Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Open Studio Weekend Report

The open studio weekend was great! I want to express a warm thank you to everyone who came by: friends and neighbors, friendly strangers, and my customers from beyond my neighborhood. I was very pleased by both the number of visitors and the amount of sales. I just didn't know how it was going to go being one of 22 artists fairly spread out over several driving miles. And Richard has such an unusual product and established client base (he's been at it for 11 year in this location) I feared people would identify our driveway as "the papermaker's stop". And there certainly were people who only went into the barn, but I'm coming to a place of acceptance about that. Some people just aren't into textiles. And that's okay. I had my own special visitors, though, including some of my customers from the Norwich Craft Sundays, and a few accomplished seamstresses who closely examined my work. These pictures look weird with no people but I was too distracted by said visitors to take pictures of them when they were here. I marked down a lot of HotHolders from the previous year and most of the pillows. Suddenly objects I thought no one was ever going to want where flying out the door - and I was getting cash in return! These deep discounts are going to be offered again at the Open Studio weekend December 8 and 9 so if you didn't get your deal yet, there's still a chance.

The studio part of an open studio is the most compelling to me. When I was in college in the Boston area we used to go to open studio in the area http://bostonopenstudios.org/ and I would explore the Putney artists' studios when visiting my aunt there Thanksgiving weekend. http://putneycrafts.com/ As a budding artist I was very interested in getting some insight into how these people worked. I wanted to learn about their creative process, how they actually made their art. I remember being particularly disappointed in Putney one year when I drove a long way to find a quilter's studio. She dyed her own fabrics and I wanted to learn about her process. She didn't have any of her pots or dyes out - just things she'd made that were ready to sell. It wasn't actually a studio at all. More like a show room. And she was very engaged talking with friends at the time and I was too young and shy to interrupt and ask questions. Ah, regrets of my youth...

Well, now I'm the artist and even though I couldn't actually invite folks into the room where I do my creating (it's in a part of the house not good for the public: up steep stairs, through my daughter's bedroom, etc.) I did want to be all mysterious with just the end products out on display. So I set up production on the dining room table and was framing, cutting and sewing while folks looked around. And I had some examples of HotHolders in different stages of construction: full of pins, just quilted with the three inner layers visible, border and loop pinned up for final stitching. And I had some work in progress hanging about.

In these pictures you can see some wall quilts I am working on. I also had some fabric and thrifted button-downs hanging together which I call "bags under consideration." I explained that I choose some fabrics that I think might go well together and hang them together on the wall of my workroom for a few weeks. After looking at them for a while, if I still like them I sew them up. My picture of that part didn't turn out so I guess I am being mysterious. Hmmm, maybe this calls for a future post...

We got lots of comments about our wood stove (seen in this photo - in the back, on the way to the pantry), which is one of the best features of the house, especially now that it's getting colder.

Okay, here's a beautiful sight. This is probably why so many people went straight into the barn. Picture this off our short driveway: Huge barn door wide open, on one side a long row of firewood beautifully stacked (by Richard. I stacked last year's 6 cords while figuring out what I was next going to do with my life: This! Yay!!), artistically arranged giant Hubbard squash and gourds (grown by Kitt) and gorgeous painting of pears, cheese, hills and quail chicks by John Hurlburt, our friend and Richard's part-time papermaker. He is a wonderful artist. A really stunning scene for those leaf-peepers/art lovers.

The bundles of grassy things above the woodpile is the flax Richard grew in our "field garden" this year, for anybody reading this who came over for the Garden Tour in June.

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