It was a glorious Beach Day (at least until 3 in the afternoon) and the last day of a three-day weekend. Nelsonians don't go to see art on days like these; most of the galleries are closed anyway. I could start with a very low-keyed Day 1.
I opened the Gallery at 10:45 and Ben left me to my devices. I couldn't stop shaking for about 15 minutes, but I fringed Shawl Seven to calm down. I realized I could hear people coming up the stairs even if I had Iz (Israel Kamakawiwo`ole) on softly.
A painter named Bob popped up to get something from the office, but we had a nice chat, and I got some tips on using acrylic paints; he told me when he stayed open on a Saturday, he had six visitors, so that would be about the number I could expect. Suits me fine.
A couple in my target age group took time to climb up the stairs, coffee in hand, took one look inside from the doorway and left. I thought, "Oh, it's not that bad," but Ben later said they might have thought I wasn't open yet, because Shawl Seven, in a rather prominent position, wasn't hung and I was working there. Pity. They left before I could even make eye contact.
A German-speaking family clambered up the stairs; the mother asked me if "this is the gallery". I smiled; if you come from a big city, this must look like a hallway leading to a gallery. We chatted, I told them about the Sand Castle Contest on Tahuna Beach, she thanked me, pointed to something and spoke with a 6-year-old-ish son, and left.
A short chat with this immaculately-dressed-for-holiday family got me thinking I must improve on the basic techniques of weaving this year. I've been so busy thinking about what takes place in the cloth that I've not made extra efforts to try to keep selvedges straight, and having hung my shawls on bars in this way, I'm shocked at the unevenness of the fringe length! In many places in the world, my pieces would be immediately dismissed for these reasons. I knew this all along, but become so absorbed in the design to pay more attention to the basics; must remember this. I must also investigate how to keep selvedges straight in swirly doodle weaves.
I finished fringing around 2, and finished weaving the piece on the loom (which I started in July 2005 according to my notes!); I nearly dozed off until two teenagers came looking for Mr Harwood.
By 3 I was ready to go home. Although many of you have wished me big crowds, this was the first day I had hoped for; I got things done, I had great company in Iz.
The gathering in lieu of an opening is on Wednesday.