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Selling embroidery – thoughts

I’ve not posted for a while, but I’ve been almost constantly stitching. Stitching for fun, learning new techniques and making pieces without any thought to end purpose or function. This has been enjoyable, but my stitch journal is bulging and some of these pieces are beyond samplers, so I thought I might sell some.

So. I’ve spent the last few weeks backing, stuffing, lining, photographing and uploading to Etsy. On Monday I’ll pass the publish button on each piece and see if it comes of anything.

But it means the usual struggles and doubts. Which pieces are worth selling? I like them all, but will anyone else? How many photos to take? They were really just play pieces, will other people mind the quirks? The deliberate exposed knots, the softly teased raw edges? And the biggie: what to price things?

I don’t really know the formula that answers any of these. I’ve been posting pictures on my Facebook page and Tumblr – and a few people seem interested. But interested enough to buy? I guess I’ll see. I often feel like textiles live in a world where lots of people like it enough to look, but not to buy.

Maybe I’m wrong and just full of doubt as I prepare. Or maybe online is the wrong place. Maybe a tactile medium needs to be in a rocks and mortar shop/gallery. Where people can touch and drape and see how the silks catch the light and the beads sparkle.

Well. I’ll see how this goes and maybe approach some shops. There are some beautiful handmade/crafty shops around where I live and in country Victoria that I would LOVE to have my pieces – but then I’d have to be serious and maintain a proper stock level and branding.

Getting ahead of myself.

Monday first. Lets see if I can even do the thing.

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Pattern and the power of making

I’ve been thinking on and off for a few years now about how important *pattern* is to me. How I’ve always loved knitting, crochet, embroidery, beadwork where there is a rhythm to it. A repetition that is meditative.

But also about how I like coincidence in my life. How spotting a pattern in events or my surroundings is pleasing.

And also about how pattern can sometimes be made stronger by breaking the pattern a little, by way of pointing out where the pattern lay. By creating a feeling of discomfort in the broken pattern. Or a feeling of comfort in breaking the pattern maybe, to break the monotony.

There was an art installation on an open field beside a road, back in Tasmania where I’m from. I’m not sure if it’s still there. But it was a scattering of red shapes. Just oddly shaped objects laying around on the field. But when you got to a certain spot on the road then =bam= all of the shapes lined up from that ONE spot and spelled a word. And the you blink and they are just shapes again because you’ve moved on. I don’t even remember the word. But I do remember a powerful feeling and a definite change in the way I thought about pattern, because the connection between all of those random shapes was completely invisible until you reached that one spot.

My thinking that emerged from that installation:

  • That the ability to spot a pattern could depend *entirely* upon your point of view.
  • That pattern could exist but you would never see it unless you moved.
  • That connections between things could be unseen but very strong/meaningful.
  • Juts because YOU don’t see a pattern doesn’t mean it’s not there.
  • Just because YOU don’t see a pattern doesn’t mean someone else can’t as they have a different point of view.

And on a meta-level:

  • That art could change the way you think about the world.

Some of this may seem very obvious, but I never realised these things before that installation. It changed the way I viewed the *power* of art. Of making. Of expressing ideas.

And today I read this: “thinking about design and repetition and how interrupting a rhythm makes a personal statement about being there.” (from here: http://spiritcloth.typepad.com/spirit_cloth/2009/12/thoughts-on-same-and-different.html) Yes. So so close to my heart.

And. Once, along time ago, I read that some cultures value the ‘deviation from perfection’ in textiles/art as it says something about the maker. And even deliberately put ‘imperfections’ in repeating patterns to achieve this. I never understood this, but my thinking has changed and I can now value this. My thought is that there is often only one way to follow ‘a pattern’ but an infinite number of ways to deviate from a pattern. And now Jude’s words guiding me back to the thought: making the choice of where to deviate is the bit that’s personal.

Okay so many words today, but I’m thinking a great deal.

Maybe it’s because I’m working on this piece, a festive pattern I bought to make table decorations for Christmas:

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It’s been a *very* long time since I worked on a purchased pattern rather than my own thoughts/design. It’s allowing my mind to wander.

And dessert last night:

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Icecream and frozen yoghurts I made. And berries I picked myself.