I was trying to come up with a sensible, professional title to this post, but just couldn't think of anything. I'm so excited - says it all! There's a new gallery opened up in my local town centre, called the Make Room. It's a community project, bringing together artists of all mediums from across the county. I was tempted to go in for a look about after I spotted a display of knitting in the window, and discovered that there was a possibility that I could show my work there also.
Well, I took down a whole selection of things that I'd made, and they're now proudly displayed in the gallery! Better still, the Make Room will sell the items for me, and take no commission. It's such a fantastic opportunity to promote my work and really develop my business, and I'm really quite chuffed about it. Selling on Etsy and Folksy seems to be such a long, slow process, as it's hard to be noticed with so much competition. At this gallery I have my work displayed in a window on the main street, where I can reach a much wider audience.
The Make Room isn't just a great thing for artists selling their work though. I think it's going to have huge benefits for the local community, introducing people to a wide range of arts and crafts. They are running taster sessions and workshops in everything from glass to ceramics, textiles, photography and art. There are also opportunities to network with other artists and craftspeople, and find out about groups and classes in the local area. Everything is free, although some classes need to be booked to keep numbers manageable. Unfortunately, the project is only planned to run until June at the moment, although I'm hoping that it will be successful enough to be extended.
I went along to one of the workshops today, run by Nic from Nic's Eco Knits. Her philosophy is very similar to mine with regard to crafts, with an emphasis on using recycled materials, trawling the charity shops, and reusing everything possible. A group of us were let loose on bags of felted sweaters, fabric scraps and buttons, to make whatever we wanted during the two hour session. Nic demonstrated the technique for making a flower corsage and some yo-yos, and then we got to work. I decided to make a bag, and this was the result:
It's made with a gorgeous heathery purple felted sweater and some grey tweedy fabric, with a purple cloth lining and plaited handle. I enjoyed learning the yo yo technique, and I can see that they could be very addictive - I'm tempted to add them to everything!
I was inspired to make the bag by a larger version that I sewed yesterday, when I was getting together some stock for the gallery. This one was made with felted scarves that were hand woven in Ireland, found in one of my local charity shops.
I decorated it with a bit of the felted fringing from the scarf, with a lovely purple button as a centrepiece.