“When you buy from an independent artist,you are buying more than just a painting or a novel or a song. You are buying hundreds of hours of experimentation and thousands of failures. You are buying days, weeks, months, years of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are buying nights of worrying about paying the rent, having enough money to eat, having enough money to feed the children, the birds, the dog. You aren’t just buying a thing; you are buying a piece of heart, part of soul, a private moment in someone’s life. Most importantly, you are buying that artist more time to do something they are truly passionate about; something makes all of the above worth the fear and doubt; something that puts the life into the living.

~Rebekah Joy Plett

The above was a quote on a fine artist booth at an art/craft show I participated in this weekend.  I agree. Art is an esthetic experience.  I know this to be true from looking at “art”, creating “art” and selling “art”.  Below are some of the pieces I sold this weekend at two craft shows and the stories behind the pieces and those who brought them.

You Have Not Been Abandoned

A lady who had just moved to Charlotte came up and at first picked up one sign and was ready to get it, then she said: “Wait a minute I really need to find something for my son, he’s going through a tough time.”

I asked her how old her son was and she said 23 years old.

So knowing what I know about mothers and sons I started reading some of the pieces I thought might encourage a 23 years old.

When I got to the above, she said, that’s it. Thank you so much this will really help him.  Wow!  That was interesting because I did that sign in the font that a young person struggling might be able to relate to.

This was one of the first pieces I made over a year ago…but it wasn’t until this week that I added the colors purple and white to the piece….it just added a little something.  Hopefully that young man is encouraged.

He might never know that his mom was going to buy something for herself but decided to buy something for him instead.  I’m sure she wanted that piece for herself, but maybe didn’t want to spend another $5 for it.

She gave me 5 worn dollar bills to make that purchase.

I AM and Live Life

Both of these pieces were purchased by a middle-aged woman who came to the All Arts Market with a group of friends.

It’s was like a girls night out.

They read most of the signs and commented on them.  They liked a lot of the signs, but only had plastic.

One of the ladies really liked the I AM GOD sign, she picked it up, and didn’t put it back. She also she picked up the Live Life sign and said quietly; “I have $10 and I’ll take these two please.”

I could tell that she wasn’t going home without at least the I AM sign.  I had painted the back of the I AM sign red and wrote something along the lines of  God is there in the stillness, in the silence, listen and you will hear.  She read the back, looked at me and smiled.



Question the Answers

A couple came up and the lady immediately asked if I was a teacher.

I told her that I had been a teacher at one point in my life.

She said that she could tell based on just walking up to my booth and reading my signs because it was educational and inspirational.

Then she and her boyfriend/husband read most of the signs.  As she was going to walk away she saw the Question sign and said; ” Honey I have to have this for my classroom”.

She then told me she was a teacher and the name of the local school.

She asked her husband if he had the $5.  He handed it to her and she handed it to me.

So a group of kids in a classroom somewhere in Charlotte, NC will read and see that sign.  So will anyone else that goes in her classroom.

Knowing what I know about teachers –  that sign will go with that teacher from year to year from classroom to classroom.

I certainly hope those children and adults look even deeper behind what that sign really means.

It means to keep asking questions and don’t always accept the first, second or third answer.  It means to hear what is not being said in the answers.  It means to question the questioner. It means to question yourself.  It means to not believe everything you hear or read or what someone wants you to believe. It means to go deeper and deeper and deeper…question even the answers that you’re telling yourself…question your beliefs, question your behavior, question your life situation, question your plans for the future, question your hang-ups, question why you are here, question what you need to do next…just keep asking good questions…and question the answers you get back…

Find Your Tribe

The booth I was at on Friday night was in the corner and in the dark  (those two things were bad enough but..) this booth was also behind a booth where there were two artist who had LOTS of friends that showed up to support them that night.

What that meant for me was that most people could not get to my booth. It was blocked from this group talking in front of one of the entrances to my booth.

I didn’t get upset because half of the fun of doing these craft shows is watching people and studying human behavior.

The two artist in front of my booth were gay/lesbians and all of their friends seemed to be as well.

I was truly fascinated by the community that they had developed.  It seemed pretty amazing to me.  Everyone was friendly and loving to each other.  It was the loving part that really was interesting to see.  I was there for about 4 hours and I would say roughly 20 people/couples came up to make it a “celebration” of sorts: taking pictures, buying the artwork, holding hands, kissing, and hugging each other.

I’d never given it a lot of thought but I thought that maybe homosexual couples are just happy that  they can now be with who they’ve chosen to be with without all of society looking at them like they are crazy.

I just keep wondering why heterosexual couples don’t feel the need to show this type of public affection and why homosexual couples do. Something to ponder. There were not only lesbians couples but some gay (men) couples started to join them as well. I started to watch how they all interacted with each other.  There didn’t seem to be much or any conflict.  It looked like one big family/community.

As I was watching them I thought to myself that they had found “Their Tribe” so to speak.  Maybe they couldn’t/wouldn’t have fit in or been happy in a heterosexual relationship, but they seemed happy in these type of relationships.  Maybe it was because they bonded because they had that in common.

A few minutes after I was thinking that one of the men turned around towards my booth.

He came over and we struck up a conversation.  He read almost every sign in my booth. He said that there needed to be more booths like mine, uplifting people, spreading love and happiness in words and in pictures. He laid eyes on Find Your Tribe and picked it up and said he was really just drawn to it.

 He asked how much and I told him $5.

Before I put it in the bag he ask if I would sign it.   I hesitated because I didn’t know the name to put on it…my real name (which is on my business cards) or Ridea Richardson which is my creative works name.  That was an interesting dilemma to me.

After he purchased it he told his “tribe” to come over and look at my booth and read the signs.

He was passionate about my work and thanked me for doing it.  Just amazing stuff!

 Love Everybody

At the early Saturday morning outside craft show a couple came up,  They had known each other since high school – 40 years.  He had liked her back then in High School, but she was already taken.  They both got married and divorced to different people.  He found her on Facebook, connected with her, moved to NC to be with her, and now they’ve  been married for a year.

She proudly showed me her ring.

She started reading all the signs and said: “You did this to me?” and he said: ” I’d never do that to you.” It was about a heart that had been shattered by a loved one.  Then they read all the signs, but she keep coming back to the Love Everyone sign and said she had to have it.

Of course he pulled out the money and brought it for his sweetie.

Such a wonderful love story.  They looked so happy together…LOVE in Action.

Evolve or Die

Another couple who came up and read each sign, talked about the Idea Jars.  They made a couple of comments about the wood I was painting for more pieces…then…the lady “found” the Evolve or Die piece.

She picked it up and said: “I have to have this.  Oh My God I love this. How much is it?” I told her $5 and her boyfriend pulled out the $5 and handed it to me.

I asked her if she wanted me to wrap it and she said yes, but she said she really just wanted to keep looking at it.  She had a hard time handing it to me in order for me to wrap it. That was so cute to me.

I decided to tell her about what I was thinking when I made that piece.  It’s a play on the word EVOLVE…Evolve is LOVE however you look at it…EVOL (is love spelled backwards) and EVO  L(O)VE is love when I add the “o”.

Evolve means to grow, to be alright with change, to let go of what was.  If you are not able to evolve (change)  then you might be alive,  but you aren’t really living.

What I didn’t tell her is that I had just “re-worked this piece at 2 a.m. on Friday morning.

This was one of the very first pieces that I made over a year ago when I was afraid of color or messing anything up.  So that night I added all the color to depict evolution and death to me.

Sometimes the spirit within me just says “rework” this piece, add this, change that…it just knows…

As they were walking away the lady kept looking at the piece through the plastic packaging that I use.

I said to the young man: “You’ve made her happy today.”   She looked at him and said: “He makes me happy everyday.” She looked like she wanted to take his hand or show some sign of affection, but she didn’t. I thought about the community of gay couples the night before who had no problems showing public displays of affections.

Still I think it was a very memorable moment for that young couple and I hope their relationship evolves and doesn’t die, if that’s what meant to be.


Life’s a Beach

This little girl came up in an “awe” type look.  That is the look that I get from young people.  They are drawn to my booth because of all the colors.  I think it looks like candy or something sweet to them.

Later her grandmother came up and we talked for about 30 minutes (no kidding) we talked about grand kids, our kids,  being creative, cooking (she liked to make cream cheese cakes and told me about an interesting website – cookingforengineers.com).

She started looking at the pieces and her eyes locked in on Life’s A Beach.

The interesting thing about this piece is that one of the little shells had come off in transit to the venue. I looked at it and wasn’t going to show it, but decided I needed to try to fix it.

I went over to the musicians who were at the venue.  They let me hook-up my glue gun to their amps to glue back the little shell.  I told the lady that the pieces were fragile, and I wrapped it in Bubble wrap to help protect it on the way home.  She didn’t seem to care.  I think she just liked the saying because she was old enough to appreciate the waves of life and enjoy them!

Yin and Yang Coaster

I love the coasters I’ve started to create so much that I don’t want to sell them really, but I decided to put them out anyway hoping I can create more.

This gentleman came up and IMMEDIATELY picked up the Yin and Yang Coaster.  He asked me if I had another one like it and I told him no I didn’t, but could make another one for him.

I asked if Yin and Yang was “his thing” and he said yes.

He pulled out his necklace from out of his shirt and showed me a small yin and yang pendant and a Mother Teresa pendant that he wore all the time.  He asked me for my card and told me he would email me about making two yin and yang coasters for him. Then he walked away.

I don’t sell my pieces.  I don’t even try to promote them really.  I feel like these are things that sell themselves and thank God I have a  job that takes care of my needs and I don’t need craft show money to survive on.

He came back about 10 minutes later and said he wanted to buy the one coaster and that he might still email me for another one.

I’m glad I took a picture of it because I worked, re-worked, and touched it up so many times I don’t know if I could re-create it exactly the same, but I’ll do my best.  Hopefully I can make it better.

NOW…What’s Inside You To DO?  What Is Your Gift To The Family Of The World

Maybe you are not into doing anything artistic, no problem, BUT you ARE creative.

We are all creative.

It will come through you, if you allow it.  

Maybe its working on cars, or baking, or writing, or speaking, or singing, or making money, or investing, or painting, or gardening, or carpentry, or organizing, or teaching, or healing, or WHATEVER….just find that WHATEVER thing and GIVE IT TO THE WORLD…that is why you are here…TO BE YOU…GIVE YOU AWAY in SOMEWAY…in finding your passion…(really it’s passions plural)…doing it…creating it…sharing it…

Just Live Like You Were Dying and that will help you find it (smile)