This past Saturday I attended the Bloomington Farmer's Market as a vendor for the first time. Once a month, from May to October, our market has an art fair adjoining the regular farmer's market. I applied to it months ago, and then didn't hear anything, so, due to my usual complete lack of self esteem, I assumed I didn't get in. I'd heard that getting into this fair wasn't easy, because the vendors from previous years get first dibs....plus, I am never quite sure than anyone really likes my stuff. I have a sneaking suspicion that many people just pretend to like it because they feel sorry for me....while saying "Wow, that's great, you're so talented, they're actually thinking "God, that's so sad. She lives in her parents' basement, she can't get a real job, she has no romantic prospects to speak of; I better pretend I like this doll/bracelet/amorphous knitted item that looks like it was made by a kind of clumsy third grader".*
About a week later, I got a letter welcoming to the market for May, June, July, August, and September. Woo-hoo! Ten minutes later, I was in my studio having a panic attack.
I worked like a fiend all through the month, getting ready for the market. Usually when I've done art shows, I tend to sell a lot of my jewelry, some smaller dolls, and maybe one to three bigger, more expensive dolls. I'd never done a show in Bloomington before, so I was hesitant to put big city prices on things....and I assumed that, as usual, I'd probably sell more jewelry than dolls.
I was delighted to be wrong. Although I love beading, dolls are my passion. I sold only dolls. Two larger ones, and then seven or eight little ones. Since Saturday dawned grey and unseasonably cold, most people were literally running through the market, snatching up strawberries, flowers, and eggs, and then dashing back to their cars. From what the other vendors said, if the weather was nicer, we probably would have had even more shoppers. I enjoyed watching people walk past my booth and smile at the dolls, even if they didn't stop to buy. And some old friends came by to say hello, which was great.
What was even nicer was remembering that the main reason I moved back here is because I fit in here....I love Bloomington people. We might look very different, but we all agree that this is a pretty cool place to be. There were people speaking Chinese, French, and languages I couldn't identify happily purchasing vegetables from solemn Amish farmers and their pink cheeked, silent children. Dreadlocked vegans munched homemade tamales next to suburban housewives hurriedly sharing a chocolate chip cookie they weren't sharing with the kids.....crowds enjoying cloggers and fiddlers at one corner of the market, while at the opposite corner, an Asian man listened to live Thai music with tears in his eyes.....hippie moms carrying babies in slings.....fathers with baseball caps and NASCAAR shirts carrying their kids on their shoulders....and everyone was just happily coexisting and enjoying the day.
I love this town.
*Don't lie. You know that's what you thought the last time I showed you something. And don't deny it, because then I'll know you're totally busted.