Reimagining The Bedlam Farm Open House. The Beginning of Something New


Yesterday I wrote about the last Bedlam Farm Open House.

But I think I didn’t make my self clear.  It doesn’t mean we’re never going to be having some kind of event at Bedlam Farm again.  It means that Jon and I are reimaginig the idea of the Open House.

There are some elements to the Open House that work, some parts of it that are what it’s really all about.  And in talking about it, it seems that Jon and I have different experiences with the Open House.

I spend most of my days in my gallery selling art.  Jon spends most of his time meeting and talking to people.

For me, I’ve found that I spend too much energy doing the physical labor of setting up and breaking down my studio, so it can work as a gallery.  I’ve also find myself focusing more than I want to on worrying about selling art and making enough money to make the whole weekend worthwhile financially.

So for me it’s become less about creativity and encouragement and more and more about money.

But that’s not what either Jon or I want for the Open House.

So we’re thinking of new ways to make it work.

We understand that most of our audience is online, and we don’t want to leave them out of the process.  Instead of having everyone have to come to us, we’re thinking of ways to bring the open house to everyone.

I want to take the things that work in the Open House now and find something new for the space that is created from the things  we don’t want to do anymore.

What I see right now, and I’m sure this will evolve, is  Bedlam Farm being a place where artists come for the weekend and demonstrate how they do their work.  Just like Rachel Barlow and Sara Kelly did this past weekend, painting and making a digital woodcut.

Some demonstrations would go thought the day and others might be for  a limited amount of time, depending on the artist and their work.

We would have sheep shearing and herding and visits with the donkeys.  There would be time for people who came to see the artists to talk to them, ask questions and have a conversation.  And there would be time for Jon and me to do the same.

I see my studio open as a working studio.  Me working there sporadically throughout the day.  We would still have poetry reading, maybe more than one, more spontaneous and in smaller groups.  Maybe even people could bring their own poetry to share with some of the other poets.

I’d love the have the Sister’s of the Shawl back.  I’m hoping by then to dance a slow dance with them.  Kathleen told me she thought I was ready this weekend, but it felt like too much pressure to me.  If the Open House had this new format, perhaps that would make it easier for me to dance.

It would be nice to have food and music too.

I wouldn’t sell art, but people would be encouraged to visit  the to blogs, websites and Etsy Shops of the artist working at the farm.  It’s an easier and more democratic was of selling the art.  This way everyone has a chance to buy art directly from each artist.

And, so that everyone could be a part of it whether they were at the farm or not,   we would live stream the whole weekend.

I’m picturing a festival of creativity.  A sharing of inspiration.  Bedlam Farm lit up with creative sparks.

So it may be the end of the Bedlam Farm  Open House as we know it, but it’s also the beginning of something new.

And I couldn’t’ be more excited about it.


20 thoughts on “Reimagining The Bedlam Farm Open House. The Beginning of Something New

  1. Maria,
    I think a Bedlam Farm Creative Festival is a wonderful idea. I have to admit when I first read your previous post I was sad but understanding what a rigorous undertaking you had. I haven’t been there yet but was hoping to attend some year. I thought it was too late and oh well…this brings hope for me to get there and meet some of the other creative sparks in person. Thank you…

  2. I have never attended one of your open houses, you are far away from where I live and I don’t enjoy travel. I think your new ideas for future open houses are great and I look forward to a virtual open house!

  3. I absolutely love all these new ideas! While I’d still like to visit in person someday, this would be fun to participate in the way you are imagining. Looking forward to watching this unfold!

  4. Brilliant, Maria. Absolutely brilliant. Although I can’t make it out there nothing interests me more than talking to the artist, watching them work.

  5. I live in Toledo, Ohio so the delightful open house was via pictures. Your video about the art displayed was very enjoyable for me. I began wishing I could be there. It would be fun to live stream your activities for those that cannot be there. Another idea some artists do is have an online Facebook sale of the artists work. I know two artists that do this regularly and they find it quite profitable for very little work. Win win!

    1. Facebook is definitely a good way for some of the artists to sell their work. It’s hasn’t worked for me the way Etsy has, but the artists could use any means that worked for them. And we could definitely promote on Fb. Thanks for your though Deborah.

  6. You may remember I’ve put in a word for workshops. Maybe you could figure out a way to do a day or two of teaching workshops on creative stuff (which people would pay for!!) before the Open House. So maybe a 3-4 day “extravaganza”.

    Maybe the artists would do them too, maybe you’d take over Pompanuck Farm 🙂 .

    Change is good!! I can imagine how tiring and sort of “sideways” losing all that time can be over time. And in the I Ching 8 is The Number

    1. Workshops are probably a good idea on their own Elizabeth. Something else. It’s takes a lot of organizing and scheduling and I’m hoping this event will have a more free from.

  7. Hi Maria,
    I think your new ideas are all great. I have been thinking for awhile that breaking down your studio and making it into a gallery is very disruptive to your work. I love the idea of you working in your studio, but may I suggest that if there is a suitable space in town for a “pop-up shop” that perhaps there could be a show of artists work there. I realize this would be a lot of work so I would also suggest that you designate someone other than yourself to curate. If this is something that interests you let me know as soon as possible and I will do what I can to help.
    Carol Way Wood

    1. Hi Carol, it’s an interesting idea, but there’s so much involved in doing a pop up gallery. artists curating, but collecting work from the artists and collecting and distributing of money to the artists after the show. There’s clean up after the show and sales tax and bookkeepers. Someone has to take all that on. That’s what I’m trying to avoid. But thanks for offering your help, I’ll keep it in mind….

  8. I LOVE this!!! I live in Tennessee and just can’t make it to Bedlam Farm, although I have always wanted to do so. I’m already looking forward to it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Full Moon Fiber Art