Setting up a display is always like setting up a puzzle for the first time. I’m never really sure how much space I’ll have, and I always have new things to display. Also, I have different displays for feline events, pet events, and nature events, so that’s a lot of variables.
I start by telling people that I’ve been rescuing and fostering for almost 40 years, and all the cats in my display are cats who spent some part of their lives with me, either as fosters or as the ones who weren’t adopted and spent the rest of their lives with me. They made an artist out of me with how they inspired me. I promised them they would never be forgotten, and here they are, still bringing love and joy to people, even though some have been gone for decades.
I only take a few originals with me, usually small, because a large piece of glass can be dangerous, though I do take one or two of my larger ones so people can see the details in the paintings.
I always take “Are You Looking at Me?” Kublai is still a show-stopper, people stop and point and name a cat they love. I always explain that he is the cat who rescued me, in college, giving me someone to come home to, and always being at my side even when he shouldn’t be, like in some classes during the summer.
This time I had more handmade items than at any other time and I set up a section that was mostly handmade items. The next three photos are that section.
I hang the framed art on my art walls in the back so it’s visible from a distance. I usually take “Peaches and Peonies” because so many people love calico kitties, the painting is so pretty and I still love to look at the glass and the wrinkled embroidered cloth, and so do other people. I had always taken “Waiting for Mom” and still do if I decide to take a third large original because Fawn is so cute and the bed and bedding and rug are eyecatching.
I always have some Tortie Girls! I also usually have framed prints of other artwork but this time had no time to frame any prints because of all the handmade things. I had ordered a half dozen canvas prints of popular paintings, though. I’ve also begun to hang the tote bags on my art walls too, along with garden flags now and then.
My display always includes a sample portrait, and I always use the three tri-color girls in a plastic frame so I can take it apart for people to see the actual surface of the pastel. My portrait portfolio, tattered as it is, is near the sample as well.
At the front of my display, my larger print rack holds any prints larger than 8.5 x 11, each individually wrapped, block prints, digital prints and giclee prints. For smaller prints I have my white wicker flower planter that’s the perfect height for people to stand in front of and flip through.
I was really happy to have a hand setting up and tearing down from Denise, who feeds ferals at the top of the hill. Many hands really do make light work, and less muscle soreness later!
I will be making more handmade items in the coming months and that side of my display where the greeting cards are displayed will become shelves like the other side.
After spending time in my studio thinking hard and designing and making things, it’s a great joy to stand back and look at all of it on display. When it’s not at a show most of it is packed safely away, and I forget what I have. But I’m so gratified to have the opportunity to do my creative thing and share it with the public.
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