Archive for the ‘artists’ Category

Art in 2016 – Part 2 Review – Small Works

A lot of smaller work was started, finished, and revised this year – part of the need to create more pieces, and part to experiment with new ideas. We also tried more framing (pretty successful) and mounting on canvas (very successful, and not that all expensive). The biggest issue seemed to be people didn’t know what to do with small wall hangings or table-toppers. By framing them we are leading our customers to see the piece on a wall, looking like artwork. This is also working well for galleries and stores with small spaces.

The “Chocolate Box” piece on the left was done some 18 years ago as part of a challenge on the QuiltArt list to create an 8 x 8 piece with the theme of “brown.” I pulled all kinds of browns from my stash, including some marbled fabrics, and then I zigzagged them together with the idea of creating a “Whitman’s Sampler.” I have always thought it looked very cute. I rediscovered it this summer, adding batting and backing, variegated thread in a more prominent zigzag, put on a binding, and mounted it on fabric. Lots of good feedback on the piece.

Another piece that saw framing was a small piece of marbled poly-satin that a friend (Suzan Drury of Saltwater Systems) added glitter to at least 10 years ago. Loved it, but it didn’t translate into something someone would want to buy – so on a whim I added batting and backing and then quilted it – thus “Pond 3” – a favorite topic. I learned to do sand dollars as part of a tutorial from Lori Kennedy (theinboxjaunt.com), so you will see clam shells, sea urchins, and sand dollars throughout the small piece. It looks quite striking. One thing I learned in the framing process was to move to lighter-colored frames to keep a piece from feeling constrained.

this year saw the debut of a new series – “Leftovers.” The idea for this came about when we would clean the marbling tray after a session. There were wonderful designs of leftover paint as we emptied the carrageenan. We started saving some small pieces to capture to designs – all of which are very organic and “earth strata.” Two pieces made their debut at Phoenix Books in Essex as part of a rotating display of work by the Essex Art League. There are LOTS more to come – all of which need me to stare at a piece for a while to determine how it wants to be stitched. They are all simply framed and look almost like photographs.

 

Leftovers 1: Sunrise

Before stitching on From Above:

Ultrasuede marbles wonderfully. Over the past couple of years we have been doing yards of this for Bead My Love to sell at the various bead and gem shows. We get to keep a few pieces for ourselves, and this year I finally attacked quilting one – with some interesting lessons….the fabric feels like suede, but it doesn’t translate to a puffiness when quilting (note to self: use extra batting for the next piece). Also, the various colors didn’t show well, which is why I went with Superior Threads New Brytes yellow – a thicker thread. this is a 12 x 12 piece of ultrasuede. Introducing “Partly Sunny, Chance of Storms.”

Partly Sunny, Chance of Storms

One more piece – we also started marbling flowers and leaves from the silk flower sections of the craft stores – another way to use up left-over paint in the marbling tray. Here’s “Autumn,” a collage of some marbled silk leaves. Covered canvas, 8 x 10 inches.

More next time as I continue to review the year. Comments welcome!

Art in 2016 – Part 1 Review

It has been a banner year for art – especially in the making of art. When I stopped to reflect, I realized we created more this year than any other year – some big, many small, and all taught us something! I’m doing several blog posts, since I don’t have pics for a bunch of gifts – awaiting the jpgs in the email….

Yesterday was the presentation of a commission for dear friends of ours. It was supposed to be for their anniversary in September, but just didn’t happen….Once knee surgery was over and I could move around fairly easily, I set to work. The marbled fabric had been done since April, and I had been mulling designs since then. It was time….

I started working with the Chinese symbol for “family,” and after just this first littyle bit, I have even more appreciation for the art quilts of Kathy Nida. This involved tracing the symbol, determining which side would be “up” when ironing onto the front of the fabric, adding WonderUnder, and then making sure it actually worked – especially since I had a limited amount of the fabric choice for the symbol. First success.

Next was creating the pattern for the side panels, loosely based on a table runner by Lonnie Rossi and definitely made my own. Same issues with being sure of right and wrong side, since there would be two panels, and the designs would mirror each other. Much angst – especially on the choice of the background – I had a peach silk that worked with the overall colors, but looked terrible with the small pieces actually on it. The fabrics were extra marbled fat quarters that didn’t make the cut in terms of main color, but they were all complementary.

I put off for the longest time doing the zigzag satin stitch and then discovered that the fabric frayed very easily. A lot of adjustment, sharp pointy scissors, and FrayCheck got me through this section.

The satin stitch….forever…..

I had one panel completed and then started on the second panel. It probably would have been easier doing them both at the same time, but I wanted to be sure the idea could be executed before I was completely committer.

The request was for some apple blossoms quilted into the design – originally to be on the border….but it worked out differently. I Googled images of apple blossoms and determined a free motion pattern, and then began. As long as the petals had ragged edges, the pattern worked.

Starting the apple blossoms

Lots of flowers over both panels – really liked how subtle the patterns are.

Checking to see if the three panels really do work together….

Time to square off and do the binding – the side panels had a LOT of ironing as they were becoming distorted. Note to self – allow more edging next time around…..

Preparing the canvas for mounting the panels. We have started mounting much of our work on canvas frames covered with a complementary fabric. Much sturdier, easier to hang, and people seem to view them more as “art.”

20-inch square canvas covered in poly-linen.

Thinking it’s going to work…….each side panel is three 8 x 8-inch  canvases, mounted together and covered.

The final product – “Family.”

Making Progress…..

Just a Collection....

Just a Collection….

So I have finished reorganizing my Bridge folders for all the digital work and storage of all things art. About 6 hours total, but it feels good to have it done – serious loose end. Now I need to go through iPhoto and get some folders made to organize photos there – hopefully won’t take as long. Slowly setting up the to-do list for all things business.

Organized!

Organized! (Aren’t I just so good?!)

The fist item over the next 12 days is to get every piece ready for a major display for Burlington City Arts. We will have 10-12 of our medium and large pieces on display in the Maltex Building on Pine Street for six months. Quite a nice venue, and our first major exposure in a contemporary gallery in the state. Lots to do – Ocean’s Bounty needs some work with the connecting beads and Gaia 2 (Pele) will be making its debut also, and I need to get it on its new hanging system.

Gaia 2: Beginnings

Gaia 2: Beginnings

LOVE this piece and have since it was completed many years ago. Will post when I have the new hanging system….hopefully cholla wood and braiding to hang each of the points.

Ocean's Bounty

Ocean’s Bounty

Heavy piece with all the beading and layers and stones – but it will be good for it to see the light of a gallery.

(Wow – I just took less than two minutes to get those pictures from the digital folder – nice organization, Linda!)

Hubby is marbling a lot, as we have new ways of marketing our fabrics. We are selling marbled fabrics in the Red Mill in Jericho, which is “coming home” again – his family settled this area and now he’s helping to support the non-profit mill craft and art gallery.

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Four weeks today is knee surgery, with a three-six month recovery…I want to be back at the sewing machine within two weeks – too much to do!! I am finding guided meditations that will help prep for before and after surgery. My yoga practice is reviving itself as a way of strengthening the  knee and thigh muscles for surgery. I found an integrative medicine doctor through the medical center, and I LOVE her. Looking forward to working with her over the coming year.

On to attaching a piece to a covered canvas with fabric glue….will post when it’s finished and dry…..

UFOs No Longer

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Lots of finishes going on of projects that have been around for a VERY long time! I had a productive weekend of finishing three, and next blog post should be about two more, as well as a new project undertaken.

First up – a Halloween quilt I pieced probably 15 years ago, when I was using McCalls Quilting and piecing lots of quilt tops. It didn’t really need much – cats’ eyes (variegated thread) and eyes for the ghost (small pieces of lava). I examined the machine quilting, back from when all I did was stippling – I was very happy with how it looked. I added free-motion words in the sky and then added binding. Really happy –

HalloweenFinish

This small 8 x 8 was done YEARS ago in response to a challenge on the QuiltArt list. The theme was “brown,” and this was way back when I was still pretty literal and linear in putting work together. This is “Candy Box,” and I used a zigzag in variegated thread like you would see in the wrappers in a fancy candy box. Added the binding and much pleased with the finished table-topper.

CandyBox

This last piece was a remnant from about 10 years ago. I quilted the bubbles, but it still needed a focal point – so I quilted in some sea urchins…hence the name “Sea Urchins.” Another 8 x 8 stitched to canvas after quilting was finished.

SeaUrchins

For Sale: $125.00

A great weekend, more happening in the studio…..lots of upcoming opportunities!

 

 

Our First Vermont Show

Yowza – we had such a great time hanging this show – first one in Vermont, and first we’ve hung on our own. Lots of great decisions – hubby and I are so in sync with our thoughts. In and out in an hour so as not to disturb the folks working there. A lot of moving around of items to balance the show. We’re discovering that wainscotting is common in New England, so many of our really long pieces don’t work as well. But – the whole office looks much softer with the fiber on the wall. We’ll adapt!

I was glad to see the Four Seasons played well together, since I was worried one was a different size. Not to worry, so I’m hoping I can go ahead and finish the pattern for the website. Ah, so many things to do!! Open studio is now the next item, end of May, so planning lots of marbling sessions for goodies. A couple new gift baskets if my wrist allows it – too much at Christmas and the ligament is still repairing itself.

Without further ado – some pics of “on the wall” at Unsworth Law Firm, Essex Junction, Vermont.

The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons

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Champlain Waters

 

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Misfiring Synapses and two small Digital pieces

 

The Results of Some Fairly Consistent Marketing……….

Part of the Marbled Deco series

Part of the Marbled Deco series

Since we’ve been back in Vermont I’ve been telling everyone I run into about our work, and we’ve had great response to everything. So much so we realized about 10 days ago nearly all our work either was committed to a show or would be by September, and we needed to get busy making new pieces – which has been an issue for hubby, as he is still recovering from major surgery and can’t stand for very long periods (guess who will be doing all the set-up and clean-up?).

Here’s our schedule – and people laugh when I say I’m always at the ready….

April – June small art show Double Vision at the Jericho Town Hall, Jericho, Vermont. Words and inspiration in art – we’re submitting “Pond.”

March-April Essex Art League at Phoenix Books independent bookstore in Essex, Vermont. “Bloomin’.”

April – June about 15 works of fiber and digital marbling on display at Unsworth Law in Essex Junction, Vermont.

May 27-28 Vermont Open Studios, sharing the home of artist Mary Jo Hill in Underhill, Vermont.

August solo show at Brownell Library in Essex Junction, Vermont of fiber and digital marbling.

Tomorrow we talk to an old friend about a show in the gallery she runs in Jericho, Vermont. We’re ordering cards to mark titles and prices, completing the inventory, researching insurance, getting hanging systems on every piece, getting new quotes on framing, and other loose ends. There are still two places I am waiting to hear back from – the Old Red Mill in Jericho for their gift shop, and Stitched, a quilt store in Shelburne for teaching classes – and more on my list to touch base about show.

Slow and steady definitely pays off – that, and having an area receptive to new and original art work.

 

 

Reflections and Monday Marketing

Free Motion Quilting

Free Motion Quilting – detail

Lots of free motion quilting in my future. Finished another fmq sample for classes, and I have a cheater cloth I want to experiment with. It is good to be so busy! There is a list of projects, and it’s not too detailed. I think I am done with the long-term lists. I want things that are do-able, along with increasing the commissions. Hubby is busy marbling – this quick tray will be silk flowers and leaves for upcoming gift baskets. End of the week will be more fats and new sampler sizes – will be introducing the new sampler in February’s newsletter.

The days are broken up with reading, writing, hand-stitching, machine-stitching, designing, web work, yoga, and taking a couple of new classes from Coursera – on the Middle East (fascinating, will be good for research) and Big History -even more fascinating. I am also contemplating how I can do more writing to get people thinking about this coming election and preparing to vote.

Plus there is marketing, and we both have been busy. The reception to our art since we returned to New England has been amazing. We were at the Essex Art League meeting last Thursday, and folks couldn’t believe the marbling. I still have leads from an earlier meeting to follow up on. That said, we made a list of what will go into the three-month show at an attorney’s office starting in April. We need to know what needs sleeves and hanging rods. The second list is for the digital marbling display in August. There are a number of pieces that need work digitally, as well as planning for framing, so a data base is on my list for this week. There are updates coming for the website, in progress as we speak. The blog needs pages tweaked and updated – that will take a bit longer. I plan to join the Surface Design Association this week, so I can begin to analyze upcoming gallery shows and see where fiber might fit. I have two gift shops to visit, one of which will take our things, given that hubby’s family settled the area. The other, who knows. We are budgeting for better frames for the digital work, as everything needs to be prepared for wire hanging. And I need to go through the smaller marbling pieces to see what can be finished for April.

It’s good to be so productive! Reminder – need to check on industrial felt for some of the larger works in my mind, as we need to plan for hanging as these unusual ones are created. Hopefully pics will be coming of some of our newest completions.

Another Commission Completed

Yoga Susan's Quilt

Yoga Susan’s Quilt

This last quilt commission (which Susan is no doubt getting plenty of use in chilly Tucson, and we have our quilt off the bed, as it’s too warm here in Vermont….) was a challenge for me to fill space with quilting design. I LOVED how it came out, and as usual I learned a few things on it. So when I started this new table runner for a friend for Christmas (left-over pieces from a Judy Niemeyer pattern) I wanted to do an overall quilting pattern that was very organic and would unite all the blocks.

Big lesson – just because you can quilt it, doesn’t mean you should….which harkens back to Road to California in 2012. First time at a big quilt show, and hubby and I kept commenting on the amount of free motion quilting showing up. Some quilts didn’t seem to need that much quilting, and on some the quilting really enhanced the work. This was also when I began taking free  motion seriously, and in the last three years I am now teaching basic machine quilting.

But with this table runner, I realized to late (to   rip out half the runner) that I had too much quilting. Here’s my table runner that was on the table when our friends came to dinner.

StepStone3

The block pattern is obvious, and at this point I was stumped as to how to quilt it – I ended up using invisible thread with wide circles. Ehh. So I wanted to do something different with this one.

KathyRunner4

You can see the meandering quilting – I really just played with curved line to offset the sharpness of the design.

KathyRunner5

You can see here that the quilting design when up close takes over and dominates the pattern. This is where hubby quoted Tim Gunn (yes, too much Project Runway in our house,……): Edit, edit, edit. Yup – bigger curved lines and no leaves or stones.

KathyRunner6

Like I said before, way too late to take all those stitches out. However……when looked at from certain angles, all you see is the pattern. At other angles the quilting is predominant. And, ultimately I like them both.

KathyRunner1

KathyRunner2

KathyRunner3

Before I actually started the quilting, I was subbing one day and had time on my hands, so I was watching one of my Craftsy classes on machine quilting big projects on a small machine (and my Bernina 108 doesn’t get much smaller….). Spray-basting the WHOLE quilt. Nothing will move. I’m trying this, and lo and behold it worked WONDERFULLY.

KathyRunnerBack2

The spacing could be better, but NO TUCKS! Well, three little ones that actually ironed out. That’s the way I’m going from now on. My fingers will appreciate no more safety pins – this time a year ago it took hubby and me four hours to pin-baste a queen quilt…..

KathyRunnerBack1

So more lessons learned, and another commission in the works for March. I am having SO MUCH FUN!!!

Monday Marketing – 2 weeks in a row!

Detail of the back of Gracie Mae's quilt

Detail of the back of Gracie Mae’s quilt

Ya, dis ist goot….been a productive week and today started off fabulously with coffee with another artist in fiber who LOVED out work and will pass on a bunch of connections to galleries within the New England area. Joining Surface Design Association, as they seem to be making inroads in getting fiber shown in NE. Plus a new quilt shop in town, so I have already been by to show a sample of free-motion quilting to see about teaching some classes. And….lots to do this week.

Also, and probably most important, the studio is about ready…well, we’ve already started doing work, even though there are still a lot of loose ends and things to get put away. I am almost through ironing the rest of my fabric stash, which is each of our moves has always been our wrapping. But this time, after so long….I was caressing each piece and apologizing for it being in the dark for so long. NO MORE MOVES! They will carry us out of here! Now for this week I need to start a list of fiber projects, with a couple of deadlines coming up this year. Then I can prioritize and get started.

Thanks to Shutterfly I’m been getting prints of our digital work for great prices, and A.C. Moore (our Ben Franklin’s and alternative to Michaels) for frames. Plus, it occurred to us as we were sorting through artwork that we can reuse some of the frames for work we no longer hang on our walls.

Also this past week, two digital marbling pieces hanging in a local bookstore as part of Essex Art League outreach, framing photos for solo show next August, and attended Williston Craft Fair – small but extremely well-attended, and folks were buying. We’re interested in partnering with someone next year and putting in our fabric bowls filled with marbling fabrics and sewing notions. to that end, Hancock Fabrics had a dynamite sale on sewing notions, so we did an order in preparation for next season. Hubby stocked the Etsy store again, so take a look.

A good week all around. Now for this week:

list of projects for sewing, etc.;

finish organizing studio;

check deadlines for quilts for birthdays (Whip, Gavin);

review fiber art calls from Feedly;

start on quilting commissioned baby quilt; and

update the Facebook page, as well as other online sites.

Good to go this week.

Monday Marketing….Uh Huh

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Alison’s Quilt

This coming Friday it will be six months since we arrived in Vermont. We certainly didn’t expect that long to be staying with friends and traveling, but our living arrangements are worth the wait, esp. since the studio is LARGE! We can both easily work together in the space. Now it means getting all those ideas and projects down on paper and prioritized.

Interesting that I have put off lists for the six months – thinking about what I wanted to do and couldn’t would have made me even more nuts had I been writing everything down. Now I can list things by due dates and so on….lots of juices are flowing again.

One of the toughest things was missing a lot of marketing opportunities, starting with Open Studios the end of May. Lots of good connections and really no way to follow-through – all the art work and samples were packed, and once we found out we would be 5 months  before move-in, we didn’t want to commit to anything.
However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten anything done for marketing just recently. This week:

  • reconnected with an artist friend from 20 years ago who runs a small gallery and we exhibited with her in the past and hope to do so again;

  • joined Essex Art League in September and have a solo show scheduled for August 2016 in one of the main libraries;

  • reconnected with another friend and mother of students who also has a gallery and wants to chat;

  • hanging work in the Phoenix Books independent bookstore here in Essex Center from November 5 through beginning of January – just in time for the holidays; going to do a couple of our digital pieces;

  • ordered a bunch of “freebies” from Shutterfly (just paid postage) of some of our other photographic/digital work to see the job they do, and now we will see about getting them framed; and

  • actually updated the FACEBOOK page for Marble-T Design – have nearly 500 followers after no activity this summer – go figure…..

There’s a lot I want to get done this coming week:

  • finish organizing studio;

  • get list of projects with deadlines;

  • make list of “playing around” items;

  • complete cards for artwork hanging this week; and

  • newsletter to MTD customers – mentioning holiday shopping

I am retired, and these six months taught me it’s okay to relax, but oh, did I miss my art! I hugged my machine several times since it has been unpacked. * did accomplish handwork over the months – 7 long crocheted scarves plus3 complete sets of scarf/mittens/hat for a charity in the Ukraine. That felt very good – and I’m looking forward to doing more on the long winter nights to come.

Top Ten Tuesday

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Lots of items bookmarked and ready to show you. I so love all the things you can learn online – and all the places you can go!

First up, The Trouble with Bright Girls – being one, as well as teaching many of them, I can relate to this article. We need to be so careful of the messages we send.

“Researchers have uncovered the reason for this difference in how difficulty is interpreted, and it is simply this: more often than not, bright girls believe that their abilities are innate and unchangeable, while bright boys believe that they can develop ability through effort and practice.”

Animals playing around – gotta watch!

The art of Jim Dingilian – filling a bottle with smoke and creating art!

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I’m always looking at business sites and mentoring opportunities for my own marketing. Came across Gary’s site and am thinking about buying the book as gifts for two friends looking to start small businesses. Check out Gary Bizzo – www.garybizzo.com.

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Also in marketing, a new site I found on line for printing – looks like quality work, and they’re in Canada, which is great when I move to Vermont! PrintingPeach at http://printingpeach.com.

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Absolutely LOVE this close-up of the creation of a Dior bag – amazing!

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This next poster is really cool, even if you don’t understand all of it! Science and art together!!

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10 Mathematical Equations that Changed the World – fascinating, again even if you don’t understand all the math.

You know I love math – The Magic of Fibonacci!

Once again, science, art and math – Dance on the Circle.

Till next time, enjoy the web!!

Word(s) for 2015

Moran_Lilies_Original

Usually this time of the year I have my goals all laid out and ready to go. But not this year. I have really slowed down over the past 12 months – some from health, some from depression, and some from just wanting to enjoy every day. That’s a real change for me. I am enjoying each day tremendously, so when everyone was choosing their word for the year and posted it, I thought, “Nah, not going to do it this year. I’m content with the way life is going right now.”

Last night in bed, I was thinking about “content” and realized I have my word – actually two words – right there. Content with accent on the second syllable, and content, with accent on the first. The more I thought, the more I liked it.

So first, content, with accent on the first syllable. I want content in my life. I want to contribute meaningfully to people and causes this year. I want content in what I read and watch this year. I want content in my actions. I want to create content.

Second, I am content (accent on second syllable). I realized that this past month as I saw just how much my mental and emotional health – and consequently my physical health – was improving. My days are taking on a relaxing rhythm – quilting, reading, writing, yoga, being in the moment with hubby. Appreciating that I can do what I wish in retirement, without having to worry about finances too much. I enjoyed my nap this afternoon, the brief snow in Tucson this morning, and the fact I still have 10 hours ahead of me to write and quilt.

Life is content and full of content.

Relaxed, Renewed, Rejuvenated…….

DSCN0348Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe – just one of many stops on our 3-week jaunt into Northern California. This was an amazing few weeks, and probably only the second vacation we’ve done where we could truly say we were relaxed. Too many years and our opinion of California was based on LA and San Diego. Little did we realize just how wonderful northern California is.

Lots of small towns, no big box stores, local restaurants, vibrant main streets. Nothing like depressed (in so many ways) Tucson.  Once we got north of Edwards Air Force Base and Mojave, we got into some magical country. I haven’t downloaded camera photos yet, but I wanted to get impressions.

Majestic, from Yosemite to the sea.  From the Redwoods to the shore in front of Monterey Aquarium. We would sit at night on our porches (when we were lucky to find hotels that had nice outside spots) and talk about how gorgeous everything was, and how could we translate what we had seen into fiber. The best example of how in sync we are is that we are both standing in front of the jellyfish exhibit of orange jellies, both of us thinking about recreating these creatures in fiber….hubby with how he would marble the colors, and me with how I could stabilize some marbled chiffon so I could do stitching and still have it supple enough to move with the air.

This has led us to developing a new series for future work: Preservation. This can encompass loads of ideas – the environment, the written word, languages we are losing – so many possibilities, all attempted with marbled fabrics.

We enjoyed five glorious days in a cabin overlooking Monterey Bay (at 1600 feet elevation) that we found on Airbnb – our first time using it, and we were thrilled with all aspects of it. Great conversation with the guys at the cabin, great meals…and lots of mosqitoes, which I discovered after the fact (bought the cortizone on Thursday). We sat, read, and looked at the views. Supermoon Saturday had the full moon sneaking behind some redwoods, and the bay was perfectly clear all night, with the lights of the fishing boats visible from our deck. So nice to be wearing jeans and a sweat shirt for a change and enjoying chilly, moist air, which made the trip back to Tucson so difficult.

Met a long-time friend in Bakersfield for an overnight. I love how years can go by, and you pick right up where you left off. We had a ball trying to figure out a stubborn sewing machine so we could machine quilt on it, and then drowned our frustrations in some amazing dinner at Moo Creamery in Bakersfield. Ya haveta go if you’re in the area.

logoMade new friends, talked art in a lot of galleries, bought new spices and teas…and took lots of pictures. I have decided I need to upgrade my camera, as it is sllloooowwwwww doing what I want it to do.

Coming back to the desert only reaffirms our decision to move east. Near water and surrounded by green, friendly people, vibrant communities, and a state very friendly to artists (unlike Tucson, but that’s another whole blog post.) We both have our lists of things to do, we’re marbling next week to stock our Etsy store and try for some new fabrics, I’m writing up a storm, as I have set myself a deadline of July 31 to have the rough draft of my novel done. Life is good!

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Quality Materials and Pricing Your Materials Cost

Evening Moon

Evening Moon

This being sick for so long has really put a dent in my creativity, completion of projects, and overall well-being. I am trying to catch up on an online gallery class  by a gallery owner in Scottsdale, AZ, Jason Horejs. The assignment I am reading now talks about pricing out your cost of materials, as well as looking at the quality of materials. There are too many ideas floating around in my head to try and leave a plain comment, so I wanted to “think it all out” in a post.

We’ve priced out cost for our marbling a lot of times. Carrageenan keeps increasing, cotton fabric is increasing, and we’ve changed paints because of pigment issues. Probably doesn’t hurt to do the costing again. A half pound of carrageenan in over $30. We can get 8 marbling sessions out of that. So $3.75 per session for carrageenan. We spend $6.00 for each bottle of paint. In one session we use the equivalent of 1 full bottle. So there’s another $6.00. Cotton fabric – we buy prepared-for-dyeing fabric from Dharma (which isn’t wholesale at all but is the best we’ve found to be able to use – offshore fabrics won’t take the paint well). Cotton runs about $7.95 yard, and we attempt to do about four half-yards each session, is not more. That’s $16.00 for fabric. Alum (pretty cheap) and distilled water (also pretty cheap) are the rest of the supplies. Probably $3.00 per session. That’s $28.75 for the marbling session, not counting prep time and clean-up time.

originally we used to sell our fat quarters for $6.50, more for the half-yards. The prices of supplies have gone up, so fat quarters are now $8.00. There are 4 fat quarters to a yard of fabric. If all we do are 4 fats, each would cost out to  $7.19.  Eight fats cost to $3.59. Better, but not accounting for labor. That’s one reason why we try to do 12 fats and a lot of remnant pieces, which sell well on eBay, where people want something for virtually nothing. Twelve fats is $2.40 a piece, considerably better. We’ve found  that there is an upper limit on what people will pay for a relatively small piece of fabric (18 x 24 inches). I’m not sure we can raise our prices much more, yet we are having success selling on Etsy and charging about a dollar more per piece. We make our money on the larger art pieces.

Concerning wholesale, Dharma, where we get our fabric, does not wholesale at all. We can get a bolt of fabric from Kona Bay, but we need to dye the fabric first before it will take the marbling. More labor, a little more expense, but certainly a cheaper source of fabric, but we’re not finding much of a market yet for those fat quarters. Our carrageenan we get from a fellow marbler whose prices are about $10.00 cheaper, and  he also mixes the paints we need to a specific formula, so there is no variation in pigments. The acrylics we used to use (that we cheap) no longer work, due to pigment issues, water issues, and offshore fabrics. For the amount of labor involved in marbling, we learned early on not to use cheap fabric. The fibers rot, and it fades. We’ve not found that problem with well-produced fabrics.

As for the art pieces, Arizona is not a big market for fiber art, especially if it is not western. We have sold pieces, though. We tend to price based on earlier appraisals of our work and what we see for other fiber artists with comparable work. We need more current appraisals of our latest works, and then adjust prices accordingly.

There was a lot of discussion about framing. Most of our fiber pieces can hang directly on the wall, yet is seems that folks want them somehow framed, so we have taken to wrapping a canvas frame in black fabric and then sewing the piece to the fabric on the canvas. That way the piece hangs away from the wall, and it seems to look better. One of my goals is to do more pieces like this and see if we can develop a market for them.

So probably more than you wanted to know, but it is useful to revisit a cost analysis every few years. I’d welcome comments on what you’ve discovered in pricing your materials cost.

 

Top Ten Tuesday

DSCN5078   Another Tuesday, and I still keep finding lots of new ideas and posts to add for Tuesdays, and I still have a lot bookmarked! I also find myself going off on little research jaunts for my novel, with some interesting – and downright scary – disgusting articles. It is amazing what one can find on the net these days, and I chuckle when I remember the one cartoon making its rounds: a true friend is someone who will clear out your history cache on the internet when you die. I have really been reading some very strange stuff. But all of that is bookmarked in a separate place. What follows is the good, light-hearted stuff!

I thought this was quite cute. The site is in its infancy, but I like the premise. I will be following along to see just what they offer. Click on the pic to see more. I think the class offerings could be kind of interesting……

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The Eat Pray Love lady, Elizabeth Gilbert, recommends these books as ones that helped her become a writer. How many have you read?

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Useful websites you never knew existed – a lot to check out here.

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…and in my ongoing quest to eat healthy, the 15 grossest foods……yup, it’ll do the same thing Supersize Me did….

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Also available as a free download – 27 foods you should never eat.

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The 60 Most Powerful Photos Ever Taken – how many do you remember? The one I remember the most…..

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Limitations in a wheelchair? I don’t think so……

Molten aluminum in an ant hill? Look at this art…..

For Nelson Mandela – a flash mob…..

An Hour of Code – a way to help our youngsters learn computer coding – very cool!

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If you find cool stuff on line, send it along!

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