I’ve been really missing my blog and don’t know why I stopped blogging when the hot weather hit a while ago, as that should theoretically have translated into more photos as I’ve been outdoors more often.
I guess I’ve been absorbed in my own little creative world and don’t always feel like talking when I’m in that mode, as opposed to the more mental mode when I’m enjoying discussing the craft business side of things and anything I’ve finished or nearly finished. I’ve certainly got a lot more clarity around where I’m heading, written business plans (yes, plural), and have fine tuned and pared down the kind of stock I will be offering for sale at market and online. It was worth the time taken rather than just plunging in and making a whole bunch of stuff first, as I always need the overview or bigger picture before getting into too much detail.
That doesn’t mean I won’t be dabbling in all kinds of art and crafts as I don’t seem to be able to give any of them up. It just means that I will be starting off with a more limited but easily repeatable product line that I can reproduce from one week to the next (if need be) especially for the wholesale side of things – well, you have to think ahead too.
Fortunately I find it all interesting anyway, not only the making side of things. I’ve given myself a deadline to be ready to take advantage of the Xmas season, assuming I have enough stock to fill a whole table at the local market, and assuming there is a market table to be had when I’m ready. If not then I’ll just concentrate on creating the website instead, in fact the website really needs to come first as I’m only doing the market for the fun of it and face to face interaction, useful feedback that I can use, and to promote my website. If I sell anything there it would be a bonus, but my main intention for being there would be to promote my website and make people aware of what I do and where to find me.
So, there’s a huge amount to do between now and then, especially as I’m getting down to it all so late in the year, yet I have no guilt about being outside while summer is still here. My sun starved body agrees with me, and I do feel a lot better when I’m out and about.
The other delay has been my tendency to want to dabble in all kinds of crafts and some of them I’m teaching myself for the first time. I’m also pleased that I have rekindled my enthusiasm for making polymer clay and bead and wire jewellery, which I haven’t done any more with since I was living in London 3 years ago. I’m going to be concentrating mainly on felting though and tried out nuno felting scarves on muslin. Below are the first three scarves I made, which seem a bit too colourful (despite the dim indoor lighting), but I have since decided to start dyeing my own muslin and using less colours.
I’m excitedly awaiting my first order of a Procion dye kit so that I can venture into the world of dyeing cloth. One of my jobs this week is to clear out the utility room (which also needs renovating) of all my garden tools so that I can use that as my cloth dyeing area.
I’ve been enjoying playing with colour and texture in wet felting and free style machine embroidery. I often start off making one thing and it ends up being turned into something else. Below is an iPhone case that started off as something else as it shrank more than I anticipated.
I made it a bit bigger than the phone, which goes in horizontally rather than the usual vertical arrangement, so there is enough wriggle room for a lipstick beside it, although could be used for anything else.
For some reason I forgot to sew the button on before taking the photos, but it has press stud fasteners anyway for closing and the button was purely decorative anyway, although now I’m not sure it even needs it.
I sewed on a few sequins and beads sparsely, and did zig zag machine stitching around the edge in gold, green and red (because I couldn’t make up my mind which colour would look best). This one is called ‘Summer’.
I’m finding that I prefer to make felted fabric, embellish it and then decide what I want to use it for afterwards. The actual fabric is just as fascinating to me as the finished product.
I’m also in the middle of making felted beaded cuff bracelets and teaching myself seed bead embroidery. They are not finished as I’m waiting for the backing fabric which is on order and I’m not sure if I have the patience for seed beads, having bought the smallest size possible by mistake and still having to go back to youtube for more tuition. It would be good to have a range of products to see what sells best as this will be a business and not just a hobby or supplementing another income. When my merino and dye supplies arrive I’ll be making 15 scarves (3 each of 5 different colours) and then when they are finished (along with the cuff bracelets) I can go back to experimenting with felt pictures, which I’ve barely scratched the surface of yet but am eager to return to soon. I also plan to do some acrylic/mixed media canvases, and have 3 blank canvases on my kitchen table right now to remind me of what I can be getting on with while waiting for further necessary supplies to arrive by post.
When summer was in the mid-80s I went up on Dartmoor for the first time in ages and decided to do some product photography, taking with me a few items of my earlier attempts at jewellery making which I discovered in some small boxes which I’d previously thought were empty. I should have remembered that glaring sunlight is not the best sort of light for doing product photography, but I had fun anyway.
I found a different part of Dartmoor on this occasion, where there was a stream and small waterfall, and a handful of people were having a picnic there or sunbathing. Plus a few cows, ponies and sheep were wandering around too.
I always love the way the sunlight plays upon the surface of the water, like so many diamonds glistening, and the water was nice and cool as I waded through it although it felt a bit pebbly under my bare feet.
It was like finding an oasis in the middle of a desert, although a very green one with nothing but nature for miles around.
I always feel fortunate that I can walk here from my home (I don’t drive) even though on a hot day and uphill all the way it is not an easy walk. When I reach the top and can see for miles all around me, feeling like I’m in the middle of nowhere, it is definitely worth it.
Anyway, the idea was to take photos of my jewellery with Dartmoor in the background. But it didn’t really work out that way because if I took the landscape then my jewellery was too small in the photo, and if I took a close up of the jewellery then I missed out on the background.
So I took a few photos of my jewellery which could have been taken on a rock anywhere.
But I was having fun, and know that I have to re-take everything again with a plain background. Even the rocks were too ‘busy’ for a background.
I adjusted the colour on this one to make the rocks look more blue to make the bracelet stand out a bit more.
I’ll definitely have to set up something indoors for all my photographic needs without spending a fortune on special lighting I still don’t have macro yet, not even on my newer DSLR camera. I had it on my very first cheap digital compact camera but that one is no longer functional, and I’ve bought two cameras since then without macro.
Still, I’d rather spend money on supplies right now to make my first range of products, or at least enough that I feel happy with, a few in each category. So I need to just get on with it and I’ll eventually get to where I need to be. I’m slow anyway, but summer slows me down even more. Hopefully I’ll get back into the routine of more regular blogging too, but I have at least been keeping up with the wordpress reader and from what I’ve read it seems there were others who found their blogging habits changed once summer was in full swing.