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







Tuesday, April 5, 2011

homesick....

Oh boy, I really missed you!! Don't get me wrong, my little girl is way at the top of the list along with my little boy when it comes to the company I love to keep but you really have a hold on me...truly.
London....more than one reason to go. I would go every day to play mummy but there was a little extra reason this time, my hook and eye pieces. There was a come one come all kind of open day at a big store in London on saturday for British (aspiring) designers. A queueing system from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. take your chance. Super organised moi, there by 8 a.m. daughter tagging along for company. First in the queue?? Not a chance, around number 100!!! Anyhow, the queue went down unexpectedly quickly as they opened the doors early due to congestion on the street..it was like the X Factor, I kid you not..It wasn't exclusively textiles either, there was lighting, furniture and I even saw one poor girl carrying a rocking horse under her arm!! The setup, well if they liked your work and had a market for it they may, just may, place an order. If they liked your work but didn't feel they had the market for it they gave you advice, pointers, feedback. When I first signed up for this someone said to me ''how will you cope if they don't want it?''. Honestly? That depended on the scale of them not wanting it. If they thought it was crap, wouldn't sell in a pound shop, then I would be working in a supermarket the next day, devastation, throw out the needles and thread.
In all honesty I would have been delighted if they had ordered my work, really delighted yet I had another reason for going. Working in isolation is very hard. Is it good enough? Which direction should I take? Am I flogging a dead horse? I know that I drown in compliments about my work from you lovely people and I am so very appreciative of that but I needed to hear the truth from the industry perspective or from part of the industry at least and I went there looking for a little confidence because believe it or not I sometimes don't have very much of that. I don't sell as well as I want or need. I see poor quality work selling so fast it makes me dizzy and I am regularly asking myself the question, is it worth all the effort?
So that's the reason I made these hook and eye cushions, three to be exact. (my daughter inherited the third one by the way which is why it's not on here) she can wrap me round her little finger!!
So, did they want to buy? No.......but...they absolutely loved my work. There was even a gasp and you can't ask for more than a gasp can you. In my mind these pieces are for a lounge, they felt they were pieces for a bedroom and they don't have a bedding or bedroom department. I am not upset, or down or feeling useless in any way. I came out of there bouncing and high as a kite. Stunning, beautiful, exceptional quality and a few names of places to approach...that's good enough for me. So I am going to put these in the shop later, they won't be cheap so may not sell but they may aswel be in there as not.
Now for what all this means in terms of my direction.....I have been wanting to do a different kind of work for a while now, for a different market. I did start a little collection a while ago and then the confidence went and I mothballed it all. Well I now feel newly invigorated, filled with excitement and motivation. can't wait to get going again. I have decided to blog less....every day blogging is great for feeling part of everything and bumping up those stats that have become such an obsession but it doesn't leave as much time for embroidery So I will now probably go down to 2 or 3 times a week, I hope you don't mind . It doesn't mean I don't love you any more and as for my stats, well I will keep taking the tablets and my one reader and I will be just dandy on our own.
I must show you what I bought too...look at all this beautiful cloth. The trim on the left is vintage and I couldn't possibly tell you what it cost, you would have to go lie down in a darkened room. Suffice to say I only bought half a metre.....the nice man gave me a bit extra though, it must have been the puppy dog eyes and the drooling that did it!
As for the touristy things...I am useless. I did take my camera but I'm not a natural when it comes to taking pictures. However...I got caught up in a mini riot/protest/demo and did manage to get a picture for you of a policeman running for cover and see the people behind the lampost? well they are looking at all the chaos...quite exciting really!! The hair on the right belongs to my daughter in case you are wondering. So thats my holiday snaps...do you think I'll ever get employed by a travel company??? No, me neither.
I hope you've managed to stay awake whilst reading all that...it was a long one. 

34 comments:

avomeri said...

Lovely things you've bought!
I'm curious for that different kind of work...
have a great week!

Postcards from Wildwood said...

The cushions are beautiful Karen. Course they're meant for a sitting room. I know some people enjoy moving all those cushions around before they get into bed, but it isn't for me! They are elegant and luxurious. Good luck with your 'collection' and with your new leads. I hope the lucky break you so deserve is just around the next corner... ('Are we there yet, mum...?!')
Janice. x

Gina said...

I'm really caught up with the dilemma of not selling as much as I would like but refusing to drop prices and have never understood why so much "tat" manages to sell! Good luck with new ventures... and the cushions are gorgeous by the way!

Rachel said...

You have been having adventures! I think I can see why they might have felt that the cushions were for a bedroom, but like Janice, the idea of moving cushions aside to get in to bed doesn't appeal.

Maybe a daybed in a boudoir? Oh, to have so leisurely a life!

deanna7trees said...

it will all happen for you when the stars are all aligned. just keep at it. glad your trip was motivating and that is good. that lace you bought is exquisite. i understand about not blogging every day. i just blog when i have something to show. no schedule for me.

Flaming Nora said...

The problem with not selling things as quickly or in the quantity you would like is that the general public, the ones that shop at Primark do not appreciate or understand quality.
they do not understand just how long it takes to make something as stunning as your cushions. They think they look great, but well you know I saw something like that in ..... (insert shop name) and it was only £5, £10 etc etc. Yes but that one is made of crappy viscose fabric, the seams and chain stitched together the embellishment is done on a machine and or by blind children in a factory in China.
The other problem is that there are huge amounts of people out there who think they can sew, though their finish isn't any where near good enough for me, but are just selling a few bits to boost their self esteem. And so end up paying them selves about £2 per hour. Rah Rah Rah! Rant Rant Rant. You need to get a better clientele who know whats what and appreciate true craftsman ship. Sounds as though you are starting on an exciting new path, can't wait to see what new direction you are going in, even if it is less often. Less is after all the new more. Going now before every one falls asleep.

chocolatefrog said...

Congratulations Karen, that was brave but you and your work really deserve the confidence boost. I love the texture of these cushions, and for me they'd work equally well in (a single) colour (shock horror!) for other rooms.

Lois Evensen said...

I think it was a wonderful event for the store to invite artists to see their work with the idea of buying for the store. Fantastic.

I will miss your daily blogging, but understand that we all move in different directions to do different things.

Are you going to share your new endeavors with us?

Hugs,
Lois

Heather Woollove said...

Karen--Such good (and certainly not surprising) news about your positive feedback...but always remember 'we knew you when'!! :)
I love your new pieces and I'm so happy that you had your usual wonderful Mommy/Daughter time. I'm anxious to see what you get up to next...whenever it suits you to post! XXO-

Gina said...

Good to see you back. I saw a few bits and pieces on FB so knew you were "on a mission" as well as having fun. You're find the right venue and it will be as unique as your work.

Carol said...

this must have just been amazing :) let's hope your leads pan out. hold with you those moments - write them down before they get watered down by your memory so when you feel weak, low and lacking confidence you can hold them up as witness - objective and independent of your talent.

Miss 376 said...

Good for you! I'm not surprised at the gasps of delight. They look wonderful on the screen, but must be awesome in real life

Carrie said...

Love those cushions. Maybe somewhere like Origin is the place to be for the clientel that you are looking for. It's a good move to spend less time blogging, it's amazing how much time it eats up, and as I said to someone else recently, no one is going to stop following your lovely blog just because you're not posting as regularly anymore.

Joanna said...

Following you with an RSS feed at least means I don't miss your posts, which is good. I only blog once a week because I couldn't manage to do more often, like you said it is time consuming. Glad you got a good response to your work, such a lift.

I am going to have problems with pricing at some stage as here in Latvia £2 an hour can be a good wage, particularly at the moment. Will have to take care where things are sold.

Patchwork Linda said...

Glad you had a good time,cushions are really lovely you must try and follow up what they suggested.Remember not many great artist were appreciated in their own lifetime.

Elizabeth said...

Now this weekend will be noted in your personal historybook as one that was very meaningfull, usefull, succesfull and very happy.
I'm so glad it turned out to be just what you needed, a salute til your craftwomanship.

Enjoy and good luck with your new collection!!!!

stitchinglife2 said...

Excellent; good for you. That sounds very promising. If I dare say it, I kind of think bedroom too. Really posh classy person's bedroom. Highest possible top end quality. And, of course, none of your work should ever be cheap. Well done indeed.

DIAN said...

Karen, your work is beautiful but not for the mass market. I have seen what you have in your etsy shop and although the prices seem high (compared to the department store market) your pieces are so beautiful and worth every cent.

The issue of making and then not selling is a dilemma for lots of creative people.

Just go with your heart.

Jill said...

So glad your work was appreciated and admired. The vintage lace work is gorgeous. Looking forward to sharing in your new direction.

jill said...

stunning cushions, and I know you and your work and you will be successful at some point

changelingthings said...

I'm so pleased that they gasped! You couldn't get a better compliment, and it's well justified too. I'm so glad it was a positive experience for you...will we get to see any of the new work...very exciting!

Johoanna Robson said...

I missed you! I'm glad you're back. I'm glad you got awesome feedback. And so you should for your work is fantabulous! So now you are onto the next phase of your life. I can't wait to see where it takes you.

Beth said...

Oh, my goodness, Karen!!! Those pillows are gorgeous! Stunning, in fact! The hook & eye and all that beautiful embroidery....swoon!
You will find a buyer for these gorgeous babies and your work is fabulous! I've got you on my blog roll and in my reader, so I won't miss a post!
xoxo Beth

Beth said...

Oops, I forgot to mention....those trims and fabric!!!! So beautiful! I can't wait to see what you do with them! xoxo BEth

Beth said...

Oh, and one more thing...if someone as incredibly talented as you is lacking confidence, I might as well throw in the towel right now! :) Happy stitches! xoxo bEth

Debi From the Pacific Northwest said...

I should hope to high heaven they would "gasp!". Your work is HUGE gasp-worthy. I'm so glad they truly appreciated your work and sorry it wasn't just what they were looking for. Like Deanna said, things will come together for you. I hope your leads will lead to even more leads!

;~) Debi

Sheep Rustler said...

Pity I am reading this sitting at the library front desk as I had to smother a snort at your tourist photography. I once saw a riot with policemen on horses in London!!

I am sorry they did not take your work but thrilled that they loved it. And really curious to see what you do next.

What Karen did next...

Works sucks, BTW, but thanks for asking :( Actually it is a nice enough job but I am tired and stressed and want to be at home crafting. Plus the big house move is happening next week and we are all stressed and snappy and cannot wait for it to be over. This too shall pass.

Linda Carole Bloom said...

Hi Karen,
Glad you had such a productive trip. Don't ever consider lowering your quality or prices - anyone who has ever done handwork with a needle and thread and thimble knows the worth of those pieces.
Your pillows are wonderful (and make my fingers hurt to look at them) and if I had a pillow like that I would certainly not leave it in the bedroom - I would carry it with me from room to room - ha.
In the next week or two I'm going to feature a few things I have bought on Etsy in my blog, and the piece I bought from you will be there (if I can figure how to photograph it well enough to do it justice). Have a great week, and never doubt yourself. Love, Linda

Things Hand Made said...

Well done Karen for getting out there and showing people. thats the hard bit. My friend was there with her woodwork and she got a maybe, they are considering her work. She is just pleased that someone else liked her stuff too.

Hoola Tallulah said...

WOW Karen, those cushions are beautiful, your attention to detail is incredible and it is no wonder your audience gasped!
I am glad you came away positive and excited, you are such a talented lady and surely destined for great things! Keep at it <3

Tammie Lee said...

exquisite Karen!
my thought... a gallery should have a show of your work. It should not be thought of as cushions etc. But art, magnificent artful stitchery. Of course the pieces can still be used in a practical way, but people with money that want original pieces for their homes. SO a wonderful elite gallery. Try that.

Angela said...

YOur cushions are so elegant and beautiful. No wonder you got a gasp! Good luck with your new ideas, look forward to seeing what you have in mind :)

Ingrid said...

so happy for you, but not surprised they loved your work!:-)

Jackie said...

I was holding my breath while I was reading this and then 'yay!! Fantastic!! You must feel brilliant. I hadn't realised it was so soon and sorry I missed this. (You may realise I am catching up on all 15 of your missed posts..yes..thats how much of a friend I am and have been reading right through and am here now.)
Anyway...well doen . I'm so happy you got the well deserved gasp and positive feedback.