Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Guild Show and Sale 2016

It is craft fair season again.  In keeping with the season, the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners welcomed shoppers to our annual show and sale on Nov 25 and 26.  Rotary House in Qualicum Beach was jam packed with beautiful and unique items that were hand crafted by guild members.  Below is just a sample of the tea towels that were on display.
     Scarves were another popular item for both the weavers and the buyers.  The styles ranged from elegant neck jewellery to cozy woollen scarves to ward off the cold on a winter day.  They are easy to pack and ship so they make excellent gifts.

The spinners and knitters were well represented.  Unique hand spun yarns are very popular with knitters like the happy shopper in the photo.  
 Knitted items  are common at craft sales but the items that you would find at our sale are unusual in that they all contain at least 50% hand spun yarn.  You won't find the yarns in these items in a yarn shop.  They are often unique blends of fibers or unique colours, the result of hand dyeing the fiber in small batches.
Many of the woven items also contain hand spun yarn.

There were a number of shawls in different styles and a wide range of colours.   Some were designed with stripes that were subtle or not so subtle or random like the knitted shawl.
Some relied on texture and a simple weave structure for the design.  Others made use of multi-harness loom capabilities to show off pattern.
The textured black shawl included a bit of glitter and a luscious fringe that elevated the design.
The patterned shawl uses a weave structure called "summer and winter" to create rectangles of different colours.

There was a good selection of throws and blankets in a wide variety of colours.  The photo shows a close of up three different throws that have been brushed to give a high nap.

The sales desk was kept busy which made them happy.  Our new tags and streamlined procedure kept things moving well with a minimum of fuss.

 Many thanks to our sale committee, a host of volunteers and those loyal spouses and friends that always help with the heavy lifting.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Guild Show and Sale

scarves for sale
Our annual guild sale, Elegant Threads, will take place November 25th and 26th.  See the side bar for more details.
 As you can imagine, many of us are busy finishing, pressing and labelling items that we will bring to the sale.  The event is a 2 day affair once a year but pieces at the show represent a full year's work.  There is so much to see that shoppers need to allow plenty of time to browse.

 Elegant Threads is both a fund raiser for the guild and an opportunity for guild members to sell their works.  A percentage of the price goes to the guild to support activities.  Guild members volunteer their time to organize and staff the event which helps to keep down the costs and this is reflected in the pricing.

recycled trees
hand spun yarn
Pricing of unique hand crafted items is a topic of debate.  It is a bit like selling a home.  The seller and buyer can have very different views as to the monetary value.
Artisan works fall some where between classical art pieces and utilitarian items.  The value is part emotional and part concrete.
You can calculate the value of the materials in a piece and estimate the time involved.  The value of design and workmanship are subjective.

felted snowmen

 Then there is the difference between hand crafted and manufactured items.  Given the same level of design and workmanship some buyers may be willing to pay a premium for hand crafted items especially if they are produced locally.

Most of us do not expect to make a living from our arts endeavours.  We are happy to recover our costs and something for our time.  Few of us make even minimum wage but then spinning and weaving are a lot more satisfying than most minimum wage jobs.  The real reason we sell our items is for the positive feed back and the bragging rights when someone (not a family member) actually pays money for them.  It is confirmation that our work is valued.

 Elegant Threads will be held at Rotary House in downtown Qualicum Beach.  It is on the corner of Fern and Beach streets.  There is plenty of parking and admission is free.  The doors open at 11 am on Friday November 25th.  See you there.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Season of Change

We are almost past pumpkin season and well into the season of change.  The deciduous trees have exposed their true colours and dropped their leaves.  Seed heads have taken the place of flowers.  Mushrooms have popped up in the grass. Yellows, oranges and warm browns dominate the landscape.  The sky is darker blue with more grey than we like to see.
clasped weave scarf

 It is difficult not to start playing with yarns and fibres that mimic the colour of nature at this time of year.  Every vista presents a possible colour scheme for a new project.
Fuzzy, warm yarns and fibres also have a strong attraction as the days are cooler.  Now we have visions of afghans and shawls, blankets and sweaters, scarves and mitts that are waiting impatiently for our attention.

triangle shawl
If the inspiring environment (or rain) isn't enough motivation to get back to the studio then our guild show and sale should be.  This year our sale will be held over two days, Friday November 25 and Saturday November 26.  (See "Elegant Threads" for more information)

For the next month the focus of the guild will be on getting ready for the sale.  Spinning wheels and looms are busy now.  Knitting needles can be heard clacking at meetings.

We have completed the guild tea towel projects from the summer.  Some of those tea towels will go into the silent auction at our show.  The silent auction is always popular with bargain hunters and the proceeds from the auction support guild activities.

Napkins inspired by cloth
Expect to see some inspired colour combinations in the sale items this year.  The colour study group have been working on the relationship between colour and weave structure.

colour study with weave structure
The use of colour in a design can be a challenge for fibre artists as there are many factors to consider including how colours blend when fibre is spun, how colours interact in weaving and how different fibres reflect or absorb light.  Those autumn leaves may look beautiful on the maple tree but recreating that look is a lot more complicated than it appears.