Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Another bit of navel gazing

working on experimental fibre art usually results in a lot of either failures to re-purpose, or left-overs.  Often these end up in small projects, such as one-of-a-kind purses and such that, in the past, have done well at craft shows.  For the past three years, while addressing some health issues, there have been no craft shows, but this summer  I was encouraged to try again, which I did, last Sunday.  Did not sell a single thing. We were set up early, and after the first half hour of the sale, knew that it would probably be a bust. 

In the past such sales have contributed a bit to replenishing my supplies, and we have missed that tiny bit of income,  ( So tiny that neither the provincial nor federal governments require me to report the income or collect sales tax.)  Since we had so much time on our hands during the sale, we spent some time analyzing the problem.  Here are a few things we thought about.

1. Our prices were high for the audience.  I calculate the actual cost of supplies in making items, and price for a small profit ( less than a dollar an hour).  Additionally, I am proud of my technical skills and  believe that there is quality and value for money in my products.  At this sale I was competing with  a lady selling off her personal jewelry at far less than cost , "just to get it out of the house".  There was a man selling jewelry made from the pony beads that are sold at dollar stores, and selling for an appropriate price  for that product--mainly less than $5.00. This was what the audience was expecting.

2. I had been mislead  about the type of sale it was to be.  Evidently it has been exactly what it was, in the past, but the organizers had wanted to create a higher quality presentation. While they tried to attract more up-scale vendors, they knew their market would be expecting food, and filled most of the booths with food vendors, who did well.  At the same time, they were charging a healthy admission fee.  

3. I was treated well, by the organizers, and wish them well in future, but I won't be there.

4. In the back of  my mind, I know that many craft items are faddish.  Since it's been awhile for me, maybe my type of item has gone out of style.  Hate to think so, as I sometimes need the pleasure of making something other than fibre art.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

And now for something entirely different.

After many years, (too many years.  I took my first dyeing workshop in the early 1980's), of fabric dyeing, I recently did my first "parfait" dyeing. Since I had only a vague recollection of what people have told me about the process, I just went my merry way. Here is the result.
This is my first dye bath, in order of layer.  First grey dye with a bit of yellow
 Second, add a bit more yellow

Third, add a bit of fuchsia

Fourth, add a little more fuchsia, and a bit of grey

The second dye bath also started with a little grey, but the first layer did not come out well, at all.  There were just a few bluish spots, but it was mainly white.  ( No picture-yet) Next time I'll know to put a lot more ice over the top layer. 

For the second layer I added a bit of fuchsia and olive green

Then I added more fuchsia for the third layer
And finally more fuchsia and a little blue

When all was said and done, I had a lot of mixed dye left in each container, so I mixed them together and added the failed first layer from the second dye bath, and got this pretty piece.

These pieces are all, at least, 20 inches in one direction and sometimes more in the other.  I'm not really sure what they will become, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

It's been awhile

Then reason I've been quiet is that the current piece is somewhat experimental.  If it works, then it's slated for the gallery show in November, if not, then it may never be seen---ever.

The recent preponderance of "matchstick" machine quilting has bothered me, a little.  If it's well done, there is little evidence of "the hand of the maker".  If it's not well done, it's just messy.  In the past I've done close parallel lines of machine stitching, in small irregular shaped areas, and I've done it free motion. I love the process, but find hours spent machine quilting parallel lines is both boring, and exhausting, without any sense of accomplishment--IMHO.  I know others love this type of work.

At the same time, I've taken some time to look closely at the art of  Hundertwasser, and finding some similarities, there, to Panamanian, San Blas Molas. I also took another look at the Melanie Testa , 2009 book, "Inspired to Quilt", where I first noticed what is now called "matchstick Quilting". The only way I could see of translating Hundertwasser's techniques into fibre work, would involve very intricate reverse applique, which would then be echo quilted with very dark colour thread.  There maybe other options, but I couldn't, yet, visualize any of them. (I can now, but that's for the next project.) Still, I like the parallel contour lines in his work.

So--what if--- I were to make a fairly simple applique design, and heavily augment it with close, parallel echo quilting, done with free motion.  This quilting would, IMHO, require colour, to create any sort of impact.

So, over the past few weeks, that's what I've been doing.  I wasn't terribly happy with the result, and spent some time trying to figure. out how I could save the piece. Last night, I realized that the contour quilting just wasn't doing what it should, and was far less prominent that it could be. So today, I started FMQ'g again, between the lines I had previously quilted.  This is a section where the design places a bit of desert.  While this may not be the solution to my problem, I certainly think it's part of the solution.  This is worked over a piece of rusted fabric.  I can't really recommend that you do this, unless you're a bit of a masochist.  Never again!

Just for a giggle, I took a picture of all of the various threads I'm using during this process.

I plan to link this with Nina-Marie Sayre's, Off the Wall Friday, and The Needle and Thread Network.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A chance to play

Visiting the hardware store can be a great prompt to your creativity.  There are many wonderful things there that a fibre artist, with a little imagination, can re-purpose.  I didn't have long there today but I came home with two finds.

First was something that, I'm told, fits into a vent opening, but I see the perfect device for some Shibori Pole wrapping. Not only is it free standing, but it will also fit nicely into the big plastic pail I use for preparing a dye bath when doing this sort of thing.  The tube is about 8" in diameter.  I have a much smaller one of PVC pipe, but have always wanted a larger one, as I really don't like having to fold my fabric to much, as it changes the dye pattern.

The second thing I found was another ceiling medallion.  This was more of a challenge, as I asked for directions when I first went in and was directed to one side of the big box store, when actually I had to go all the way to the other side. and it took awhile to find someone who could answer my questions, correctly.  This isn't a good thing for my poor knees and hips. 

This medallion is smaller than the first one, and, because of the depth of the relief, I have a hunch that only a smaller part of it will print well.  Since I was looking for a smaller medallion in the first place, I'm happy.  

I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network, and Nina- Marie Sayre's, Off the Wall Fridays.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Finish some, start some

This has been a week of finishes.  Today I finished "Tiara II".  The same basic design as "Tiara", but in a different colour way.  The crystal beads I had bought for both just weren't right, so I ended up using a smaller silver bead, for "Tiara II".  This meant that I could also change the beading patter, to a certain extent.

Here is the finished piece, and a close-up.

Now, while most of my work can only be termed"Fibre Art,  I have a guilty secret--I still love more the traditional, and indulge myself once in awhile.  This mean that I have an accumulation of finished projects sitting in my studio.  So, after a long break, I've decided to dip my feet into the Craft Sale circuit over the next few months.  A good friend, who is seriously into the circuit, and actually ekes out a living with it, has told me that well made baby quilts sell fairly well, provided they are priced reasonably.  So, as well as my stock of "Pouches, Purses, and Bags", I'm going to try taking two baby quilts.  I have one in more masculine colours, and need one in pink.  Having finished the "arty" stuff for now, this pile of pink fabric is ready for me to get my act together. All of this, except two long quarters, has come from my stash.

There is a more basic reason that I have lots of stock.  At the urging of my family, I have been trying to reduce my "stash".  Once I'm gone, I figure that they are more likely to be able to sell or gift finished items, than scraps of fabric.  Meanwhile, I get the pleasure of making things. It's the making, not the finishing, that keeps me going.  The craft sales usually ask for a donation of goods for a silent auction fund raiser, as well as a fee for table rental.  So, over the past week I have used painted fabric, from the stash, to make some simple tote bags to use for this sort of donation. There were four big pieces, for which I haven't been able to find a use, in the past 6  years. I stamped them, on a whim, and put them together fairly quickly, without using anything that hadn't been in my stash.

 I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network.