A Conversation With Burlap Harlot’s Monica Templeton

Today we chat with Monica Templeton, a creative whirling dervish. For the last few years, her biggest project has been the annual Burlap Harlot Show, which is coming the day before Mother’s Day. That’s the subject of today’s conversation.

Q: Monica, I’m excited to talk with you about your upcoming Burlap Harlot Show, and not just because of the title (but we’ll get to your event’s name in a second). You’re one of the most creative women I know.  I’m among the many people who still miss your shop on Athens. But the good news is that you have a new creative endeavor, right?

A.  Thank you, Doni.  This is our 3rd Annual Spring Show. Together with Ursula Guderian, Viki Twyman, and Jae Jennings, we host an Artisan Marketplace held each year for Mother’s Day weekend here in Shasta County.  It features many local artists and vendors in the north state.

Q: What is the Burlap Harlot Show, When is it, where is it and what can people expect?

A.  This year’s show is Saturday May 11, from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. at the Shasta District Fairgrounds in Anderson.

It’s one day only, the day before Mother’s Day. Admission is just $5 at the gate. Kids under 18 enter free.

The Burlap Harlot Show is an event featuring artisan and handmade goods, antique and vintage treasures, live music, great food, and a beer and wine garden.  Fun for the entire family!

Q: It does sound like fun, but in the spirit of full disclosure, this is the first year that anewscafe.com will have a booth at the Burlap Harlot show. I will sell my favorite Mother’s Day breakfast treats, like coffee cakes and baklava. I’ll also sell some of my stash of vintage dishes. And my twin and her daughter will also have a booth. Plus, anewscafe.com is honored to be the official Burlap Harlot sponsor. But enough about me and anewscafe.com. Let’s talk more about you.

A.  We are so very honored to have anewscafe as our sponsor!  We strive to highlight talented artists and vendors here in our great north state.  There is so much great talent here and we are happy to support local artists at our event. Wait.  Did you say baklava?  Now, I’m stoked!

Q: Well, good. My job is done. So, Monica, tell me how this is not your grandmother’s craft show (no offense to anyone’s grandmother).

A.  First off, there are some very hip grandmas out there… but how it may differ from your grandmother’s show is perhaps that we love a little edginess and shenanigans.  Last year’s show featured belly dancers for our ‘Circus Big-Top’ themeSome felt that it was rather risque.  We felt they were fabulous and exotic.

We love seeing the younger artists get involved and are open to newer trends and ideas.  We keep it ‘kid-friendly’ as it is a special event for Mother’s Day weekend and we encourage the entire family to join us.  Many people now come in costume or festive attire that fits our theme.  There is always something new and innovative in the mix at every show.

Q: Well, speaking of themes, I notice this year’s theme is “Alice Dreams”. Does this mean I need to dress as Alice in Wonderland?

A.  Festive attire is highly encouraged.  So, yes!  Any character will do.  A fun hat would be great, too.  Jae Jennings is the Mad Hatter.  Ursula Guderian is our Alice. Viki Twyman is our Queen of Hearts.  And I am The March Hare as I’m always late.  Lateness, that’s another fine harlot quality.

Q: Well, yes, about those harlot characteristics. Let’s talk about ‘harlots’. Why the name “Burlap Harlot?

A. The name was chosen for us by our good friend, Troy Hawkins. The word ‘harlot’ originally meant, “One of no fixed occupation”, “vagabond”, “ruffian”, rogue”. We found it to be a great metaphor as we refuse to ‘commit’ to any one style and we embrace all styles, fashions, lifestyles, trends and ideas.  We truly are scouts of salvaged and vintage goods and we upcycle and recycle to create beauty from these elements.  Burlap is one of the least expensive textiles that we use to decorate the hall with. So, it just fit. Also, I sometimes buy wine based on the label, which makes me a Wine Harlot, too.

Q: ‘Upcycle’ … I love that word. And all along I just thought I was a thrift-store junkie.  Just based upon a few descriptions you’ve mentioned  – running late, judging a wine by its label – sounds as if I, and many of my favorite people, may fit the harlot criteria, too. So, let’s talk about the event’s timing. Why the day before Mother’s Day?

A.  We wanted to provide something extremely fun to do on this particular weekend.  It’s such a great weekend for friends and family to get together and spend the day.  It’s such a perfect Mother’s Day gift, as well.

Q: I like that it’s the day before Mother’s Day, so people can shop for their favorite Mother’s Day women. Also, it gives women something fun to do that weekend. I do like that it’s not on Mother’s Day itself, so all we harlots can enjoy our special day with family and friends, too.

Subject change. Will you have a booth?

A.  No booth for Mo.  As lead organizer of our show, I’m busy making sure the event is flowing as it should, keeping vendors happy, running around touching base to ensure everything is running smoothly throughout the day.  Occasionally, there may be a slight glitch, but overall it’s always such a great show as our team and our vendors are so lovely to work with.  I hate to call it work because we do have so much fun together.

Q: When you think of the Burlap Harlot Show, what do you hope it will be?

A.  Walt Disney once said, “Do what you do so well that people will want to see it again and bring their friends”.  I love that.  I want people to enjoy the moment.  When they return home, I want them to remember what an amazing day they had. I hope they can share it with friends and loved ones, thus, making it a tradition for an epic Mother’s Day weekend.

Q: An epic Mother’s Day weekend. I like it! Anything else you’d like us to know?

A.  Bring a lawn chair or a picnic blanket.  There will be live music on the Queen’s Lawn, (in the Beer & Wine Garden), underneath the shade trees.  ‘The Jim Dyar Band’ will be playing following ‘Them Wreckin’ Boys’.  Oh, and definitely bring your appetite.  Delectable fare, pie and desserts, and freshly-squeezed lemonade will be served, among other goodies inside the Hall.  Lastly, festive attire is highly encouraged for the Alice Dreams theme.

I want to remind people that unlike last year, this year’s show is one day only, Saturday May 11, from 10 a.m. -5 p.m.  Admission is $5 at the gate, and kids under 18  are free.

For questions regarding the show, you can contact us via our Facebook page or visit our blog:  http://theburlapharlotshow.blogspot.com. We are taking vendor applications until April 1, so people still have time to contact me and see if there’s booth space available.

I hope to see you all there! Thank you!

Thank you, Monica! See you at the Burlap Harlot Show. In the meantime, I need to find something to wear …

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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4 Responses

  1. Avatar Cheri Davis says:


    Last year was so fun! The amazing creative minds of Redding left me deeply inspired. Genius energy and so extraordinary. Thank you Monica for creating this in Redding.

    I am also so looking forward to seeing what the Jim Dyar Band will be costuming as this year.



    • Avatar mo says:

      Hello Cheri! Thank you so very much for your kind words. Hope to see your gorgeous smile there. Looking forward to everyone's festive attire as well! xoxo

  2. Avatar Sally says:

    I have known Monica and husband Tim for many, many years. Tim was actually an employee of mine. I have thoroughly enjoyed Burlap Harlot Show from the beginning and look forward to it again this year!

    • Avatar mo says:

      hello Sally! Thank you so much for your wonderful support of the show. And yes, that was 28 years ago (Computerland!)… good times! Looking forward to seeing you soon. Cheers! xoxo mo