Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Marketing and Selling of Textile Arts

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We had a very interesting meeting in Vancouver on March 29th at Urbanity, 2412 Granville Street, between Broadway & 8th - 7pm. The theme was the marketing and selling of textile arts. There were three invited panelists and the discussion was moderated by Julia Manitius (the owner of Urbanity).

Thanks so much to Julia for organizing and hosting this event, and thanks to the panelists, who generously donated their time and expertise. The panelists:

Sarah Murray has worked in different facets of the fashion and journalism industries since 1996. She started The Honey Mustard Fashion and Media Services in 2004 where she has played an invaluable part in the promotion of local designers and fashion. Her website

Laura Bucci is a designer-maker drawing inspiration from vintage illustrations. She designs and makes a line of fabric reusable cup cozies and other personal and home accessories. She sells to stores locally and to the US, as well as having an online store. See her current product line pictured left. Her website

Gail Conzatti - After over 15 years in the telecommunications and technology industry, Gail escaped from the corporate world in 2003 by branching out as a handbag designer. Originally designing, individually hand-painting, sewing and selling the bags herself, KAIROS Designs handbags are now designed by Gail and sewn in Vancouver by a home-based seamstress. In 2004, Gail had an opportunity to move her home-based business out of her home and open a boutique that sells Canadian-made clothing and accessories - Tutta Mia. See examples of her custom designs below. Her website
There was a lively discussion that covered, among other things: how to bring the customers in; how to grow your business; how to use the social networking tools available today; the importance of your website as the core of your online promotional efforts; the importance of good, high resolution images; the use of ‘stories’ to promote your business; what a publicist can do for you and what it might cost.

Angles that might make a compelling media story: charity event; ‘authenticity’; timeliness; controversy; celebrity connection; eco-friendly…

Laura brought along two books that she has found very useful in developing her business:

The Creative Entrepreneur by Lisa Sonora Beam

The Boss of You by Lauren Bacon & Emira Mears

There was much talk about how to engage help with tasks like sewing or accounting when you’re just starting and finances are tight. Gail had a great suggestion – bartering. It has its pitfalls of course, so it’s important to be clear about who gets what, but this can work. Gail still uses this tool - she trades her product for hair styling. Another important point here – if you think you can’t afford to hire anyone, consider your ‘opportunity cost’ – having someone doing the accounting frees up some of your time to spend on design, production, marketing...all of which should improve your revenue.

The next Vancouver meeting of the BC Surface Design group will take place in late May or early June – this will be our usual pre-summer potluck supper gathering. Date and venue to be announced.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring in New York

Jennifer Love has just come back from New York - here are her suggestions for other surface designers planning to visit that wonderful city. If anyone has any other tips please email her (for the next time!).

Meiko Mintz has a fascinating shop: See image above of one of her coats.

Julie Artisan Gallery is a MUST see - the link I'm including is to the publications page on her website - I expect some of you may have this book she wrote (it is a classic, out of print, and hard/expensive to find): We saw work by Tim Harding, Jean Cacicedo, Randall Darwall...lots of others ...

There's a fantastic show on at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Andean textiles (see image above) - a MUST see. Lots of other great stuff there too of course, not necessarily textile related. The Textile collection was closed when we were there - seems to always be the case unless they have a special show on. If you're in NY on a Friday try to be there Fri afternoon - then finish off with drinks on the mezzanine level where they have live classical music - LOVELY!

Another must for all you sewers:

We went to the Met, the International Centre for Photography, MOMA, Cooper Hewitt Museum where there was a Sonia Delauney show focusing on her textile work (see image above of one of her bathing suits) and the Drawing Centre. Wandered into the Guggenheim just to admire the architecture but ran out of time to see any shows there.

Some fabulous clothes at this wonderful store - expensive mostly but some things affordable - great to look at for ideas: The Lilith Boutique is located in the heart of the NoLita district, just west of SoHo. 227 Mulberry St, (betw Prince and Spring), New York ; Hours: Monday - Saturday: 11am - 7pm; Sunday: 12pm - 7pm; Phone: 212.925.0080

Finally, if you get a chance, drop in to Dean and Deluca - just for the experience - and perhaps to sample some of their wonderful food! Oh and speaking of food, the cafe in the American Folk Museum (just next to MOMA) is great. Try something that includes the cornmeal muffins!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Exhibitions and Workshops at Fibre Works, Pender Harbour

Fibre Works Studio & Gallery
Madeira Park, BC V0N 2H0
email  . +1 604-883-2380

Located in 28’ yurts in Pender Harbour on the Sunshine Coast, the Fibre Works Studio is open to the public, providing an opportunity to observe dyeing, spinning, weaving and knitting while the Gallery showcases fibre arts from both local and visiting artists. Resident artist and gallery owner Yvonne Stowell shares her passion in exploring texture and colour with natural fibres through workshops and exhibits

The following events are happening at FibreWorks Gallery/Studio/Workshop in Pender Harbour. Contact the gallery for updates.

April 02 to May 01, 2011 – Exhibition – “Landscapes of the Soul” – Hilary Rice, Newfoundland

April 04 to 08, 2011 – Workshop – “Magic Rainbow Treasure Trove” with Hilary Rice, NL

April 23, 2011 – Workshop – “Felted Flowers” with Ursula Bentz

May 07 - June 12 - Exhibition - "The Game - Another Take on the Exquisite Corpse" - Surface Design Association of BC and friends

May 12 – 14, 2011 – Workshop – Paper! Colour! Hexagonal Weave Basketswith Jackie Abrams, Vermont

May 16 – 18, 2011 – Workshop – (Re)Cover the Surface with Jackie Abrams, Vermont

June 18 – July 31 – “No Floors Required” -- an exhibition with Michele Sirois Silver and Rachelle LaBlanc  --

July 27 – 31, 2011 - Works - Artistry of Rug Hooking People with Rachelle LaBlanc, Alberta -

August 6 to September 18 – Exhibition - Anna Hergert, SK

August 19 & 20, 2011 – workshop – Subtracting Color: In the Bath with Elin Noble

August 22 & 23, 2011 – workshop – Subtracting Color: Print Processes with Elin Noble

August 25 to 27, 2011 – workshop – Dyeing to Stitch with Elin Noble

September 16 to 18, 2011 – workshop – Feltmaking Masterclass with Jill Denton   www.

September 24 to October 30, 2011 – Exhibition – Pat Crucil, BC

November 05 to January 08, 2012 – seasonal exhibition

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A blog update - a new approach!

Rachelle LeBlanc
It has been a while since we had a blog entry. Jennifer is dealing with a very painful shoulder making working on the computer difficult. This seems like the perfect time for us to change the way we work with the blog. Instead of long blog entries that cover many months of the same info that Jennifer sends out in emails, we want more frequent blog postings to take over. For this reason we are urging those on the email list to sign up for the blog. Jennifer will still gather the info, and I will post it to the blog. Please bear with us as we work it out! – Julia Manitius

The next Vancouver SD meeting is scheduled for March 29th.  We will meet in Urbanity where we will have a panel discussion on marketing and selling our work. Please let Jennifer know if you plan to attend, as we need to keep an eye on numbers. More information will be posted by the end of the week. It should be an interesting evening.

The next Sunshine Coast SD meeting is scheduled for March 23rd, at the home of Anne Gregory. Please let Jennifer know if you can or cannot attend, if you are in the Sunshine Coast group. There will be a potluck lunch as usual.

  • Many if you know the work of Isabelle de Borchgrace but have you seen her website?  Pretty amazing!
  • Only two weeks left for Cultural Cloth, an exhibition of world textiles being held at the Gallery at Artisan Square on Bowen Island from the 4th of February to mid-March.
Exquisite Corps Exhibition:

  • The Exquisite Corps Exhibition will soon be hung at FibreWorks in Pender Harbour. If you have your Exquisite Corpse at home, please be sure to complete any repairs needed and get it back to Jennifer or Yvonne Stowell well before the end of March. The show goes from May 7 to June 12th and the opening reception will be May 15 from 2-4pm. It would be great if we had lots of our members there, especially those who have work in the show. It might seem like a long way to travel, but it's completely do-able in a day - make it into an outing (even an overnighter!) with a few others.  Jennifer has rental cabins on her property and there are lots of other places to stay in Pender Harbour too. The Play the Game tables set up again - should be fun.
  • Seymour Art Gallery would like to have artists' CVs/artist statements for the EC exhibition that will be held there in Sept 2011 - so if you are part of The Game, please email Jennifer something. Lots of time but we are all busy and even more so as summer approaches.
FibreAti Exhibition:

"A Hundred Thousand Threads 2"

March 24 - April 6
Open Mon - Sat 10 - 5

Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria
1001 Douglas Street
Victoria, BC V8W 2C5

FibreAti is a group of 8 fibre artists - Joanne Barnard, Linda Carswell-Bland, Jill Croft, Alison Kermack, Alison Kobylnyk, Dale MacEwan, Judi MacLeod, and Helen Radchuk.  For information call Judi MacLeod at 250.472.2429, or email