Archive for October, 2007

Teaching, Felting, Selling

Since I started writing this blog nine months ago, I’ve tried to make it more about what I do and less about me. However, life has become so busy in the last month that the two have overlapped to the degree that I can’t make a distinction. I’m doing something I love as a business now, and not because I have a little spare time.

Last month, I opened my etsy shop, signed up for my first craft show and launched a series of felting workshops. I didn’t anticipate that all three ideas would be successful so soon, nor was I prepared for how it was going to turn my house upside down.

While I’m thrilled to be doing so much felting, sewing and teaching, several things have had to take a back seat. First to go was blogging, second was reading other blogs, third was the laundry, fourth was cooking for my family. I’m still documenting all the art that is happening around here, but I haven’t been able to carve out the time to sit and write.


This morning, my friends Linda and Rima came to learn about needle felting. I made a seahorse, which turned into a checkbook cover after everyone left; Rima did a beautiful illustration of three ladyslippers, and Linda experimented with texture by twisting the roving into spirals before applying it to her felt. Now that I sit down to write, I realize I forgot to take pictures of their projects which were both worth sharing.

Tonight I’m teaching a class to eight women at our community center. I’m full of excitement and nerves, partly because I know the more excited I become, the less coherent my instructions are. Speak slowly. Calm down. Take it one step at a time. There is so much I want to show and share; I hope I can convey some actual instruction instead of running around like a headless chicken.

In case you are wondering, the craft show was a dud; the booth cost more than I made in sales. I sold four items, and two were to people who knew me and came to the show just for me (thanks Carrie!). My aunt bought my checkbook cover right out of my hand, hence the new seashorse. The silver lining was that it forced me to finish a bunch of items which had been languishing around my house. A friend gave me super advice for improving my products, help me set up my booth, kept me company throughout the rainy afternoon, chatted up passersby who might have been tempted to just pass by, and boosted my flagging spirits; she is the BASF for crafters. Now I have a shop with new items, and many more to photograph and post (if you are interested in a felt bead necklace, I have three hanging from the curtain rod in my office waiting for pictures).



It is safe to say that our world is drowning in plastic cast-off by consumers around the world; whether it is little black toy wheels in the stomach of a juvenile albatross, or trees in the Amazon girdled by grocery bags, plastic is an evil that will endure far beyond our lifespan.

Since a lot of my work uses recycled sweaters to create wool felt, it seems logical to package gifts in a multi-purpose fabric pouch. What is a jewelry wrapper one day can be a camera case, glasses case or credit card holder another day. Sew two quick side seams, a button hole and the pouch is done.

My current dilemma surrounds my responsibility as a seller to provide wrapping or packaging for items I sell at a show. This Sunday October 7th, I’ll have my first booth at the I Heart Rummage craft show. Do I have to buy bags to hand to my customers? What do customers expect? What will they accept?

I have lots of clean, dry grocery bags in my kitchen. Would customers object to receiving their purchase in my reused plastic? While I have some small-handled gift-size paper shopping bags (you know the kind you get from upscale retailers), I don’t think I have enough for my purposes. My other idea is reusing the colorful coated gift bags people buy for birthday presents; lots of them have either seasonal motifs or childish prints on them, but they would serve the function. I’d appreciate any feedback or suggestions, and if any of my local readers have small paper bags they’d like to contribute, I’ll be at the Fiber Gallery tonight.

Flickr Photos