Archive for the ‘craft council’ Category

One of the many hats I wear in this adventure called Life is “member of the Awards Committee” for our provincial craft council. This morning I’m going to be in a meeting to plan our annual Seconds Sale and to work out some other mundane housekeeping.

The Craft Council of Newfoundland is a wonderful organisation that has enabled me to grow in leaps and bounds as an artist and craftsperson and I feel quite pleased to be able to give something back. Not only are there regular gallery shows (mixed media) that are free for members to enter, but they have high-quality annual craft fairs, a top-notch craft shop and gallery of renown, a wonderful clay studio, exceptional promotional material accentuating crafts and their makers throughout the province, a low-interest loans program, excellent scholarship and grant opportunities and many other benefits all for the low, low price of around $55 per year.

Strange as it may sound, I actually rather enjoy the meetings. It’s a rare chance to get together with other craftspeople and chat. The committee members are excellent and we function through consensus rather than majority, so things are relatively harmonious. As the Awards Committee is basically responsible for acknowledging the hard work and exceptional skill of CCNL members, much of our time is spent shelling out money to deserving projects and deciding on to whom recognition should be awarded. Frankly, it’s probably the most optimistic committee on which to sit. In the depths of winter, a little optimism and camaraderie never go astray!


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If you are in the St. John’s (Newfoundland) area, a crafty sort and like a good deal, be sure to drop by Devon House (Duckworth Street) tomorrow morning. The Annual Seconds Sale is on and there’s plenty to see!

lots and lots of yarn some spools o' yarn

Single ply more yarn

purples and blues pinks and oranges

There’s about one hundred pounds of this stuff, dyed in marvellous colours. I’ve had to sit firmly on my hands all evening.
Bags of linen Beautiful linen
There’s about fifty pounds of this stuff, dyed in marvellous colours.
tapestry yarn Assorted stuff, including needlepoint frames

Lots of tapestry wool, needlepoint frames and kits of all sorts.

Some seconds of pottery Reproduction pottery - Ferryland historic reproductions


Plenty of pottery, some reproductions of historic pieces!

sewing machine sewing machine label

An old sewing machine, in very nice condition….

And all sorts of other neat items:
candles Books

Fabric, assorted
All fabric is $1/m and yarns are $1/skein. Pottery is variable, but still very cheap. Books are $1 each. Magazines are $0.25

There was a lot of everything. The Sale starts at 9am tomorrow morning and runs until noon. Admission is free. We take debit/Visa/MC. Everything must go!

a quickr pickr post

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Anyone in the St. John’s (Newfoundland, Canada) area, take note! The annual Craft Council Seconds Sale is taking place on Saturday. (The photos in this post were taken at the sale few years ago.)

The official ad reads:

April 14, 2007 Sat. 9:00 – 12:00



All proceeds go towards the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Awards Program.


The Craft Council is also collecting goods for the Seconds Sale (if you have anything, email me pronto to arrange pick-up!).
Please send along:


This is a good opportunity to clear out your studio and contribute the to Craft Council Awards Program. Drop off or mail donations to Devon House. Contact Kelly at 753-2749 or info@craftcouncil.nf.ca if you have any questions. Pick up can be arranged within the city and surrounding area.

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I was cruising CBC today and saw fellow craft council member Tara Bryan’s name jump out at me from the from page of the website. Her work is amazing and she’s an incredibly talented, well-spoken and intriguing person with whom to chat. I had the pleasure of being in the booth next to her at the Anna Templeton Christmas Sale over the weekend and can vouch for her talent, of which I am in constant awe.

Even cooler is that she lives just up the coast a little from me, in Flatrock, Newfoundland.

For a look at her creations (and a glimpse into the mind of the artist), check out her website!

Congrats on the article, Tara!

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Now that the Craft Fair is over and done with, the show is down, shops are supplied for the holidays, proposals are in and the few sales and orders that needed completion are taken care of, the chaos is lessening somewhat around here. It’s rather a nice feeling to move through the morning at a reasonable pace, rather than tearing frantically through the studio while wired on equal amounts of adrenalin and coffee.

That said, I still have a few things on-going and a few deadlines in early January to meet. There’s also the Anna Templeton Centre Christmas sale and tea, which I may or may not be in as they haven’t figured out exact numbers yet. Studio Guide submission is set for December 15, so I have to get that all set up. As well, I’m still fighting the good fight in the Omnipresent Sewing Machine Battle. Kindly, Shelley (to whom I am now hopelessly in debt favour-wise) has lent me her Bernina for the next little while. This buys me a bit of time with which to make my decisions more carefully and also lets me know what the prognosis is on my current machine.

Meanwhile, it’s back to the drawing board. The “Celebrate Craft” show has the following qualifications and restrictions:

  • no dimension more than 36 inches
  • must be for sale
  • juried exhibit of 2-D and 3-D fine craft in any medium
  • presenting a broad and varied view of function, material, technique and aesthetic
  • reflections of personal stories and places that build a mosaic of Canada, Canadians and craft are encouraged
  • photos due Dec 8 for those outside the province, pieces due January 12 for those here
  • more info – contact Sharon Leriche (709) 753-2749 or email the Craft Council Gallery.

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If you were thinking I had a table at a little flea market affair, you’ll need to adjust your vision a tad. This fair (held by the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador) allocates booth space and bases the fees on a combination of on square footage, shape and location. Here’s the schedule of fees for the past fair. I had an 8 x 4 aisle booth. The structure of it was originally designed to display my mother’s stock of bears, dolls, fairies, mermaids, rabbits, beavers and other critters, but with a little tweaking, it did a very nice job for my purposes. (Thanks for lending it, Mom!)
Fee Schedule 2006

On the side you can see that each booth has a reasonable wattage available for use.  I used the equivalent of 1100 watts to light my booth, which made is marvelously light and enhanced the vibrant colours tremendously. I used a mixture of florescent and incandescent in order to balance the spectrum a bit. I couldn’t afford all full-spectrum florescent bulbs, but the mixture worked really well. The florescent bulbs also don’t get hot and don’t heat up the lamps, so repositioning them was easy. To boot, if I had a bigger booth I could have used many more lights by using florescent bulbs, as the wattage is low proportionate to the candlepower emitted.

Here’s a diagram of the booth, with the lighting and rough direction indicated in brown:


The panels are four feet wide and seven high. The back panels were navy and the side were off-white, which allowed people to see the work against a dark or light value, depending on their walls at home. The dark background also showed off certain pieces exceptionally well, whereas the light sides bounced the light around nicely. The table was for me to work at while doing demonstrations and also provided customers with a place to mull over which particular purchase they wished to make.

Everything on walls was displayed above waist level. The long table across the back of the booth held beach rocks which were interspersed with products similar to those on the wall, but on stands. Business cards were scattered throughout. Tables and shelves were all draped in light coloured fabrics to reflect light, although the top of the long table in back was topped with silky blue, to thematically go with the beach rocks.

The side panels held large pieces while the back panels held a mixture of medium and small. Groupings were thematically organised.  I switched the layout around a bit throughout, but here’s a rough idea of how things went, flattened out:


The hot spots were the three-panel spot to the right of the middle panels, although the entirety of the right side of the big section (the back, btw) was fairly hopping all through the exhibition.

I placed smaller items on the tables on either edge of the booth and scattered lower-priced items here and there. This worked amazingly well, as people often seemed to see things they like as they were leaving or were pulled into the booth by the first price tags they saw being low. Many bought larger pieces.

All-in-all, this display worked rather nicely. I have some modifications in mind for next year, including hard panels throughout (the side panels were cloth attached with Velcro) and easily accessible storage units. Also, I need better signage. Plans are in place for all of these aspects.

Stupidly, I didn’t take pictures. I should have, I realise, but somehow it escaped me this time. I’ll check around and see if someone else did. I did a few interviews and there were photographers present, so who knows what’s out there?! If I find any, I’ll post ’em.

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foiled birches

I’m not quite sure how many parts this will turn out to be, but “one” seems like an appropriate place from which to start.

The 33rd Annual Fine Craft and Design Fair was this past weekend. It’s a juried fair, which means that your product has to have passed certain standards of quality for you to participate. The purpose of this jurying is to select craft and art that are both aesthetically and technically of a high calibre within their fields. In other words, the playing field is well above sea level and customers and other craftspeople can be assured that what surrounds them is worth purchasing and will not drag down the market for the other booths.

Prep for these events is monumental. I don’t know how other people work, but I tend to put on a super blitz before the fair and make about three times as much stock as I know will sell. This enables me to keep my booth well-stocked with good product and to produce variants on certain pieces for customers who don’t quite see what they’re looking for on the wall. The other advantage to making that quantity of stock is that I can, immediately after the fair, resupply any shops with which I deal in anticipation of the Christmas season.

So I made a gargantuan quantity of stuff, but this year I tried a few new things:

  1. I invested in a few tools that enabled me to do certain tasks more quickly, thus saving time. The Fiskars slicer, for instance, vastly sped up my time for making backings and saved me its worth in time during the first week I had it.
  2. I standardized the sizes of a number of things so that the same sized backings would fit any one of a number of products.
  3. I eliminated gratuitous steps from certain products. Some pieces didn’t need (and in fact were lessened by) stitching in certain places, so I left it out where structurally possible.
  4. The above steps enabled me to shave a bit off my prices while still maintaining my profit margin quite nicely.
  5. I was also able to spend more time on making each piece unique and individually satisfying. The uniqueness of the works made them much more attractive and I had a better time making them.
  6. I honed my work and refined my focus to be more fine art than craft. Partially this was simply changing hanging devices and making more expressive pieces, but it also involved switching to primarily wall-mounted works and displaying them as they were meant to be displayed in a home.
  7. I redesigned my business cards and also designed a brochure that used the same image. That image also appears on the top of this blog.
  8. I used silk for certain pieces and labelled them quite obviously as such. Silk has exotic appeal.
  9. I went into more detail in my labels about the materials and techniques.
  10. I focused on producing a dollar and quantity amount of stock, but also kept a close eye on making sure that there was variety within each category.
  11. Meeting a production value amount was not allowed to supersede making superior product. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in production quantity to the detriment of inspirational quality. Technical quality is always high for my work, but artistic success sometimes takes a dip when production is pushed hard. I suspect this was one of the reasons I had a rough year last year.
  12. I produced a body of work that was highly unique and utilised imagery and techniques that were effective, attractive and gender-neutral. As many men liked my work as women, which is a huge coup as far as I’m concerned, as textiles tend to be female-dominated, both in terms of the producers and the consumers.
  13. While producing the work, I worked in small series. This made for a fabulous display, allowing for the grouping of pieces by theme. Within each theme, I made sure that there was at least one large piece and several smaller, more affordable, works. Not only did all the works sell well as a result, but the visual appeal of the larger ones brought people in to the booth.
  14. One of the techniques I used sparingly, but to great visual appeal, was the foil as shown in the piece at the top of this blog. Not only was this eye-catching when well lit (lighting is another entire post), but it made people stop and ask questions and (if you’ve ever done a trade show or craft event you’ll know how important this part is) it gave me something to explain to people and chat about with them.

I’m sure other things will spring to mind about my product development for this show. I’ll try to write them up as they come to me.

Next stop, the display…..

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