Friday, 7 June 2013

Not crap at craft at all!

So I returned from my first ever paid felting workshop last night. And I think it was a success. Just one stage in the process that I need to remember to demonstrate or explain better, but the finished articles were beautiful - and it has to be said much better than mine, I shall keep to my rather thin excuse that I was too busy explaining and checking their felt to concentrate on my own. I gave them the option of doing their own creative thing or making my favourite kind: a sea picture. Three opted for the sea, all in very different ways and all three charming, and one went creative in a very beautiful, impressionist kind of way. The lovely ladies in question are a group who meet every month under the guise of "Crap at Craft" but do these look crap to you, especially as first attempts?
It was a craft group after my own heart; any craft gathering that doesn't have a treat like a freshly made scone with jam and clotted cream isn't really worth bothering with. I think a good time was had by all and I came home so pleased with myself, not merely because I came home with a full belly, some money in my purse, and the satisfaction that comes from showing people how to do something I enjoy, but mainly because in the footwell of the car I had something very special to contribute to my children's new bug topic at school: a large jar of unwanted stick insects! I felt like Jack with the magic beans on arrival home. I had my instructions for them: clean the jar out every 2 weeks to get rid of eggs and avoid a population explosion, don't make the air holes in the clingfilm over the jar too big (to avoid escapees), get them a bigger jar every so often so they have room to grow and feed them only on privet. Dead simple. What a great present for school, how pleased they will be. I went to bed buzzing.  This morning I woke at just after five in horror: stick insects? Privet? PRIVET?! I don't have any privet, don't even know what a privet hedge looks like (please note I do now, after investigating the contents of the jar and checking every hedge on the walk to school). What if the school doesn't want them? What if I get reported to the RSPCA for taking on some animals with no idea of how to deal with them, no source of food and no intention of doing anything other than pass them on to someone else who might not want them anyway? Cue the soothing words of my husband: we can always take them to the zoo if all else fails. Luckily my eldest's teacher was pleased to take them on and the story is closed, for the time being. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, now that I know I can feed them, and I find myself feeling a bit maternal about them, maybe enough to offer to have them back for the summer holidays. It was well worth it to hear a huge "Awesome!" when the children went down the stairs first thing in the morning, and to see so many children clamouring round the jar gasping when we reached school. Good payment indeed for a felting workshop. 
Another development from last night is that I have a much needed renewed vigour for getting exhibited somewhere. I had a tip off from one of the not-so-crap-at-crafters that the Toll House Gallery at Clevedon Pier might have some space in a few months - this coming from a trustee of the pier. It was the spark I needed. After my early awakening this morning I drew up a mini plan for myself and this morning I ordered up 5 small frames so I can make some more of the smaller beach "windows" that sold so well at Arts Week. I did another sea picture, one of two done this week, in the hope that one will be just right for the commission a friend asked for during Arts Week (so hard to recreate something that had already sold, I can't get all the curves the same and I figure that if I make two similar ones and hope for the best, one might be right for her and the other can go into one of the frames I've ordered). If I do some smaller ones they will be ideal to take with me if I go and visit any galleries, and I will be able to draw strength from the proof that they can sell well. Things are going too well to stop now...

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