Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spring art show reflections & new projects

Hello, friends.

I had a lovely time exhibiting at the Londonderry Spring Fling a couple of weeks ago. It is so nice to see fellow exhibitors from past shows and to catch up with people who visited my booth last year. I don't consider myself to be a "seasoned" exhibitor, but it was nice to go into my first show of 2013 with a little bit of experience under my belt.

Doing a show provides an opportunity to see which of my items tend to appeal to potential buyers. Here are some thoughts I had after my last show:

1) I have just 2 tables. I used one for "kitchen/home" (table runners, trivets, towels) and the other for "gifts" (notecards, bookmarks, change purses, jewelry). There were people who went to both tables, but there were also people who tended to gravitate to just one. I'll probably use a similar set-up in the future.

2) Towels didn't perform as well for me at this past show as they do in my online shop. Maybe this is because people are out shopping for gifts or for something personal at a fair. A dishtowel is nice, but a subtle (or not so subtle) reminder of work!

3) Items that can be priced $15 and under sell very well.

4) The "Square" register was used A LOT! People came by really expecting to be able to pay by credit card. It is nice to have payment options for your customers. I think that 75% of my revenue came from credit card sales.

I've been tweaking designs for a couple of new items for my next show and for my shop. As some of you know from previous posts, I have been working hard on improving my sewing skills. I'd like to put these to use with my handwoven fabrics. The change purses have been rather popular in my booth, and so I'd like to take the next step and incorporate handwoven fabrics into small handbags. Why purses? Everyone loves a pretty purse! While pursemaking sometimes includes some fussing and jiggery-pokery with handles and closures and whatnot, it does not involve a lot of personalized tailoring or alteration, as is the case with clothing. I have plans for three purse variations: looped handle pouch, drawstring bag, and kiss clasp purse frame purse (just like the change purses, except larger). Here is the drawstring bag that I make:

And here is a small change purse:

All of the purses would be fully lined and will feature traditional handwoven patterns in the fabric (herringbone and a diamond shaped point twill and, of course, lace weaves). I was very fortunate to have been gifted a rather substantial supply of lovely yarn this winter, including some silks, from a weaver who passed away recently. Hopefully the yarns that I have from this weaver will find a new use in some of the purses that I seek to make. Anyway, this is the PLAN. We all know how plans came sometimes get de-railed or, at the very least, delayed.

A smaller item that I have just finished drafting will be for a new trivet/potholder. I'm really excited about this item. I will be using fabric strips in the weft. Yay! Weaving with fabric rag strips is fun and gratifying for me because I spend a lot of time working with very fine threads. It is sometimes fun to see something take shape after just a few throws of the shuttle.

The garden is planted but, unfortunately, has already sustained serious damage by a pesky deer or two. We will not, however, be defeated! We've got the scarecrow hose set up, and I hope that it soaks Bambi thoroughly with cold water the next time he decides to help himself to my vegetable plants.

Happy Summer!
Be well,