It seems way too long since I shared about my journey in the magical place called Listowel and Co Kerry. You all inspire me to do so with your kind words about my writings and photographs. I have continued my magical tours with Damian Stack and valued time at Olive Stack Gallery and with Olive. I can't speak personally about the "luck of the Irish", however, I can attest to the magic that I have personally experienced. Perhaps equally or more so than the lush green landscapes, icy blue waters that at times appear turquoise and moody gray skies, the magic is in the people (like the images below).
Take today for example. Actually, it all really started yesterday morning when I finally made the commitment to have a solo exhibit a week from today. For those in Listowel, Co Kerry, Ireland that is Friday, October 28, 5 - 7 pm at Olive Stack Gallery. I had been on the proverbial fence for a day or so about doing the exhibit. It's a wonderful opportunity that Olive Stack makes available to artists in residence. I'm the first photographer she's had and finding professional photography labs is something she had little experience with. It seems that Ireland has very few of them. If I couldn't find a good professional lab there was no point in doing an exhibit. Many folks use pharmacies to develop their family prints. As professional photogs here say, they are for the "domestics". I did my own testing and felt the same. From what I've discerned from speaking with a couple of photographers, most develop their own prints, some send to Dublin and a wedding photographer sends all her work to Portugal. To date I've held 10 solo exhibits back home, each one taking a minimum of three months to organize. It takes time to select, prepare, print, mount and frame the works to be exhibited and, of course, time to hang a show. And, perhaps the most important part is marketing. What's the fun in going through the time and expense of organizing such a special event that reveals your heart's special moments captured through your camera's lens if no one shows up to share it with.
And, then Dillon Boyer walked into the gallery on Tuesday. Something told me he was a special person so I invited him to join me in a cup of tea. Thanks to Mary O' Flaherty of Chic Boutique who recommended that he stop by. He's a retired supermarket manager who is a passionate photographer. Years ago he helped organize the local photography club, lead competitions and has won just about everything he's ever entered. More importantly, he's a gentle loving soul, loves to help people, especially photographers, and loves nature. He shared his preferred photo lab in Guernsey. Tuesday night was part 1 of my photography workshop (see photo below) so I didn't give it more thought, other than where do I get the matting, until the next day.
Next day, Rena Blake, one of Olive's friends from near-by, picturesque Ballybunion, called with suggestions of a photographer who prints for others. I'm sure he is "brilliant" as they say on this side of the pond; however, his pricing was over the top for me. I could perhaps have four prints done for the price of 35 plus shipping in England. Of course, there was the matter of getting the prints here in time for me to mat and ready for show time next Friday.
I felt that help was here, just not quite sure from where. So Wednesday night I sat down to do final edits on photos I had taken to date, make my selections and start preparing them for printing. Of course, sizing them right without knowing the inside dimensions of the mats was still a question. Well in retrospect it's good thing the WiFi service was mostly not working that night. Turns out that when I finally discovered the best mat provider the next day his mats were cut to a different inner size than we generally use in America. Of course, I didn't know that until Dillon magically appeared at the gallery door yesterday morning. When I asked him who he used, it too was a company out of England. He went back to his car to show me some of his works with the mats. Dillon said to call Steve at Cotswold Mounts and he would custom cut what I needed and deliver very fast. So yesterday was a busy day getting 35 prints ready to upload to the printer and order. After three emails to the printer I felt assured that they would arrive in time for me to have ready for the exhibit. Then it was time to order the mats. I figured out the website, ordered my products and was just about to click the order button to pay via PayPal and that inner voice said to check on the delivery again. "Oh, no" it said something to the effect of ships five working days after placing order. That wouldn't work. And, now it's after the end of their day. So I emailed Steve with my situation and order. Too make this too long story shorter, I called him this morning. He said everything was custom cut and best he thought he could do was ship on Monday, although, he would see if his guys could get done today. Seven hours later both the printing and mat mounts companies emailed that the orders have shipped. So it appears that the impossible is possible and everything will be here for me to have a very busy Thursday and Friday putting all the pieces together before show time at 5 pm.
Oh, and back to today's magic. . . what really prompted this blog post. I was up late last night creating the invitations. Typical me, I couldn't decide which images to include so I created two different versions. Then I went to the stationary store, purchased card stock and brought my flash drive with PDF to AllRegions, the local computer service and print shop before the gallery opened. While Bill was copying my file I realized that I didn't have enough cash on me to pay for the service. So I asked if he minded if I came back in a few minutes while he finished the job. Just as I approached the gallery Beatrice Kelly was outside the front door. Over the last week or so I have been helping her with the framing of one of Olive's much loved prints, The Square Listowel, that she bought for her sister. Today she said she wanted to do something for herself. She wanted to purchase one of my photographs as her early Christmas present to herself, the Burrowing Owl. And, so the cash I needed at that moment and more was instantly presented. More than that, it seemed a sign from the Universe that I made the right decision to go a head with the exhibit. All is well. Everything is being delivered on time. And, it will be a brilliant reception.
Oh, and I have to go now. I have delightful work to do thanks to Caroline Rigney of Rigney's Farms. She came by after the market day closed in The Square Listowel to see photographs I brought with me from America. She immediately asked if I contact the media and proceeded to give me a couple of names and numbers. I contact them and they were all positive and asked for follow-up emails and photos.
And, so it goes in magical, Lovely Listowel. Open hearts are simply blessed everyday with whatever you need to keep giving your best.
Enjoy photos below, including a few from this quarter's horse fair held on Market Street.
With, Love From My Heart!