Last weekend I attended an art fair/party at Ironwood Studios on Jennings Avenue, which is just a block off Broadway and just off Central – sort of between uptown and Happy Holler. The idea was simple: Open a warehouse/iron and woodworking studio to artists who want to display, add food for purchase, bands and dancers and spread the word it is BYOB.
No, it’s not a glamorous party likely to make the society page of a local newspaper, but it’s real and it’s fun. Just inviting the artists, who paid a modest ten dollars for a booth, insures a crowd of bright, creative and interesting people. No one cares if drinks are spilled. The music is good and the atmosphere is loose. It’s the kind of urban party I much prefer to the dress-up, high society events, though I have nothing against those.
The art on display ran the gamut from paintings and pottery to photography, hand-made jewelry to vintage accessories, furniture and everything in between. Bands played, and the Sandsation Dancers entertained. I’ve never seen a belly dance to pop music, but there it was.
I saw old friends and made new ones. I continued my random encounters with Sarah Brobst and her excellent work. I enjoyed the pottery of Bill Lee, the fantasy art of T.P. Dunn, the recycled art of Carrie Hamilton, all of which I’d seen before. I got to be more familiar with many other artists including Maggie Tankersley of Handmade Mags and her jewelry and recycled art.
I finally got to meet Preston Farabow who runs the operation and is a fine metal-worker and artist. I first heard him speak at Pecha Kucha about his metal working and his NASCAR project which includes making art during a race from the metal parts which are thrown off by the cars. I also enjoyed talking with Michael Gill, Tamera Easterday, Marsall Stair, Virginia Adams and others. I got to see Evelyn Gill’s Vintage Threads up close and personal.
I can’t possibly remember everything happening in the space. I haven’t even mentioned Tarot Readings. It was great fun, but after I’d hung out there a while I hooked up with Urban Woman for a dinner at Bijou at the Bistro and a little late-night Beatles string music with Norwegian Wood. Alexia Pantanzopoulos, Tres Daugherty and friends laid down their typically perfect tunes. Eventually Michael and Evelyn Gill, Susan Spivey and Kay Newtown, all of who had been at the Ironwood Party, assumed the table next to ours and the fun continued until late.
What else can you ask of life beyond art, good food and great people to share them with? And there really isn’t as likely a place to have an evening like this as in a city core. No offense to my suburban friends, but this isn’t like anything I ever experienced when I lived there. It’s the kind of evening for which we live in an urban environment.