Posts Tagged ‘St. Louis Art Fair


Trunk Show

2elephantsWhen in the course of human events you’ve been rejected from one of your favorite shows for three years running, you can either (a) accept that it’s one of the hardest shows in the country to get into and try again next year, (b) curse the injustice and inhumanity of it all and wallow in self-pity, or (c) experiment with something completely different. It’s time for plan C.

We love the St. Louis Art Fair. It was the first fair we ever did, and it is consistently one of our best. Which is why it’s really annoying that, after participating in it for four consecutive years, now the jury won’t let us in. Especially annoying because my work is so much better now than when I started. I mean really, I look at the jury pictures I sent them the first year I applied and they must have been out of their MINDS to accept me. And after listening to the irate responses from our St. Louis mailing list after informing them yet AGAIN that we won’t be in attendance, I’m taking matters into my own hands. SO–on September 11 and 12, concurrent with the St. Louis Art Fair and one short block away, we’ll be having a trunk show at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Clayton.

Sure, it’s a risk. It could be high school all over again, and nobody will show up for my party. But for the last two years, as we’ve been driving home from Sausalito, we’ve passed right through St. Louis as the show was going on. We’ve even spent the night there. So, since we’ll be in the area anyway, we’ve reserved a suite at the Clayton Crowne Plaza at Carondelet and Bemiston, one block from the show, Friday, September 11 from 5-10pm, and Saturday, September 12 from noon to 10pm. Here are the advantages:

Air conditioning! (Honestly, I can’t emphasize that enough).
Wine and cheese.
Zero percent chance of storms blowing the tent over.
Free parking–if you buy a bot, we’ll pay for a day of free parking at the hotel. And since parking is tough near the fair, you can leave your vehicle at the Crowne Plaza all day while you shop the rest of the show!
A quiet, friendly, relaxed atmosphere. No pressure–you don’t have to buy anything, just come and catch up and see the latest bots.

Obviously, we don’t know the room number yet. You can check back here September 11, or email me at and I’ll put you on the special mailing list for the event. So, aside from an extra night in a nice hotel, what have we got to lose? NUTHIN, that’s what!


Mojo, No Mojo, Mojo Returns

Hello, Fobot Fans.  Sorry for the long absence–I’ve been meaning to write about our trip to the Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver over the July 4 weekend, but it’s been work work work ever since we got back.  You know, I actually started writing this post a month ago, when I finally had the opportunity–nay, the requirement–to sit still for a whole evening.   I’ll tell you why at the end of this post.  If I tell you now, you may stop reading, or at the very least, have your reading experience tainted by unsavory mental images.  But I’ll give you a hint–I recently turned fifty…

After leaving Des Moines, swimming away in a sea of mastiff slobber, we headed for our old stomping grounds–Colorado Springs, CO.  After 17 years in Raleigh, I cannot fully explain the ecstasy induced by spending time outdoors in the summer without being covered in sweat and mosquitos.  Not to mention six good hair days where I didn’t resemble Roseanne Rosannadanna without the bangs.  This whole portion of the trip was so wonderful that I have vowed, once Phil retires, to find a way of living in Colorado for the summer and basing operations there from July to September.  And I’m not even going to go into the joy of seeing all our old friends.  On our final night, Eve and Sol hosted a party at their gorgeous home, overlooking the mountains, that remains the best party I have ever attended in my life.  And not just because I didn’t have to cook or clean up after.

We spent the day before Cherry Creek in Boulder, visiting a friend from my art licensing days (man, does THAT seem like a century ago).  We were asked to do a Friday morning TV spot for some Denver TV stations, so decided to spend Thursday night in Denver to avoid having to get through rush hour traffic in the morning.  Here’s a picture from the shoot:That’s Denver media personality Dan Daru sticking a Fobot’s groin into the camera lens and asking the anchors if they knew how he could tell it was a boy (by the bow tie, of course).  Yup, Dan is quite the comedian.  A very nice man, very funny, but on the whole an unnerving experience, as you just never knew what the hell he was going to say next.

Setup for the show proceeded smoothly, and although it didn’t officially start until Saturday, we participated in a preview event Friday night.  Which meant that Phil got to man the booth by himself, while I attended the gala. Imagine, if you will, about 20 sweaty artists hobnobbing with a few hundred well-dressed, wealthy art patrons at a formal event with much food and wine and an open bar.  Sweet…  There were individual menus at each place setting telling us what wines would be served with what course.  I kept waiting for a waiter to ask if I would be having the filet mignon or the sea bass.  Silly me, they brought us each both.  DO NOT TELL PHIL–he was stuck in the booth and believes we were given cold baloney sandwiches and juice boxes.

Saturday was hot, by Denver standards–93 degrees, but so bone dry the the bottles of ice water the volunteers brought us every hour didn’t sweat.  It was pretty funny–the volunteers, knowing that most of us weren’t local, kept INSISTING that we drink the water, citing the area’s altitude and low humidity.  I think they need to change the state motto to “Welcome to Colorado.  Here’s your water”.  But although the locals apologized for the heat (and after surviving the Great Sauna of Des Moines, we just laughed) they were there to BUY.  By the end of the day, we’d racked up our biggest single day of sales ever.  What can I say–Denver loves robots.

Sunday started out the same, but cooler and with the threat of rain later in the day.  Great sales until about noon, and then…nothing.  Still crowded, still nice weather, but that elusive thing art show people call “buying energy” just evaporated without explanation.  At first I thought it was just us, but everyone’s sales plummeted.  It was the weirdest thing–I thought we’d lost our mojo for good.

Fortunately, Mojo came back on Monday.  Starting with some of the most interesting, discriminating buyers we’ve yet encountered; middle and high school students with a checkbook, part of the Janus art buying program.   Janus, a large investment company with a mission to get art into the schools, gives selected schools a big chunk of money to buy art at Cherry Creek for their school.  But rather than just giving it to the teachers or school administrators, they give it to committees of students who, after asking many thoughtful questions, bought three of my best Fobots.  Afterwards, they had to present their choices in an open forum and explain their decisions.  I’m sorry I missed that, but as I mentioned earlier, Mojo was back, and sales were brisk again.  By the end of the day, we’d wrapped up our best show ever, which made the two day drive home a joyous thing.

Which brings us back to Raleigh, a severely depleted inventory, and three–count’em THREE–shows coming up in September.  Long’s Park Art and Craft Festival in Lancaster PA, September 3-6, our triumphant return to the St. Louis Art Fair September 10-12, and the Plaza Art Fair in Kansas City September 24-26.  So I’ve been a robot-making fool for the last several weeks, sitting still only long enough to prepare for “Baby’s First Colonoscopy” last month.  If you’ve been through this, then you know where I was sitting.  And that “salt” and “citrus” are two tastes that should NEVER be combined.


Cat in a Hot Tin Booth

slaf 012New rule; from now on, the phrase “nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof” will be replaced by the phrase “nervous as an artist in a hot craft booth”.  Full of kids who grab and push and don’t listen to you or their parents.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Saint Louis Art Fair, Day 2: Invasion of the Robot Snatchers.  As you may notice in the above picture, we have a fatal flaw in the booth display that worked so well for us in Philadelphia.  In Philly, a) the floor was completely level, and b) there were no children allowed in the show.  The street is actually on a slope and fairly uneven, though it doesn’t really show in the photo.  And on Saturday and Sunday, everyone at the fair brought their kids.  We met many lovely, well behaved children this weekend, who expressed their delight in the Fobots and asked charming questions.  I could kiss each and every one of them. 

And then there were the unsupervised hellions who tried to grab everything within reach, pull themselves up onto the pedestals, and twist the robots’ arms in unnatural directions.  I can’t really blame them.  The art at this fair was uniformly SPECTACULAR, but most had little appeal to kids.  Sadly, the robots did appeal to them.  And I hope there is a special hell for parents who don’t want to stifle their babies pwecious cweativity by actually supervising them, or telling them not to touch.  So I spent three days in a constant, jumpy, adrenalized state, ready to leap forward at any second to catch a falling robot.

And amazingly, though several hit the pavement, only one of the sturdy little creatures (and I’m referring to the Fobots here, not the kids) broke.  And that was only because  Beelzebot had porcelain faucet cover feet.  And the culprit here was not a kid, but a woman with a large handbag who not only knocked him over, but spilled her red wine all over Phil’s lab coat in the process, went to get him some paper towels, gave them to him, and then split without even offering to pay for the dry cleaning, let alone the repairs or–god forbid–the robot. 

OK, enough bitching.  In spite of my constant state of anxiety, the backbreaking labor, the dehydration, and the long drive, we had a great show,  made a lot of money, and are already planning our new display and future shows.  I’ll wrap this all up in a later post.  But for now, the adrenalin is finally wearing off, and I hope to sleep for a few hours in a row without dreaming that I’m lunging for a wobbly pedestal or smacking some undisciplined child on the ass.  And by ass, I mean it’s parents.


Only Mostly Dead

Yesterday was one of the longest, hottest, stressiest days of my life.  But, like the 14 hour car trip that got us to the St. Louis Art Fair, in which I kept thinking to myself, “This is too boring, too hard, I don’t want to play anymore”, once it was all over, it didn’t seem so bad.  Kinda like childbirth.   Or so I hear.

We began the day by FINALLY getting our new credit card terminal to work.  It hadn’t been programmed correctly when it was sent to us, and it’s failure to function was FREAKING ME OUT.   But after three days in tech support limbo, they got it working just in time.

The weather was perfect, if a little warm.  Perfect if you’re doing nothing more strenuous that lifting a glass of iced tea to your lips.  But setting up the tent was fraught with complications we hadn’t forseen, and took much longer than expected.  I won’t bore you with details, but we started at 11:30, and when opening time rolled around at five, we had NOT had the chance to slip back to the hotel for a much needed shower, and were still madly scrambling to unpack robots.  Dehydration was a problem, too.  You’d think that in the middle of setting up a huge art fair on a hot day that SOMEONE would be selling water.  They weren’t until five, by which time we were dead. 

Or only mostly dead.  Amazing how the appearance of customers in one’s booth can revive a gal.  Response was positive and enthusiastic.  Sales were good, if not overwhelming.  But this is a three day event, and if the shoppers are anything like me, they want to see everything before making their decision.  A few other notes:  went through an entire box of 250 business cards on the first night, and only have 250 more.  Hadn’t expected that, and will be rationing them out today.  Also–our proximity to the martini, beer and wine tent is a mixed blessing.  Lots of traffic, but later in the evening… Let’s just say a few bots hit the ground, but nothing broke.

Sorry, no picture, but we honestly didn’t have a spare second before the show started, and the booth was too crammed with people to even see inside once it did.  We’ll try again today.


Random Access Memory


RAMHello, Fobot fans!  Just wanted to let you know that we’ve arrived in St. Louis after 14 hours on the road.  I’d go into more detail, but it’s late, I’m exhausted, and dinner involved two gin and tonics.  Let’s just say that the Fo-Bo-Mo-Bile performed heroically, and even had a little room to spare.  Which we filled with extra bubble wrap.

And, since I hate to post something without at least one picture… Meet Random Access Memory, one of my entries in this year’s Niche Awards.  He’s composed of a Brownie camera, glass front licorice tin, wrenches, lamp parts, hydraulic fittings, and ephemera.  I know I promised to give you a “Fobot of the Week”—let’s just call him “Fobot of the Month…

Signing off now.  Must sleep.



bumblebotI apologize.  Y’all have been so nice about leaving comments, and I haven’t given you anything new to look at in weeks.  I envy those bloggers who can take the mundane details of everyday life and craft an interesting post out of them.  My life lately?  I wake up, I make robots, I go to sleep.  Glamorous, yeah, but not the stuff of which exciting posts are born.

So I propose to bring you…FOBOT OF THE WEEK!   Because I really have been busy– too busy to put new bots up on the website.  And because when I DO put them up, they just get sold!  Damn!  How am I going to accumulate  enough robots to bring to the St. Louis Art Fair if they get sold?  So these guys are our little secret–my hidden stash of especially cool bots that you’ll have to travel to Missouri to see.

First up is BumbleBot.  He’s 13″ tall, and is composed of a Baby Brownie camera, two wire whisks, a crystallized ginger tin, grease lines and hydraulic fittings.  And he can either stand on his little feet, or hang from above as if flying.  Every once in a while we run into these wire whisk/paddles at the flea market, and Phil begs me to get them because they look like wings.  I always resisted, because I was looking for angel wings, and they looked like, well, bee wings.  Bee wings.  Hmmmmmm. 

 I could have purchased two wings that matched, but I actually prefer things that are lopsided, imperfect, mismatched.  It reminds me of a saying I once heard–we like our friends because of their virtues, but we love them because of their flaws.  I love BumbleBot.


Behold the Tent

booth 047I feel like a real grown-up professonal craftsperson now.  Or maybe a circus freak.  Because we are now the proud owners of a big, white, Trimline tent.  It arrived Wednesday and we just couldn’t wait to set it up on the back deck.   Well, actually we could wait, preferably until after the outdoor temperature dipped below 70 and the mosquitos stopped swarming.   Like November.  But I’ll be needing a booth shot for future art fair applications before then, so as long as we’re making sure it all works…

It went up surprisingly easily.  Not something I want to attempt every weekend, but in under two hours, with additional time to screw the columns together.  But still, too much effort went into this to let it go unobserved by all but some bewildered squirrels and chipmunks.  So of course we had to throw a tent party the next night to christen it.  And this puppy’s so solid, the champagne bottle broke on the first try.  Just kidding.  St Louis Art Fair, here we come.

Mmmmm, still has that new tent smell…


Fobot 200

harold_hill2Let us now take a moment to welcome the 200th Fobot into the world.  Meet “Harold Hill”.  Musical theatre fans will recognize him as the lead character in “The Music Man”.  Some of you have already started humming “76 Trombones”.  The truly nerdy have bypassed “76 Trombones” and “Trouble in River City” and have proceeded directly to “Shi-Poo-Pi”, a song for which there is no excuse.  But I digress…

Harold stands 19.5″ tall, from the car lens on the top of his toy coffee pot head, to his jello mold feet.  In between, there are clock gears, a rhinestone brooch, wrenches, a pocket watch movement, hydraulic fittings and valve springs.  And, of course, the Mattel Merry Music Box, with its charming and colorful graphics of a charming and colorful stereotypically ethnic Italian organ grinder and his monkey.  Many years ago, a child would hang this music box from a string around his/her neck, and turn a crank on the right side to play a tune until adults in the vicinity went mad and paid him/her to stop FOR GOD’S SAKE STOP!  In this case, the tune is “The Farmer in the Dell”.  Would have been better with “Shi-Poo-Pi”.

You won’t be seeing “Harold Hill” or many of his really cool brothers and sisters on  In fact, you won’t see many available bots at all on the website.  Between saving bots to bring to the St. Louis Art Fair and filling reorders from galleries, fresh Fobots are in short supply.  And I know St. Louis is still 3 months away, but if I don’t start holding some Fobots back, we’re going to look pretty stupid standing there in an empty tent.



2009-04-05-element-misc-pics-129Meet the Fo-Bo-Mo-Bile.  Alternate post title: my butt is now where my head used to be.  Or: Honda Element–the Anti-Miata.

Here’s the real news.  While at BMAC, some of the other craftsmen there tried to persuade us that we really should try some retail craft fairs.  I resisted, as I believe I may be cursed–whenever I attend an outdoor fair, the weather ranges from arctic to sauna to cyclonic to “get the ark and start lining up animals”.  Sometimes all in the same weekend.  And I really didn’t want to be one of those poor souls praying for decent weather, just so they could sell a few pots or earrings or whatever to eek out a meager living.  Not to mention all the time spent driving to these shows.  I mean, some craftsmen do three or four shows a month–when do they have time to make stuff?  Nooooo thanks, I’ll just do the one wholesale show a year and sell the occasional bot from the website.

But a funny thing happened around day five of shipping the BMAC orders.  I started thinking, what if I could sell these to people who just walked away with them, no shipping involved?  And what if they gave me money right away, without having to wait 30+ days for a check?  And what if I got to keep that money, instead of basically splitting it with the retailer?

So I applied to the St. Louis Art Fair, one of the most notoriously difficult shows to get into.  I mean last year, they had around 1800 applicants for 139 slots.  No way are they going to let me in, right? 

Wrong.  We’re in.  Holy crap, what have I done?  I’m gonna need a bigger car.  See above.

October 2021

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