Hello, I am very happy to report that Portobello went really well. I sold things, made some exciting contacts and also received feedback on my work which is great. It's always a bit scary putting yourself out there but I never regret doing it, it's always positive.
I want to thank my lovely friend for helping me for the day. It's super fun to have a friend there with you. And of course D, he's the bestest most supportive partner.
It's the day before the show, I'm finishing up last minute things (e.g. hand printing labels!). I applied to be a part of Portobello West about 2-weeks ago...so I have been preparing a small collection in two weeks...uhm...well it's been stressful and busy and I'm exhausted BUT at the same time I feel really good about being so productive. It took a while to get here--since I graduated from the textiles program--I hadn't done much other then sketch some ideas and research techniques. So this really made me get down to work and try out some of those ideas. I have experimented a lot over the last couple of weeks--not everything turned out the way I wanted but everything has been worthwhile. I think I've dressed my loom about 10 times in the last 14 days...yikes!
Enough rambling...I have some more work to do. Here is a pic of part of my studio...sorry about the poor lighting, it's a bit dark in here today.
I hope you'll come check out Portobello tomorrow from 12-6pm...
As I continue to prepare for Portobello West, I'm thinking about the delicate art of pricing.
Anyone who has ever made anything that they were planning on selling, goes through this dilemma.
On the one hand, I want to make things affordable so that if someone wanted to purchase a super cozy hand woven scarf, they could. On the other hand, the time and materials doesn't allow me to really make it super cheap.
The run down...I use only the best materials. I stick with alpaca, silk, and hand spun merino wool. No acrylic! I get why people use acrylic but I just can't. I prefer natural fibres--the look and feel of them is heaven. I guess that makes me a bit of a materials snob. Also the process of making...if I'm weaving, depending on the project, dressing the loom can take from 4-12 hours...and then the actual weaving...a plain weave scarf can take 3-8 hours depending on how long the scarf is and how fine a weft your using. And then there is the dyeing. Why dye? Because I can. Because I want to get that perfect shade of mauve grey or work with the most perfect blue on Earth (indigo!).
So there it is. If I keep all that in mind, and actually priced my work according to time and materials, it just wouldn't be all that affordable. As a result, I have to keep thinking about how much I love making. How honoured I feel to have the ancient knowledge of weaving and how much I want others to own a piece of hand woven cloth. How happy I am creating things.
I guess there is no easy answer. I need to give this a little more thought (and do some more research).
Portobello West is fast approaching...I've been working non-stop in the studio, weaving, sewing, dyeing, felting...it's been quite enjoyable. Here are some pics of weaving in progress along with 'judy' who has several warps draped on her ready to go (sorry about the quality of pics, it was pretty late when I took these).
It's no surprise that like most, I'm inspired by what's around me. I say this a lot (ask D, I say it every time we go for a walk which is practically everyday), Vancouver is SO beautiful. We are lucky enough to live in an area that is about an 8 minute walk to the water. Along with that we get beautiful views of the mountains and the city.
I am so lucky.
These are some pics of scenery that I have been taking the last little while...it's really inspiring what I'm working on lately. Lots of moody greys and indigo blues. Nature even provided a beautiful ombred sky.
It's the end of the week again, how does that keep happening?
I've been in full production mode...weaving and making small little goodies.
I felted some wishing stones that I collected when I spent the weekend a while back with Janna on the Sunshine Coast. It was such a great few days...we spent a lot of time on the beach...I collected wishing stones and Janna was strumming her guitar singing beautiful songs.
One of the benefits of working from home is that you are very much in control of your own schedule. Yesterday I got to have coffee by the water with this lovely lady and then in the late afternoon coffee with another lovely lady.
I'm highly caffeinated...for a while there I wasn't drinking any at all but now, I'm back up to at least 2 a day. Yikes. Why does coffee need to be so delicious?
Anyway I have some good news. I was accepted and will be at Portobello West at the end of the month (Sept 26--the last Sunday of the month) and October too (Oct. 31st). I will be offering lots of woven goodies, all hand dyed, some other interesting neck pieces--perfect for the cooler weather, some hand dyed cards and maybe some felted wishing stones which will be part of my display but also for sale. So I hope you'll come check it out--maybe do some early Christmas shopping? :)
PS Above a pic of a another weaving I've finished recently. It's made out of silk and I left parts of the warp exposed as a design. Then I dyed it a dark charcoal grey.
I often get asked why I love weaving...I was thinking about this recently because every time I have someone who is unfamiliar with the process to my studio, they are amazed. But really, like anything unfamiliar it always looks complicated and scary. Weaving isn't easy but breaking down the process really helps and eventually dressing the loom and weaving goes a bit faster.
But it's not a fast process. One of the things I really love about it is the slowness.
Also being able to have a connection with every thread that was used...that's special.
Above is a recent scarf I wove. It's super soft, made of silk, alpaca and hand spun merino angora...perfect for the cooler weather. I'm going to be dyeing it next--ombre or dip dyeing, I haven't quite decided yet. I'm calling this scarf, Janna--inspired by my lovely friend.
equals perfection. This is by Jamie Isenstein. A little rug weaving using harp strings as the warp...brilliant!
This came via Design for Mankind. Maybe you remember a while back me writing about creating little tapestries in public...this reminds me of that, in the sense that you can really use anything as your warp as long as it's under tension. Makes me want to get out in my neighbourhood again and use my neighbour's fences as a warp.
Too much? Meh.
I've been very busy lately in the studio, creating away--I'm working on some new ideas for a little mini collection that I hope to debut this Fall at some local Art and Craft shows. I'm also doing a bit of teaching, still weaving for this lovely lady, and was lucky enough to get some commission work, which didn't completely work out but I learned a lot--and sometimes, that's really what it's all about.
Fall is my favourite season...I know it is for a lot of people. Here in Vancouver, the temperature has gotten a little cooler, the days a little shorter and the rain has set in. A whole lot of grey everywhere, which to me, is very inspiring.
I'm a big fan of grey. All kinds of greys. You may think that grey is just simply grey but nope...it's quite complex.
So cheers, to you dear readers, and to grey!
PS above, a bunch of different materials I just finished dyeing...grey.
I'm Ana Isabel. I'm a fibre artist living and working in Vancouver, Canada. My focus is on hand making all my fabric, dyeing by hand and then make wearables out of the results. I post about my work and what inspires me.