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Monday, March 5, 2012

Marsh madness

Geoff Davis, Bruce Neckar, John Bundy, Paul VanDuyn and I exhibited at the Arts and craft show that was a part of the Marsh Madness event in Linton.
We were completely upstaged by the amazing numbers and varieties of birds to be seen at Goose pond and the surrounding area.
We were there last year and I was amazed to learn that it was possible to see whooping cranes and pelicans (Yes, PELICANS!!!) all around the area south of Linton.
They were here again and it was a real thrill to see them. I did't get to see the pelicans but the other guys did. This is in addition to large numbers of migrating birds. It became routine to see Sandhills and they were landing in the field behind the hall where we were set up.
We would have been better off to blow off the show as it was unproductive for all of us. We all worked very hard to make our exhibits as professional as possible, but the buyers were not there.
Despite this, we all enjoyed the hospitality of Wilbur Montgomery who operates a lakeside refuge for hungry artists at his wonderful cabin at Rocky fork lake. It was worth the trip just to spend the time with him.
John Bundy braved icy snowing conditions to pull enough bluegill from the lake to treat us to a breakfast of the freshest fish breakfast possible. He used a fillet knife he himself crafted to expertly fillet these for our enjoyment. They didn't last long and we all wanted more.
Geoff and I were able to spend some time at the same place I had seen whoopers on Friday and we were able not to just see the cranes, but to actually observe their behavior for perhaps 45 minutes. It was extremely windy and cold, but a spectacular experience.
The arts/crafts show circuit continues to reflect the economic conditions. John Bundy and I have termed the shows at present as being traveling museums rather than markets. Attendees like our stuff and look it all over, but then walk on to the next thing to see. Almost all artists are reporting the same thing and quality and price do not seem to be an issue. Sales are flat despite all our efforts. Most artist are positive and optimistic and rarely shy away from an uphill fight. The time spent producing our wares is our joy. The time loading,unloading setting up,tearing down and traveling to and from shows, away from our homes and families is less of a joy. We all accept the challenges, and despite the financial gamble of doing shows, we get ready for the next one.
My heart goes out to artists who accept the even more difficult gamble of traveling much greater distances than we do.
Of course our difficulties pale in comparison to the families facing the loss of their homes and family members to the viscous tornados that ripped through the state. I was particularly moved by the plight of the people in Moscow Indiana than have been slammed yet again. If you have ever been there, you know that this is one of the most idyllic places imaginable.
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