Being There

Kim McMillan at the sewing machine and Kim Gifford to the far left.
Kim McMillan at the sewing a scarf that one of the visitors designed for themselves.   That’s Kim Gifford on  the far left.

It was hard to judge, from inside my School House Gallery how many people came to the Bedlam Farm Open House.  I did know that I was busy selling art and helping design scarves for Kim to sew,  from the time it began  to the time it ended.  (I only got to take on picture of the whole day)  The first time I snuck out to introduce the sheep before a herding demo, I saw the cars parked on the front lawn and up and down Route 22 and was thankful all the people in all the cars hadn’t come into my gallery at the same time.   But there was plenty to do outside.  I missed the  Poetry reading by Mary Kellogg, but knew  it was over when people came to the gallery  and bought out the copies of her first book My Place on Earth.  I also missed Diane Fiore and Kim Giffords readings, but heard the clapping outside my window.

It was great to have Kim McMillan in the gallery sewing scarves and keeping an eye on things the few times I got outside.  Some of the local people who came only know Kim from the Cambridge Co-op where she works part-time.  They were surprised to see her creative side.  I didn’t think I would need any help, because the gallery is so small compared to the Pig Barn Gallery at the old Bedlam Farm, but Kim’s the kind of person who makes you feel like everything will be okay and besides the work she did, I was glad to have her there with me.

At one point Jon opened my Gallery door and there was Frieda on the end of a leash.  It was sweet seeing her with Jon and he later told me she was good and didn’t get into any trouble, but was just as happy to go back in the quiet house as visit with me.

Jane McMillen and her husband Tom showed up towards the end of the day.   As she was packing up her work, I picked out an orange pincushion for my studio and one of her mini strawberry plant pincushions.    Fran gave me one of her mini gardens.  She made it specially for me with a reflecting ball, (like the one in one of our favorite childhood books Jane Emily) garden bench and birdhouse.

Opening the farm and now my studio up for visits seems to me to be about connecting.   It’s convenient and practical to have my business online and I get to know so many people I would never otherwise meet.  But I still have the urge to to have that person to person interaction.  To hang my work on a wall and have someone be able see it and touch it.  To have a true sense of scale and place and experience by literally being there.  To feel Fanny’s gentle lips on the palm of your hand as she takes a carrot from it. Or to rub Simon’s ears as he nuzzles for affection.  To be that close and see each other with our own eyes, not through the lens of a camera or the screen of a computer.  It’s a very different experience and for me, a very necessary one.

When we first moved to the farm I wasn’t sure how we could have events like we did at the old Bedlam Farm.  But it seems we did it.  And now that we know how successful it can be,  we’ll do it again and again.



11 thoughts on “Being There

  1. Maria, I am so happy the day was such a success, and even happier to hear there will be more open houses. We will get there one of these times.
    How nice that Freida made an appearance and seemed to enjoy herself a little.
    It is wonderful that you and Jon are writing about the need for connectedness. It is sadly missing in so many of our lives these days, and for so many reasons. What you are doing is a beautiful gift!

  2. I loved feeling the donkeys’ lips taking carrots! They were so gentle and friendly. And it was hilarious when Jon brought Freida out and the donkeys came around the corner only to realize it wasn’t about them at the moment. I’m sure you heard Simon’s protest!! 🙂

    I agree with you about the personal interactions. Jon’s photos on FB and his blog and your photos out the window have even more meaning having been there and seen those same images in person. It was a day full of love and I can still feel it.

  3. Yay! So glad all went well. And everyone, including yourself, walked away with a smile. 🙂 Can’t ask for more than that.

  4. Looks like a wonderful day. And I have to tell you, when I first saw your sister’s mini-garden, before I read your words, I thought, “Ooh, a Jane Emily ball!” Always good to hear others have read your childhood favorites and that you didn’t imagine them.

  5. It was so lovely to have been able to have been there, Maria – what I loved best was feeling that sense of community and connectedness between the many aspects of the life you and Jon share through your blogs, art, and photographs. Even though it was our first visit to your farm, as it seems to have been for many who were there that day, there was a lovely sense of shared community already – a sense that we knew this place, you both, the animals, the dahlia garden, the front porch, the stories that knit all if this together….and that was possible because the two of you share what you have built together with the rest of us. Now, when I pop in for a visit on your blogs, I have a much deeper appreciation for all the effort and vision it takes to create such a life, to live it, and to share it. So – thank you!

  6. Maria, I am glad you are having shows in your school house gallery along with selling online. Those beautiful soft brown wooden walls and floor are a perfect background for your work and I am glad those of us that could not be there could share vicariously in the beauty of your displays.

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