I had heard about the One of a Kind Show in Chicago last year, when I was in Austin, Texas. Another jewelry artist had urged both me and another artist to apply and told us that this was a great show, if you could get accepted. I was.
My flight to Chicago was scheduled a few days before the start of the show as I wanted to make sure I was settled in and ready to set up the day before. This was a 4-day show, which is unusual for art shows. Over 600 artists were in attendance. My friend and I heard over the intercom on Wednesday night that a pizza party was starting at 6:30. We had been there for several hours already and I was still not finished. My booth was simple, sparse, white and bright. I posted my photos on the white walls and laid all of my display items out, and went over to the pizza.
The pizza party was a great benefit since we were both very hungry and hadn't eaten since breakfast. Free wine, beer and soda was also available. I met my French friend sitting at a table just behind us. The same artist who I had met in Austin!
I took the 1-hour commuter train into downtown Chicago's Union Station every day and walked for about 20 minutes to the Merchandise Mart, known in Chicago simply as the "Merch Mart" or "Mart". The building was started in August 1928, and completed in 1930. It is a gorgeous Art Deco building built by Marshall Field & Co. and owned for over half a century by the Kennedy family.
Every day was a new adventure and I met some great people, both vendors and customers alike. With the very long days, long commute, too little sleep and so much excitement, it was inevitable (looking back) that I would become ill. When I was standing in my booth, I felt like the building was swaying, I was dizzy. I ignored this first symptom and then I felt a pain in my heart. Later, I began to feel nauseous, this was Saturday evening with three hours remaining.
To keep a long story short, I became violently ill very quickly at the close of the show on Saturday night. The commute back into the suburbs was long, I was freezing, nauseous and trying to hold it all together. Luckily, my friend was able to take the train into Chicago on Sunday morning, the last day of the show and the last day of my season for 2016. With urging from her, I stayed in bed, resting, still reeling from my sickness and burning up with a high temperature.
On Monday, I felt better and took a train into the city to see the Art Institute. I have studied so much art history over the years and knew that Chicago had some great paintings from the Masters of Impressionism. I completely lost track of time as I was in awe over Seurat, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh's paintings to name just a few. Up close, I studied the brushstrokes, the colors, the light, everything. An entire room was dedicated to Monet's large paintings and the past stresses of the previous week's long days and my sickness disappeared as I took in these Master painters.
The snow added interest to the entire trip and of course, I didn't plan necessarily for a brutal, cold winter. My fingerless gloves were cute, but my fingertips were freezing, of course. With my short hair, I could feel the cold and wind whipping through and chilling me to the bone.
I may go back to Chicago next year for their winter One of a Kind show, I don't know. At this point, I am looking forward to the spring sunshine for my three upcoming shows in 2017 in Arizona!