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Paint Fox, Red Gerbers (Read 5539 times)
Jan 12th, 2005 at 7:19am

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Makawao,  Maui, USA, HI

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The wind kicked up just as we started setting up our stand.  I felt like the truck driver on the interstate, trying to secure the elephant on the back of the truck with a tea towel.  "Don't worry about how the stand looks," I tell Blair, "we're here to sell paintings!"  He was not "with me."  I stood proudly out in front our booth at the Marche de Creation, at Bastille.  Our tent, with some walls pulled tight, others bagging, looked like an elephant wearing a tea towel.

The city provides the armature for the stand, and it is up to us to buy the walls for our booth, held every Saturday.  A tent-maker, Paris-Baches, has the corner on the market stands.  It is a wonderful place, not far from the market at Bastille.  An old wooden front door with windows and a faulty handle, opens to an apparently empty office.  A woman urges us on, "continue, continue", and we open the door to the back. Inside is a three story wooden structure with a large empty center.

When we arrived at Paris-Baches, there were two men trying to get their "baleine" (whale) fixed.  This is a big rectangular umbrella, about fifteen feet long and eight feet wide.  It had been well patched with colors of tent-blue and tent-green, and bits of leather; the basis was yellow faded in the shades of opening and closing, with a white trim along the edge.  The boss wasn't sure it was savable.

I studied the chart. The "Barnum" was the true fruit and vegetable stand -- a wide display table integrated with the umbrella held up from the sides.  It was our turn and we order our "baches" for the stand. "They'll be ready on Friday."  Each was made to order.

These "baches" or tarpaulins, are not lightweight items, nor is the table, the 20 paintings, the lights, and the assorted hardware needed to get this enterprise on the road.  We took a taxi to the market at 8:30 AM, to stand in line to be awarded our slot at 9:30.  Ours was the first stand, next to the children's carousel of vehicles that turn round and go up and down, hydraulically.  The bell rang, to restart the show, every four or five minutes.

The lady at the next stand, selling hats, came up to me.  "What is your name," she asked timidly.  "Laurie" I said.  "Nice name," she replied.  "You know, you have set up your stand the wrong way.  The sides taper ever so slightly toward the back."  I denied it, but Blair understood immediately, and he set out to reverse them.  Our elephant looked beautiful.

We hung our paintings.  They were a pitifully small smattering in this 2 meter x 4 meter display booth.  Blair took out the lights.  I had gotten an exceptionally good deal on the Internet -- halogen bulbs included for just 4 Euros each.  There were no cords.  I was delegated to the electricity store to find new lights.

The Bazar d'Electricite was just that -- a bunch of crooked guys soaking unsuspecting customers for every penny.  I came back with another cordless light and 30 feet of cord, without ground wire:  50 Euros.  That improper cord, of course, could not be returned (they'd cut it to order) when we discovered the error, so we had to buy yet more wire.  The rest of the day was spent getting one light to work.

It started to rain and rivulets flowed from the front to the back of our stand.  I picked up my purse and the most sensitive electrical materials.  A few people passed by.  While I was back at the electrical store, Blair had a near sale.  Mostly people walked by, said hello -- the hat lady, Sylvie said this was the poorest turn out she'd seen since June.  I went and bought a pizza.

A perky woman, with a stand on the other side of the market stopped by.  "Who did these flowers," she asked "I can see them from across the market."  I confessed.  "I love them," she announced, "I paint elephants, and elephants love flowers, too."

We got our light working at 3:30 PM.  We sat proudly awaiting customers.  At five, night fell, and we moved all of our paintings into the illuminated half of the tent.  At six, we packed up our equipment and took the bus home.   Next time it will be easier.

...

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER (au Marche de Creation chaque samedi a Bastille!)
painting acrylic on masonite 8 x 10 inches
 
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