Friday, October 28, 2011

Great Time at the Merrimack Valley Artisan's Show

Well last weekend was my first formal foray into the world of fine arts and craft shows.  I participated in the Merrimack Valley Artisans show--bringing jackets, free lace scarves and art cards.  It was a lovely show and I felt proud to be a part of it.

As a "newbie" with primarily pricey merchandise, my goal for the show was to gain experience and exposure.  I definitely did both and even made some sales, so I was a happy woman at the end of the weekend.  There is so much more to doing these things than you ever realize when you start out.  Just managing to get your booth set up and taken down without major mishap is a major accomplishment.  I'd purchased a black metal gridwall system thinking that it would look nice and give me a great deal of flexibility for future shows.  

It proved more difficult to set up and take down than I anticipated, but I think the look is worth it.  I got many compliments on how nice my booth looked.  Thankfully I learned several tricks that I think will make it easier to manage the next time I do this.

Response to my jackets and scarves was heartening, giving me good motivation to keep going and looking for appropriate venues for getting my work out there.  Another artist who's a colleague of my husband, Jacqui Hawk, encouraged me to participate in the Women's Works event sponsored by UMass Lowell's Center for Women and Work on December 1.  I'd considered it before, but the personal encouragement was just what I needed to make the decision to go for it.  It'll be held at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center in downtown Lowell from 2-7 p.m.  If you're in the area, stop by to say hello.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Rhapsody

Fall Rhapsody is a good description for my mood yesterday and it's also the name of a jacket I sold during the recent Lowell Open Studios Event.  Martha came to pick up it yesterday and she let me snap her picture.

She was on her way to work and was quite worried that she wasn't dressed appropriately to show it off.  That didn't worry me.  I may be prejudiced, but I think it looks great even with her jeans.  (She's promised me she'll have her husband take another picture of her wearing it when she's all dolled up for a night out.)

I have to say that it is an enormous high for me when one of my jackets meets its new owner.  This one fits Martha to a tee and brings out the red highlights in her hair.  Everyone commented about that when she tried it on during open studios.  So, even though I made it some time ago, it looks like it was made just for her.  I guess it was, I just didn't know it at the time.

So I'm still grinning ear-to-ear today...a good feeling to carry over into my first fine crafts show this weekend.  I hope you'll join me at the Merrimack Valley Artisans show in Chelmsford, Massachusetts either Saturday or Sunday.  Maybe you'll find the jacket that was made for you.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Starting a New Jacket - Finally

After spending my summer working on Free Lace Scarves, I am finally getting back to working on jackets.  What with cleaning and organizing our new studio space to get ready for Lowell Open Studios and preparing for the Merrimack Valley Artisans show later this month, it has been a very busy time.  Until a couple of days ago, I couldn't see my way clear to starting a major new project.

I did manage to finish a jacket I'd started last spring so I'd have something brand new for Lowell Open Studios.  Mostly though I've been cleaning and organizing.  The little time I set aside for creative work, I've just been making Art Cards with little bits of embroidered piecework.  Fun but not quite the same level of satisfaction as a jacket.

Here's the jacket I finished.  I call it Calm Waters.  This was my first wool jacket and the first time I added a button closure to my one of my Japanese-style jackets.
The button doesn't show up very well in my photo.  It's a beautiful handmade glass button from Penny Faich.  The background is dark with a bit of iridescent turquoise to match the colors in the jacket.  Penny and I have frequently been vendors at the same quilt shows.  When I see her I always buy at least a few of her buttons knowing they will add a wonderful finishing touch to some future project.  The jacket is fully lined with that lovely watered silk that I've used for the collar and cuffs.  The creative piecing is enhanced with couched threads to draw together the colors.

This week I started itching to start something new.  I spent a good part of two days pulling out fabrics from bins and making piles all over our new work space.  I hadn't done any fabric organization since we expanded so it was a major project.  I made many, many piles by color, texture, and weight trying to see what would call to me and what I had enough of for a project.  I finally decided on a gorgeous embroidered silk.  I tried to stay away from it because one of the predominant colors was jade again and I felt I should do something different.  But I've been wanting to work with this fabric ever since it came to me, so I decided to just go with it.

Here's what my initial idea is:
Even though the colors are similar, you can see that this one will be very different.  I'm excited to be back at it again.