Monthly Archives: March 2013

On being proud, not boastful.

I recently commented to an artist who I very greatly admire (but who shall be nameless for this post) that her home must be full of the most exquisite examples of her work.  Her response caught me completely off my guard – she admitted that she had many beautiful pieces in her home but none of her own making, that displaying her own work in her home like that would be “a bit narcissistic, wouldn’t it?”.

Oh my goodness? Would it?  This sent me into a guilty, self conscious spiral, remembering the various embroideries and cross stitches I have displayed in my home … and those that have been gifted to friends and families, who then have no choice but to display them, at least if they know I’m visiting.

But you know what, sod that.  I’m proud of my work.  It’s pretty amazing really, I’m actually very clever and need to remember that more often (especially when agonising over pricing!).   I think we all probably need to remember how clever we are and to be a bit more proud and vocal about our achievements.  It’s a very British attitude, this self-deprecating modesty nonsense, and one that I believe is much magnified in the Welsh psyche.  Maybe we need to take a leaf from out American counterparts, puff our chests out and sing our praises for the world to hear.  Fa-la-la-laaaaa!  (Those of us singing in Wales right now should, by all accounts, be singing the loveliest.)

flyaway girls, embroidery with Shibori balloons

This is a newly finished piece and it makes my belly smile every time I walk into the same room as it. Be proud! :0)

The big pricing dilemma

I’ve just updated my Etsy shop with some new pieces that have been finished for a couple of weeks, but I’ve only just mustered the the courage to commit to a price and go with it.  Why is pricing so very difficult?

I know it isn’t just me – I’ve read blog after blog entry on this topic.  I’ve seen the formula for pricing work appropriately, read the articles about pricing yourself what you’re worth, about not undervaluing my work or competing with hobbyists, and it all makes sense.  I want to be taken seriously, I want to make a living doing this, I want to be an artist.  To a certain extent people will believe you’re worth more if you charge more, I can understand that too.

So why, when it came to the crunch, did I chicken out and shave a bit off the price just as I was listing it on Etsy?  I’m putting it down to nerves, confidence, and not wanting to seem presumptuous. I reckon that as I become established I’ll become more confident in charging properly for my time.

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One of the pieces I put on Etsy this afternoon that I anguished so long over pricing.

Textiles Technology Project, Swansea

I attended “Manufacture@technology #whatsthatallabout”,  the Textiles Technology Project dissemination event in Swansea Met yesterday morning.  I really had no idea what to expect, what the focus of the day was going to be or even how long it would last, so went along full of anticipation and enthusiasm hoping to find new inspiration, ideas and opportunities.

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Isea Surfwear Design produce beautiful hand screen printed clothing.

The Textiles Technologies Project  was formed to “encourage and facilitate the uptake of knowledge, new technologies and technical expertise within the diverse Welsh textiles sector”.  As far as I can understand they made exciting technologies (such as laser cutting and etching, water cutting, digital printing onto fabrics) and expertise (such as help with product design, designing bespoke machinery and pattern grading) available to Welsh textiles makers.  Part funded by EU money I think this may have all been free of charge, but sadly not any more.

The project is coming to an end at the end of this month and this event was to showcase the projects they had been involved with.  They are hoping to continue to offer their facilities and skills to Welsh makers, but on a commercial basis.

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I was completely blown away by this beautiful woollen tunic by Wench Clothing. Innovative fashion textile designs by KanUcMe in the background.

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Images of work by Michelle Griffiths showed how technology can translate textile design into different contexts. With the help of TTP her shibori designs have been etched onto slate at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales.
The textiles book by Julia Griffiths Jones (in the foreground) was so beautiful with its thick, squidgy, tactile pages that I had real trouble putting it back down.

It was interesting to hear from other makers and manufacturers and to see the types of work people had produced with TTP’s help.  The highlight for me was to get to see some of the machinery – laser etching is amazing!  I was very impressed with a sample of laser etched denim I got to see and handle as well at etched leather.  I would have like to see the digital fabric printer too but unfortunately that wasn’t possible yesterday.

My work is now displayed in the Model House, Llantrisant

What an exciting morning!  I had a meeting with Michelle Griffiths, shibori artist and owner of the Resist Gallery at The Model House Craft and Design Centre in Llantrisant, about exhibiting my work at the gallery for sale.

Well, I was there for hours, nattering away, drinking tea and discussing very worthy, artsy topics like a pro and left a few of my cards to get started until I can get some larger embroideries completed and returned for a display.

I took a quick picture on my camera before I left, of my cards (the embroidered ‘Mum’ hearts on blue and on red) sitting alongside work by Alison MogerRuth HarriesLaura Thomas and Lisa Porch.  Apologies for it being such a poor picture, but I really wanted to capture my cards sitting alongside work by such respected artists!

My first embroidered pieces for sale at The Model House, Llantrisant.

My first embroidered pieces for sale at The Model House, Llantrisant.

Balloon girls – shibori, applique and embroidery

Since attending a workshop on creating texture using shibori techniques with Michelle Griffiths earlier this year, I have been quietly but busily experimenting with introducing three dimensional elements into my embroideries.   This is promising to be a very exciting new direction and I’d like to show you where its taken me to date.

Balloon Girl, applique, machine embroidery, hand embroidery, shibori

Balloon Girl – hand embroidery, machine embroidery, applique, shibori

This little girl (above) is my first completed shibori balloon girl.  I’ve mounted her onto 6″ x 6″ canvas, but I think she needs to be in a box frame to protect the balloon.  I’ve also been working on some friends for her (below).  Please forgive the quality of the photograph – I took it quite late at night on my phone.

Embroidered, applique'd girls, waiting for their shibori balloons

Embroidered, applique’d girls, waiting for their shibori balloons

I love these little girls, they’re turning out to be so characterful already. Their hair is hand embroidered and really does make them something special.  More, better photos to follow, I promise.