bigger.  We were expecting a fair storm and didn’t want to chance damage, so were trying hard to make sure the booth was secure before we left.  After finally managing to get things clipped together, we got dinner and Christine went straight to bed. 

Sunday morning came early with a squall of rain on the tent at 0500 hours and some strong gusts of wind.  I was surprised, as at 2300 hours the night before, I’d looked out the tent and seen clear skies.  Well, this is Oregon and the coast, so weather changes fast.  I got up and drove over to the festival site to see if our make-shift zipper repairs had held.  So far so good, everything looked intact, so I headed back to camp and caught another hour of sleep before having to get up for real.

Arriving at the booth around 0900 hours, we unzipped it to find we’d weathered the storm rather well.  The table cloths had absorbed moisture off the side walls of the booth, and they were wet, but the glass was undamaged.  Our booth had kept its shape well and not created any pools in the roof, so we didn’t have any standing water, which was good.  Our neighbors didn’t fair so well, and while their booth was still intact, had pools of water in the roof which had dripped down into her artwork.  Theresa Herninko (Beach Glass Designs) sells art decorated with beach glass, and while the pieces themselves had survived intact, the pictures inside many of the frames had been damaged by the water. 

 We have seen several booths create awnings with their front door walls by clipping the material to frameworks created with wood or metal piping.  The piping is first attached to the booth framework, sticks out a couple feet, and provides a shaded/dry area, depending on the weather.  I’ve been meaning to do this with our booth, but haven’t got to it yet.  After this weekend, I’ve a little more incentive to get that done now.  When I’ve finished it, I’ll post a quick how-to with some photos.  I’ve seen a variety of systems for this now, from special purchase canopy add ons to chunks of wood.  They all seem equally effective, so I’ll be aiming for the cheap but professional looking home crafted style.  We’ll have to see how I do…..

With the threat of rain, we spent most of our opening time moving everything closer to the center of the booth so guests could get in somewhat out of the rain, but still keeping it towards the front so it was “up close” as they walked by and could be easily seen.  We discovered that in keeping the booth shorter to provide a smaller wind profile, the new racks I’d built were too tall to move past the framework of the canopy.  We managed to get them adjusted by raising the booth taller and then Christine lifted it while I moved the shelfing unit.  I’ll probably have to whack a couple inches off the bottom so they are a little more manageable.

Speaking of the new rack, we tried a new shelf system this weekend.  I should probably start a new post for that, but suffice to say, it worked as well as we’d hoped, was very stable, though once set up is a bit difficult to move around without at least two people.  But then, that’s probably a good thing.

Sunday’s weather actually turned out to be quite mild, compared to what we might have had to endure, and a lot of folk came out to the Festival to check out all the different artisans.  As I’ve often heard, “If you’re not willing to do it in the rain, don’t come to Oregon.”  Folks were obviously willing though, and arrived with rain coats and umbrellas in hand.

With the weather, the crowds weren’t as strong as Saturday, but once everyone had dried out a bit, we all made the best of it and it gave both Christine and I a chance to wander the Festival ourselves, and see what some of the other glass artisans were doing.  It also gave me a chance to window shop at other artistan booths and appreciate their talents.  One in particular was Knot Eye Art by Jim Liatti.  Sadly, he said he doesn’t have a website anymore, but his woodworking was exquisite, and really needs to be seen to be appreciated.  Jim creates wooden shadowboxes that are about 6″-8″ deep and then places carved wildlife in them, focusing mostly on aquatic environments.  The boxes look as though you are standing at a glass window (no glass in his boxes though) looking into a river (or other scene) and watching the fish swim over the gravel beds.  The one that drew my attention first was one of an octopus.  The octopus was centered into the shadowbox with all eight of its arms coming out of the ‘water’ and flowing outside the box into the room.  I thought at first it was a table top until Jim told me what it was, though he admitted he had considered converting it to a table with a large piece of glass over the top to protect the arms from damage.  Note to self: check lottery ticket…..oops, remember to buy lottery ticket.

Sunday brought a few of our Saturday guests back to our booth.  Nacina brought us a huge Grey Goose Vodka bottle that she had around the house and didn’t want so she gave it to us so we could fuse it.  Another guest brought us a German Riesling wine bottle that has a clear space in the front of a frosted bottle with a picture of a castle in the background.  The wine bottle is a momento and if everything goes according to plan, we should be able to create a beautiful keepsake for them.  We are looking forward to fusing both of these bottles.

During the weekend we were hosting a drawing for a glass bowl.   At the end of the festival, Mitch and Debbie returned to visit with us some more, and Debbie did us the honor of drawing a name from the basket.  Thanks for your help on that, and as promised, the results of the drawing will be in our next newsletter.

Well, we packed everything up, loaded the trailer and the car, and got ready to cover it all up.  I started looking for the tie down straps for the trailer and couldn’t find them.  Anywhere.  I was torn.  I really prefer straps to secure the trailer over rope, but I REALLY DID NOT want to go back to Fred Meyer again.  For anything.  At least not for this weekend, and maybe not for the rest of the week.  Fortunately, I usually have a lot of rope in the car, and had sufficient length to get it all tied down properly.  I still haven’t found them, but I’m only half way done unpacking, so they may still turn up.

We had a safe and uneventful trip home, which is the way I like it.  Except for that one deer, which must have noticed the fresh paint from the last deer that suicided into the car, and scooted off the road with only mild braking.  Thanks again to Jo and Betty, the only two Festival organizers I really got to spend much time talking to, you put on a great show and we certainly had a good time.  We hope to be back next year and look forward to being back in Brookings.

 Now to get ready for Bandon……

 David and Christine — Glass Artists



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