Work progresses slowly but surely on organising the garage as an efficient storage space cum printing and dyeing studio. Thanks to buddy George some of the larger items that were stored there have now been shifted and delivered to new homes, I've also taken the decision to sell (at a good discount!) some lovely hand made jute/hessian tool belts and fishermans smocks which I've been holding on to for sentimental reasons. These are stock that I held on to from a previous lifetime, I'm planning to post some pictures to my personal FB page later today so if anyone local is interested in any of them I'll bring them in my truck to Borris Food & Craft Market tomorrow morning.
On the felt and naturally printed side of things, I'll be bringing this silk/wool blend printed wrap to Borris too, I've a few sculptures in the pipeline, my last five silk scarves to wash out and iron in time for tomorrow, a selection of new fabrics ordered to print over the festive period and yesterday I updated my Showcase profile with new text and images. I'll leave you today with an image of a large nuno felt wrap/throw and a small silk cushion, this one is printed with rose and blackberry leaves from my garden with a little bit of onion in the dye pot.
The exciting time I've been waiting for has finally arrived, fitting everything that's necessary back into the studio again! Thanks to a lot of hard work by me and my buddy George the walls and ceiling are painted, the floor has had a rudimentary wash (I'm debating sealing the slate at a later date), the new shelving units are fitted and installed, I've sorted the majority of my supplies into new lidded clear plastic boxes (you'd be proud of me Vinitha!) and tonight I'm putting everything necessary back into the space, note that phrase, everything necessary!!! I'm determined not to fill it with items I really don't use on a regular basis, the garage is undergoing a revamp too so that'll be the area where essentials for less frequent use hang out from this time forwards. Two transformers also need to be replaced in the spot lights so this picture from earlier looking from the utility room into the studio does look dark, it'll give you a little idea of how clear the floor is now though, more pics when everything is installed again and I can say that the revamp has finally finished!
Tomorrow I'm collecting plinths and getting my space organised/installed for the Carlow Made Christmas pop up shop. I think that this is going to be an excellent retail opportunity for all of us, we've secured a marvellous space in the Carlow (Superquinn) Shopping Centre thanks to the efforts of Liga and Maria and the collection of artists and crafts people is both varied and of a consistent high quality. Do consider us when you're planning your Christmas presents, supporting local, working artisans really does keep money moving around in the local economy, it also means high quality, affordable, one off gifts!
My exciting news today is that I've booked a stand at Showcase 2014, the premier creative Irish expo of the year. Preparation time is going to be tight as the event takes place from 19th to 22nd January, never let it be said that I don't like working under pressure, countdown starts tonight!
Today I made a final trip to Ikea and collected the shelving units I've been waiting for plus another 88 clear plastic boxes, whew, at last I think that I might have got the studio revamp sussed. Rex is not so impressed however, here he is supervising the unloading of the truck tonight, totally switched off might be a better description!
Early in the morning I'm going to start boxing the last of my felting and natural printing supplies then at 10am my friend George is arriving. We're going to paint the studio then in the evening I'll have the fun of assembling the Besta units before I attach them securely to the walls. I'm also planning on loading the truck with rubbish and recycling tomorrow, on Thursday then we'll have a clear run replacing all the filled plastic boxes and adding the final touches to my new space. I can't wait!!!
For a long while I've been mulling over how to display my new printed silk scarves to their best advantage without getting them all wrinkled, up to now I've draped them over props at fairs or arranged them as artistically as possible on the plinths and tables in the studio. In bed the other night I suddenly had a brainwave, why not find a simple but unobtrusive looking shower curtain ring that I could hang on the top bar of my Ikea clothes rails? Result!
I love the fact that I can hang at least 12 scarves on the one rail without the display looking cluttered. Potential customers can easily compare one scarf pattern against the next therefore making decision time easier, I can then cover the scarves and leave them hanging on the rail during the week or if I need to transport them to a show remove the hooks and pack everything up simply and quickly. Here's a trial run of scarves that I assembled together at Duckett's Grove yesterday, now all I need to do is pick up a few more rails when I'm in Ikea then I'm ready in advance for any Christmas retail opportunity that presents itself out of the blue!
I've been having a bad time of it technically since arriving home from California and Canada, the Rayburn is not staying lit so I've no main cooker or ambient heat (we've been having lashing rain) and my new MacBook has unexpected problems so I had to drop it off in Dublin today to sort out a hard drive issue. On the positive side of things I had some excellent news from Carlow Enterprise Board whilst I was away! I spent many hard days work prior to my trip assessing what I actually needed to be put in place to take my felting/natural printing business to the next level, filling out the appropriate paperwork and applying for both a business expansion grant and a capital grant. The board met during September and assessed all the relevant grant applications, I'm really grateful to write that my proposal met with a positive outcome!
Sooooooooo, here's what I got up to today after I dropped my MacBook off at Mactivate in Blanchardstown, I headed to Ikea!!!
This picture shows the first batch of Besta storage units plus see through lidded storage boxes that I'll be installing, there'll be another trip in a week or so to collect what was out of stock today plus four new stainless steel work benches for the garage aka printing area. I also applied to purchase a new washing machine (for all those wet towels, bubble wrap etc. and to spin larger items such as jackets, rugs and wall hangings) plus a tumble dryer (for stress free nuno felting!), those I'll get locally as soon as I have the new storage assembled and the boxes full of all my supplies. Happy days!