Friday, 8 December 2017

2017 Summary

Another year gone (OK, nearly)!
Check on achievements and failures year 2017...

- I did more fairs this year than the year before and more than I intended. Not sure it's an achievement :). In general I sold more but the expenses/stall fees were higher as well obviously. I need to go through the fair list and sort it out. I did a lot of fairs in York, which was my intention but will not do some again. I liked York river Art Market  even with our unpredictable weather, will do it again. ETSY Made Local was good and it's nice to be a part of the team, will do it next year (if accepted). Masham sheep festival was great (the first day at least) and there I was invited to take part in two events, new for me:
           - a wool event in Leeds which is rather close to York. It's their second year and all whom I know were very positive  about it. It's 7-8 April
            - Harrogate Flower Show. It's huge 4 day event with footfall 50 000+. It's about flowers and plants obviously, but they have a pavilion Crafts&Gifts. I hope some of these garden enthusiasts will pop it to see us crafters. I would certainly do considering that they charge £21 as an entrance fee! If I were a visitor I'd go through every single stall for these money:)  It's 26-29 April
These events are for the next year.

Looking to the similar post last December and checking my plans and what came out of it:
    - I'm not looking for a local shop to sell my stuff anymore. With all these new fairs I have enough opportunities to sell   the variety I make.

    - Crazy wool scarves I started to make last year were reasonably successful, I've sold quite a few and will keep working on them. And cushions in "wool stencilling" technique as well, quite pleased with it!

What's else... ETSY sales had stuck at the same level, no improvement.

I do not have plans for a next year apart from just keep going. I need to think about new products and new strategy of presenting and selling my pictures, but at the moment I feel a bit lost...

Monday, 20 November 2017

Crafts in the Pen 2017

A short report on the event.
Crafts in the Pen is my main event of the year, so expectations were high as was pre-fair stress :)
In general it was good this year as well but with a twist. A few twists actually.
- it was really huge! 230 stalls and a quality of very high standards;
- the footfall was 4370 against 2590 last year;
- again a lot of people coming who had already bought some stuff from me, sometimes just to say hello and tell that my things are alive and doing well, which was really great. Thanks everyone even if you are not reading this!
 - the weather was really nice, I was well prepared and didn't got cold;
 - apart from overwhelming number of stalls, 1/3 of them were textile artists and 25 stalls doing just felt! Some customers comments that this year felt was everywhere.
 - with such massive number of stalls customers became bored, tired or just cold. They lost interest and forget to come back or just lost in the maze of streets.  Some stallholders complained about the scale of the show and low takings. I happened to be in a good position in the very centre with good light but other could struggle when it became darker.
I can't complain because I did OK but with somewhat mixed feeling :)
I posted some pictures below of neighbouring stalls and to give an idea of the size of the show:




Thursday, 26 October 2017

For your eyes only!

Last week I posted a new tea cosy with poppy design on Facebook and sold it the same day:
But I need some for a Skipton fair so that I had to make two more with similar design but was not going to show them in social media until the event is over, I need a good display there. Here are they:

Hope somebody will like them... 

Monday, 9 October 2017

I'm SO crossed with ETSY!

I am really crossed with some new ETSY policies!
I usually have posted some my things on Pinterest, some of them with the links to my ETSY shop. They were pinned and re-pinned so that if somebody follows the link back to the ETSY shop the item was most probably sold. In this case ETSY's message was something like that: Sorry, the item is not available, see what else the shop has to offer     and showed some items from the shop. Great! It was this way until recently.
But now! If the situation is as above ETSY show the customer the array of similar items from the different shops and nothing from my shop! It means I work hard, make a unique piece, which attracts attention, bring the customer to ETSY  - and all that for a benefit of the other sellers. It's unfair to say the least. But even if to put my feeling aside it's not very fair towards the customer! An example: a customer is coming from Pinterest to my ETSY shop  to see my felted gadget case with floral design, say, poppy. Three features: my shop (i.e. my style), felted, poppy design. If the original piece is sold ETSY show the variety of cases which are NOT from my shop, NOT felted and NONE of them featured poppy! The only thing in common is CASE.
I makes no sense, I hate it! 

Monday, 2 October 2017

Masham 2017

My second Wool event at Masham sheep fair. One of my favorites! Nice venue, busy town, friendly people. good attendance. It was nice to meet some friends from the last year too! I did well last year and it was good this year as well. I like that I've sold a little bit of everything. I make a few pictures at the beginning of the second day, before we opened.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Just pictures...The rest of the order:

Quite happy with the most of them. The only one which turned out mediocre is this one. Poor thing was left behind and the rest were posted to the shop.  


Friday, 15 September 2017

Time management in Felting

It's a bit of joke, of course :) !
As the most of crafts the felting is a very time consuming hobby and there is a very little you could do to make it easier. And still! If you felt purely for hobby reason you can skip this post straight away. If you, like myself, not only make but sell sometimes and know about pre-fair frenzy and shortage of time - you may find it useful.
At first I pinpoint the part of felting process which is the most tiresome or annoying. It could be very individual, some felters do not enjoy rolling, but rolling is fine with me because I usually listen to some book or workshop on youtube while rolling. My weakest points are preparing everything at the beginning (and putting everything back!) and laying the wool.
For large fairs I need to make a lot of small items, very often in the same design but slightly individual still. I prefer to layout a few in one go because it saves me time on preparation and on choosing and getting out the boxes with the colours needed and so on. I can lay out a few items in the same design, say, with poppies - glasses cases, Kindle covers, tea cosies and so on. They are all different in pictures and scales but I use the same colours and similar compositions. I prefer to do the layouts one day and the felting the next day or even after whenever I have a few spare hours. One very intense and messy day of layout and felting and finishing later.
The same with scarves, especially if they are of medium size - I can lay out two one day and then roll them together in one roll the next day. It will not save me a huge amount of time, but it will reduce the mess and give me more flexibility with my time.
Of course it doesn't work for a large one off pieces when I need to focus on it entirely.
As an example - I was working on pictures (they are relatively small) and laid out some small items in the similar design:


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Wholesale order and update

In March I got a wholesale order for a few tea cosies and discussed this new kind of selling on  Forum Here. Everything went smoothly and today I have another offer from the same shop to make ten small size (8"x8") pictures which she is going to frame or use as a cushion panel. Again she is ready to pay upfront.
I'm not very keen on large orders, getting tired and bored quickly, but still it's nice to be asked.
I will post some pictures when I make them :)

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Feeling grumpy today (and often!) about Facebook! At first it's always large bold font for short posts! OK, I managed to cheat to avoid this nuisance. Then they offer you to make a background of the post in colours! Now my page is screaming with posts in large bold letters on the acid green/yellow colour! And they are mostly about the very trivial stuff. I do not mind people complaining about the weather but not that loud please! I know that I could unfollow some friends to stop seeing their posts and I did it twice (when some become overly political) but always with a heavy heart.
Back to more cheerful things!
I've tried using the technique of making textured felt in scarves. See two of my first tries. They are very similar in colours and materials, more samples than finished pieces but I hope to make them proper pieces.


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Catch up for Summer

Short catch up for June - July- early August  😊
Have been VERY busy!

New techniques.
After taking a course on a textured felt I started to use these new techniques in my fish and cushions. I think it works well for these items:


New Fairs.
I have tried a new event this summer, York River Art Market and it happened to be quite good for me (and for the most of exhibitors I presume).
I did two days, the weather on the day of the first one was very poor and still it was OK in sales. The second one, on the first Saturday of August was very good - a glorious weather, great location - a river work in the very centre of York. All in all it was very pleasant day and sales were high, at the same level as Xmas time. And it was so close to home ! Very pleased with the event, will do it again next year.
Could you see the difference?


As for a Art in the Pen this year it was not as good as last year for me. May be I need to reconsider "my strategy" 😊
Anyway I have finished with fairs for a while. The next one is Masham sheep festival the last weekend of September.
At the moment I'm nearly off to Finland for a holiday and try to put everything felty aside. Back to felting in September.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Colours in 3-D

I have asked for suggestions how to add new features and introduce some colour in bas relief technique I've learned at Feltrosa. Thanks to felters of feltandfiberstudio forum I've got a lot of advices.
This is my first try on colourful piece. I added colours and a bit of story, going to frame it as a picture.

I hope you could see the 3-D effect

 In this technique you could get rather sharp edge, better distinction than in traditional work with coloured prefelt.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Asking for suggestions!

I'm a bit stuck!.. After a workshop at Feltrosa festival I was so enthusiastic about new bas relief technique!
Apart from my first piece which was just a sample I had another go on it and made a kind of  case with a rabbit shape on it. This time I've used my favourite Kap merino, which provides such a smooth surface.

It was not a hard work but when it came to a finishing the problem arose. Apart from bags and cases where this technique could be applied? Even bags and cases are to be of simple shape and plain in colour so that the relief stands out better.
In this case I just added a small ceramic button as a closure:

Any suggestions to what the technique can be used for? Being restricted by colours (or rather by absence of it) and flat shapes I'm a bit lost!


Friday, 12 May 2017

Feltrosa 2017

I'm just back from felting festival Feltrosa in Italy. It's an annual event held in different locations (usually remote :) ) . This year the organisers' choice was a small town Nazzano rather close to Rome but still in a national park. The house on the first picture is where we stayed and the magnificent castle on the hilltop is Nazzano itself (the second pic.). It was rather steep to get there even if the road is good!

But scenery is breathtaking!
There was a small themed exhibition "River and Life". I can't miss such occasion and presented one of my fish :)

  There were a few entertainments, getting together, felting in a group etc but what I was waiting most was a workshop. This year they run seven workshops: nunofelted snood, wall hanging in some kind of mosaic technique, making a hat, weaving, small needle felted rings, eco printing and making wool bas relief (this one was my choice). More info on workshops is HERE . I was making a bas relief with a tutor Maria Jose Troncoso  Just a few of her designs:             

I like the simple elegance of monochrome very much and she is a lovely person! She is a Spanish speaking person, the rest of the class were Italians but even with this variety of languages we did very well. It was interesting workshop and fortunately not very demanding physically. These are the works of my fellow students:

And this is my little chap!

I have really enjoyable time there, meeting some friends from last year and making new ones. The weather was great and afterwards we spent three days in Rome! I came back overwhelmed with emotions and need some rest :)