Monday, October 01, 2007

The Calendar Flips

Here we are at the beginning of yet another month and I was just getting used to the last one. We just had several days of typical fall weather: rain, rain and more rain. Today it’s cloudy and cool. The leaves are finally turning now and I’m loving these few weeks before winter sets in in earnest. I’m feeling a wee bit more energetic after whatever that bug was but still am not getting in my usual walking. My foot still keeps giving me trouble on and off so I can’t even use the elliptical trainer when the weather is too lousy for walking. I’m starting to get fat and lazy and that is not a good thing. Sigh. I need to make more of an effort before my pear shape becomes an amorphous blob.

I actually had a pretty good time at the craft jurying yesterday. There were 3 of us on the team and we worked very well together without the UberJeweler’s presence. I think we chose a good selection and the sale will be very successful. This is the 11th year for it and the venue is a heritage building with lots of interesting details. The sad part is when you have to reject some very good work because of lack of space. There were of course way too many jewelry people which is by far the largest category. And what is it with the incredibly dull colours of some of the sewn items? Is it supposed to look retro and recycled? Bleh. The photography submissions made me feel like I’m not a bad photographer myself because I could have taken some of them. There was one standout in that category though so that was an easy choice. Woodturning, fused glass, cards, candies, bath & body soaps and lotions, hats, bags and dolls were some of the other submissions. One that all of us agreed on was a mosaic artist. She had a stepping stone, coasters and ornaments in a classy geometric style. They were well-finished and very nice and the only one of its kind there. Of course we had the usual hard decisions and there were some sad faces leaving after picking up their work. It went very smoothly though and nobody threw a hissy fit which just makes everyone feel bad.

From this experience I have some great insights into what makes a good presentation and helps us choose one person’s work over another’s. The work needs to have a cohesive style, not look like 5 different people did it (even if that’s true!). A nice presentation helps but it’s not as important in the jury process as it is on the sales table. It also needs to have a unique and individual style and not be too trite or derivative. (How many images of Kokopelli or inukshuks do we need to see? And somebody completely stole the Stupid Sock Creatures without even giving them her own twist! Did she think I wouldn’t know there’s a book that has patterns to follow? Heh.) The work needs to be well made and well finished but it still needs to have something of the hand left in it and not look like it was manufactured. Very importantly candles, soaps and lotions need to not be too stinky! (We were all bothered by one person’s candles and rejected her. If it gives you headaches in a very large room what will it do to you in your home? Ick.) Some people’s prices were very high in comparison to others and some were disturbingly low so price-point can be an issue. This craft sale is better quality than the church bazaar but mainly not at the level of “fine craft”. It tries to do a happy dance in between and showcase affordable, one-of-a-kind handmade items. Tables are only CDN $90 to rent once you get past We The Jury! This includes some advertising and a handful of fliers to pass out to your friends and family. Not a bad deal. If you’re nearby, Heritage Hall One-of-a-Kind Christmas Craft Fair, December 1 & 2.

Some categories that weren’t submitted makes me think that they might be something to consider for craftspeople. There was no weaving whatsoever. How about some scarves, placemats, potholders or baby bibs woven with modern style? Handmade books, folders or journals is another gap. One or two card people had a few small notebook-ish things but nothing larger. I would have liked to see some of the totes and bags people do some specifically for knitters and crocheters, project bags and especially needle holders/rolls. But that’s just me. At least this year there was a submission of nice quality knitted and fulled hats, bags and wristwarmers. And a felt-maker with garments as well, though nuno type scarves might be an area to fill. It’ll be interesting to see what shows up next year anyhow.

Sorry, still no photos but I’m on the crocheted loopy cast-off on my Icelandic Lace Shawl. That leaves the top border still to pick up and knit. I’m not sure I’m liking my colour order at all but I’m hoping that it will all come out in the wash, as me old mum used to say. Blocking can do the most amazing magic on a shriveled up blob of knitting. I’m not going to rip it out and do it over anyway.

I’m almost at the toe decreases on the DDD Socks so they’re nearly done. Next it’s a pair for T-Man. I’m trying to decide if I want them plain or fancier. If I go for fancier I may need to start another plain pair for someone else at the same time. You know I have to have something I can read while working on! Can’t let my needles stay bare for long either.

I nearly missed the September issue of MagKnits! Link is in my sidebar. There’s a shawl and cute socks and some nice sweaters! Plus a little purse that makes use of Sari Silk. Go check out the patterns. Note: Just a day late and a dollar short as usual. Right after I posted this, a new October issue popped up! The sock pattern this time is way cool among the other goodies. The older patterns are still available in the archives.

And have you seen Margie Deeb’s “Margie’s Muse” newsletters? She is a bead artist and colour specialist and has a couple of books out, writes for the beading magazines, has a podcast you can subscribe to and also this monthly newsletter. If you sign up for notification, you’ll get an email when a new one is out. They are short illustrated musings on colour and how we see and use it in our work. Even if you don’t bead you can still make use of the information in whatever your chosen craft.

Thanks for your kind comments on the socks, owl knits! Your spinning will improve. All you need to do is practice! Lots and lots of practice.

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