Monday, July 24, 2006

Local arts festivals

Originally uploaded by JugglingScarves.
There were a couple of arts & crafts festivals held in towns nearby, about a week ago. This is a yearly event, held around the middle of July. The two festivals are run by different organizations, but are scheduled so that they coincide. The one in State College was started by local artists forty years ago and it wasn't very long before it became too big for its britches. The organizers introduced some sort of jury process for artist selection, and the local talent started getting excluded in favor of out-of-town (usually out-of-state) artists with more expensive wares to sell.

In reaction, about ten or fifteen years ago the local artists started another festival in Boalsburg, the next town over. The first few years it was strictly for Pennsylvania artists. It's widened a bit in scope since then. Actually, this last time through I noticed the same artists had booths at both festivals. I wonder how long it will be before the local artists get pushed out of the Boalsburg one and have to start up a third festival in Bellefonte, Port Matilda, or Lemont.

My belly dance teacher has been trying for years to get some stage time at either festival. She's been repeatedly turned down. This year, though, she had an edge: one of her Belly Dance 2 students is married to a planner on the Boalsburg festival's committee. She got an hour of performance time. She contacted the other belly dance troupe in the area and offered them half of it, and from 3:30 to 4:30 the Saturday before last, the patrons of the People's Choice Festival got to see all sorts of belly dancing. This picture is of part of a sword dance. My teacher is one of the two women balancing swords on their heads, but unfortunately you can't see very much of her. The smiling woman on the right is my new teacher, who took over teaching the cabaret-style classes now that Barb is leaving.

I didn't take any more pictures than this one. I wasn't using a flash (didn't want to distract) and the picture came out very dark. Through the miracle of technology, though, I've managed to brighten it up considerably. If I'd known about the software before today, I would have shot lots more.

I bought my Mom's birthday present at the State College festival. This is tradition. Her birthday usually falls right after (or somewhere in the middle) of the festival. This year, though, the 4th of July being on a Tuesday pushed both festivals back a week. I can't say just yet what I bought her -- I haven't given it to her yet, and she sometimes reads this blog. I'll post a picture of it after I give it to her. I'm pretty sure she'll like it.

I also bought something for myself, which I don't usually do. There was a paper-maker and bookbinder there, selling gorgeous leather-bound books, full of thick, creamy, blank pages. The pages are hand-sewn into the binding. You just don't see that anymore. The one I bought is bound in red leather. So soft. So lovely. So intimidating to think about writing or drawing in it. But draw in it I will, just as soon as I limber up the old sketching muscle.

Now I know I saw my art supplies somewhere when I was cleaning...where did I stash them?


Anna said...

I'm just hesitating to put the first pencil mark into a lovely hand-made paper & vellum book my niece gave me. To help you to limber up and me to stop hesitating, could you suggest the first sketch for us both? I'd show you mine, if you'd show me yours.

--V said...

Sure, why not?

I found my art things, including the exercises from the beginner's drawing class I took a few years back. Our first assignment was to find a photo in a newspaper and reproduce it as a pencil sketch. When I was done, I had a pretty good drawing of man's oxford shoe.

I thought I'd do something like that. Since I haven't been drawing much (read: at all) lately, I need to remember how to make my hand and eye talk to each other. Removing the added complication of trying to convert 3-D images into 1-D will speed that along, I think.

How does that sound to you?

Anna said...

Sounds great, I need a kick to get me started. I'll have a go with an image from the Sunday papers. Shall we put them on Flickr and leave the link here?

--V said...

Welllll...I'm not quite as sure of my talents. I'll email you what I do, and post to Flick'r the first on I'm proud of.