Summer is winding down, fall is in the air – as the rabbit brush starts to bloom, grass has cured and days are getting shorter. What a season for grass it’s been. While summer rains have slowed the haying process a bit, the grass in the meadows and range land has flourished. Years of drought have taken a pause in this neck of the woods. We hear that others aren’t quite so fortunate.

As I’m embarking upon my new business venture, my obligations at work are culminating as well. It is sort of a perfect storm. The sheepdog trials in Meeker are September 6 – 10, 2023 – I have artwork to get ready for Meeker AND  the Born In A Barn event in Sheridan is September 15 & 16. Yikes! I couldn’t have planned it any closer! By day, I’m at the computer organizing final touches for sheepdog trials and by night, I’m painting, printing and packaging.

I had every intention of getting my website up and fully functional.  It’s up, but not fully functional. Do take a look around, you’ll see a good representation of my art work.  So sorry, but with luck October will see that goal come to fruition. So, for this post, I want to share a bit about what I’m taking to Meeker and to Sheridan.

You will see my work in Meeker at the sheepdog trials and in Sheridan, Wyoming at Born In Barn.  Most of the work will be my functional art line – the Saddlestring Creations part of the business. While it’s all art these items have a lower price point and are able to fit into your lives in different ways. You’ll notice on a lot of my product labels I have written “PERFECTLY IMPERFECT”. That’s a mantra that I find to be true and appropriate of most handmade work. A little glitch here, a crooked line there – the touch of the human hand leaves its mark in many ways.

In Meeker at the sheepdog trials, A good friend that owns Farmgirl Goat Milk Soaps has been gracious enough to let me put my work in her booth during the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials. I’ll have my floor cloths, tea towels and note cards there.

In Sheridan at the Born In a Barn Creative Sale on September 15 & 16th, you’ll find a complete selection of my functional work with some of my fine art as well. I’m a list person so will briefly list what I’m bringing. Each of these items and the stories behind them will be explored in a later blog discussion. But for now, I must just get the info out there! Thanks again for your patience!

Floor Cloths – patterned after the early American substitute for floor coverings when carpeting was unavailable or cost prohibitive, original floor cloths are made from primed, heavy duty canvas. A tent maker/seamstress in Colorado, cuts and seams each mat to a 24 x 36” size. I then paint an original acrylic painting on each piece and seal the with 3 coats of water based polyurethane. Cushioned with a carpet mat underneath, these cloths last for years and are an attractive yet functional addition to any room.

Tin Can Art Candles – I outsource these candles from a small company in Illinois. They are hand poured and slow burning with a wide variety of scents. I buy a 16 oz advertising candle that has a blank from label with the name of my business on the back. I then hand print etchings on Japanese paper and adhere a print to each candle. They are then packaged in a cello bag and tied with a primitive fabric ribbon.

Feed Bags or Nose Bags – ranches and horse owners know what a nose bag is. A bag fashioned from heavy weight canvas with a leather strap to go over the ears, they are used to feed grain to horses.  I use a unique design. My seamstress in Colorado make these for me. They have a weighted bottom so they will sit flat of the floor.  I add one or two original paintings or prints to each bag. The prints are done on soft deerskin leather and the paintings are on a heavy duty canvas. Each image is approximately 6×6” size.  These nose bags are repurposed for tote bags or  catch-all/display pieces in the house.

Hand Printed Tea Towels – I hand carve my designs on linoleum or other substrate. They are then hand inked and printed onto 27 x27” cotton tea towels. These are an affordable, attractive, and unique gift item – also original art.

Scented Saddle Bags – scented 3×4” sachet bags filled with scented material that I mix and create from scents ordered from the candle company I work with. Each sachet is hand printed with a linocut saddle design of mine – thus labeled “Saddle Bags”. The scent is long lasting and can be re-scented if need be. A nice little extra, handmade gift item.

Furniture, Boxes, and things – Depending on what I come across that’s on sale, I paint my original acrylic paintings on stools, small tables, or wooden boxes.

Notebooks and Journals – I look for good quality art journals on sale. I put one of my hand printed etchings on the cover of each and seal them. This is a good way to use up print proofs that don’t meet quality standards for my fine art printmaking. Sell 10 – 20 each year.

Note Cards – Printed using my original etchings and paintings, my note cards are printed through an online company. A story is printed on the back of each card. I at least 15 different designs that I have printed. These have always been popular.

I’ll be sharing pics and information on social media.  If you have questions, just message me or text at 970-462-6495. It would be great to see you at one of these shows. I always look forward to these times to catch up with old friends and make new ones!  Stop by my booth and say hello. Thanks for sharing this time. I appreciate it!