I started this blog nearly a year ago, so the end of December seems an apt time to look back and see how far I’ve come.
- Techniques I’ve learned so many new techniques this year on my course at Morley College – wet felting and embellishing, shibori, basket weaving and coiling, using the heat press, screen printing. I started off making small samples and experimenting, but by the end of the year I was making stuff that was good enough to sell at fairs and markets. This was very satisfying!
- Selling Talking of markets, it seems a long time since my first ever stall, at Spitalfields, where I sold precisely – nothing! Amazingly, it didn’t put me off, and things have only got better since then (well, they could hardly get worse!). I’ve also learned to be a bit more phlegmatic. Sales are always encouraging, but markets are a really good way to meet other makers and make useful contacts, as well as gauging interest in different types of product. And it only takes a moment to make a sale: on the Sunday before Christmas at 4pm I was freezing cold and wishing I hadn’t bothered, when a woman turned up and bought two scarves.
- New friends It’s been wonderful making contact with other fibre artists through this blog and at Morley College. The shared passion, advice and ideas have been extremely rewarding and a bit unexpected. Thanks to everyone who reads and follows this blog – I’m very grateful.
- Makerhood In the real world, my involvement with Makerhood, running their blog and PR strategy, has been a fantastic experience. The website now features more than 60 local makers offering everything from biscuits and cakes to recycled computers. Better still, there’s a real community buzz, with enthusiastic participation in our social events and makers’ forums. And we also helped to set up the monthly makers’ market in Brixton and some pop-up stalls in Brixton Village to provide other selling opportunities.
So what does 2012 hold? Here are my new year’s fibre resolutions:
- To experiment more with combining different techniques I’ve already made a start with shibori and screen printing, shibori in the heat press, shibori and felt – notice a certain common element here?! – and I’m keen to continue and develop this.
- To experiment with more different fibres other than wool and silk when making felt – inspired by Zed.
- To improve my machine embroidery – inspired by Nicola and Hilary. Hmmm, this could be an expensive resolution, requiring a new sewing machine!
Doubtless there will be various diversions and detours along the way. For example, we’re doing some papermaking at Morley College this term – who knows where that could lead?
Whether you make resolutions or not, I wish you all the very best for 2012.