Last October I visited FabMo Textile Art Boutique for the first time. The creativity evident everywhere greatly impressed me. The participating artists were mostly women. They used fabric in very imaginative ways, creating numerous beautiful commodities. I remember walking around mesmerized. I wished I could have bought something at each and every booth. When I left, I carried an array of unique handmade gifts for my family. It did not occur to me then that only a year later I will join the ranks of displaying artists. Yet, this is exactly what happened!
This past weekend I had the pleasure of setting up my own stall at the Boutique. While the perspective from the other side of the booth table was slightly different, one thing hadn’t changed: I was STILL awed by the amazing talent and imagination surrounding me. Close to fifty artists exhibited this year. They made every conceivable fabric product: clothing, jewelry, accessories, decorations, toys and, of course, bags and purses, to name some. Yet, even when making the same type of item, different artists put their own twist on the results. Many booths sold handbag, for example, but each had its own, unique style.
Here is but a tiny taste of the diversity:
Carol Cruise filled her booth with adorable stuffed animals. Carol calls them Carol’s Zoo. When passing by her display I had to suppress the urge to snap them all:
At the stall of Rodi Ludlum of Featherweight Fabric Pottery, I saw something I have never seen before: vases and bowls made of fabric!
Judith Content’s booth, across the aisle from mine, was bursting with color and warmth. Judith makes pin cushions in ceramic bowls, and also colorful necklaces made of buttons she paints herself:
The latter, especially, were so deliciously colorful that they stopped many visitors in their track.
As a shopper last year I was oblivious to the efforts that go into preparing a show of this kind. As a vendor I now know of–and appreciated!–the many months of planning and preparations. I am aware of the marketing efforts and the numerous hours put in by Marty and Holly, the two organizers. Many other wonderful individuals, all volunteers, likewise donated hours of their time to make this work.
I also know first-hand what it takes to prepare inventory for such a fair, and as a result I appreciated many fold the months of intense work put in by all forty-something craftspeople. These combined efforts paid off. Everything was very well thought of, well organized, well stocked and beautifully displayed. As a result, vendors and shoppers alike had a very pleasant experience.
I enjoyed chatting with common-minded individuals on both sides of my stall. I was also impressed by the creativity displayed on the other side of the booth table. Many of the visitors who came to browse were fabric-lovers themselves. The warm sense of support and camaraderie both among participating artists and between artists and visitors was truly heartwarming!
What a wonderful blog post! I was there too (not selling- as a volunteer) and the talent is astounding. It is truly amazing to see these beautiful materials re-purposed instead of ending up in the landfill. Your makings are gorgeous!
Thanks for your kind words, and a huge THANK YOU for volunteering!
Omg! Carol's Zoo has been around for such a long time! I had many, many of her simple to make animal patterns in my stash, some only had two main pattern pieces. It does my heart good that she is still creating after all these years. Fabric vases and bowls have been around for quite a while too…I used to make them back in the 90's. Interesting to see that what is old hat to one person is new to someone else. I keep telling myself to get to FabMo so maybe one of these days it will happen.
So true, and isn't it wonderful? If we all knew everything there would be nothing new to learn, and things would be a lot more boring! I hope you do make it to FabMo, it's very inspiring 🙂