Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Clean Up Time

It must be the change of the seasons because I am getting the tidying bug (and it doesn't come often).  But every once in a while we bloggers need to take a look at our blogs and decide what we like and what needs updating.  I think I'll keep my header for now.  As you may have noticed, I have recently updated my Flickr slideshow to include a set just for my Pathways exhibition.   I am systematically looking at each Page to see what needs to be tidied.    I have added more miniatures to my Fused Fabric Miniatures page, and today I reorganized my Bookmark page, removed some old photos and added new bookmarks. My miniatures are numbered so I 'named' each bookmark with a letter of the alphabet in an attempt to become more organized and avoid confusion.  I think my next step will be to add more pieces to my gallery page.  My Exhibitions page also needs updating with a couple of group shows coming up.

 Here at home, I have started labelling my storage containers with the names of each piece that it contains.  It makes life so much easier as my work has just returned home from my exhibition and some pieces need to be stored.   I have hung several of the newer pieces, some of which have never graced my walls before.  It sure adds colour and warmth to a room. And I always like to live with a piece for awhile before and after it is finished.  Like photographing our work, I think just looking at a piece, helps us with design and colour choices later on.  We can see what really worked well and why.  It also gives us a chance to see our mistakes and bad choices....time to put on my rose coloured glasses:-)   I have decided to leave one wall in my hallway free with the idea of printing and framing some of my many photographs.  Another project.

Oops!  Still a few things to tidy up and pack away.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Embroidered Peacock has been Completed

I just put the last stitch on this bird's beak.  This piece is 10 x 20".   As part of a challenge I needed to use at least half a skein of turquoise silk thread and half of white plus a bag of beads.   I ended up using almost a whole skein of the turquoise, 3/4 of the white plus a skein of green and a bit of brown, purple and royal blue.  I am pleased with the bird's body, head and the many colourful 'eyes'.    The hardest part was using up all the beads.   Otherwise I think I would have just used the centre square for a 10 x 10 piece.   But that's what makes it a challenge!   There are beads on the eyes, throughout the body and just about everywhere else.   I thought the oval blue beads were perfect for the head dress.    I have shown it to a few friends and got a positive response.   I loved doing the embroidery on it.    Now I just need to mount it onto a stretched canvas. 

Next project - working on a piece with two mermaids - keeping it under wraps for now.   Also, just getting started on my themed piece - from a book - the Emerald City/Yellow Brick Road.  I'm thinking about dusting off that new sewing machine and trying out some machine stitching on this one.

On another note, I had my ash tree treated yesterday since our area has been infested by the emerald leaf borer.  It was expensive but this tree has lived many years and gives us shade, oxygen and a place for the birds and squirrels.   Here it is undergoing the treatment.

What a Beauty even in winter

It has also been a resting place for raccoons.....

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fused Miniatures

I have added five more miniatures to my miniature gallery today.  I completed them in June as a break from all the flurry of getting ready for my exhibition.  Check them out on my  'Matted Fabric Miniatures' page.   I described the process in blog post on June 17, 2012.

My peacock is one beak away from being finished.   Will post the results soon.   What a lot of beads!!

In the meantime here are some photos of a lovely rose breasted grosbeak that sits for hours on my feeder (taken through my kitchen window).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Flickr Photos in Slideshow - Pathways

Yesterday I added a new set to my flickr slideshow with pictures of my 'Pathways' exhibit.   I still have a few more to enter but most are there.  Where has the time gone?    I had planned to spotlight some of the pieces on my blog over the summer.   I think I talked about one so far....And my exhibit ends on Saturday, August 18.  The eight weeks went by very quickly. I was happy to see that it has been very well attended.   When I visited with a friend on Tuesday I took the time to read the comments that visitors had written.   We can learn a lot about our work by knowing what people like about it (or dislike).   There were some very thoughtful  and valuable comments - definitely my exhibit had many fibre artist visitors.
It made me gasp when one visitor wrote about a piece she fancied, "Is this piece for sale?"    Yes, yes, and yes!  Most of the pieces were for sale except for a couple that are part of my own personal collection.  But I guess it wasn't obvious to visitors.   I got to thinking about how uncomfortable we seem to be about announcing that we are marketing our work as well as showing it.  Galleries tend to be rather subtle about it too.   In this case, the museum had price lists available at the show but at another group show I took part in, I remember that a major complaint of visitors was that they didn't know if items were for sale, how to find out the prices of things or how to make a purchase. 
We each have our own ways of promoting our work - some sellers are more direct than others.  Many of us shy away from self-promotion.   I do enjoy being present at shows to discuss the work, sometimes just for the pure joy of having someone who is interested in hearing about it (rather than boring my friends).  As a customer I shy away from the 'hard sell' technique so I am careful not to be forceful or annoying (at least I hope I am).  Since I would not buy a piece of art unless it spoke to me in some way,  I do like to be able to connect with people to see if they understand what I am trying to say with my work and maybe to share some of the stories behind the art work.   I guess as an artist I want to be understood as well.   So, it's not enough just to sell a piece of work, I want people to know what they are getting.  I guess I'd never make a good car salesperson

Blogging is a great way to hear from others about our work.  I try to make comments on other people's posts if I have something to say and I love receiving comments.  At first, I only made comments on blogs if I had some previous connection to the blogger (a shared group, a follower etc).  Soon I was commenting wherever I saw something that interested me.   It's great!
But just for the record, if there are potential buyers out there in cyber space, I would be thrilled to hear from you too:-)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Progress - Peacock Embroidery Challenge Piece

I have just returned from a lovely camping trip in the Saguenay region of Quebec.   We saw whales, visited a lovely flower garden and an injured bird sanctuary, rowed in an athabaska canoe and we hiked the fjord.  We met some great people, sang around the campfire and stayed at the once home of the legendary Felix Leclerc.  We had great weather - not too hot, not too much rain (except for a giant thunderstorm one night).  I took lots of pictures....

Then I returned to an unbearably hot Ontario!!   What a week!  I have spent most of my time just trying to stay cool.   Not too surprising but since my return I have had a cough and congestion which seems to come and go with the amount of humidity in the air.

Before I left I posted about our latest Out of the Box/Canada Beading Supply challenge.  I brought it with me on my vacation and have made some progress.   Here is what I have done so far.  I'm working my way through the 'eyes'.

The 'eyes' will each have the caramel colour, then turquoise with a dark bead in the centre.  I still have to do the beak and real eyes.  The finished piece will be 10 x 20 so there will be more work along the two sides - probably need to keep it simple so as not to distract from the flamboyant peacock.   I still need to use a lot more white and turquoise thread and a bag of beads on this (part of the challenge rules).   I am really enjoying the embroidery and these silk threads and have more ideas perculating.

I also finished framing the floral piece for my friend Dyanne's birthday and gave it to her on thursday.   I think she likes it!

I am also starting another challenge piece with the them "From a Book".   I'm not sure I can manage to finish all of these but I will try.  If only the weather would co-operate.

Here are a few photos from my vacation.  More to follow once I edit them.  These were taken in Parc National du Fjord du Saguenay where we stayed for 5 days.  We loved it!   The first is our campsite where we were visited by chipmunks and a remarkably sociable hare.

We hiked over one of these peaks to see a statue - up one side, across a relatively flat area then down the other side.  then we had to do the whole thing over in reverse

We dipped our feet into this cool salmon pool