A lovely surprise!

I was delighted and surprised to get an email waiting for me after I finished teaching at The Tin Thimble yesterday. Tracy Bulla, style director for Progressive Business Media has included my naturally printed silk cushions in an article about Showcase 2014 in the April edition of US publication Home Accents Today!!! Here it is, in fact the whole magazine may be reviewed online, a really neat facility and a great way of seeing what current American trends are in the interiors sector! Thanks Tracy.
Next post I'll have a Loomis update complete with pictures of the fabulous bags when they're finished.

 

 

 

 

Showcase naturally printed felt wraps and silk scarves are now ready!

So far today I've washed out and ironed seven felt wraps and one wall hanging, four silk scarves still remain to be done. Once they're finished my orders from Showcase will be complete, tonight I'll send the shops and galleries a Pro Forma invoice then have gift boxes, cards etc. prepared ready to dispatch as soon as I hear back from them. Hopefully these first pieces will be on their way first early next week, if it hadn't been for the bad weather and lack of electricity I would have had everything done last Friday.

Here're a few of images of my latest merino, bamboo and Firestar wall hanging. I love the strength of the eucalyptus leaves, these were gathered from a tree that had been pruned, lucky me! The reverse of naturally printed textiles also fascinates me, sometimes appearing strongly printed whilst at other times subtle like an animal pelt, as with this one.

I also included a resist during the laying out phase of this piece, while the finished hanging could be used as a table runner the channel at the top makes it really simple to hang!

 

Reflections from Showcase 2014 and thanks!

I had intended posting pictures to the blog every day of Showcase, poor Internet connectivity coupled with tiredness in the evenings unfortunately made this an impossibility. Instead, I'm going to reflect on how everything went and give you a peek into my thoughts as I debrief, if I get it all written down now then I can move on and make some new felt. I'd especially like to say a massive thank you to everybody who supported and encouraged me in advance of the show and over the five days of the event itself, the Showcase and Crafts Council teams who did an incredible job, the electrician who changed the wiring on my stand with such good humor, twice, all of you both here and on Facebook who blew me away with your good wishes and finally, my buddies in crime at the neighbouring stands, thanks for being such a pleasure to spend time with! Obviously it's impossible to name everybody (and I don't want to leave anyone out inadvertently!) but a special thanks go to Ariane Tobin, Cornelia McCarthy, Roisin Markham, Kate Ramsey, Emma Jane Champley, Lesley Round, George Stafford, Anita Marnell, Niki Collier, Mary Whelan, Nicola Doran and to Lorraine Bowen who gave me great advice about agents and JobBridge.


Now for those reflections, it paid to……….

  • Have clear signs (thanks Ger and Joe from Carlow Sign Management)
  • Have good photography (thanks Greg Dorney)
  • Send out email invitations to prospective stockists letting them know which stand I was on and what my collection consisted of
  • Keep the display very simple
  • Pay for additional lighting
  • Offer a show special
  • Ask for a sale
  • Have a slide show of images looping on the MacBook meaning whenever I got a confirmed order or a lead I could quickly update my notes by typing them up
  • Be on the stand myself as much as possible but have good knowledgeable friends to help me too, thanks a million George and Anita!
  • Wear one of my scarves
  • Eat!!! The first day I didn't eat any lunch, bad move! From then on I tried to get a hot meal or snack regularly on dates and fruit, one needs ones energy at these shows.
I was thrilled to get orders from galleries and high end shops in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK. America will be on stream in a couple of months while Canada is also a possibility. In addition to the confirmed stockists I've several exciting projects coming up in both Ireland and Northern Ireland over the spring/summer period, all in all exciting times ahead! I've now got to finish unloading the truck and order more raw wool and silk. I'll leave you today with a picture I took earlier this afternoon, somehow a glittery leaf from a Christmas arrangement ended up on a pile of spent natural printing material and was sparkling in the rain, weird but fun.

 

 

Less is more for Showcase!

My mantra today has been ‘less is more’! Although I’d love to get a few more wraps felted before the weekend I’ve realised that I’d be better occupied making sure everything else is organised in advance of Showcase. Today George came over and we worked out a mock stand set up, hence the less is more theme. I really, really wanted to have a printed wall hanging displayed but working within a 2m x 2m space it’s more important to leave stuff out than cram it all in I think!

Large naturally printed wall hanging

Large naturally printed wall hanging

Obviously I’ll bring a couple of wall hangings with me and store them in the magic plinth, I’ll reserve the final judgement about whether to display one or not until I set up the stand on Saturday. I’m in the ‘Home & Gift’ hall, stand A285, please can you share this info with anyone you know who might be attending, thanks! Tomorrow I collect my new signs, a couple of plinths, try to get a top or two and have my hair cut, plenty of other things need to be done too but for now I’m going to have an easy night and get a few more invitations to buyers emailed then call it a day.

Website overhaul and the magic saucepan!

Today has been mentally consuming work but satisfying. I started early this morning on my long awaited website and blog overhaul, although unfortunately I couldn’t afford the professional help I had intended I’m happy with how it looks now so fingers crossed the functionality will be ok too. One of the main changes aside from the more streamlined look is a static homepage and the drop down menu for the gallery, hopefully those of you following this blog will get your updates too by email as per normal, I’d like to say notify me if you don’t but it you don’t get it how will you know to shout at me!

Showcase preparation continues apace. I’m collecting the first batch of silk and wool cushions from the local seamstress tomorrow morning and I’ve a pile of freshly ironed fabric to drop off at the same time. This fabric was printed in my largest aluminium pot, for those of you who’ve messaged me asking what the pot looks like with bundles inside, here’s a picture of it in all it’s glory!

A bundle simmers in a large pot of eucalyptus, onion skins and water

A bundle simmers in a large pot of eucalyptus, onion skins and water

 

Two nuno felt wraps, same raw materials but different pots!

Merridee and I had great fun tracking down a big copper pot in California last September. Finally we sourced a lovely one at an antique shop in Auburn, both of us were interested to see how it affected the results of our natural printing and dyeing during the felting retreat we facilitated at Lake Tahoe. The colours of the vegetation appear softer when simmered in the copper so yesterday I borrowed a fantastic antique jam pot from my buddy George, I'll have to source one myself now as we are both very happy with the way this wrap turned out. Here's a close up shot for you to look at, please bear in mind that the wrap needs to be rinsed out and ironed still but you can see the peachy tones and softness of the colours I think.

The second wrap was bundled with the same two varieties of eucalyptus and the same black tea, the only difference was the addition of some onion skins and the fact that the pot was aluminium. Check out how dark this is, it was simmered for exactly the same amount of time, amazing! In both pieces as they dry the bamboo sings out against the wool, I'll take photos of them when they're finished and ironed.