For centuries women have used cloth as a tool of comfort and as an expression of beauty within their homes. Creating cloth for warmth, cloth for shelter, our female predecessors embellished these linens with hand stitch using laborious and time consuming techniques thereby enhancing the functional beauty of objects which enveloped and protected their families. Inspired by these women I hope my creations pay tribute to and recognise the devotion expressed in cloth by our female ancestors .

''the use of traditional often time consuming process alludes to the devotion of a mother''. c K. A. Ruane 2007

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summertime blues

I nearly didn't post today and I know I have been away quite a while, for me anyway. The thing is though, I love blogworld and the people in it. Mostly like minded individuals with similar aspirations and motivations. I have been so fed up this week, no motivation at all, none, gone completely. I know, or at least I think I know that we all must get like that from time to time and when I read this post from Jackie I realised it is a common emotion amongst us creative types. I probably had more empathy with the private e-mail she sent rather than the actual post but you will get the drift. Basically it's ''what's the point''. Now that's where you come in, not for sympathy or encouragement but from a practical point of view. I have listed and re-listed around sixty things on etsy over these past couple of weeks and not one thing has moved. I have all but stopped following my heart and making my ''wrapping cloths''. I have made cushions, pincushions, brooches, dolls, samples, small pieces, turned myself inside out looking for the thing, the one thing that people want. I know we are in the middle of a recession but I also know that there are people out there who as soon as they list sell out. I am not saying they are more or less talented than me, I am saying what is the ''thing'' they have got that allows this to happen for them? So, I want to ask you......what do you think I should be making?....what do you think is missing here? and I also want to ask...have your stats dropped, and I mean really dropped? have your comments dropped? Yes I know, recession, holidays etc etc but no visitors, no comments and no sales makes for a very hard to motivate maker.
Hence these pictures, my latest doll, damp stretched yet unfinished, can't be bothered, what's the point.
To hell with it I thought last night. Who is the one person you know who desperately wants a piece of your work to hang on their new bedroom wall..... me! So I have started this piece for myself, no firm plans I will just let it evolve. Some of you will not fail to notice the inclusion of Marimekko fabric, oh my, Marimekko fabric, me and Marimekko!! O.K. Karen calm down! For those of you who don't know, I have a Marimekko obsession. I never leave Sweden without a visit to the Marimekko store in Stockholm and amongst other things Marimekko fabric. Consequently I have a drawer full of it, some has been used for cafe curtains in my kitchen, some on cushions but I have a stash, and a very healthy stash too. This piece has been stitched to plain cotton then embellished with cutwork and french knots with a little vintage lace. I damp stretched it last night and today it has been cut up, yes, cut up and used for more cutwork on silk. At the moment I love how it's coming on and other stuff is being added to the silk so I hope to show you the progress next time.
So that's me and my week, how was yours? I hope you have a fantastic weekend, see you soon, honest!


Lata said...

i like your blog content :)
me too, I'm doing this such thing... embroidery stuffs :)
thnx for sharing this :)
hugs and kisses :)

genial said...

greetings from Jakarata Indonesia :)

just drop by to say have a great weekend to you :) such a lovely blog :)

and have a wonderful weekend to you :)

Kaija said...

Chin up, Karen! Your work is exquisite as always and you should remember that you have a group of devoted fans who love what you do.

Everything has dropped, views, sales, visits. But I guess that kind of things just come and go. Don't let it get you down too much. (And one reason why my stats and sales have dropped is that I've quit commenting myself. Bad girl, but I felt like I never have anything new to say.)

You know what my week has been like and I'm still pretty hopeful about everything. Take a deep breath and make a list of all the things that are well at the moment.

Jackie said...

Way to go!
(As they say)
I just had a sale...woo hoo!

Gunnels blog said...

Your work are very very beautiful Karen and you know that! So continue ! But I think that the time now - vacations,summer, holiday and the bad times with the finans are the answere. I think I need the summer to get rest, both from creating and from the computer ! I have my etsy shop on vacation mood, but I did not doing so many sales this spring either, so I don´t know how difficult it will be to start again after summer
And I also love Marimekko!

Kayla coo said...

Dear Karen,
Try not be despondent,although I understand how you feel.
It's so difficult for artists in a recession.
A lot of people are on holiday and etsy I feel may get busy again after the summer holidays.
Have you thought of wedding favours?
Perhaps marketing towards special events,christening,holy communion gifts.
Your dolls perhaps could be personalised with a babies date of birth etc or christening details.
These would be beautiful unique gifts.
Even a gift for a bridesmaid your embroidery could use the colours from the wedding flowers.
Michala xx

Kayla coo said...

I sent you mail via flickr.
M x

Claire said...

I've been blogging for years (and years) and I've noticed that things always drop off during the northern summer.

Maybe you are on the 'come down' after the big push to get ready for the market recently.

I think your work is ace, especially the wrapping cloths *sigh*. I think I see myself as a maker rather than buyer.

But I also know how much I treasure the few textile pieces I've purchased over the years. Your post reminded me that part of my love affair with textiles most definitely should include aquiring the beautiful work of others.


Dolores said...

I love your work. As I read this post I thought to myself "why not just create for the love of creating" and you did that - for yourself. Chin up, it's bound to get better.

Tammie Lee said...

sorry to hear you have been having a hard time. I rarely do well on etsy! I have not found my groove there. Seems more of a place for folks to see my art/photography. Your photos are full of the charm that your craft oozes with. Hope you love the piece for yourself, but why wouldn't you!


Miss 376 said...

I think it is probably a combination of the time of year, financial situation, and the aftereffects of the makey do. Summer is always a quiet time. Whatever you do, don't give up, you are such an inspiration and enjoy doing something for yourself for a change

Hens Teeth said...

I think this is the time for a little 'me' time and a bit of self indulgence, after working very hard all year. Give yourself a break Karen. Everyone is on their jollies, money spent on holidays and keeping the kids happy etc. Time for you to take some quiet contemplation...think things through and just enjoy making your beautiful art, maybe at this time just for the sake of it.
September will see a change, I'm sure of t.

jennyflower said...

(as above!) I am thoroughy enjoying my new vibe of creating for the joy of it , rather than always worrying about whether I can flog it....glad you too are making for YOU. xxxxxx

genial said...

hey i was here.. again :)

méri said...

Good question! I think the same it's a combination of several things! It's hard to sell especially when things are made one by one or in small batches, methinks.
Go on with your beautiful work, Karen! I'm sure soon you'll have return

CJ Stitching and Blooms said...

Greetings from Michigan. Karen all your stitching and projects are inspirational. I find that I rarely create things for myself but for others and that always makes me happy to keep stitching. I also believe that "Summer" is a time of vacations and more time out just to relax and be outside. This means less time in the computer. Also thousands have lost jobs and so hence buying things like your lovely creations is a pure luxary. I think things will pick up in the Fall and closer to Christmas.

Have you ever tried having a blog giveaway, or Blog Anniversary and give one of your lovely creations as a gift??? Just an idea.

Please keep posting and creating I love reading your blog. Hugs Judy

Hotter Than... said...

I'm sorry that you're feeling a bit flat sweetie. If it helps, I love the "play" stuff you're working on. As usual your work is rich and faultless. I've started worrying that I won't be able to sew/generally produce things fast enough for my uni course. It may seem silly but it's a real comcern at the moment.

I don't know if it'll help, but do you know a book called The Artist's Way? I'm currently working through it and am finding it really helpful. I know other people who have used it too and had positive things to report. x

Kim said...

I do not yet have a store, but I certainly have seen the attendance in my classes drop to very very low levels. Stay in the game if you can. Keep making, you are a maker, a giver. You put some of yourself in everything you do, and in doing so gain more. Keep blogging as you can, it too feeds something us, if nothing more than knowing you aren't alone. These tough times will pass, people will buy again, and we will recover, it just takes time. If you can hang in there, do, if not, do what you must to get by, but feed your soul. Feed your soul.

Dizzy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dizzy said...

I have just discovered your blog and think your work is beautiful. I also have days where I think 'What is the point? I should just go out and get a regular job!" But it passes and you get enthusiastic again!

whitney-anne said...

My friend has a gallery/shop and says it's hard to predict what people will buy - always do/make what you love, your heart has to be in it. I agree that maybe wedding christening type things would be great for you to do as well. Have a great time in san francisco and come back refreshed and inspired.

Mr X Stitch said...

Keep your chin up Karen. I'm sure there's a whole host of people who appreciate what you do and never take the time to say so. I'm one of those people, or at least I was until I wrote this... :)