Monday, August 31, 2009

new work and monthly goals

It looks like things are finally getting back to normal, the dust in the studio is settling, and I'm more or less back on track. Or getting there, anyway.

I've been working on some new colorways and I'll be adding some new linen towels in trellis stripe to my etsy shop during the week. First is Chocolate Cherry- a deep, rich chocolate brown over a bright cherry red- so pretty!


tea towel
trellis stripe / chocolate cherry
100% linen
16" x 24"

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Moving right along, it's time the monthly goal meetup at Modish. I'm even on time this month- yay! For that I deserve a pat on the back.



Here's where I stand with things.

August Goals

1. Improve conversion rate & increase sales.
*work through browsers to buyers notes and make changes
* holiday themed items, starting with Halloween

* new patterns using less labor-intensive processes to diversify product/price range

* approach bloggers

* local boutiques/markets

* put together information & follow up with existing contacts


2.
2 new patterns
* experiment with folded, twisted, clamped resists
* laced batik pattern

* arach batik pattern

3. 2 new colorways
* chocolate cherry
* majolica blue

* something orange

* cranberry

* emerald green


4. 2 quilts finished
* finish "break" art quilt
* continue "break" series

* "furrow" quilt - develop colors
- lake/poppy, gold sand/?

5. address wholesaling

6. find shows to enter, assemble deadline calendar, including 3 Rivers next June.

7. Business Plan-- finished!






My performance this month wasn't as good as last month, but with everything that's been going on, I'm practicing cutting myself some slack. On the extra credit side, I did do several things that weren't on the list, like revamping the studio and additional colorways. Most of my goals are staying the same for September.


September Goals

1. Improve conversion rate & increase sales.
*work through browsers to buyers notes and make changes
* seasonal themed items
(halloween, thanksgiving)
* new patterns using less labor-intensive processes to diversify product/
price range

* approach bloggers

* local boutiques/markets (PT)
* put together information & follow up with existing contacts

2.
New patterns
* experiment with folded, twisted, clamped resists

3. New products
* zip bags
* pillow covers

4
. New colorways
* orange
* cranberry

* emerald green


5. New quilts
* continue "break" series
* "furrow" quilt - develop colors
- lake/poppy, gold sand/?

6. Find shows to enter, assemble deadline calendar, including 3 Rivers next June.

7. Business Plan-- finished!

8. Prepare for Arts Market in early October

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

oh boy...


argh! I've gotten way behind and i missed 3-for-Tuesday again!

A few things have come up during the last few weeks- short deadlines, lengthy applications, studio renovation, rental property emergencies and real life in general.

Sometimes keeping up with everything feels like running down a steep hill trying to control a giant snowball... too many trip-ups and missteps and you have to run twice as hard just to get caught up with the thing.



While I work on that, here's a picture of some stacks of cocktail napkins- the end result of the short deadline. Considering I hadn't designed the packaging or dyed the fabric when I found out about this opportunity and I had 3 days to get 20 sets of these together, I don't think I did too shabbily.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

textiles and art: sigmar polke

For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated with the work of Sigmar Polke. Last week, when I was talking about Malka's batik, I mentioned that this pattern made me think of dot screens.



Really, it was Sigmar Polke's dot screens that I was thinking of.


Sigmar Polke
Bunnies, 1966
synthetic polymer on linen
58 3/4 x 39 1/8 inches
149.2 x 99.3 cm
image from Hirshhorn Museum



Sigmar Polke
You May Be Spending a Lot of Your Weekend Thinking About Alternative Careers, 2000
Acrylic and Indian Ink on Paper
Image from National Galleries of Scotland



When I was looking for these images, I discovered a body of work entitled "Lens Pictures", inspired by a book about lenses published in 1685 by Johann Zahn. Zahn discovered that objects seen through a lens will change in shape and luminescence depending on the angle of vision of the viewer. *

I find this idea fascinating, and I love this work on the conceptual basis alone.

But it was the textiles in these paintings that stopped me in my tracks before I knew about the concept.



Sigmar Polke
Untitled (Lens Painting), 2007
mixed media on fabric
78 3/4 x 74 3/4 inches
200 x 190 cm



Sigmar Polke
Untitled (Lens Painting), 2007
mixed media on fabric
74 3/4 x 78 3/4 inches
190 x 200 cm


The last two images are from Michael Werner Gallery, where you can see the complete exhibition of Lens Paintings.

*from look into my owl

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

upholstered walls

I try to keep this blog pretty much on textiles and fibers and away from interior design since there are so many excellent design blogs out there. But I saw this in the September issue of House Beautiful and thought it was worth mentioning.




Those are upholstered walls, done in crewel embroidery. Such beautiful texture, such richness, and with that Warhol......swoon...

It's probably good that I don't have upholstered walls. I'd surely ruin the embroidery from running my hands over it all the time.

..... ..... .....

Interior design by Rob Southern, photographs by Victoria Pearson.

Read, Mimi. "Color Personality No. 5 : Dramatic." House Beautiful September 2009: 116+.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

oops...

A last-minute short deadline came up last week and since Friday, I've been scrambling to meet it. Everything else fell by the wayside a bit while I was sewing like a madwoman and and cursing myself for not resolving my packaging design sooner. But all is well, deadline is met and things are back to normal.

Since I'm a bit behind, 3-for-Tuesday is postponed until next week.

In the meantime, here's a peek at the new yellow colorway I've been working on.


trellis stripe
hand dyed batik
100% linen


So rich and autumnal.... I think my nostalgia for fall is starting to kick in bad this year. ... really bad... leaves changing, a chill in the air, light jackets and wool sweaters, scarves ...sniff...

I haven't yet decided what to call this colorway. Maybe something mustard-y... maybe something having to do with the leaves changing.... hmmm...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Monthly Goal Meetup and my 100th post!

Wow! I just realized that this is my 100th post! I feel like I've reached a blog milestone. I think this calls for a little cake. (really, though, what doesn't call for some cake?)



Now that we've all enjoyed some sugar, it's down to business, this being the first Friday in August. Time for the monthly goal meetup on Modish Biz Tips.



Here are my July goals, and how I did with them.

1. double sales from last month
OK, this one gets partial credit. Sales were up but not doubled. But- exposure is way up. The blog has grown and my etsy shop has had tons of traffic. Not too shabby. Now I need to work on my conversion rate- turning all that traffic into sales. I'm hoping that back-to school and upcoming holidays will be helpful with this too.
2. diversify product line- design 2 new patterns, choose 2-4 new colors
Check and check! Binary and Trellis Stripe are the 2 new patterns. Ocean and Cherry Pop are 2 new colors.
3. tea towels and napkins in new colors & designs made and ready to post in the shops
check and check again! OK, a little fudge, I do need to take & edit some more photos. But the items are made- so by the letter of the law...ha ha ha
4. business plan
I've been diligently working on this. I've done one section each week and it's mostly finished. It does need quite a bit of editing, but I actually enjoy editing, that's the easy part! I get to check this off and it stays on the list.
5. apply to 1000 Markets
Done- and accepted! My 1000 Markets shop
6. apply to arts market
Done- literally by the skin of my teeth! I submitted this application this morning. Actually, the goal meetup is responsible. I was going over my goals 2 weeks ago so that I could make sure I had a handle on everything and I realized I needed to print the application for the arts market. When I did that, I realized the deadline was today. Plenty of time to get it done, but if I'd allowed myself to put it off onto next month's goals like I have for the past few months, I would have had to wait until November to submit again. Yay! A goal meetup success story!!
7. organize! paperwork, daily to-do list, schedule, finished product storage
This is going to be an ongoing project, along with completely redoing my studio. Not looking forward to the process, but looking very forward to the result.




August Goals:

1. Improve conversion rate & increase sales.
*work through browsers to buyers notes and make changes
* holiday themed items, starting with Halloween

* new patterns using less labor-intensive processes to diversify product/price range

* approach bloggers

* local boutiques/markets
* put together information & follow up with existing contacts


2.
2 new patterns
* experiment with folded, twisted, clamped resists
* laced batik pattern

* arach batik pattern

3. 2 new colorways
* chocolate cherry
* majolica blue

* something orange

* cranberry

* emerald green


4. 2 quilts finished
* finish "break" art quilt
* continue "break" series

* "furrow" quilt - develop colors
- lake/poppy, gold sand/?

5. address wholesaling

6. find shows to enter, assemble deadline calendar, including 3 Rivers next June.

7. Business Plan-- finished!



That's it! Next check in is Monday, August 31.

And if you haven't checked out Modish, you should!






Thursday, August 6, 2009

textiles and art

I used to love the knitting and fine art column that Amy Singer wrote for Interweave Knits. As I've been looking at textiles and pattern in Japanese prints, and also started look for textiles in art in general, I've been thinking about that column quite a bit. Although it was geared specifically to knitting, it really sparked my interest in the history and representation of textiles in general. As I'm discovering, this is an area where the more I learn, the more I want to learn.

I couldn't find any links to the interweave articles, but if you want to know more about Amy Singer, check out her website, or take a look at Knitty (she's the founder!)

So with a nod to Amy and Interweave, this week's textiles in art loveliness is another Japanese print. Because I'm addicted.


Toyonobu Beauty Under Cherry Blossoms
Wide-hashiraeban, beni-e, 50.9 x 23.2 cm
Publisher: Urokogata-ya Magobei. Date: c. 1740s
Riccar Art Museum, Japan

"Cherry-blossom viewing. A girl binding a strip of fancy paper bearing a poem to branches of a cherry tree. A curtain, under which a carpet is seen, is hung up for a banquet under the cherry blossoms. " *



..... ..... .....

* Japanese print image, caption, and description:
Neuer, Roni, Herbert Libertson, and Susugu Yoshida. Ukiyo-E: 250 Years of Japanese Art. New York, Gallery Books, 1979.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

etsy finds and new fabric

First, I'm so excited! I wish you could come dance around with me.

Yesterday, waiting in my inbox, was a super-happy surprise.



My tea towels were featured in Etsy Finds yesterday- in the actual email part, no less. I've had a few things in the "related items" on the blog, which was exciting enough, but I've never been in the email part. super happy!!!


Second, and also exciting, and therefore requiring more exclamation points, there's more new fabric! (!!!) The latest pattern is binary in a new colorway I'm calling ocean - a really pretty blue with a bit of green in it.

Here's a peek:


Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

3-for-Tuesday

3-for-Tuesday is all about batik today! Malka, of a stitch in dye, creates beautiful fabric that I've been admiring for a quite a while now. Mmm... such beautiful saturated colors.


Oh, this aqua and rust combination is just gorgeous! A deeper version of the chalky viridian green and bright poppy red that I love so much.

This pattern reminds me a bit of super-enlarged dot screens (like newspaper photos), reptile skin, and rusty hardware cloth. I love patterns that are textural. I bet this would look great on almost anything.


This green, yellow, and white is so crisp and clean. I'm pretty rough on my fabric while it's dyeing because I like the cracking and breaking down of the wax. The downside is that I don't get crisp lines and clean white areas like this.

Visit Malka's shop, stitchindye, and her blog, a stitch in dye, to learn more about her and her work.

Enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2009

and the winner is....

Thanks so much to everyone that came up with a name for my contest. You guys are the best! I had so much trouble making up my mind.

I finally decided on.....................




Cherry Pop, submitted by reeselightnin.

I still haven't figured out how to pull email off the comment form (duh!), so if you'll shoot me an email at 5oclockcrows{at}gmail.com with your address information, I'll get your fabric in the mail and on its way to you.

And if anyone knows how to get the email from the comment form in blogger, shoot me an email about that too.


Thanks again to everyone for entering. This was my first contest and so much fun! I'll definitely be doing more contests in the future. :)

yay!