The 2015 Farm Chicks Fair was a lot of fun to pull together, especially with this year’s “ADVENTURE” theme. My inspiration came from Moonrise Kingdom, Peter Pan, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and author Thornton Burgess.
I usually conceive and create everything for Farm Chicks, including the main entrance installation, but decided to get some help this year. Because of the theme, I knew that show Curators Chase Halland and Toby Keough could help me create something great. And they definitely did.
We started the process with a brainstorming session, where we landed on the idea for a treehouse and camp scene for the main installation and a small tent that I could use at the book signing area. The original plan was for the tent to be made out of some fabric I had specially ordered but when the fabric didn’t arrive in time, I came up with a backup plan: wool camp blankets. Colin and I spent the good part of a Saturday zipping around Spokane picking up blankets from various Farm Chicks Fair Curator’s shops and private collections. Then I took them all home and hand-stitched them together, with an upholstery needle and yarn. Because I wanted it to have a warm, happy feel, it was important to me that it looked very hand-made, as if a child had done the work. I chopped up the blankets and pieced them together to form a very large piece of fabric, about 20 feet long. After completion, my fingers were partially numb for several days!
Next, Chase built a frame for the tent and Toby, working with the special camp blanket fabric, created a pattern, and cut and stitched the tent together in her living room.
Then it was time for the treehouse. While Chase and Toby's families were working on the treetrunk for the treehouse,
I headed north to my friend Jennifer's property in Idaho, where we gathered branches, bark, moss, stumps, and pinecones for the treehouse and camp scene.
And with all of our forest finds, Toby and Chase began to build the treehouse portion of the structure. Again, with a youthful, handmade, carefree, adventurer sort of vibe:
And before we knew it, the installation day had arrived. (The installation is always started the day before Curator Set-Up Day, and oftentimes takes two days to build). We used the forklift to raise the treehouse into place and the scissorlift to gain the height to secure it into place and to add The Farm Chicks camp sign.
After the treehouse was in place, Toby (left) stained the bottom of the treehouse, and Chase (right) added the rungs leading up the tree trunk, and they began creating the little Farm Chicks camp scene:
Stay-at-home mom, Serena Thompson, dreamed of creating a fun and happy little event to sell her vintage and handmade goods. In 2002, she and some friends held the first event in her neighbor’s barn. The sale became wildly popular and began attracting visitors from across the country and recognition in national magazines. Today the event fills the Spokane County Fairgrounds and features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces filled with vintage and handmade goods. Many describe it as a bucket list event, magical, inspirational, and the best vintage & handmade fair in the country. Serena describes it as the happiest on earth.