Early next Friday morning, Holly and I will be heading north by north-west to Bon Echo Park, where I will be setting up for three days, once again out in the woods, although this time it is in a rather large clearing. And once again, we’re hoping for pleasant weather and lots of patrons. At last weekend’s Fantasy in the Forest, I revealed and offered for sale illustrations from the upcoming book, The Sorcerer and the Seventh Daughter. The vaguely fantastical nature of the engravings fit nicely with the show. There will be new work for Bon Echo as well, but it will be more in tune with nature, the joys of the woodlands and lakes, and an homage to the Group of Seven.
After two very successful, if rather hot and sticky, days in the woods, we are home. We met many new people who had not been to the show before, which means word of the show and promotion is reaching new markets. My hat’s off to Jamie and Annette Brick and their helpers for all their hard work, in sometimes less than ideal conditions, and this, their 20th anniversary show. Myself, I’m looking forward to exhibiting for the next 20 years!
Kudos to those who wore rather hot costumes throughout a very warm and humid day in the woods.
On of the features that makes Fantasy in the Forest so wonderful an experience is the beautiful singing Maria and Albert, and now their son. The singing is operatic and sometimes haunting; we were grateful to be close to these extraordinary performers.
Tags: art shows, Fantasy in the Forest, Shows
On Saturday at least, expect to find vendors and visitors to the Fantasy in the Forest Show in “Alice in Wonderland” themed costumes, according to organizer Jamie Brick. Just another reason to come check out the show, rain or shine.
The Fantasy in the Forest (or FAF) is our favourite show of the year; setting up and showing with the other exhibitors is like a reunion, as is meeting the people who come year after year to this ‘wonderland in the woods.’
I often get asked how my books and prints hold up in the great outdoors under tent. So far, so good, but I still have tests to face. In the early days, I swore I would only do indoor shows, not liking the risks that rain, damp, wind and the odd tornado tend to bring to an outing. Other extremes, like humid heat and, yes, cold (this is Canada) also discourage visitors. FAF would become the test venue in many ways, situated as it was (at the time) right on a lake shore with July bringing every extreme of weather imaginable. Obviously, the paper and books on display respond as one would imagine to high humidity, from the air or the ground, but handmade and cotton papers are incredibly resilient, and if books are bound properly, they ‘move’ almost not at all. And any changes that do occur inside frames or inside plastic sleeves returns to normal as soon as it goes back into the studio. The one thing I watch is books in plastic wraps; if left in hot sunlight, moisture contained in the book will condense inside the plastic, and if any of the bindings are cloth or leather, there’s a risk of staining. As I said, I’ve now done dozens of outdoor shows in most conditions outside of apocalypse, and so far, so good.
So, we’re packed and ready to go! See you in the woods….
Another great show, one that Holly has been doing for 19 of its 20 years, and me for 10 years, give or take.
Check out the web site HERE.
I spent a very happy summer in St. John’s Newfoundland in 1988. My sister worked as a journalist there for the CBC-TV; she was transferred to The Journal in Toronto just for the summer, and offered to me her town house in downtown St. John’s and free use of her car. I sent a hulking K-Pro II computer ahead of me and brought a sketch book instead of a camera in the hopes of honing my artistic side a bit. I spent a lot of time writing a novel, wandering the city and the Avalon Peninsula, staring out to sea, drinking Guinness with the locals and smoking on my sister’s back porch – the latter a habit I shook off a year or so after returning to Ontario, I’m pleased to say. The back porch sketch was the best of the lot, and the original (more representational and less impressionistic than the print) ended up framed and given as a gift to my sister.
I kept a photocopy of it, thinking about a painting someday down the road, but my compass pointed to relief printmaking in the end. Also, 25 years on, I look back on my time in St. John’s with quite a lot of romance: wine, women, song and the production of a truly dreadful heroic fantasy novel, which I’ve never regretted and refuse to apologize about. I remember that summer being very windswept, and one of the best for weather in recent memory according to the locals, relatively dry but cool compared to Ontario, which in 1988 was undergoing a drought and a horrendously humid heat wave.
My sister returned in late August, and I extended my return ticket for two weeks to look for work — an utterly hilarious notion considering how little work there was in Nfld at the time, and that I was “From Away” and even people hiring viewed my inquiries with puzzled contempt. That, and in mid-September I could feel a very visceral change in the weather. My sis said “I’m going shopping for a winter coat; I’m not getting caught out this year!” She came out of the shop in a parka that made her resemble the Michelin Man from TV. A week later I was back in Ontario lining up work.
Last year, my sister and her husband made a return trip to St. John’s and checked out the place; the back lane is now completely overgrown with trees.