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Shop Update

Well, I’ve finally got my Branch & Bird series up in my Etsy shop. I went back and forth on how to sell them, I’m trying this for now. Hopefully it makes sense, & hopefully they fly off to new homes! image

Hello all! I spent a large part of the weekend taking & editing photographs. I’m doing less shows this Fall, and hope to make up the difference with sales from my etsy shop – fingers crossed! Actually, as we all know, fingers crossed for etsy sales doesn’t work…we have to get out there and promote. Of course, the 1st step in promotion is getting the stuff in the shop, so I’m working on that 1st!

I listed all the baby outfits that didn’t sell last weekend (20 in all), then had a little fun making this collage of all the motifs:

Freshly-Picked-Collage Yes Virginia, Candy IS a quilter!

I then listed my new journals in the shop as well, I love these in situ shots:

 

 

I’m trying to get “back in the saddle”, but it’s been a difficult transition week back to balancing the day job, the kids, etc… With that, I’m off, I’ve got an exam to grade!

This week has been a crazy amount of catch-up as I scramble to get homework graded and my classes back on track after the big 3 day show I just did. I asked for, and received, advice on my booth display. This is one reason why I LOVE the internet – I find like-minded folk who care enough about my process that they follow along, and offer me well thought out advice when I’m asked. These comments fill me with joy, because they represent the thoughtfulness of complete strangers (well they WERE, they’re not NOW!)

As I struggle to get back in the creative saddle, I look to things I wanted to blog about when I was too busy. One of the features I’ve been thinking about adding to my blog is to try to explain about things that make me feel joyful, in the hopes that blogging about it will help me clarify WHY a particular thing makes me feel this way. And this somehow translates into my art.

During my frantic preparations the last couple of weeks, I hung the rompers on my pegboard, to keep them out of the way and not wrinkled while I figured out which size pants needed to get dyed what color (easier said than done, BTW, at least to my sleep deprived brain). Seeing them hung like that filled me with joy!

I had a few minutes the day before the show, and I attempted to recreate the shot minus the clutter:

This is close, but I think I prefer the rompers alone, without the pants, but since I had already basted the outfits, I wasn’t about to un-baste them.

So, what about these images fills me with joy?I think it is simple as the colors themselves, in a simple, repetitive pattern. The top set of clothes are made in the 1st color palette I pulled together 2 and a half years ago. I’m amazed that this set of colors still does it for me. It also makes me realize that choosing to limit color choices for a particular series of work was the right thing for me to do. The bottom set are dyed in my third, new palette, pulled around that delicious plum it took me a few tries to dye properly. I love these colors, and can’t wait to do more. So today, I leave this open, continuing discussion with distilled as:

Joy: Color & Repetition

As always, thanks so much for joining me here!

Hello There! I’ve missed you all and I’ve got plenty of blogs to catch up on! I thought I’d review how my show went, both FYI as well as FMM (for my memory!). The show opens with a 7-10 PM reception on Friday night, then 10-5 on Saturday and 11:30-5 on Sunday. They do a wonderful job of providing 2 electrical outlets to each of the 60 booth spaces, so I was able to use all 8 of my cheap-o clip-on lights, 4 of which are the trumpet top bulbs I talk about here. My 10x 10 had plenty of light, and lots of artists came by to ask about the lights, they were so bright and the colors so true!

My problem (as always) with the setup is that I always have too much stuff I want to show. This was especially true at this show as I had neighbors just to each side of me, and the walkway wasn’t very wide, so I couldn’t ooze into any space outside the tent. Here’s how it looked Friday night:

I had a huge panic attach because I sold less than half of what I had done the year before that 1st night. There were lots of crowds walking by, but not many buyers, and I wasn’t sure whether it was the economy or my booth setup. Considering some of the folks I talked to had done pretty well, I was convinced it was me, so we changed the setup the next morning so there was more room for folk to enter the booth. Hands down the most awesome thing was this scarf stand built by hubby. Each arm has little indentations for 5 scarves to drop across the top. I’ve divided my colors into 4 season, so each arm held all the same weight (5mm habotai or 19 mm charmeuse) of a particular season. I have a stack of plastic bins with extras of all the colors (because I dyed 200 in the past 6 weeks!)…this made it so easy to show all the options.

I moved my stand that holds all the misc. packaging and hanging stuff to the back, and this seemed to make it easier for folks to come in, but it still was a tight fit with more than 4 people.

One thing I’m happy with, I now have some video of me doing the free motion quilting, I was able to show folks who asked exactly how I do what I do, most often impressing them with the fact that i do my stitching without any pre-drawn lines. I’ve got this little freebie DVD player I was able to plug in and leave running throughout the show.

Sales picked up on Saturday & Sunday: I ended up selling 55 scarves, 8 each of the baby outfits and going green totes, a couple of Scribblers, a messenger bag and a medium tote. I may also get a couple of commissions for bags in weeks to come…

So why do I feel so dejected?

  1. I sold less than last year.
  2. 3 people asked if my Branch & Bird series were coasters.

I see-saw back and forth between making things that are practical/beautiful and things that are made just for the joy of it. Many MANY people commented on how I’d come up with new things, and how clever I was. I take it as a compliment, because to me, each thing I make allows me to hone my artistic vision and improve my craft. BUT, I don’t want to fall into the trap of becoming a “Jack of all trades, master of none”.

Both the Branch & Bird series and the Botanical Sketches series were made for 2 purposes:

  1. I had this need to make them and see them hung up in groups on a little clothesline and
  2. These could be affordable art – something small that someone who got my art could purchase without a huge investment. 

I only connected with 2 people who felt the latter during the 3 days of the show.

My earliest venture into the world of art selling was with my quArt, which also involved multiple pieces that people could combine at re-shuffle on a whim. Although I’ve sold a decent amount of the quArt mounted pieces (20-30 I’d guess), over half of them were single pieces. My husband feels that I should be making larger combinations, mounting them in some way and selling them as larger, complete installations, which of course defeats the goal of the small, affordable art.

If you’re still reading this, I’d love your point of view. Obviously this is going to continue to be a struggle for me…

I’ve been really working away, making a lot of stuff, and I’m so sad I don’t get to properly blog about it all…to me, something doesn’t feel DONE now unless I blog about it! Be that as it may, the show starts tomorrow, so how did I do in the prep for Art for Heaven’s Sake?

Item Date Due % Done
Dye lots of scarves & fabric 10/15/09 100%
New, simple portfolio printed 10/15/09 0%
Label everything for sale in booth 10/15/09 75%
3 Cool Messengers 10/15/09 100%
Oct RAA Newsletter 10/13/09 100%
Going Green Baby Onesies 10/15/09 100%
Matching leggings for onesies 10/15/09 95%
Going Green Totes 10/15/09 100%
Small quArt: Natural Silhouettes 10/15/09 100%
More Going Green Scribblers 10/15/09 100%
Make DVD of Free Motion Quilting to show in booth 10/15/09 100%
2-3 Cool Large Totes not gonna happen 10/15/09 0%
Simple Totes not gonna happen 10/15/09 0%
Laptop bag for Mary 10/30/09 0%
3-d Birdhouses 10/30/09 0%
3-d Row Houses 10/30/09 0%
Photograph Scarves for website ?? 70%
Website?? ?? ?
Baby Quilts 10/30/09 0%
Large Messenger for ME! 10/30/09 0%

I got a lot made, bailed on a couple of things, and I’ll see what kind of portfolio I can cobble together tonight. Thanks goodness my Mom is here, she spent the whole day ironing scarves and tagging things!

I DID get some pix taken, not as many as I wanted, and I can’t process them all, but I can show you an overview of what I’ve been doing the past week:

1) Tried to make some complete outfits of the freshly picked rompers…

2) Made 3 messenger bags:

3) Made covers for all the Ecojotters I had on hand:

4) Made 18 6” x 8” wee quilts, the same construction method as my Branch & Birds. I’m calling this series “Botanical Sketches”.

Okay, I feel a teeny bit complete I’m off to work on that portfolio! Wish me luck – it’s going to be a LONG weekend!

My studio does NOT always look like this! Here it is, (minus the diet coke cans, they had to go, they were multiplying without me) right now:

I’ve got this evening, 2 full days, and 2 more evenings until it’s time for my largest show of the year! YIKES!

 

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Welcome to my entry in the blogger’s quilt festival! Those of us who can’t get to Houston can blog about a favorite quilt instead! Then we all go visit each other’s quilts – too much fun – click on the badge abouve for more info!

One of the focuses of this festival is the story behind the quilt, so I thought I’d show you folks the last pair of bed sized quilts I made – 5 years ago! We had just moved across the country, from Newark, OH to Redlands, CA. In fact, I created a little diary about our journey to share with friends and family, and posted it here, feel free to take a look!

The boys new bedroom was the 1st room I decorated – I wanted them to feel excitement about the new home, so we talked about how to decorate it while driving cross country. The idea we hit on was to make it feel like the southwest, since we had a short but fun visit at the Grand Canyon during our cross country trek. Each boy bought a poster of the Grand Canyon and a dream catcher to hang while we were there, and I painted the walls, and made some stencils with Kokopelli and other primitive Native American type figures:

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Although I had sworn off making large quilts, because the free motion quilting I do on them takes so long and is hard to manipulate with my Bernina (lovely though she is), I really wanted to make the perfect quilts for those beds! It was quilte a struggle to design, as I’ve never worked with these types of motifs, but I got it designed, with a row for each boys name. I was lucky enough to have a couple of yards of PFD fabric with little Kokopelli’s on it, which I dyed, along with some other earthy Southwest colors…and here’s the result:

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The boys have used them every night for 5 years and they’re still going strong!Thanks for stopping by!