The biggest thing on my agenda was the Mountain State Arts and Crafts Fair. This has been the flagship fair for the state arts community for 55 years. Last year they made some big changes--from being a more traditional setup with tents full of vendors, a few demonstrations and music here and there, last year the structure was changed to "villages." These villages represent five of the cultures that settled here in West Virginia, with foods, crafts, music and storytelling along with demonstrations and vendors representing each culture.
I also explored folktales and legends from the part of England where my mother grew up, for the Celtic tent. I had plenty of material for my three hours there, but why not add something fresh? I was fascinated by the lore I uncovered as I dug through my collection of books and online. The buried moon, Black Shuck, the mysterious tunnel...not to mention all the superstitions about the eerie fenlands.
It was energizing to be telling new stories, and challenging to be in an environment where there was much going on as I was telling. There were good audiences for each set, and those in the vendors' stalls could listen too. I loved it.
We went to our Ravenswood booth to tidy up and restock a little. I finished up this stool last week,
found the Pyrex casseroles at a thrift store, and cleaned out some of my glass Pyrex bakeware from my own cabinets. I swear it multiplied in the dark!
Another stool completed last week,
and a scale found for a good price on eBay. It was missing the chains, but I had exactly what was needed in my workroom.
I was happy to see this:
There's nothing like a sold sign on a big piece to make your day! This one was an easy one too--we bought it and moved it directly to the booth without ever unloading it, it was in such good condition. I cleared it off so that it would be easier for the mall staff when the buyer comes to pick it up. (The mirror doesn't go with it, but it will hang on the wall in the space when the buffet is moved.
I am also finishing up our plans for our upcoming trip to Ireland. Excited? You bet! I've been before and blogged about it extensively, but Larry was only there once with me for 2-3 days, so he's not seen a lot. Our itinerary will take us to counties Sligo, Clare, Kerry and Galway.
Part of the reason we decided to go--after saying we weren't going overseas this year--is that this has been a tough year emotionally and I'm feeling the effect of it. The election and subsequent political changes have been depressing; then there have been friends diagnosed with cancer, and the loss of loved ones like my Aunt Flo in England,
|When we visited Aunt Flo in 2013, it was the first time I'd seen her in 35 years--she visited here back then|
and just yesterday my longtime friend Lindsay succumbed to cancer. My tribute to her on Facebook:
"Our friendship spanned over 40 years, as we passed in and out of each other's lives. I remember when you were pregnant with your first child, and your little house in Cottageville where we had so many good visits. I was your mail route sub long ago, and the huge maple trees in my yard came from a seedling you gave me. I am so very grateful for the time we had together in January when we went to the Women's March together. It was a gift, it really was, to be with you again and to find the old ways of friendship still fit like a favorite old shirt. Rest well, dear Lindsay, and light the way for the rest of us."
There have been good things too, like my youngest son's marriage and the surprising find of cousins in Canada that my English cousin discovered through her genealogy research. One of them is only 7 1/2 hours away from me in Ontario, and I hope to drive up to meet her in the coming year. Storytelling has been busy and I've done some good writing, with two stories published this year. Like all of life, it all gets mixed up together, the good, the sad, the bad and the happy. And sometimes we need a break from all of it to refresh our hearts and minds.
I know I am a blessed woman. I have my share of sadness and sometimes it feels like a large load, but then I have a large circle of family and friends, and the odds increase with each person added to that circle. But I would not make that circle smaller to reduce the pain of loss; the risk is so worth what each and every one gives to me--and what I can give to them.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.