TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List http://www.tafalist.com TAFAList, an international business community of handmade textile and fiber art sources. Fri, 19 Dec 2014 21:46:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 A Weaver’s Story: Threads Between My Fingers http://www.tafalist.com/a-weavers-story-threads-between-my-fingers/ http://www.tafalist.com/a-weavers-story-threads-between-my-fingers/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:47:21 +0000 http://www.tafalist.com/?p=17740

A Weaver's Story: Threads Between My Fingers tells of how Cally Booker came to love threading the loom, enjoying the process of design through the intimacy of touch.

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cally booker threading 600I had no interest in learning to weave. In fact, I had never given weaving much thought, which is perhaps a little odd given my textile-infused upbringing. I had been sewing and knitting since I was a child, and my grandmother, mother and aunts were skilled in a range of textile crafts, including dressmaking, embroidery, knitting, crochet, dyeing – and weaving.

One day, though, when I was well into my 30s, I found myself in front of a small table loom learning to thread the individual strands of warp yarn through loops of polyester string, called heddles. I had to pick them out in sequence, matching each thread of the warp to the right heddle, and I needed to concentrate in order not to make mistakes. It was slow and fiddly to my clumsy unaccustomed fingers. And it was utterly absorbing.

It was also a revelation. Somewhere in my mind must have been the unasked question, because suddenly I had the answer: so that’s how they do it! What a simple, elegant method for organising threads so that you can manipulate them with a minimum of fuss. I bought a secondhand table loom the same day and took it home with me. A few months later I was assembling a floor loom and the following year I went back to college: all because of the pleasure of handling a few warp threads.

That was more than ten years ago, but handling the warp remains one of my favourite aspects of the weaving process.

To begin with the obvious, there is all the pleasure of starting something new. A fresh project, a new beginning – sweep away the thrums of the old warp, blow the lint from the crevices of the loom, brush the snipped off knots out from under the treadles, we’re going to make a Brand New Thing!

cally booker lease sticks 600

I put a lot of my creative energy into designing my warps, whether I am planning in detail or improvising on the day. For me a beautiful warp is a worthwhile work in itself, even if I am the only person who will ever see it on the loom.

cally booker beaming 600Even if a warp is relatively plain, the yarn looks different to me – more promising, more inviting – when it is wound into plump warp chains or spread out smoothly over the back beam of the loom.

I make warps in a variety of ways, using different tools, but I am always handling the yarn. It’s a gentle touch, not a grabbing one: the threads pass lightly through my fingers as I measure out the lengths and I love the sense of controlling the yarn with the least amount of effort. We are partners, the thread and I.

So creativity, potential, and a close relationship with the materials of my craft are important ingredients in the pleasure of these processes. There is also something deeper. A loom without a warp is a funny old thing. It seems to consist of a lot of sticks and a lot of cords holding the sticks together – you can press some parts of it and other parts will move, but the movement serves no purpose. By dressing a loom with a warp, the weaver makes it whole.

cally booker loom 800

New weavers are often intimidated by the number of different processes they need to go through, but I am dismayed when people say that they ‘love to weave but hate warping’. I am determined that my students should be able to find pleasure in all that they do, so I emphasise the positive in every stage. Here it may be the creative choices, here the rhythmic movements, here the total absorption in the task: sure we all have our favourite moments, but there is potential for enjoyment at every step.

Enjoyment also increases with mastery, and mastery takes time. Mastery here consists not so much in being able to replicate the precise steps you were taught, but in absorbing the principles and adapting them to your own tools and – the most important tool of all – your own body.

Take handedness, for example. Many weaving tasks are two-handed, and it isn’t necessarily obvious which part of the task is best carried out by one’s dominant hand. Finding the allocation which suits you may well turn out to be a matter of trial and error. It took me over a year of warping to settle on threading the loom from right to left and not from left to right.

cally booker threaded 800

On the other hand it took me no time at all to settle on using my fingers rather than a hook to thread the warp through those heddles. A tremor in my hand is magnified when I use a hook: lightly folding the yarn between my fingers gives me much better control. My slow, clumsy hands have learned to do this efficiently and accurately and the skill itself is a source of pleasure.

There are many different aspects to my creative practice as a weaver. I design, I teach, I write, I exhibit. But the wellspring of it all is the work of making which I do with my hands, holding threads between my fingers.


 

Cally Booker

Cally Booker

Cally Booker teaches weaving at her studio in Dundee, on the East Coast of Scotland. She also sells her work online.

Visit her website for more info and her weaver’s story.

Cally Booker’s profile on TAFA.

From our Sponsors:
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    Silvia Piza-Tandlich of Galeria Octagono exhibiting in Poland at the 8th International Artistic Linen Cloth Biennial, Krosno 2014. The exhibit goes through 2015.

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    Cat Brysch Creations Studio has been weaving yardage for artists for years! Check out her studio and shop from her on Etsy.

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Teaching Online Opens A Global Market http://www.tafalist.com/teaching-online-opens-a-global-market/ http://www.tafalist.com/teaching-online-opens-a-global-market/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 00:32:36 +0000 http://www.tafalist.com/?p=17428

Donna Kallner lives in rural Wisconsin, USA. She shares how teaching online helps her reach a global market, including what new skills she had to learn, how she sets up her filming space and the resources she uses to run successful workshops.

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Fiber artist Donna Kallner packing supplies to teach an in-person workshop.

Fiber artist Donna Kallner packing supplies to teach an in-person workshop.

For the past 15 years, I’ve packed up class supplies and traveled coast to coast across the United States. I teach textile techniques to adults at guild events, conferences and museums. It’s been easier for me to fill classes when I’m the one traveling than to bring students to my studio in rural northern Wisconsin — especially in winter.

Teaching workshops online has helped me reach a broader geographic audience for my narrowly focused specialty — an ancient textile technique called looping. I’ve had online students from all over the United States plus Canada, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, Russia, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, the UK, Iceland, Israel, Greece and Spain.

New Age Looping online instruction with Donna Kallner.

New Age Looping online instruction with Donna Kallner.

My students log in to a private course site. They watch video demonstrations when it’s convenient for them. They work suggested samples on their own schedules. There’s a class forum where they can post photos of their work and ask questions. It may be a few hours before they get a reply, since we’re in so many different time zones. But no one (including me) is traveling on icy roads.

 

From Dial-Up To Global Enterprise

With no special skills or training in information technology, I would seem an unlikely candidate for teaching online. Until late 2009, we were still on dial-up. It took hours to download pictures attached to emails. We had heard of YouTube, but never seen it. My husband, a small manufacturer, and I both could feel the digital divide getting wider. But high-speed internet service seemed out of our reach, both financially and logistically because of our rural location.

When we finally found an option we could afford, one of the first things I did was take an online course in blogs and podcasts. On dial-up, we’d never seen those things. But it sounded like a class that could help me feel less like Rip Van Winkle waking up in the digital age. And it did. In late 2009, as part of that online class, I started a blog using the free Blogger platform.

About a year later, I went through those class materials again to review units I had only skimmed during the class because I was on the road teaching. When I started working through the material on video podcasts, I discovered that my simple point-and-shoot digital camera could actually take video. The response to the first video I posted online was encouraging enough to get me thinking about teaching a whole course that way.

 

 

About this time, a number of online platforms dedicated to craft instruction were emerging. They all looked great, but none offered the combination of features I wanted or long-term control over my work product. So I decided to produce videos and lesson materials on my own, and cobbled together a presentation platform using free resources like Gmail, Blogger and Vimeo. Then I offered a free pilot course via my email newsletter (I use Mailchimp). The pilot group gave me valuable feedback, and a chance to learn how to adapt my teaching style to an interface where you can’t see students’ faces. The pilot group also answered surveys that helped me develop a plan for marketing paid courses. For those surveys, I used forms created for free in Google Docs (now Google Drive).

The success of the pilot convinced me to make the move to paid courses. For that, I needed to switch from free video hosting so as not to violate the terms of service. Vimeo Pro is still the largest annual out-of-pocket expense for my online teaching enterprise. I market my paid online courses through my web site and blog, on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and on Etsy, which is where students pay for courses and receive their handouts as digital downloads.

 

Donna Kallner uses her Etsy shop to collect registration fees for online classes.

Donna Kallner uses her Etsy shop to collect registration fees for online classes.

 

Last year, I moved my courses from Blogger to a platform better suited to online instruction. Moodle, which is open-source software used by many schools and universities, was suggested by a friend who is a tech consultant for an area education agency in Iowa. While the software is free, I pay for web domain registration and hosting for my eCourse site.

A Bootstrap Business In The Basement

Screen capture from Donna Kallner's Freeform Looping online course.

Screen capture from Donna Kallner’s Freeform Looping online course.

 

Last February I launched my third paid online course, Freeform Looping, which is geared to returning students. I’m now at work on the next course in what I hope will soon be a full catalog.

 

Simple studio lighting for shooting Donna Kallner's online course videos.

Simple studio lighting for shooting Donna Kallner’s online course videos.

This is all done with a digital point-and-shoot camera and a jerry-rigged video studio that consists of a card table draped with painted muslin, two lamps I got at Menards (a hardware store), and a can light we took in trade for doing some work on a canoe.

 

I sit on my late mother-in-law’s sewing machine bench, straddling a tripod with the camera between me and the work the work in my hands. To edit videos, I use Windows Live Movie Maker and the Sound Recorder utility that came with my laptop. I do all this tucked into a small space in our basement between the cold pantry and the canning supplies.

 

Simple video set-up for shooting Donna Kallner's online course material.

Simple video set-up for shooting Donna Kallner’s online course material.

One of the hardest aspects of the process for me is producing key demonstrations that show me stitching left-handed (I’m right-handed). Demonstrating fluidly left-handed with a camera between my hands and my bifocals is much more difficult than doing it in person. But it’s important that my left-handed online students see the techniques clearly since I can’t see them to spot who may be struggling. It’s also important that my videos and class handouts can be understood by people for whom English is a second language. My marketing clearly states that classes are presented in English only, but my classes still attract a global audience.

Not counting planning, false starts and left-handed do-overs, it takes me six to eight weeks to shoot and edit a course that should run for several years. I’m getting a bit faster at editing, and becoming more efficient at planning my shots. Still, the work it takes to produce quality content is substantial — and that’s after learning all the component skills I’ve picked up since 2009.

But everything we’ve ever done to make a living involved hard work, sustained effort, constant learning and long-term commitment. So I haven’t approached online teaching as a way to get rich quick. I doubt if it makes us rich slowly, either. But since I was able to get started using mostly free or inexpensive resources and a lot of unpaid labor, we felt it was worth taking a risk.

And we learned that producing online courses complements the mix of activities we put together to make a living in an area where you kind of have to make your own economic opportunities.

Donna Kallner is a fiber artist from rural northern Wisconsin. Learn more about her work at donnakallnerfiberart.com.

Visit her Member Profile here on TAFA: Donna Kallner Fiber Art

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Photo Tips for Wearable Art by Ariane Mariane http://www.tafalist.com/photo-tips-for-wearable-art-by-ariane-mariane/ http://www.tafalist.com/photo-tips-for-wearable-art-by-ariane-mariane/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 20:56:35 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=16163

by Ariane Mariane In today’s world photos are one of the most important elements if you are an artist or a designer. Photos decide whether your work will be featured on a blog or a magazine and even if your work is chosen for an exhibit. And photos are especially important if you want to […]

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by Ariane Mariane

In today’s world photos are one of the most important elements if you are an artist or a designer. Photos decide whether your work will be featured on a blog or a magazine and even if your work is chosen for an exhibit. And photos are especially important if you want to sell online.

The most beautiful work won’t get any attention if the photo is bad.  And, also for your own records it’s hard to remember the beauty of an art work if you only have something like this:

Ariane Mariane art vest Mohn

One of my first art vests back in 2006. Very sad not to have a better quality documentation…

 

Taking good photos was one the biggest challenges in my work and became really important to me when I decided to sell online in 2008. (Ariane Mariane on Etsy) At that time, I already had quite a good bridge camera (those in between a simple one and a reflex). As a former graphic designer, I knew how to use Photoshop but retouching photos was new and I had to improve my photos through trial and error. Here some examples of photos taken in 2008:

Background too busy!

Background too busy!

Impossible to imagine what this is good for...

Impossible to imagine what this is good for…

 

It would be a lot better if I had worn some makeup!

It would be a lot better if I had worn some makeup!

 The two first photos were taken inside in natural light, while the third (already a bit better one), outside.  Not only are the photos bad quality, but so were the backgrounds I chose. To make them better I tried to retouch them with Photoshop but at that time my camera resolution was bad and I took photos in jpeg. Retouching low resolution jpegs reduces the quality even more.

 

No editing.

No editing.

After editing.

After editing.

 

Last, but not least, I didn’t make myself up for photos. I would often just run out of my atelier to hastily take some photos or if a friend came by for a chat, I would seize the opportunity to quickly take some photos in my back yard…

A quick photo shot in the back yard.

A quick photo shot in the back yard.

 

I even involved my (not always enthusiastic) family :

Yes....  My father took the photo!

Yes…. My father took the photo!

 

Frustrated by these photos, I read a lot about photo shooting, took a weekend course and decided to invest in better equipment. It started with a digital single-lens reflex camera and a really good lens (more expensive than the camera itself) allowing an opening at 1.4 on its smallest aperture.  The higher camera resolution and the possibility to take photos in RAW were the major advantages.  RAW is a kind of neutral format – the picture is taken without any modifications and it’s perfect for retouches without losing any quality. This finally allowed me to take close-ups, too!

 

Close-up of an art vase.

Close-up of an art vase.

 

One day my hubby (probably to be less involved ;) ) offered me a tripod, very cool to take photo of myself with a remote controller!

 

Ariane Mariane gets Tripod = being artiste, photographer and model at the same time.

Tripod = being artiste, photographer and model at the same time.

 

I also started to invite friends for real photo shooting sessions and worked on photos for hours in order to get something appealing.

 

Indoor photo near window without flash.

Indoor photo near window without flash.

Ariane Mariane felt dress.

Cropped and pasted on to floral back ground with flowers added to the front.

 

The best light for a photo shooting is definitely outside. But, asking your friends to come over for a photo shoot is one thing – asking them to do it outside with all neighbors staring, is another… To take photos inside I had to pray for a bright day. To become independent from natural light, I finally invested into flashes. Today I work with two professional flash lights and a huge white background fabric (6 m x 3 m). I take my time organizing a photo shoot on a special day and my living room gets transformed into a nearly professional studio.

No editing on this photo.

No editing on this photo.

 

Now retouching is easy going – just a bit of  balancing brightness and contrast:

 

Easy edit just by raising the brightness and contrast.

Easy edit just by raising the brightness and contrast.

 

I pay more attention to makeup, too. It seems to me there is a “ more is more rule” for photos. One should add much more makeup than one would  in normal life or even for a very special event.

Ariane Mariane felt scarf and mini hat.

No longer jumping from the studio in front of the camera – I prepare myself for this part of my job with care.

 

Ariane Mariane Felt vest and mini hat

My golden rule for photos: more is more!

 

Ariane Mariane scarf.

Making a photo is like creating a work of art. It’s all about storytelling!

 

Finally, taking good photos is like making good art work, you have to tell a story and it takes time to improve your skills.  I still have to learn a lot, but today I accept taking photos as a part of my job and even as a creative process. It helps me to see my work with new eyes. And I also love that these photos allow me to show my work to the world. I really appreciate the feedback-  it’s been great input for improving my art.

Ariane Mariane model with vest.

Great models are more than helpful!

 

Ariane Mariane's daughter

Next generation’s model: my daughter <3

 

One of the most important thing is that I’m surrounded by some very talented young ladies! Without them my photos wouldn’t be the same.

Many thanks to Zoé, Eva, Mirka, Lola and Nathalie!!!

 


 

Note from Rachel:

Ariane and I talked about other photography changes that she has made over the years, like having a consistent size (all of her images are now square) and water marking. We will do another post with more tips. Feel free to ask her questions in the comments.

We cannot stress enough how important photography is for those of us who have a web presence! Most people will not go that extra mile to learn how to develop these skills, but as technology continues to evolve, it has become easier to take better photos with minimal skills. You still need to learn basics like cropping and how to lighten, darken or give a photo more contrast, but even the basic point and shoot cameras these days give decent results. I have heard good things about the Sony cameras in the $100 range.

There are many tutorials and resources online, millions of videos on YouTube. Just search for beginning digital photography tutorials or use key words like “how to crop an image” to find out how to do these things. If tech skills are not your strength, reach out to people in your community who can help you and pay them to photograph for you. A couple of fun sites that have photo editing tools and where you can also make collages: PicMonkey and Fotor.

Make sure to sign up to receive our future posts by email! The sign-up box is in the sidebar and in the footer.

Now, visit Ariane Mariane on Etsy and enjoy more of her wonderful work. Click on any of the thumbnails below to see that item in her shop and then when you are there, be sure to explore the rest of it. Who knows? Maybe you will see something that is a Must Have! And, you will be supporting Ariane in the process. :)

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TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List- New Member Focus http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-the-textile-and-fiber-art-list-new-member/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-the-textile-and-fiber-art-list-new-member/#comments Sun, 06 Jul 2014 14:31:51 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13927

TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List was launched in 2010 with the primary goal of helping online businesses in our community reach larger markets. A secondary goal seeks to help these members improve their web presence in an ever-changing and fast environment on the web. We have used social media heavily with our Facebook […]

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TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List was launched in 2010 with the primary goal of helping online businesses in our community reach larger markets. A secondary goal seeks to help these members improve their web presence in an ever-changing and fast environment on the web. We have used social media heavily with our Facebook page evolving into our most valuable resource.

TAFA now has over 500 members from over 40 countries with a rich and varied portfolio of techniques and business goals. Some sell products through their shopping carts, either on Etsy or their stand-alone sites, while others teach, exhibit, publish or are peer organizations with their own focuses. A third benefit from our membership has manifested itself as “inspiration”. Both our members and our community at large have shown great enthusiasm for the quality and range of the work represented on our site. As members are vetted in based on their professionalism, we have been able to keep the standards quite high. This includes having an established web presence (beyond social media) with good photography and clear goals outlined on the site or blog.

TAFA has two sites, our main one with the member profiles, events and map, and this one where we host our blog and member forum. Learn more about what we do on our About and Membership pages.

New Members

We invite you to check out some of our new members who have joined TAFA this year. Click on the links to go to their Member Profiles where you will find their websites and social media links.

Weaving Hand

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Weaving Hand is an organization that embraces global weaving traditions, fosters working partnerships with an international community of weavers, and operates as a healing arts center.

Weaving Hand Educational Trip

Weaving Hand Educational Trip

 

The Art of Recycling

Leominster, HEF, United Kingdom
Jenni Stuart-Anderson has been recycling rags into rugs since 1987.

The Art of Recycling Rag Rug

The Art of Recycling Rag Rug

Amy C. Lund, Handweaver

Tiverton, Rhode Island, USA

Amy’s goal is to use natural yarns and traditional weave structures to highlight form and function in classic fabrics for unique hand towels, table linens, scarves, blankets and rugs. She has a great shop on Etsy!

Amy C. Lund, Handweaver - Linen Towel

Amy C. Lund, Handweaver – Linen Towel

D. Ellis Originals

Poulsbo, Washington, USA

Dawna creates textile vessels and was selected as one of the finalists for the 2014 NICHE Awards.

D. Ellis Originals Textile Vessels

D. Ellis Originals Textile Vessels

Gilda Baron

Greater London, HRW, United Kingdom

Gilda embroiders exquisite dimensional landscapes and flowers and has authored a book about her technique. She teaches workshops and exhibits regularly.

Gilda Baron Landscape Embroidery and Batik

Gilda Baron Landscape Embroidery and Batik

BSL Art Quilts

Plymouth, Wisconsin, USA

Barbara creates art quilts inspired by the farm and countryside scenes where she lives. She documents her process on her blog and has established a loyal following there.

BSL Art Quilts - Rooster

BSL Art Quilts – Rooster

 

Frances Ergen Designs

Selçuk, Turkey

After living in London and Australia, Frances has landed in Turkey and works towards promoting the textiles and women from there. She has a well stocked shop on Etsy with Turkish textiles and home accents.

Frances Ergen - Turkish Textiles

Frances Ergen Designs – Turkish Textiles

 

Cally Booker

Dundee, DND, United Kingdom

Cally weaves with luxury yarns, inspired by the city scapes of Dundee, Scotland.

Cally Booker Handwoven Shawl

Cally Booker Handwoven Shawl

 

Denise Lithgow Textile Artist

Sydney, NSW, Australia

Denise uses a variety of techniques to create wall art, vessels, garments and other products, all centering on her love for wool.

Denise Lithgow Textile Artist

Denise Lithgow Textile Artist

 

The Quilter’s Alley

Bethel, Connecticut, USA

Roxanne Lasky runs a brick and mortar quilt shop where she teaches classes. She has authored a book and works in many mediums, including fiber.

Roxanne Lasky of The Quilter's Alley- House

Roxanne Lasky of The Quilter’s Alley- House


As you can see, we are quite the eclectic group, working around the world with both new and old textiles, using our common language of fiber!  I find it so hopeful and encouraging to think of all of these people doing there work in their corners of the world, especially since so many of them are also deeply connected to nature, to healing and to connecting people to artistic expression and cultural understanding. The best way to get a bird’s eye view is to scroll down our Member List and explore the profiles that catch your eye.

TAFA’s membership fee is $75 for a lifetime membership. This buys the member profile page on our site. You will find links to our site and more information on the sidebar. We invite you to explore, share, and participate with us on our social media hubs and by leaving comments on our blog. If you would like to join us as a member, please read and follow the process outlined on the Membership Page.  TAFA is a wonderful community!

Join TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

 

 

 

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The Amazing Versatility of Felt: A Peek at Felting Techniques on TAFA http://www.tafalist.com/felting-techniques-on-tafa/ http://www.tafalist.com/felting-techniques-on-tafa/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 02:03:30 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13894

The only things I have felted have pretty much been by mistake: sweaters and socks in the washer and dryer. Have you done that? Oops! But, it’s a field of study and practice that fascinates me and if I already didn’t have bins and bins of other supplies, felting would hook me in, for sure. I […]

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Turkish Shepherd with a felt kepenek, a cape worn to keep him warm.

Turkish Shepherd with a felt kepenek, a cape worn to keep him warm.

The only things I have felted have pretty much been by mistake: sweaters and socks in the washer and dryer. Have you done that? Oops! But, it’s a field of study and practice that fascinates me and if I already didn’t have bins and bins of other supplies, felting would hook me in, for sure. I get to drool over what TAFA members make and find their work inspiring and impressive.

Wool fibers have little scales on them that act like hooks. People figured this out hundreds of years ago and have made use of this property to adorn themselves and their homes with felt. Here is a look at what different fibers look like under a microscope:

Wool and other fibers under a microscope.

Wool and other fibers under a microscope.

When you pound those wool fibers together, they grab on to each other, creating felt, which is not woven or knit or crocheted or held together in any other way besides sticking to the scaly hooks next to each other. This means that it can be cut with no fraying and will hold its shape in sculptural form. The possibilities are endless!

Of course, the pounding part of it is a lot of work…. :)

Watch this video of Mongolian nomads making felt for their yurts:

A lot of work, right? It takes a village and a song or two…  Their coats are also made of felt as are many of their rugs, wall coverings, hats, boots, bags and so on.

Let’s look at some of the felting techniques our TAFA artists are using. As I said, I am not a felter and even though I see it on a daily basis, don’t feel super confident about terms and tools, so bear with me if I make a mistake and speak up in the comments.

Click on the images to visit their profiles on TAFA.

Washing Machine

My method! It has to do with heat, soap, and the repetition of movement back and forth. Apparently the front loading models of washing machines won’t work. You’ll need to have the old fashioned one. This method is called “fulling”. (See Leisa Rich’s comment at the bottom.)

Denise Handwerker of Feltwerker (I love her name!) buys old wool sweaters at thrift stores, felts them, cuts them up and makes new things out of them. Unfortunately for Denise, I’ve heard that it’s getting harder and harder to find 100% wool sweaters second hand because all the felters snatch them up.

Feltwerker Recycled Felt Pillow

Feltwerker Recycled Felt Pillow

 

If you know what you are doing, you can knit or crochet shapes and vessels that will stiffen up once they have been felted. Papaver Vert has mastered this technique with her home accent vessels:

Papaver Vert Felt Vessels

Papaver Vert Felt Vessels

 

Wet Felting

Like with the washing machine method, the key is water, soap and movement. One way to do it is to lay fibers down, wet it, soap it up, cover with bubble wrap, roll it up, and lay your weight on it, going back and forth, back and forth. You can keep opening it up and adding more elements and then wrapping it up again and roll, roll, roll. Most of the felting techniques scream “Carpal tunnel!!!” to me, as repetition is key. Careful how you use your bod and wrists…

Fortunately, Robbin and Harry Firth of HeartFelt Silks came up with a tool that really helps with this process: the Palm Washboard! The teeth in the washboard helps move the soap and water around, applies pressure, and you can eliminate a lot of the rolling and rolling. It’s still a lot of work, but it looks fun, too! Check it out:

Wet felting allows you to create flat fabrics that have body and texture. Most often, they are thick and provide warmth. The flat sections can be joined together by creating flaps and using friction to “glue” them together, allowing vessels and three dimensional shapes to grow from that flat starting point. Ariane Mariane is probably our most experimental artist moving from form to function with abandon. It’s been quite the trip to see her evolve over the years and I can only wonder what will come next! Her signature product was a vest that could be worn inside out and upside down, creating many different looks from one piece. Right now she is on a tiny hat kick, one cuter than the other. But, my favorites are her sculptural pieces, often cartoonish characters with a sense of humor:

Ariane Mariane Felt Bird and House

Ariane Mariane Felt Bird and House

 

There are so many great felt artists on TAFA! So hard to pick who to show….  But, here are a couple more examples of wet felting. As you can see, the wool can be dyed in vibrant colors and you can stitch and quilt into it to create extra textures.

Atelier Iona Loyola Green Felt Scarf

Atelier Iona Loyola Green Felt Scarf

 

Feuer und Wasser Felt Scarf

Feuer und Wasser Felt Scarf

 

Feuer und Wasser‘s work also tends toward vibrant colors, but I liked it that this one showed a guy wearing a neck warmer. Be bold, ye modern men! You can have fun with what you wear, too!

Nuno Felt

Nuno felt is a lot like regular wet felting and all of the artists above use it as well. Actually, I believe that Atelier Iona Loyola’s scarf is a nuno felt one. This process adds other thin fabrics into the mix, normally silk. When the wool and silk are rubbed together, the wool fibers will penetrate the silk and stick to it. This is such a luxurious addition to wool as it can take away the itchiness or roughness that raw wool might have for some people. Rarely does someone come up with something “new” these days, yet nuno felting is credited to artist Polly Stirling who came up with it in the early 1990’s.

Adding silk lightens the fabric, while still allowing it to retain warmth and body. Here is a jacket by Jacki Sleator using the nuno felt technique:

Jacki Sleator Nuno Felt Jacket

Jacki Sleator Nuno Felt Jacket

Needle Felting

This is where felt artists go bonkers! This process does not involve water, but it does involve working wool fibers with repetitive motions. The super basic approach is to poke it with a stick, shoving the fibers into each other until they stick and get compressed. You have to do it a gazillion times to make it grow and take shape. I found this funny video of a woman doing the simple method very quickly. It made me cackle out loud!

Watch her make a cat!

Funny, right?  She only has 178 views, so we’re giving her the TAFA bump!

Many of our TAFA needle felters also like to make animals. They are so wonderful! Daria Lvovsky’s (Art of Felting) work is breath taking as she captures so much expression and realism in her subjects.

Art of Felting Needle Felted Vulture

Art of Felting Needle Felted Vulture

A few more favorites, showing how versatile needle felting can be:

Bear Creek Felting

Bear Creek Felting

Stacy Polson - The Old Man in the Teapot

Stacy Polson – The Old Man in the Teapot

 

Pencil and Sheep- Siggy

Pencil and Sheep- Siggy

I find each one exceptional! Oh, and no….  most of these artists are not poking the fiber with one needle like the video artist. There are all kinds of tools now that have big long sharp teeth and even machines that can speed things up a lot. There are only so many hours in a day, right?

Many needle felters also use the technique to create wall art, flat works that can have a great deal of detail and more control than wet felting. This lion has been a personal favorite since I first saw it:

Cloverleaf Art and Fibre- Kalahari King Felted Lion

Cloverleaf Art and Fibre- Kalahari King Felted Lion

Shana Kohnstamm pushes form and function even further. She has been interested in how to make her felt work marry with electronics, perhaps creating sounds or lighting up:

Shana Kohnstamm Pod Light

Shana Kohnstamm Pod Light

 

Commercial Felts

Most of us were introduced to felt as children, perhaps in pre-school, where we learned how to cut, glue and stitch. Not everybody wants to start from scratch with felt and there are many great sources out there that sell felt that is ready to go. They come in many grades, thicknesses and there are plenty of green companies selling compassionate wool products. The shearing of sheep can be quite gruesome in the bigger operations, so try to support the smaller operations who call their sheep by name.

Some of our artists who work with and manipulate commercial felt with stitching and needle felting:

Fuzzy Logic Felt Coasters

Fuzzy Logic Felt Coasters

 

Nestle and Soar- Felt Pillows

Nestle and Soar- Felt Pillows

 

Manitoba Gifts Pin Cushions

Manitoba Gifts Pin Cushions

 

Well, that’s it! There is so much more, but from here, you will have to go and explore. Visit www.tafalist.com and do some keyword searches and see what you find there. About half of our members have shops on Etsy and we have a destination there: type TAFA into Etsy’s search bar. You can add key words, so here what you will find there for TAFA Felt on Etsy.

And, remember, the next time you shrink that sweater in your washing machine, think of all the things you can do with that felt!

Enjoy and be inspired! If you are a felter, kudos to you! 

 

 

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Twelve Great Examples of Art Quilt Techniques http://www.tafalist.com/twelve-great-examples-of-art-quilt-techniques/ http://www.tafalist.com/twelve-great-examples-of-art-quilt-techniques/#comments Sat, 21 Jun 2014 22:01:31 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13875

We have amazing talent among our TAFA members and they serve as a source of great inspiration for our textile and fiber art community. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the techniques that our art quilters use in designing their textiles. As a starting point, I went through […]

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We have amazing talent among our TAFA members and they serve as a source of great inspiration for our textile and fiber art community. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the techniques that our art quilters use in designing their textiles. As a starting point, I went through our member list and looked for quilts that would be good examples for this post. Scrolling down this list is the easiest way to get a good sense of what our members do. You can also do key word searches as some members have more than four products listed and this list only shows four.

I found it really hard to narrow down my choices as there really are so many quilts that I love on the site. So, do look through and find the ones that catch YOUR eye!

Basics

An art quilt can be any size and may use many different elements to pull it together. But, for our purposes, we define an art quilt as a textile that has a top, a middle layer of batting, and a backing. Beyond those common denominators, what happens next is up for grabs and defined by each personal relationship that the maker develops with the surface. Materials, colors, surface design techniques, subject matter and everything else that happens in the piece is purely subjective and has no rules. That is why these are called “art”!

So, let’s take a look! Click on the images to visit their profiles on TAFA. (Our blog is on a separate site, just so you are aware that you will be opening pages to or main site, www.tafalist.com)

Composition

Where things are placed on the surface invites the eye to come in and then move around. Choices might involve simple lines or chaotic energy, but good composition in any art medium creates interest.

Justcolours.de - Line Spiel XIX

Justcolours.de – Line Spiel XIX

Uta Lenk did a series of lines and how they move. The lines are playing together and show great movement, inviting you to follow them along. The color choices she used also help create that illusion of movement. She dyes all of her own fabric.

Color

Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry has carved a reputation for herself as a master in this field and one of her signatures is her use of color. You see one of Caryl’s quilts and know that it is hers immediately if you are familiar with her work. She started out dyeing her own fabrics and then moved into designing fabric lines for Benartex that uses her color palettes, often brilliantly vibrant.

Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry - Spirogyra 3 Art Quilt

Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry – Spirogyra 3

Composition, of course, is also a driving force in Caryl’s quilts.

Black and White

The absence of color can also create striking moods or statements. There actually is no absence of color as even in a black and white design, you can have a huge scale of grey-scale tones. Caryl actually has a great exercise to help find values in your color scale where you xerox various colored fabrics into a black and white print out to find how those colors contrast or work with each other in value.

Catherine Timm uses this technique expertly in many of her quilts. Notice the little patch of red that she uses on this one, making that element pop out against a busy background.

Creative Custom Quilting-Fibre Art - Winter Forest Sumac - Art Quilt

Creative Custom Quilting-Fibre Art – Winter Forest Sumac

 

Depth Perception

Creating depth with fabric can be a challenge. Often architectural quilts or landscapes can look flat and uninviting. Catherine’s forest scene above achieves depth perception expertly with great use of shadows and textures. Ann Harwell also does quite a few landscapes and complex architectural structures like this one, an excellent example of a successful work showing depth.

Ann Harwell Art - Empyrean - Architectural Art Quilt

Ann Harwell Art – Empyrean – Architectural

 

Shadowing

Depth perception goes hand in hand with the ability to create believable shadows. Joan Sowada does this effectively with a minimal use of fabric choices. Her portraits and scenes are broken down to a few important values that will tell the story. Look at the boy’s back leg (the one pushing the swing). She basically chose three fabrics to create the shadows and because those curve with the shape of the leg, they also capture movement and strength.

 

Joan Sowada - Tire, Art Quilt

Joan Sowada – Tire

Landscapes

Again, the elements above really shape the success of a good landscape design. I think that many art quilters try to “copy” the feel that an oil painting might have and over compensate with using too many tiny pieces of fabric to try capture that same feel. Some do this with great success, but my feeling is that a fabric landscape has a different feel from an oil painting and should feel comfortable in that “skin”. Barbara Lardon’s landscapes have this feeling of comfort. Many of her subjects have to do with farming and rural scenes from where she lives in Wisconsin. There is a huge genre in the primitive/folk art arena that addresses similar topics in a cutesy way, but her quilts are elegant, smooth and inviting.

BSL Art Quilts - The Riverfront Art Quilt

BSL Art Quilts – The Riverfront

Photography

There are so many wonderful processes being used to combine photography with other surface techniques. Barbara McKie’s quilts are a stunning example of mixing photography into commercial or hand dyed fabrics along with quilting to complement or contrast with the imagery in the photo.

Barbara McKie - Perching Pelican Art Quilt

Barbara McKie – Perching Pelican Art Quilt

The bird and fence are her photo while the sky was hand painted. Works beautifully!

Traditional

Unfortunately, the quilt community has some pretty awful internal divisions, based pretty much on art quilters dismissing traditional quilters as “not real artists” and the traditional quilters retaliating with “that’s not a real quilt”. It’s a shame because most art quilters start out by falling in love with traditional quilts, making a few and then finding themselves pulled out towards more self expression. I think that the main problem for our community has to do with the price point or value that is associated with the finished products. Traditional quilters rarely get paid fair wages for their labor, compete with China and India as box stores bring in inexpensive replicas of American quilt designs, so they find themselves protective of both their heritage and skills. For example, a traditional quilter’s quilting is evaluated by how many stitches per inch they can get (the more the better!) while an art quilter could care less about that, boldly stitching big fat stitches in yarn if that is the look they want to include. Meanwhile, art quilters want recognition in the fine art field, not because they want distance from the “craft”, but because they want the same financial compensation that an oil painter might get in those circles.

There is room for both and we all need to constantly educate and look for ways in which we can build bridges within our community. Some do that by incorporating traditional quilt designs as a reference within an art quilt, lovely marriage of aesthetics! Then, there are the cultural quilts in other parts of the world and they, too, play a part in how the art quilt scene has developed.

Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo is one such example. She studied the art of silk Thangka making by apprenticing with Tibetan Buddhist monks in India. She now teaches these skills through workshops which also have spiritual and healing components to the actual practical knowledge of making a Tibetan quilt.

Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo - Chenrezig Silk Applique Thangka Art Quilt

Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo – Chenrezig Silk Applique Thangka

 

Shape

Art quilters like to think out of the box. A quilt does not have to be a square or a rectangle. Therese May’s quilts are not square and the actual shape of the quilt adds a great deal of interest to the overall design. She also makes great use of words, both script and blocked, in her quilts, inviting the viewer to participate in her messages of healing and inspiration.

Therese May - Trees Are Good For You - Art Quilt

Therese May – Trees Are Good For You

 

Surface Design

The techniques art quilters use to create their textiles are endless. I picked three examples that I think offer some added information that is different from the ones above.

Rose Hughes - Ebbing Mesas

Rose Hughes – Ebbing Mesas

Rose Hughes teaches many of the design elements that I mentioned above. She has written several books about her technique and also makes great use of color and composition. Rose tends to work with hand dyed silks that she then couches and embellishes with beads and other focal pieces. Make sure to follow her blog as she is always sharing new tips and exercises for developing design skills.

Kathryn Harmer Fox - The Pigness in Us All - Art Quilt

Kathryn Harmer Fox – The Pigness in Us All

Kathryn Harmer Fox uses her painting skills on fabric and then reinforces her images with intense quilting. This creates great textures within the fabric. Her people, animals, and nature scenes are just wonderful, filled with activity, warmth and emotion.

Mary Pal - Looking Back - Art Quilt

Mary Pal – Looking Back

Mary Pal has developed her own technique using cheese cloth to create powerful portraits, a great example of both shadowing and depth. All of that texture and movement happening in the cheesecloth is set off beautifully by simple, bold areas of “blank” spaces, normally a single color.

___________

 

I hope this overview excites you about all of the possibilities that can be done in this exciting field! When you find a technique that captures your imagination, dig into it and learn more about how it’s done. We don’t want you to copy what that artist is doing, but rather have new doors open up for you where you can find the skills to bring your own ideas to fruition. Many of our members teach or have written books on their specialties, so don’t hesitate to connect with them, to ask them questions, to follow them wherever they are on social media and to develop relationships with them.

We’d also love to hear about what you do, if you quilt or work with textiles, what design elements drive you? Do you have any favorite artists or traditions that have a special impact for you? Feel free to share in the comments section. You can follow our posts by signing up to receive them by email in the sidebar, too.

Click to visit our member list on TAFA!

 

 

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Galleribba On Facebook – Small Art for the Wall http://www.tafalist.com/galleribba-on-facebook/ http://www.tafalist.com/galleribba-on-facebook/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 23:52:42 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13852

Two years ago I started Galleribba, an international online gallery for small wall art. This week we welcomed our 46th member. Members are either invited by me or they apply for membership. The maximum size of work on Galleribba is 12 inches on either side. My aim was to have a place filled with lots […]

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galleribbalogo

Two years ago I started Galleribba, an international online gallery for small wall art. This week we welcomed our 46th member. Members are either invited by me or they apply for membership. The maximum size of work on Galleribba is 12 inches on either side.

My aim was to have a place filled with lots of beautiful textile and mixed media art, which would give us a platform to sell our art. Galleribba also serves as a great promotion tool.

 

‘Embark’ by Linda A. Miller

‘Parlour’ by Averil Stuart-Head

‘High Button Shoes’ by Judy Simmons

I’m doing all the work on my own and for free, except for a small contribution towards the costs. So I’m constantly trying to find ways of promoting Galleribba without it costing a lot of money. I’ve tried to do this without social media sites like Facebook as it would take up so much time and I have lots of other things to do, but of course, it’s impossible to ignore the impact of Facebook. So I started a page for Galleribba on Facebook and now need lots of likes.

Rachel has always been very supportive and has given me lots of good tips. One of these was to write this post and hopefully you’ll all ‘like’ Galleribba on Facebook. Here’s the link https://www.facebook.com/pages/Galleribba/473814802749590

Thanks a bunch!

Meta

greeninthemiddle.wordpress.com


Note: Meta is one of our TAFA members and has a great blog where she is constantly experimenting with and sharing new techniques.

Go to greeninthemiddle on TAFA for her Member Profile page and links.

Meta Self-Portrait, greeninthemiddle

Meta Self-Portrait, greeninthemiddle

 

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Felted Mini-Hats by Ariane Mariane http://www.tafalist.com/felted-mini-hats/ http://www.tafalist.com/felted-mini-hats/#comments Fri, 23 May 2014 21:59:50 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13831

Do you wonder where artists and artisans get their inspiration from? Ariane from Ariane Mariane/ Paris has a leitmotif (recurrent theme) that finds ground in a sentence from Picasso : “Inspiration exists but it has to find you working”. Most of her ideas “find her” when she lays out wool fibers or rubs the felt work. The […]

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Do you wonder where artists and artisans get their inspiration from? Ariane from Ariane Mariane/ Paris has a leitmotif (recurrent theme) that finds ground in a sentence from Picasso : “Inspiration exists but it has to find you working”. Most of her ideas “find her” when she lays out wool fibers or rubs the felt work. The eternal repetition of the same actions over a long period of time gets her into meditation mode, a kind of daydream where her thoughts follow their own reasoning.

Ariane Mariane Mini Hats

Ariane Mariane Mini Hats

Ariane shares her creative process

I can give you a concrete example of how I came up with the ideas for the fancy, artsy top hat fascinators that I am making now. I think of them as “mini hats”. This story started when one of my charming New York clients asked me to bring some of my felt hats on the trip I had been planning there. I live in Paris and many of my hats are large sculptural works. As spring and summer were approaching, she also asked for “summer hats”. This great request had two problems for me:

1. The sculptural hats take a lot of space in a suitcase
2. In order to make them stand on their own, these hats are thick, more suited for winter than summer accessories.

Ariane Mariane Sculptural Hats

Ariane Mariane Sculptural Hats

Always willing to make my clients happy, I started thinking about a solution, day and night. Weeks went by and no idea came up (even while working hard). Ten days before departure, I was sure I couldn’t find a solution in time. Suddenly the answer landed in my hands!

Ariane Mariane felt necklaces.

Ariane Mariane felt necklaces.

I was preparing samplers for my summer master class felt workshop. To teach how to make three-dimensional high quality felt work, I developed a necklace which allowed my students to learn and improve this technique on a small scale. While working on a sampler I just happened to put it on my head. (No, please! Don’t ask why! ;) ). Watching myself in the mirror with this kind of crown, there was a big – WARROUM – and something pressed the shutter button.

Ariane Mariane with felted mini hat.

Ariane Mariane with felted mini hat.

The idea of the mini hat was born!

Easy to take in my luggage and a fancy accessory even for spring and summer. Of course the client was enchanted – and so are more and more unique beings!

These head sculptures now come in many shapes, forms and colors. They are meant for trendsetters and those who like a bit of fun and art in everyday life. And if you don’t find the perfect one for you, it will be my pleasure to create a very special one for you!

 

How about you?

Have you ever had a WARROUM moment? How does inspiration happen in your brain, your spirit, your muse? Please share in the comments! We would love to hear from you.

Ariane Mariane Red Felt Mini Hat

Ariane Mariane Red Felt Mini Hat

Ariane has created a “Wall of Fame” on her Facebook page where she has started to post customer photos that are sent in. You too can get seen there if you buy one of her hats! They are so much fun!

One of our pioneer members, Ariane joined TAFA back in September of 2010 and has been active from day one. Her Member Profile. She has shared her joys and struggles openly (See The Price We Pay) and has always made herself approachable. Her fun, warm spirit is contagious and delightful! Ariane is also a member of our Artizan Made collective, our sister site for marketing online shops.

Ariane Mariane Felted Hat Mask

Ariane Mariane Felted Hat Mask

Some of her felted mini-hats are pictured below, along with the larger ones. They link to her shop on Etsy, so click and you land on the listing. Unfortunately, the widget that we are using does not do currency conversions, so the prices you see here are Euros, not US Dollars. 

Shop Ariane Mariane!

 


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Elena Rosenberg Wearable Art at Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show 2014 http://www.tafalist.com/philadelphia-museum-of-art-craft-show/ http://www.tafalist.com/philadelphia-museum-of-art-craft-show/#comments Fri, 23 May 2014 01:03:04 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13812

Elena Rosenberg, New York wearable fiber artist and knit designer, has been invited to participate in the 38th annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show 2014, as an emerging artist. The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft show is a premier display and sale of contemporary craft by the finest and most dynamic craft artists in […]

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Elena Rosenberg, New York wearable fiber artist and knit designer, has been invited to participate in the 38th annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show 2014, as an emerging artist. The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft show is a premier display and sale of contemporary craft by the finest and most dynamic craft artists in the United States.

Elena Rosenberg Grey Set

Elena Rosenberg Grey Set

Each year, the jury selects no more than 195 artists from over 1,000 applications. This year’s jury included Elisabeth Agro (Associate Curator of Modern & Contemporary Decorative Art at Philadelphia Museum of Art), Carolyn Benesh (Co-editor of Ornament Magazine), and Peter Korn (Author of “Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman,” and Director of Center for Furniture Craftsmanship), and Yvonne Markowitz (Curator of Jewelry, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston).

The show takes place in Philadelphia, PA November 6-9, 2014. http://pmacraftshow.org/

Elena is also the recipient of the 2014 NICHE Award for Excellent and Innovation in Fashion Accessories.

Elena Rosenberg Fuchsia Set

Elena Rosenberg Fuchsia Set

Elena has been an active TAFA member since June of 2012. She actively works in the textile community in a variety of capacities and we are so very proud of her! Find her links on her profile page and follow her wherever you are active. If you can make the Philadelphia Show, you are in for a treat! Here is a typical booth display from Elena’s past shows:

Elena is also a TAFA sponsor, a financial supporter who helps us keep on ticking!

Sponsor Info

Congratulations, Elena Rosenberg!!!

 

Elena Rosenberg Red Set Web

Elena Rosenberg Red Set

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Work Spaces: Where Textiles and Fiber Art Get Made, Part 2 http://www.tafalist.com/work-spaces-2/ http://www.tafalist.com/work-spaces-2/#comments Fri, 16 May 2014 13:55:13 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13722

TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List has a widely diverse membership, brought together by a shared love for the work they do with textiles and fiber art. All of us have an online presence, but what we do can range from knitting on a favorite couch to working in large scale production with economic development […]

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TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List has a widely diverse membership, brought together by a shared love for the work they do with textiles and fiber art. All of us have an online presence, but what we do can range from knitting on a favorite couch to working in large scale production with economic development initiatives. Some members make their living through creating products for sale, others teach, while others publish or exhibit their works. The handmade process always translates into labor intensive techniques, but the materials and tools needed vary dramatically. Travel around the world to visit some of our work spaces.

Click on the names to visit their profiles on TAFA where you will find more info and links to their sites. The first image of each slideshow shows an example of what is made in that space. Enjoy!

This is Part Two. Visit Part One.

 

 Gilgulim

Israel

Hagar Arnon began making fabric beads by recycling old ties. Now she incorporates other fabrics that she likes along with beads and findings to make necklaces and earrings.

Click to view slideshow.

HeartFelt Silks

USA

Robbin and Harry Firth run a felt shop and studio in Stillwater, Minnesota, where they offer workshops. Inventors of the palm washboard, their main focus is on wet felting.

Click to view slideshow.

Karen Anne Glick

USA

Karen uses the stitch, real or metaphorical, as a reference to connect the past to the present. She is a mixed media artist who explores minimalism with an emphasis on color and shape.

Click to view slideshow.

Kasia Urban Rybska

Poland

Kasia enjoys creating needlepoint designs of everyday, mundane objects and funny looking people. She has recently started teaching workshops and is enjoying them thoroughly!

Click to view slideshow.

Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo

USA

Leslie trained in India with Tibetan monks on the art of sacred embroidery. She teaches this spiritual practice online and through workshops.

Click to view slideshow.

LoomOnTheLake

USA

Lynn specializes in complex patterns which she weaves into scarves, shawls and home textiles. She just got a new loom which is supposed to open all kinds of design possibilities, so we are excited to see what will happen next!

Click to view slideshow.

Lorie McCown

USA

Lorie paints and stitches in her home studio in Virginia.

Click to view slideshow.

MarketPlace: Handwork of India

India

MarketPlace is a fair trade organization working to empower women (and men!) through the production of their comfortable, artsy garments and home textiles.

Click to view slideshow.

mm handwovens

USA

Margery weaves beautiful scarves using exotic threads. She also knits and makes cards and buttons.

Click to view slideshow.

Nestle and Soar

USA

Georgianne Holland specializes in home textiles, many of which are inspired by the birds and trees native to her Colorado landscape. Georgianne has recently added a healthy living component to her business.

Click to view slideshow.

Pamela Penney Textile Arts

USA

Pamela Penney practices a wide range of the textile arts from her studio in Oak Park, Illinois. She teaches workshops and is actively engaged in her local community.

Click to view slideshow.

Priscilla Creations

USA

Priscilla sews and embellishes garments and quilts.

Click to view slideshow.

Rayela Art

USA

I’m the one writing this post, so will go for the 1st person… :)  I like to work on large scale textiles but don’t have the space so recently went back to embroidery and other needlework. I just finished my first hooked rug! I stitch late at night in my living room, watching movies with one eye and the needle with the other. There are no closets in my house, so it’s a mess of supplies and products that I sell on Etsy, stacked in shelving in the dining room and in my bedroom.

Click to view slideshow.

Sally Manke Fiber Artist

USA

Sally Manke is a renaissance woman, practicing a multitude of textile techniques. Quilts, baskets, and much more!

Click to view slideshow.

Something Else Studio

USA

Jannelle has a long history of sewing garments and accessories. Every summer, she and her husband Joe, spend several months in the Renaissance Faire circuit. They have a permanent home there with a studio area and she works from her home during the rest of the year.

Click to view slideshow.

Studio Jules

USA

Jules Rushing dyes fabric for sale and creates quilts.

Click to view slideshow.

TAMMACHAT Natural Textiles

Canada

Ellen Agger and Allison Kase have been working with weavers in Thailand and Laos since 2007, focusing on traditional rural weaving techniques made from organic silks and cotton.

Click to view slideshow.

Tilonia

India

Tilonia is a mission driven economic development project in India with its marketing arm in the United States. Associated with the esteemed Barefoot College in India, Tilonia’s products focus on accessories and home textiles.

Click to view slideshow.

Wrapture by Inese

Latvia

Inese Liepina made her start in the US and ended up in Latvia. She currently makes knitted garments and accessories made from recycled yarns from Turkey. She collaborates with Catherine Bayar of Bazaar Bayar (featured in Part One) on knitting patterns that use the same yarns she recycles.

Click to view slideshow.

 

What about you? Are you a maker? What kind of space needs do you have? What do you like the best about where you work? What do you wish you had? My wish would be to have a dedicated space where I can close the door from my living area. Right now it feels like I am living in a warehouse. At the same time, I LOVE working from home, being able to play with my dogs, take breaks when I want to, and have everything within reach.

Leave a comment and share links to your space if you have anything up online.

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Images of Motherhood in Textiles and Fiber Art http://www.tafalist.com/motherhood-in-textiles/ http://www.tafalist.com/motherhood-in-textiles/#comments Sun, 04 May 2014 20:55:03 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13704

Figurative work often explores the narrative of the personal, the relationships that make or break our lives and our world order. Motherhood, as a theme, tends to luck out on the spectrum of emotions. Equated with the generous and tender roles of guardians, protectors, teachers, they warm the heart. Those of us who are mothers […]

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Mary Kroetsch- Mother and Daughter, Talisman Fibre Arts Studio

Embroidery by Mary Kroetsch of Talisman Fibre Arts Studio- Mother and Daughter

Figurative work often explores the narrative of the personal, the relationships that make or break our lives and our world order. Motherhood, as a theme, tends to luck out on the spectrum of emotions. Equated with the generous and tender roles of guardians, protectors, teachers, they warm the heart. Those of us who are mothers or who have them, know that these relationships are much more complex. I suspect that artists who explore these moments of suspended time, of that embrace, kiss or look, are probing those layers of meaning with each stitch, cut and tuck. By the time they are finished, some kind of resolution, acceptance and honoring has happened.

Maggie Dillon Designs

Maggie Dillon Designs

Society demands purity from motherhood: The mother who does not serve as a guardian to her children is a broken vessel. Something must be wrong with her genes! Nature has a powerful, inbuilt drive that should make all mothers spread their wings around their little ones. Fortunately, most of us do find that balance and rhythm where mother and child is a safe space. Parenting, for both mothers and fathers, involves years of tedious, thankless tasks, hard work, financial commitments, hope and patience. So, we have a couple of days a year where we give recognition to the mothers around us, those women who shape our social fabric.

Joan Sowada

Joan Sowada

The textiles shown in this post are typical works for each of the artists. All of them capture a moment in time, a frozen action that tells a story. The characters do not need names or a long explanation about what is going on. We see it and identify immediately with the emotion. Make sure to click on the images to visit their profiles on TAFA. There, you will find their stories and their links.

Louise Schiele Art Quilt-Tennis Anyone

Louise Schiele-Tennis Anyone?

Anton Veenstra, tapestry, as a baby in a work camp with his mother.

Anton Veenstra, tapestry, as a baby in a work camp with his mother.

We have an aging population in the United States as the baby boomers approach their 60’s and 70’s. This is also true in our textile and fiber art community. Many of the leaders who paved the way for our contemporary understanding and use of textiles in the art world are retiring and even dying. Motherhood takes on a new significance as the adults who were once babies now become the protectors and guardians of their mothers and fathers.

Jan Holzbauer Art quilt - Enveloping Darkness - from a series exploring her mother's struggle with Alzheimer.

Jan Holzbauer Art – Enveloping Darkness – from a series exploring her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer.

All of the traditional textile and needlework techniques that were once focused on the functional have been used to portray great emotion and powerful bonds. I find that textiles move me the most, more than any other medium, when used figuratively. Perhaps the softness, the ability to wrap and bend, fold, wear and wash these threads….  they just seem personal and intimate. I love all of the art forms, but images of motherhood in textiles seem to be the most excellent fit.

Studio Santeena - Gimme Shelter, Art Quilt made about the earthquake in Haiti.

Studio Santeena – Gimme Shelter, Art Quilt made about the earthquake in Haiti.

Animals as Mothers

We want and get the same nurturing and protective spirit from our non-human animals. I found one of my dogs years ago, torn up and pregnant. She had been used as bait in dog fighting and has issues with other dogs. She had seven puppies in my Chicago apartment and it was amazing to watch her rear them. Gentle and sweet…  I asked the vet how a dog who had been so hurt could be so good to her babies. He answered that she had learned how to be nurturing from her mother. It gave me great comfort to think that this poor dog had started out with love and was probably able to come back to it because that state of existence was still in her core.

Colin's Creatures is a master at capturing animal affection between his sheep and their lambs.

Colin’s Creatures is a master at capturing animal affection between his sheep and their lambs.

Daria Lvovsky of Art of Felting has captured hundreds of animals and birds in realistic environments. This sow with her piglets is wonderfully interactive.

Daria Lvovsky of Art of Felting has captured hundreds of animals and birds in realistic environments. This sow with her piglets is wonderfully interactive.

 

Mother’s Day is coming up and we thank all of you mothers for your hard work, for your tenderness, kindness, and the investment you have made in your children! We hope that you will spoiled and pampered on your day!

Still shopping for a gift?

You can support our TAFA members and buy something wonderful that is handmade with love! Most likely, the maker is also a mother! Where you can find great gifts:

Happy Mother’s Day!

annie Narte, My Mother, My Daughter

Fannie Narte, My Mother, My Daughter

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Work Spaces: Where Textiles and Fiber Art Get Made, Part 1 http://www.tafalist.com/work-spaces/ http://www.tafalist.com/work-spaces/#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 22:08:17 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13647

TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List has a widely diverse membership, brought together by a shared love for the work they do with textiles and fiber art. All of us have an online presence, but what we do can range from knitting on a favorite couch to working in large scale production with economic […]

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TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List has a widely diverse membership, brought together by a shared love for the work they do with textiles and fiber art. All of us have an online presence, but what we do can range from knitting on a favorite couch to working in large scale production with economic development initiatives. Some members make their living through creating products for sale, others teach, while others publish or exhibit their works. The handmade process always translates into labor intensive techniques, but the materials and tools needed vary dramatically. Travel around the world to visit some of our work spaces.

Click on the names to visit their profiles on TAFA where you will find more info and links to their sites. The first image of each slideshow shows an example of what is made in that space. Enjoy!

African Threads

Canada

Valerie Hearder works with women in South Africa who embroider village scenes, animals and other designs on fabric, pillows, wall hangings and other products.

 

Click to view slideshow.

Amber Kane

USA

Amber Kane weaves glorious scarves and writes about seizing the day with affirmation and power in her blog.

Click to view slideshow.

Bazaar Bayar

Turkey

Catherine and her husband, Abit, live in Istanbul where they sell vintage carpets and work with local craftspeople. Catherine is also a knitting designer and pattern maker.

Click to view slideshow.

Boisali Biswas

USA

Boisali has now lived in the US for a long time, but her roots in India remain strong. There, she had classical training in weaving and other traditional arts and continues to explore new ways to translate the old.

Click to view slideshow.

Cally Booker

Scotland

Cally Booker finds inspiration in the skyline of her Dundee cityscapes as well as the waterfront near her home.

Click to view slideshow.

Cat Brysch Creations Studio

USA

Cat has woven yardage for other artists for over 30 years!

Click to view slideshow.

Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts

USA

Cindy’s art quilts and home accents are known for their great color combinations.

Click to view slideshow.

Danny Mansmith

USA

A Chicago native, Danny now creates in Seattle, a master at using his sewing machine to draw.

Click to view slideshow.

DharmaKarmaArts

USA

Indira Govindan uses her small work area to full capacity, creating journals, sari textile art, decorated boxes and much more. Inspired by her Indian roots, Indira donates the proceeds of her sales to a non-profit run by her sister in India.

Click to view slideshow.

Elena Ulyanova

Ukraine

Elena has many talents, but her big passion is botanical dyeing. She teaches workshops on it and her blog details her experiments and process.

Click to view slideshow.

Fearless Fiberworks

Canada

Carole Simcox sews, felts and knits from her home studio.

Click to view slideshow.

This was Part One. See more on Part Two.

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How about you? Are you a maker? What kind of space needs do you have? Feel free to leave a link in the comments if you want us to take a look.

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Decorating with Textiles: Hooked Rugs – Not Just For Floors http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-hooked-rugs/ http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-hooked-rugs/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 02:41:20 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13569

I am a fibre artist living and working in Ottawa, Ontario Canada.  I love to blend alternative fibre techniques with traditional yarn hand-hooking to create fresh landscapes and abstract close-ups and to explore meaningful moments in childhood.   Every loop of yarn that I pull up with my hook brings me closer to capturing the essence of […]

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Karen Miller of Marzipan Road

Karen Miller, Marzipan Road

I am a fibre artist living and working in Ottawa, Ontario Canada.  I love to blend alternative fibre techniques with traditional yarn hand-hooking to create fresh landscapes and abstract close-ups and to explore meaningful moments in childhood.   Every loop of yarn that I pull up with my hook brings me closer to capturing the essence of nature or of a special moment in the lives of my kids.  Anything can be a source of inspiration to me, from world travel to my own backyard. I am drawn to the earthy tones and moody skies of the North Atlantic and especially Iceland.

My pieces are available for purchase at several locations across Canada and my work has been shown in various exhibits in both Canada and the United States.  You can learn more about me and my work on my website and blog at www.marzipanroad.com.

When we talk about rugs, most people think of woven ones for the floors. But, rugs are not just for floors, nor are woven ones the only technique that is out there. Hooked rugs have been making a comeback, especially as art for the walls. I am happy to show some of the rugs I’ve made in this post and how I have displayed them in my home.

marzipan road girl in tree rug

“The Tree Climber”

Traditionally, hand-hooked rugs were made to keep bare feet warm and were also kept by the door to wipe muddy boots on.  More recently, however, the once humble rug has rightly come into its own as a form of contemporary art.  With this evolution came the migration of rugs from floor to wall, where they are now on display.  I still have a rug by my front door, but instead of it being on the floor it is hung on the wall; one of the first things that guests see when they enter my home. In fact, due to the specialty fibres and techniques that I tend to use in my work, I don’t make any rugs for the floor.  I make pieces that I want people to enjoy and engage with visually rather than functionally.

"Mer Bleue in Fall" Marzipan Road rug in hall

“Mer Bleue in Fall”

"Girl with a Yellow Bucket", Hooked Rug by Karen Miller, Marzipan Road

“Girl with a Yellow Bucket”

I think that because the living room is the space in the house where I spend the most time it has also become the area where I hang my favourite and most meaningful pieces.  Like photographs, these pieces act as reminders of adventures we have been on as a family and poignant moments in the lives of my young children.  They tell the story of our family.

Karen Miller's living room

Living Room

Marzipan Road Solitude Hooked Rug, living room setting

“Solitude” on the wall.

A large work hangs on the wall of our stairway:

"Beyond Swallowtail", Marzipan Road hooked rug

“Beyond Swallowtail”

Just like any other type of wall art, fibre art can be hung anywhere.  In the past year or so I have started to experiment with and explore different ways of displaying my pieces through the use of frames.  I love to adapt pieces to old window frames that I come across at antique stores.  My husband has also started making custom frames for many of my works.  Frames can add to a piece and both contain and contextualize the art.  For larger pieces, such as that shown above, a frame can help to showcase a piece in that perfect spot within your home.

Frames can also give a piece of fibre art stability, allowing you to pursue display options other than just as a wall hanging.  Clustering items with a similar theme or like colours can create an appealing vignette.  In my own home, I find that having pieces propped at a lower level invites people to engage them in a whole new way as they are able to better see and touch the many textures that I use in my work.

"Black Sand at Vik, Iceland", hooked rug by Marzipan Road

“Black Sand at Vik, Iceland”

A hooked rug can be hung anywhere.  The large rug below was one of my first pieces and I have hung it in our basement playroom.  It adds cheeriness to that area of the house and the bright colours appeal to children.  Even though I have young children in my home I don’t worry too much about them being around the rugs.  Hooked rugs are resilient and can handle a lot of touching.  Most fibre art is meant to be touched and enjoyed!

"Iceland Mosaic", Hooked Rug by Karen Miller of Marzipan Road

“Iceland Mosaic”

I hope that this has shown you how versatile hooked rugs can be.  There are no real rules to hanging them.  Like any other piece of fibre or textile art you should avoid hanging them in direct sunlight to prevent fading over time.  A little shake from time to time should remove any dust that may accumulate.

Hooked rugs are an excellent way to bring colour, texture and warmth into your home!

To see more of my pieces you can visit my website or my TAFA profile.  I have many hooked rugs for sale and I love to take commissions to capture the memories of others in fibre art!

Visit Marzipan Road on TAFA!

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Decorating with Textiles Series

Many thanks to Karen for sharing her home with us for this series. Do leave a comment for her below! Karen joined TAFA in January of 2013 and has been a great joy to get to know. Her rugs have stimulated an interest of mine in learning how to hook and I have gotten far enough to buy the hook! :) Some hookers only use wool strips in their rugs, but Karen comes from a contemporary approach where yarns and other threads are also used.

Would you like to participate in this series? The Decorating with Textiles Series is an ongoing project on this blog. This series is open to all of you out there who love textiles. Many of our TAFA members make beautiful decorative textiles and functional work as well and showcasing these homes can help stimulate new ideas of what to do with textiles. Seeing a photo online is much different from seeing how a textile will function in an environment. Many people appreciate textiles but have no idea how to display them or what to do with them. We’d like to have many people participate, each bringing in their own ideas and tastes.

Contact me if you are interested and would like to submit a post:

rayela [@] comcast.net (remove spaces and brackets)

Visit TAFA to see inspiring art quilts, weavings and accessories for the home. Maybe you will find the perfect accent for your home!

Also check out our TAFA Market and our TAFA shops on Etsy!

Don’t miss out on our future posts! Sign up on the sidebar to receive our posts by email.

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D. Ellis Originals http://www.tafalist.com/d-ellis-originals/ http://www.tafalist.com/d-ellis-originals/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 16:55:39 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13535

Dawna Ellis makes baskets and vessels by wrapping fabric around clothesline cord and sewing them together. I first saw them on an Artsy Shark interview (a wonderful blog which everyone should subscribe to!) and knew that they were special. I was on target as only a short time later, D. Ellis Originals ended up with two […]

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NICHE Award Finalist, 2014, "Pagoda"

NICHE Award Finalist, 2014, “Pagoda”

Dawna Ellis makes baskets and vessels by wrapping fabric around clothesline cord and sewing them together. I first saw them on an Artsy Shark interview (a wonderful blog which everyone should subscribe to!) and knew that they were special. I was on target as only a short time later, D. Ellis Originals ended up with two vessels as finalists in the much coveted NICHE Awards. I was delighted when Dawna accepted my invitation to join TAFA and am pleased to announce that you can now see her profile up on our site:

Visit D. Ellis Originals on TAFA

"It's a Wrap" by Susan Breier

“It’s a Wrap” by Susan Breier

The technique that Dawna uses to make these baskets is not really all that difficult nor unique. Many people whip out baskets and bags using up scraps from their other sewn projects. I have the book “It’s a Wrap”, pictured at the left, and have thought about trying it myself many times. It’s loaded with fun projects and friends who have made these baskets have said they go pretty quickly.

However, this is like saying “braiding is easy”. There are braids, which even a child can do, and then there are BRAIDS that make you hold your breath. Dawna has succeeded in elevating a fun craft into an art form. She does this in many ways:

Tight control of shape: Her lines are clearly defined and solid. Many of the baskets that I have seen, even examples in the book, are more loosely sewn, causing them to sag a bit. They are fine and fun, but Dawna’s works, often compared to ceramics, exude a feeling of permanence.

Choice of fabrics: Dawna often uses specialty fabrics such as Japanese kimono fabric or hand-printed batiks and the quality shows.

Use of color: Shapes and fabrics make full use of color to add impact and dimension.

Embellishments: Lids, beads, tassels, natural branches and Japanese hair sticks add elegance, character and definition to the works.

These elements come together in her portfolio collections on her website:

Far East Collection

Far East Collection by D. Ellis Originals

Batik Collection

Batik Collection by Dawna Ellis

Classics Collection

D. Ellis Originals

Americana Collection

D. Ellis Orignals coral basket

Dawna has also explored sculptural forms which I find quite interesting:

Fabric sculpture by Dawna Ellis

As with anything, practice makes perfect! Dawna has a wonderful selection of her work that you can click through on her portfolios. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with next as she continues to explore these elements that she has harnessed so well in her work. We are truly pleased to welcome her into our TAFA community and encourage you to leave her a comment here as a greeting, too.

We announce our new TAFA profiles here and if you would like to receive future ones by email, please sign up in the sidebar. 

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Decorating with Textiles: Living with Cindy Grisdela’s Contemporary Quilts http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-cindy-grisdela/ http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-cindy-grisdela/#comments Sat, 08 Mar 2014 20:13:25 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13502

  I’m a fiber artist specializing in abstract contemporary quilts for the wall. I’m particularly interested in color and the way colors interact with each other to enhance our experience of the world. Many of my designs draw on the traditions of the past, but reinterpret them in a contemporary way, reflecting the fact that […]

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Cindy Grisdela fiber artist

Cindy Grisdela fiber artist

I’m a fiber artist specializing in abstract contemporary quilts for the wall. I’m particularly interested in color and the way colors interact with each other to enhance our experience of the world. Many of my designs draw on the traditions of the past, but reinterpret them in a contemporary way, reflecting the fact that I started out many years ago with traditional patterns and techniques.

Inspiration for my designs comes from keen observation of my surroundings, from the pebbles on the path, to the currents in water, to the colors of a meadow. Using improvisational techniques, I create abstract designs primarily with solid colors, and then add rich texture with a variety of quilting stitches. All of my work is designed organically without a preconceived pattern and the textural lines are added freehand, so no two pieces are ever exactly alike. All of the stitching is done on the sewing machine, but it is entirely hand driven. There’s no computer program or marking, just drawing with my needle and thread.

From my base in Virginia, I have a busy show schedule exhibiting my work at art and fine craft shows all over the country. Please visit my website and blog at www.cindygrisdela.com for details.

Cindy Grisdela foyer - "Playing with Crayons"

Cindy Grisdela foyer – “Playing with Crayons”


As a contemporary fiber artist, I have a lot of quilts and textile art in my home–it’s is a rotating gallery of work, depending on what shows I have going on and sometimes on my mood. There are quilts on the walls, runners on the tables, pillows on the sofa, and yes–quilts on the beds.

There are lots of places to enjoy quilts besides on the bed! In the foyer, pictured above, a colorful wall hanging called “Playing with Crayons” is a cheerful welcome to visitors and a hint of what’s in store as they enter the house. I’ve always had off-white walls on the theory that my work has so much color and activity that color on the walls too would be too much, but as you can see by the swatch of paint on the right, I’m beginning to experiment with more color on the walls.

Cindy Grisdela Living Room Quilt Arrangement

Cindy Grisdela Living Room Quilt Arrangement

The wall above is in my living room. It’s a great place to share my work because everyone who comes into the house sees it. The combination of different sizes and shapes in the wall hangings gives energy to an otherwise bland space and provides an interesting focal point for the room. A woven table runner softens the antique wooden console table behind the sofa. (That’s my cat, Indy, peeking around the corner!)

Cindy Grisdela - Rail Fence Table Runner

Cindy Grisdela – Rail Fence Table Runner

Fiber art gives a sense of warmth and texture to the space, and in the case of table runners or pillows, can be an easy way to add a splash of color or to change the mood of a room. You can even have different pieces for different seasons or times of the year. The Rail Fence table runner above works perfectly as an autumn table setting.

In the photo below, a pillow and a table topper coordinate using a bright strip of asymmetrical circle shapes complemented with a soft gray background for spring.

CGrisdela_PillowTopper

Cindy Grisdela Living Room – Pillow and Table Topper

CGrisdela_OverBookcase

Cindy Grisdela Living Room Bookcase – “Secret Garden” and “Garden Path”

In the shot above, the wall hanging “Secret Garden” is just the right size to go above the bookcase. The warmth of the fabric softens its angular edges and the colors complement the wood and the spines of the books inside. The piece also provides a nice counterpoint to the black and white painting on the left done by my son, Matt, and the smaller piece “Garden Path” on the right. There’s also an older Amish style quilt folded on the antique chair that belonged to my husband’s grandmother, and a small angel made out of an old handkerchief hanging on the handle to the glass front bookcase. We have a contemporary home, but my decor is eclectic, with antiques passed down through our families happily coexisting with more modern pieces.

Cindy Grisdela - "Autumn Forest"

Cindy Grisdela – “Autumn Forest”

We also collect paintings, sculpture, candlesticks, and functional and decorative ceramics to add artistic flair to our spaces, as you’ll see in some of the photos.

Add color to your walls

So, do the walls always have to be bland? Not at all! Last year I took a deep breath and painted the walls of my dining room purple–little did I know that this color was destined to be so similar to the Pantone color of the year–Radiant Orchid. The room itself felt cold and uninviting before, and I’m much happier with it now because it feels so much warmer and pleasant to be in.

Particularly at night, the glow of color from the walls makes you feel as though you’re in a special space. My wall hanging, “Autumn Forest” with its purple, green and gold color scheme, is a perfect way to add movement and texture to the narrow purple wall over a Christmas cactus plant on another antique table–this one from my grandmother.

CGrisdela_NarrowWall

Cindy Grisdela – “Abstract Stripes”

Tight and unusual spaces

In an even narrower space in the sun room, “Abstract Stripes” adds interest to the area between the windows and the door to a small balcony.

Another great place to hang quilts is in the stairwell. I have a open staircase going up three stories, so there are several opportunities to show my work there. Below one of my newest hangings, “Island Hopping,” has pride of place on the first floor stair landing.

I especially like how the sun coming in a window on the landing casts shadows that add even more movement to the space.

 

Cindy Grisdela Stairwell - "Island Hopping"

Cindy Grisdela Stairwell – “Island Hopping”

Quilt Care

A word about the care of quilts. If the wall pieces get dust on them, the easiest thing to do is to take a lint roller and gently roll it over the surface to pick up the dust. My table runners and pillows can be cared for the same way, or they can be machine washed in cold water on a gentle cycle. All of my fabrics are prewashed before being used. It’s wise to avoid placing any fabric art in direct sunlight for extended periods of time.

Cindy Grisdela - Bed Topper

Cindy Grisdela – Bed Topper

Bed Quilts vs Small Quilts

I don’t make full size bed quilts anymore partly because it’s too much bulk to get through the home sewing machine that I use for all my stitching. But, I do make what I call bed toppers that lie over a spread or comforter that covers the mattress. The topper can be left on or folded back at night. Working on a smaller scale also gives me the flexibility to create pieces that are more versatile–they can be hung on the wall or laid on a bed or sofa or cover a table. Lots more options!

Cindy Grisdela coasters

Cindy Grisdela coasters

Other Textiles

We also have textiles made by other people in our home, especially rugs. Some are oriental and some are handwoven by studio artists. Like the antique furniture we have inherited, these all add to the warmth and texture to our spaces. We find that contemporary textiles work well with vintage ones and bringing them all together is one of my favorite things about decorating with textiles.

Learn more about my work, my inspiration and my process on my website and TAFA profile. I sell wall quilts, table runners, pillows and coasters, like the ones pictured above, in my Etsy shop. It gives me great pleasure to think of my work bringing the same joy to other homes as I receive in mine. Thank you for sharing my textile journey!

Website

TAFA Profile

Etsy Shop

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Decorating with Textiles Series

Many thanks to Cindy for sharing her home with us for this series. Do leave a comment for her below! Cindy is one of TAFA’s pioneer members, joining back in March of 2010, soon after we launched and has been an active participant from the beginning. We treasure her insights immensely!

Would you like to participate in this series? The Decorating with Textiles Series is an ongoing project on this blog. This series is open to all of you out there who love textiles. Many of our TAFA members make beautiful decorative textiles and functional work as well and showcasing these homes can help stimulate new ideas of what to do with textiles. Seeing a photo online is much different from seeing how a textile will function in an environment. Many people appreciate textiles but have no idea how to display them or what to do with them. We’d like to have many people participate in this series, each bringing in their own ideas and tastes.

Contact me if you are interested and would like to submit a post:

rayela [@] comcast.net (remove spaces and brackets)

Visit TAFA to see inspiring art quilts, weavings and accessories for the home. Maybe you will find the perfect accent for your home!

Also check out our TAFA Market and our TAFA shops on Etsy!

Don’t miss out on our future posts! Sign up on the sidebar to receive our posts by email.

Click on the images below to visit Cindy’s shop on Etsy. If you right click to open a new window or tab, you can keep this page open and continue to explore our site.


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Decorating with Textiles Series: Carpets From Afghanistan http://www.tafalist.com/carpets-from-afghanistan-2/ http://www.tafalist.com/carpets-from-afghanistan-2/#comments Sun, 02 Mar 2014 14:54:07 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13494

A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of visiting my friend, Abdul Wardak, in his Wisconsin home. We were partners in a gallery in Chicago and I continue to work with him in Paducah, Kentucky, managing his online presence for Afghan Tribal Arts as well as his properties here. After we closed our […]

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Wardak Ranch

“Wardak Ranch”

A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of visiting my friend, Abdul Wardak, in his Wisconsin home. We were partners in a gallery in Chicago and I continue to work with him in Paducah, Kentucky, managing his online presence for Afghan Tribal Arts as well as his properties here. After we closed our gallery, I wanted to move to a warmer climate and the original plan was to relocate the gallery as well. Instead, Abdul was able to purchase a package deal on some worn down houses here which he has been rehabbing over time. The gallery may still happen some day. I rarely travel, so seeing his home was a special treat, especially since I miss seeing his kids. I asked him if it would be ok to share the photos that I took for this series and he was delighted.

From the outside, the home is a traditional ranch style structure, Midwestern looking, like any other house in Sturgeon Bay. They have a couple of acres and a barn, perfect for storing merchandise for his import business. The roomy house served as a perfect transition when moving from Chicago, although now four of the six kids have left for college or marriage.

Wardak Ranch outside 4

View of the house from the driveway.

It’s always so interesting when you step in someone’s door and see what they have done to personalize a space! This house has some nice accents, arched doorways and rod iron stairs, that fit perfectly with a Central Asian decor.  Here are a couple of views of the arches:

Wardak Ranch inside 1

With and without flash:

Wardak Ranch inside 7

092011 Wardak Ranch inside 6

The floor plan has a large, open living room and dining room area and the arches lead into a family room and bedroom. As you can see, Afghan carpets define the space, making it warm and welcoming. The photo below shows the entrance, with the kitchen at the back wall. The carpet in the living room is huge! It would take several months to make it! Cushions also add a splash of color and comfort.

Wardak Ranch inside 3

This is a space for people and it is usually lively with activity. Abdul takes care of business while his dog chills out:

Abdul with his dog.

Abdul with his dog.

The family room is a great space to hang out and watch movies. The photo is blurry and messy, but this is such a great idea that I decided to include it here. Covered mattresses on the floor with pillows are used in homes around the world, where people traditionally do not use chairs. Carpets are durable, soft and easy to clean. I have a futon in my living room for my dogs, also covered in a carpet. I have other blankets on it which I wash regularly and the carpet vacuums right up. Wool has natural oils in it that repel dirt and bacteria, much healthier than synthetic options.

Wardak Ranch inside 4

Wardak Ranch inside 4

Here is one of the bedrooms, just past that family room, the guest room, which I thoroughly enjoyed:

Wardak Ranch inside 5

The kitchen area has an informal feel with a breakfast area that is sunny and bright.

Wardak Ranch inside 10

Wardak Ranch inside 11

The eggplant upholstery of the chairs picks up the purples in the carpet under the table perfectly. Notice how carpets also help define spaces. The top photo shows how the rugs separate areas visually by the outline of the rugs on the floor. The sliding doors open to a large deck and yard, with a great view of the barn.

Wardak Ranch inside 8Carpets everywhere!

The kids have learned to care for chickens, goats, geese and other animals.

Wardak Ranch outside 1

Wardak Ranch outside 6

092011 Wardak Ranch outside 13

092011 Wardak Ranch outside 18

See the little house off to the back? That was filled with textiles! One more guestroom, a boho paradise! I don’t have a good photo of how it looked, but the dog showed off a bit in there:

092011 Wardak Ranch sutak 4

They also have a vegetable garden in the summer. It seems idyllic, doesn’t it? And, one wonders what stories came before, who else nurtured this land and these buildings, how they decorated their space…  But, all of this means constant work, fixing and keeping things in order. While I was there, Abdul and his son worked on a fence that one of the goats kept breaking through:

Wardak Ranch outside fixing

Moving from a metro area to a small town like Sturgeon Bay was a major shift for the family. The kids had to learn how to deal with standing out in school, how to care for the animals and how to grow things. Abdul is almost always on the road doing bead shows around the South, so he manages a lot by phone. His two sons meet up with him when they have breaks from college and all of the kids pitch in with organizing inventory and doing local shows.

The bread and butter for Afghan Tribal Arts has been the beads. But, they also have a huge selection of carpets from Afghanistan, most of which are stored in their big garage attached the house. There is also a great selection in Abdul’s gallery in Pendleton, South Carolina, Sturee Tribal Village.

Sturee Tribal Village

When you walk into Abdul’s house, you get an immediate feeling of being transported to the Silk Road, of having a taste of Afghanistan within an American context. Yet, Abdul has actually incorporated furniture and decorative objects from many other traditions in his home: a Chinese dresser in the hall, the Mexican bed in the guest room, textiles from India and Indonesia…  Doing so many shows has broadened his interest to other parts of the world which often end up in trades, bringing memories of other friends in the import business. These are the modern nomads!

Professional designers do the same thing, integrating many different traditions and styles to create a look that works for a space and its people. Carpets from Afghanistan look as comfortable in a Victorian setting as they do in a rustic cabin or a minimalist modern space. If you are in the market for one, Abdul’s sons can help you in the Sturgeon Bay/Chicago area.. We do not carry them online at this time due to storage and shipping issues. But, if you like smaller textiles, beads and tribal jewelry, I am happy to help you with what we have listed in the Etsy shop.

Abdul with his grandson.

Abdul with his grandson.

Roshan and Zaland are both in college in Green Bay, not too far from home. They will be happy to help with local inquiries.

Roshan Wardak

Roshan Wardak

Zaland Wardak

Zaland Wardak

Use the contact form on Afghan Tribal Arts and I will forward emails to Abdul or his sons. Or, you can leave a comment here and I will make sure that they see it.

I wish the photos that I took were better, but wasn’t planning on making them into a feature. Still, I hope they give you a sense of the life and beauty there! Many thanks to Abdul for letting me use them in this series!

Afghan Tribal Arts on TAFA



 

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Decorating with Textiles Series

Would you like to participate in this series? The Decorating with Textiles Series is an ongoing project on this blog. Participating in this series is open to all of you out there who love textiles. Many of our TAFA members make beautiful decorative textiles and functional work as well and showcasing these homes can help stimulate new ideas of what to do with textiles. Seeing a photo online is much different from seeing how a textile will function in an environment. Many people appreciate textiles but have no idea how to display them or what to do with them. We’d like to have many people participate in this series, each bringing in their own ideas and tastes. You do not have to be a TAFA member to participate.

Contact me if you are interested and would like to submit a post:

rayela [@] comcast.net (remove spaces and brackets)

Visit TAFA to see inspiring art quilts, weavings and accessories for the home. Maybe you will find the perfect accent for your home!

Also check out our TAFA Market and our TAFA shops on Etsy!

Don’t miss out on our future posts! Sign up on the sidebar to receive our posts by email.

 

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Moira West http://www.tafalist.com/moira-west/ http://www.tafalist.com/moira-west/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 01:37:39 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13426

Moira West on TAFA Moira shares a lot of photos of sheep on her Facebook page. Different breeds, funny situations, long hair, big horns….  I think she has sheep on her mind! It would make sense because Moira West works with their wool, mixing it with other fibers to create sculptures and wall art that […]

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Tigued, 2010, by Moira West

Tigued, 2010, by Moira West

Moira West on TAFA

Moira West

Moira West

Moira shares a lot of photos of sheep on her Facebook page. Different breeds, funny situations, long hair, big horns….  I think she has sheep on her mind! It would make sense because Moira West works with their wool, mixing it with other fibers to create sculptures and wall art that explore texture and form. She describes her quest on her TAFA profile:

“Much of my work is site specific. Working methods include hand-made felting processes incorporating traditional and contemporary techniques. Wool fibres predominate, integrated with plant and cellulose fibres, to create unusual shapes and textures. Inviting interaction and personal confrontation with life and its unexpected pathways. I have developed a reputation for creating striking, fascinating and unusual fibre art, many examples of which are in private collections. Combining textile technique with a diverse range of challenging materials, my work is inspired by my environment and a desire to push boundaries whilst creating an impact to promote greater understanding of human frailty.”

Moira lives in the UK, exhibits regularly and often works on large-scale projects. She is actively engaged with her local artist community and teaches workshops on various techniques. She has recently become active in our private member group on Facebook and it’s been a delight to get to know her better.

Here are a couple more of her pieces:

Melting Pot, 2012, external view, Moira West

Melting Pot, 2012, external view, Moira West

Moira West at Rufford Craft Center, 2012

Moira West at Rufford Craft Center, 2012

As you can see, form and texture reign! She describes herself as highly competitive in spirit, but my thinking is that she is instead, determined. Her interest in the natural world shines with love for it and for how she can capture its essence through her work. We are fortunate to have her and encourage you to connect with her and get to know her.

Moira shared the video below on her personal page on Facebook. As you watch it, think about sheep, wool, felt, Moira West working away in her studio and all of the threads that bind us together as fellow beings living on this planet. Let her work inspire you towards happiness!

Feel free to leave a comment here for Moira and we’ll make sure that she sees it.

Sign up for our posts on our sidebar. We announce new profiles posted on our main site, give tips on how to improve your web presence and post about topics related to our textile and fiber art community.

 

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Decorating with Textiles Series: Uta Lenk’s Home of Hand Dyed Quilts http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-series-hand-dyed-quilts/ http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-series-hand-dyed-quilts/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 00:50:37 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13383

My name is Uta Lenk and I have been  actively using my hands ‘making something’ all my life. I live in Germany. My grandmother taught me how to knit even before I entered school, using a magical ball of yarn: she un- and rewound a ball of yarn, putting little goodies into it that would […]

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"Shapes 1", Art Quilt by Uta Lenk

“Shapes 1″, Art Quilt by Uta Lenk

My name is Uta Lenk and I have been  actively using my hands ‘making something’ all my life. I live in Germany. My grandmother taught me how to knit even before I entered school, using a magical ball of yarn: she un- and rewound a ball of yarn, putting little goodies into it that would reappear as I was using up more and more of the ball. In the very middle there was a coin – it might have been one Deutschmark, quite a bit of wealth for a little girl at that age! Those little surprises certainly kept me going. At the age of twelve I designed and made complete wardrobes for my Barbie dolls, thinking I would one day become a famous fashion designer. Spinning, weaving, macramé – I’ve done it all. What got me hooked, however, are quilts. Patchwork and quilts have been with me since my year as a high school exchange student in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. When I ended an academic career, I decided to become a full-time quilter, teaching patchwork and making quilts.

I also started a fabric club for hand-dyed fabrics (www.justcolours.de) and am slowly building up a stronger presence at craft fairs as my little son is growing older and it is getting easier to leave him with my husband for a couple or more days.

IMG_0797

At work packing the most recent collection of the fabric club which was shipped the following day

Textiles have been in our home, too, of course. My quilts can be found on every wall. Here is one above our staircase:

IMG_0896

The following ones were hung by my husband more for a sound-functional purpose than for decoration. Our son decided he wanted his drum set in the living room, so we aimed for at least a pretense at sound insulation:

IMG_1013 IMG_1037

This family heirloom of an armchair came to me from my mother’s side, dating back to at least the late 19th century.  The wall next to it is the foreground for changing quilt exhibits:

42

Recently it had the honor of featuring the first of a series of pillow cases which I am now making to take to markets. This intricate traditional pattern is not my usual style of quilt making, but I found the finished block in a box of fabrics and thought it would be too bad to just let it sit there.

IMG_1005

And, of course, a quilt covers my bed during day time.

IMG_0895

 

One of my weaving results is quite aged now, has faded, and is even developing some weaknesses and becoming threadbare. However, it still serves an important function as a dirt catcher in front of our back door which we use quite a lot as an entrance into the house and when coming back in from the garden.

IMG_1018

Despite covering almost all of our walls, there are still a number of quilts that need to be stored:

IMG_1027

So, it is always good to have some of them either traveling in international exhibitions or on display in solo exhibitions.  Current and upcoming shows include one in Freiburg, a textile interpretation of a poem by E.E. Cummings traveling with SAQA‘s show, “Text Messages” and at the Prague Patchwork Meeting in April (2014).

As you can see, the textile techniques have been a big part of my life since childhood and now they are my life’s work. I invite you to follow along on my blog and visit both of my sites to see my quilts and my fabric club. Hand dyed fabrics are great to work with! The colors are soft and varied, bringing warmth and an organic feel to the designs. Please feel free to leave comments here if you have any questions or through my sites:

justcolours.de     quilts by Uta Lenk

Uta Lenk’s profile on TAFA

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Decorating with Textiles Series

Many thanks to Uta for sharing her home with us for this series. Uta joined TAFA in October of 2011 and we have loved having her on board! She has been an active member and supported us financially as a sponsor for which we are ever so grateful! We encourage to connect with her and get to know her warmth and talent personally.

Would you like to participate in this series? The Decorating with Textiles Series is an ongoing project on this blog. Participating in this series is open to all of you out there who love textiles. Many of our TAFA members make beautiful decorative textiles and functional work as well and showcasing these homes can help stimulate new ideas of what to do with textiles. Seeing a photo online is much different from seeing how a textile will function in an environment. Many people appreciate textiles but have no idea how to display them or what to do with them. We’d like to have many people participate in this series, each bringing in their own ideas and tastes. You do not have to be a TAFA member to participate.

Contact me if you are interested and would like to submit a post:

rayela [@] comcast.net (remove spaces and brackets)

Visit TAFA to see inspiring art quilts, weavings and accessories for the home. Maybe you will find the perfect accent for your home!

Also check out our TAFA Market and our TAFA shops on Etsy!

Don’t miss out on our future posts! Sign up on the sidebar to receive our posts by email.

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Marty Jonas Fiber Art http://www.tafalist.com/marty-jonas-fiber-art/ http://www.tafalist.com/marty-jonas-fiber-art/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 20:30:24 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13398

Marty Jonas Profile on TAFA Intricate spheres caught my eye and pulled me in. These were my introduction to the work of Mary Jonas: There are many more, so make sure to go through her album and enjoy each singular effect. Her description of these complex structures: “With this series of work, I am moving […]

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Marty Jonas Flower Pots

Marty Jonas Flower Pots

Marty Jonas Profile on TAFA

Intricate spheres caught my eye and pulled me in. These were my introduction to the work of Mary Jonas:

Marty Jonas Wire Mesh Sphere 1

Marty Jonas wire mesh sphere 2

There are many more, so make sure to go through her album and enjoy each singular effect. Her description of these complex structures:

“With this series of work, I am moving away from the more tangible, physical and material surfaces of textiles to industrial materials, which are known for their strength and durability. Using various types of metal insect screen, I manipulate the harsh materials into complex repetitive patterns.

At first glance, one recognizes the surface characteristics of industrial materials that are used widely in the urban architecture of our time. But as your eyes are lead into these layered sculptures of intersecting metal, glass and fibers, they appear alive with twists and turns. These structures are not enclosures but rather multilayered visions for light and shadows to illuminate. These innovative, dramatic and undulating sculptures clearly demonstrate my fascination with line, form, volume and space. The process continues from one piece to the next – always different from the last.”

To achieve such precision and explore so many variations takes patience and a delight in puzzles and problem solving. Marty shows this again, along with a sense of humor, in a recreation of a group of Skittles bowling pins, where she sliced up thousands of pieces of fabric and pinned them with glue into Styrofoam shapes. I had never heard of this predecessor to bowling, but the original pins are highly collectible. This set sold at Christie’s for over $9,000 US!

Pre-Button-Steiff-Skittles-with-Bear-Kingpin

Here is Marty’s set, made out of the strips of fabric:

Marty Jonas Skittles Bowling Set

Marty Jonas Skittles Bowling Set

Her website documents her path of exploration through the years, working with many different textile and fiber techniques. All along, she shows an interest in science, cultural perceptions, society and always, that attention to detail. Here is an early knit work of a beetle:

Marty Jonas knit beetle

Marty Jonas knit beetle

Marty spent many years studying embroidery (City and Guilds of London Institute in England from 1993 to 2000) and it shows. She comes from a family where both parents practiced handwork and encouraged her to learn, one more example of how important it is to motivate the children in our lives to use tools and create things. We are pleased to have Marty as a member of TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List and invite you to connect with her and support her in her work.

You may leave a comment for Marty here and we’ll make sure she sees it. Sign up on the sidebar to receive our posts by email.

Marty Jonas sphere

 

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Call for Entry for two new textile art book projects http://www.tafalist.com/call-for-entry-for-two-new-textile-art-book-projects/ http://www.tafalist.com/call-for-entry-for-two-new-textile-art-book-projects/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 01:00:23 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13341

Following three joint book projects on textile and felt with European participants over the last two years, we are now going global! Therefore, Textile-link (internet platform and publisher of textile books), is looking for worldwide participants who would like to share their beautiful works of art and their enthusiasm for textile. Create an archive and upload photographs […]

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call_for_entry

Following three joint book projects on textile and felt with European participants over the last two years, we are now going global!

Therefore, Textile-link (internet platform and publisher of textile books), is looking for worldwide participants who would like to share their beautiful works of art and their enthusiasm for textile.

Create an archive and upload photographs of your most beautiful textile works of art to have the chance of your work being published in one of our future book projects.

Participation is always free.

=========================================

We started two new projects:

TextileArt Around the World [2014]

A large, inspiring book full of textile objects, jewels, interior design pieces, clothing, accessories, experiments, etc.

Guda_Koster_site

 

Elvira_‘t_Hart_site

Kate_Cusack_site

Nike_Schröder_site

Irene_van_Vliet_site

Miyuki_Sakai_site

 

Worldwide Colors of Felt [2015]

An extraordinary and colourful book with the artwork of 200-300 felt artists from around the world.

You can find more information about the projects:
Pdf: http://www.textile-link.com/sites/textiellink.nl/files/international_bookprojects.pdf
Websitehttp://www.textile-link.com
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/textilelink
Word-file: http://www.textile-link.com//sites/textiellink.nl/files/press_release.docx

And examples of the previous joint book projects:

http://www.textile-link.com/feltpassion
http://www.textile-link.com/textile-alive
http://www.textile-link.com/felting-me

published_1

Please share
Would you please be so kind to share this opportunity to get works of art published in one of the future book projects, with all your textile friends in your network?

We hope to see you on the website soon!

Ellen Bakker
Textile-link – The Netherlands
info@textile-link.com
www.textile-link.com

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Ellen Bakker

Ellen Bakker

Textile-link on TAFA

You are welcome to leave comments here or ask questions you may have the upcoming projects. We’ll make sure that Ellen sees them!

Be sure to sign up on the sidebar to receive our posts by email!

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BSL Art Quilts http://www.tafalist.com/bsl-art-quilts/ http://www.tafalist.com/bsl-art-quilts/#comments Sat, 01 Feb 2014 23:47:27 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13368

BSL Art Quilts on TAFA Barbara Lardon came to my attention through our LinkedIn group and once I saw her work, I became a fan. She lives in Plymouth, Wisconsin, and often finds inspiration in the daily scenes of rural life. She also creates abstract quilts, but her farm scenes are close to home for […]

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Misty Morning, BSL Art Quilts

Misty Morning, BSL Art Quilts

BSL Art Quilts on TAFA

Barbara Lardon came to my attention through our LinkedIn group and once I saw her work, I became a fan. She lives in Plymouth, Wisconsin, and often finds inspiration in the daily scenes of rural life. She also creates abstract quilts, but her farm scenes are close to home for me as both of my parents came from farms in Minnesota and now live in Western Wisconsin in an area that looks a lot like Barbara’s quilts.

Rooster quilt by Barbara Lardon

Rooster quilt by Barbara Lardon

One of the hardest tasks to accomplish in figurative or landscape quilts is to illustrate depth and action, a task that Barbara accomplishes well. Many quilts end up looking flat, which can be fine as a technique, but I appreciate those who have the ability to bring an illustration to life. Doesn’t that rooster above look like he is ready to do something really naughty?

Depth can be created in many ways: changing the colors of the fabrics, using machine embroidery or quilting, adding paint or shadows with fabric pencils…  Barbara uses many techniques to do that and she documents her process on her blog which can really help her audience understand all of the steps involved in creating these works. Her latest piece (first image) sold upon completion! This is a great way to capture the attention of those who are interested in process and I have found that many artists end up with fans who become attached to a work in this way.

Goose Detail by BSL Art Quilts

Goose Detail by BSL Art Quilts

You can see in the detail of the goose above how much planning goes into making fabric come alive with dimension and character!

Some of Barbara’s quilts have a spiritual dimension to them, exploring our relationship with Nature and perhaps how small we are and how everything is interconnected. The two pieces below are examples of this:

Reflection by BSL Art Quilts

Reflection by BSL Art Quilts

"Who's there?" Woodland quilt by BSL Art Quilts

“Who’s there?” Woodland quilt by BSL Art Quilts, detail

Barbara is prolific and has a shop on Etsy stocked with her wonderful work! I hope that you will go, explore and get one for your home or office!

I fell in love with this guy, while I did my window shopping! She has other owls, too, one of my favorite birds!

Owl in a tree by BSL Art Quilts

Owl in a tree by BSL Art Quilts

We’re so pleased to have Barbara as a member and look forward to knowing her as a person as well as an artist.

Do leave comments for her here as I know that she will be pleased to hear from you. You can also share this post on your social media sites and sign up on the sidebar for new posts by email.

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TAFA’s Birthday: Celebrate the Number Four! http://www.tafalist.com/tafas-birthday-celebrate-the-number-four/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafas-birthday-celebrate-the-number-four/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 22:47:34 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13190

Four years ago, I saw a need for an organization that would focus on the business end of promoting our handmade textiles and fiber art community. I kept bumping into peers who were struggling with the same issues that I was: how to use social media effectively to promote what we were doing. An ever-changing […]

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TAFA collage, 4th birthday

Four years ago, I saw a need for an organization that would focus on the business end of promoting our handmade textiles and fiber art community. I kept bumping into peers who were struggling with the same issues that I was: how to use social media effectively to promote what we were doing. An ever-changing world, it seemed to me that if we banded together into one destination, perhaps the work load could be shared and we could help each other navigate this enormous landscape. I started out with a blog and by the end of the first year, we clearly needed a “real” website with a search engine. We launched our current site the following year and have continued to evolve and grow as a dynamic, creative, business association with 531 members from 44 countries. This month we celebrate our 4th year!

You can learn more about why I felt the need for this group here and there is more on our site on the About and Membership pages. Each year, I have made a slide show video celebrating our diversity and growth.

TAFA Year One shows off our first members, products in the first half and people in the second half:

TAFA Market 2011 covers our only live event that we have had so far:

TAFA Red has one red image for every member that we had at the end of 2012:

Now we have too many members to do something like that again. Instead, we thought it might be fun to do something with our community. How about if we celebrate the number Four? To get the idea out there, I went through our Member List and looked for products that showed four of something. Here is what I found: (click on images to visit their profiles)

Afghan Tribal Arts

Alison Yule Textiles

Art That Moves

Arty Moods

Beryl Taylor

Betty Busby

Blue Jacaranda

Colin's Creatures

Denise Kovnat

FurugiStar

Fuzzy Logic Felt

Joan Sowada

Kathryn Harmer Fox

KnoxFarmFiber

Manitoba Gifts

MOLICAAustralia

Stacy Polson

The Rainbow Girl

See how fun we can make the Number Four? So, how about contributing to the mix? You can submit a photo where you celebrate the Number Four and we will post it here. Depending on what we get, maybe there will be enough to make another birthday video!

Guidelines:

Send it to rayela @ comcast.net (remove spaces) by January 15, 2014.

You must own the image.

It must be well cropped and nice. :)

Include name, title and a link if you have one (we’ll link to your site).

It can be textile related or of anything else that you love. 

We will post the ones we like.

Non-textile examples:

christmas card 2009  harvest 0911

(four dogs and four different crops from my garden)

Be creative and fun and let’s see what happens! We are a part of our larger community and we want to celebrate that!

[hr]

Submissions

Galería Octágono, Sunflower Quilt

Galería Octágono

Textiil

Textiil

green in the middle

green in the middle

Elena Rosenberg

Elena Rosenberg

Roxane Lessa

Roxane Lessa

Magic Stitches

Magic Stitches

Cape Cod Shibori

Cape Cod Shibori

Diane Evans Dizzy Art Quilt

Diane Evans Dizzy Art Quilt

Louise Schiele, Extended Family Detail, Art Quilt

Louise Schiele, Extended Family Detail, Art Quilt

Donna Kallner Fiber Art

Donna Kallner Fiber Art

Julia R. Berkley Works in Fabric

Julia R. Berkley Works in Fabric

Talisman Fibre Arts Studio

Talisman Fibre Arts Studio

MegWeaves

MegWeaves

Victoria Gertenbach

Victoria Gertenbach

Celebrating the Number Four!

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Decorating with Textiles: Textural Joy by Art That Moves http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-art-that-moves/ http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-art-that-moves/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 20:38:14 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13332

Rachel Biel hit the nail on the head about how I operate in her profile of my business – Art That Moves. She said, “But, my thinking is that Christine would like her work to move YOU in some way: to bring you peace, joy, serenity…” (See our Art That Moves feature on this blog.) […]

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Christine Pensa of Art That Moves

Christine Pensa of Art That Moves

Rachel Biel hit the nail on the head about how I operate in her profile of my business – Art That Moves. She said, “But, my thinking is that Christine would like her work to move YOU in some way: to bring you peace, joy, serenity…” (See our Art That Moves feature on this blog.)

That’s how I want to feel in my home. My home is my sanctuary and my visual feast. My soul is fed by visual delights. The colours and textures of textiles have always called to me. I believe that textile art is to be used and loved.

I have framed some of the pieces I have just because I love the colour or texture. I could just as easily have thrown it across a couch. For instance in my bedroom below – you will see an antique suzani thrown across the end of my bed. It’s falling apart with age in places, but I still love to see it there at the end of my day.

bedroomsuzanithrowpillows

Over the fireplace in my bedroom, I have framed a somewhat less valuable piece – though just as beautiful. It’s a woven depiction of the Mayan calendar from Chiapas, Mexico. I found a stunning olive wood frame and I knew they were meant to be together. It was professionally done and frankly cost about 4 times the value of the tapestry. It’s worth it though because it’s the first thing I see when I open my eyes and it never fails to delight me.

bedroomchiapastextileframed

Rather than letting the many beautiful scarves I have sit in my cupboard when I’m not wearing them – I use them as throws. I switch them out often. In my bedroom window, sitting alongside screen printed pillows, is a merino wool hand printed scarf by the talented Canadian designer Virginia Johnson. In the summer I use lighter throws like Turkish towel style wraps or saris.

bedroomthrowscreenprintsuzane

Likewise, another Virginia Johnson merino wool scarf sits at the end of a bench in my front hall. The black and white pillow is one of my own screen prints (linen with inspirational sayings), the green is (my current obsession) velvet ikat and the orange and black is a silk applique. The ikat I bought on Etsy. It’s from Turkey and matches up with one my sister gave me when she traveled there a couple of years ago. The applique one I bought at a thrift shop.

halltwo

The velvet ikat obsession continues in my living room. I mix them with a couple of my own screen printed on cotton, a couple of cozy wool prints (it’s cold here!) and the poufs I carried home from Marrakesh.

livingroomview

 livingroomvelvetikatscreenprintpillows

One example of how to display textiles simply is the framed piece of sheeting pictured below. When my Mom died a few years ago my Dad asked me to go to France with him. One of the highlights of the trip was meeting this artist on the bridge to the Louvre. He was tearing up sheets and painting on them. I fell in love with this piece. It reminds me of one of Chagall’s line drawings. I think I paid the equivalent of $30 CAD for it. I bought a pre-made frame which has a plastic film instead of glass. I used two sided tape to stick the sheet to the back of the frame. Nothing archival about it – but it’s been there now 8 years and hasn’t faded in the least.

framed painted sheet france

Of course, being a print maker (I have a shop on Etsy – Art That Moves) I always have slight misprints. As a result I have a drawer full of my tea towels – which I can attest are great and hard wearing in the kitchen. One of my new designs, Love the Bees hangs on my oven.

stoveteatowel

Like all original art, hand crafted textiles bring a warmth and living energy to your home that mass produced goods can’t duplicate. Start collecting colours and textures that you love and you can’t go wrong. Your home will always be your sanctuary and continue to delight your visitors with it’s visual treats.

Visit Art That Moves on Etsy for more of Christine’s prints:

[hr]

Decorating with Textiles Series

Many thanks to Christine for sharing her home with us for this series. Do leave a comment for her below. You can also contact her through her Etsy shop or her Profile Page on TAFA. Christine joined TAFA in March of 2013 and we have loved having her on board!

Would you like to participate in this series? The Decorating with Textiles Series is an ongoing project on this blog. Participating in this series is open to all of you out there who love textiles. Many of our TAFA members make beautiful decorative textiles and functional work as well and showcasing these homes can help stimulate new ideas of what to do with textiles. Seeing a photo online is much different from seeing how a textile will function in an environment. Many people appreciate textiles but have no idea how to display them or what to do with them. We’d like to have many people participate in this series, each bringing in their own ideas and tastes.

Contact me if you are interested and would like to submit a post:

rayela [@] comcast.net (remove spaces and brackets)

Visit TAFA to see inspiring art quilts, weavings and accessories for the home. Maybe you will find the perfect accent for your home!

Also check out our TAFA Market and our TAFA shops on Etsy!

Don’t miss out on our future posts! Sign up on the sidebar to receive our posts by email.

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Art That Moves http://www.tafalist.com/art-that-moves/ http://www.tafalist.com/art-that-moves/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 21:45:25 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13319

Christine Pensa’s shop on Etsy has a cohesive clean and crisp look to it. Stark white contrasts with bold black, her printed lines defined by sureness and strength. Her work with children shines through along with her passion for the feminine mystique. Many of her products are functional, transforming the utilitarian jobs of a kitchen […]

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Rummi dolls by Art That Moves

Rummi Dolls by Art That Moves

Christine Pensa’s shop on Etsy has a cohesive clean and crisp look to it. Stark white contrasts with bold black, her printed lines defined by sureness and strength. Her work with children shines through along with her passion for the feminine mystique. Many of her products are functional, transforming the utilitarian jobs of a kitchen towel or a bread bag into an act of beauty. Others are whimsical, like her movable paper dolls:

Frida Kahlo, Emily Carr, Georgia O'Keeffe Paper Art Dolls

Frida Kahlo, Emily Carr, Georgia O’Keeffe Paper Art Dolls

Christine came to her art after a successful career working in Canadian politics. An art course opened her world in new ways where she was able to explore and express spirituality, a sense of humor, and joy through her designs. Her by-line is “OM for your home”, conjuring images of peace and stability. Art That Moves, her business name, could mean many things: the jointed paper dolls, for example, or the home textiles that move from one place to another: to the table, from a couch to a chair, from a basket to a peg… A hand carrying, placing, wiping, using…  moving that object around. But, my thinking is that Christine would like her work to move YOU in some way: to bring you peace, joy, serenity…

Screen printed pillows by Art That Moves

Screen printed pillows by Art That Moves

Christine joined TAFA in March of 2013 and has been a joy! She is upbeat, fun and helpful. You will do well by connecting with her, too! Visit Christine and Art That Moves on her TAFA profile where you will find her links on the web and more about her:

Art That Moves on TAFA

Visit her Etsy shop and bring something that moves you to your home!

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Decorating with Textiles: Textiil- Living in Color http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-textiil/ http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-textiil/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 15:00:24 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13291

I like to travel and have been lucky enough to have visited a number of interesting places in the world.  The only place outside the US where I had ever lived was Japan until our family moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2008.  Upon our return to the US I launched Textiil – Modern global […]

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Sally Weinberg

Sally Weinberg

I like to travel and have been lucky enough to have visited a number of interesting places in the world.  The only place outside the US where I had ever lived was Japan until our family moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2008.  Upon our return to the US I launched Textiil – Modern global home décor and gifts to support awareness of and to share the stunning heritage textile crafts of Malaysia and Indonesia.

Many years ago, I was looking for the right pro-bono marketing client, so I approached Creativity Explored in San Francisco and met then Marketing Director Ann Rasmussen.  We walked around a cavernous space filled with special needs adults who came to make art all day. Their art was everywhere, and much of it was deeplyLaundry_Art1 vibrant, similar to the work of children. To me, it was glorious!  And striking to rediscover how joyful and exciting, how intense and energizing, and just how inviting a colorful environment can be. Since then I always keep at least one piece of art from Creativity Explored on the walls.

Wherever I go, the craft culture of a place works its way into my bones because it’s always so right for where you are, and a special part of the travel adventure.  In Malaysia and Indonesia the textiles are beautiful and often vibrant – but generally used for apparel – which would not be a traditional fit here. So how to keep the integrity of the craft itself and integrate it into to your life or surroundings? How to translate that attractively and effectively to a new context?  And if it becomes your business – how to introduce these crafts to others?

With textiles, pillows, wall art, and tabletop linens are certainly to be considered.

Textiil_LivingRoom_ClubChairs1Right now our living room has pillows from a friendly shop in Kuala Lumpur (though most of the merchandise is from India)! All the color works well against wood floors and furniture and the pale yellow walls.  I change out the pillows with others from India, Thailand or my own from Textiil.  It’s an easy way to perk up the room without much fuss.

Until we went to Southeast Asia, we surrounded ourselves primarily with paintings, ceramics and a few other types of decorative objects.  But once we saw the stunning batiks and songkets all around us, it changed the way we looked at decoration. The house we live in now has some very wide and some very high wall space – so instead of paintings, we hung large batik tapestries in two different rooms.

In the family room, we inherited pale green walls and we have RED couches. Ha!  Nevertheless it is great wall space.  We found that a long green Madura batik is nice next to a small batik bought in Brazil and later framed.

textiil_brazil_madura_batiks1

Our bedroom has a bedcover from a market in Santa Fe we got when we were first married. It’s also from India. On the wall is the second highly detailed Madura batik I bought from a fiber artist and batik lover who had lived in Indonesia for many years. It is so lively!

Tip: One way to hang the batiks is by stapling black felt around a wood batten (the batten is from Home Depot).  Then attach the batik with safety pins on the back side of the batten.  We put eye hooks in the back of the batten too, and hung the eye hooks on nails in the wall.

textiil_bedroom_wall_batik1

At the opposite end of the room is a teak bench with a few embroidered pillows from a shop in Oaxaca that offered crafts and art from artisans and cooperatives.

Oaxaxa_Pillows_Madura_Batik2

Each pop of color links back to places and events.  Threaded together they are my own unique story.

My daughter Sammy is a confident contributor when asked her opinion of Textiil’s existing and proposed products.  She has claimed as her own the blue and green cloud pillow for her reading corner.  She is 10 now and just learning how to make her space her own, and I like that it’s a true reflection of the happy person she is.

Kids_Bench_2pillows_Textiil1

Finally, we enjoy using a variety of printed batiks for our dining room tabletop.  Relatively inexpensive, they are bright, festive, unique, and wear well.  As Textiil evolves from offering one-of-a-kind finds to presenting a more extensive assortment of décor, gifts, and accessories, printed batiks are newly added to our product line.

Red_Print_BatikTT_Detail1

It has been our vision to raise awareness of the designs and the design processes of the heritage textile crafts of Malaysia and Indonesia.  We hope that our new and forthcoming items will reach and appeal to more people, and will be made available to a wider audience via boutiques, museum shops, and other retailers who share our taste and interests.

[hr]

Decorating with Textiles Series

Many thanks to Sally for sharing her home and experiences with us for this series. Sally’s business also offers ceramic mugs and Christmas ornaments, so make sure to check her website as she continues to grow her business. If your aesthetic fits in with her products, we hope that you will connect with her and buy from her.  You can contact her through her website or through her Profile Page on TAFA. Sally joined TAFA in June of 2013 and we have loved having her on board!

Would you like to participate in this series? The Decorating with Textiles Series is an ongoing project on this blog. This offer is open to all of you out there who love textiles. Many of our TAFA members make beautiful decorative textiles and functional work as well and showcasing these homes can help stimulate new ideas of what to do with textiles. Seeing a photo online is much different from seeing how a textile will function in an environment. Many people appreciate textiles but have no idea how to display them or what to do with them. We’d like to have many people participate in this series, each bringing in their own ideas and tastes.

Make sure to leave a comment for Sally. I know that would please her immensely!

Contact me if you are interested and would like to submit a post:

rayela [@] comcast.net (remove spaces and brackets)

Visit TAFA to see inspiring art quilts, weavings and accessories for the home. Maybe you will find the perfect accent for your home!

Also check out our TAFA Market and our TAFA shops on Etsy!

Don’t miss out on our future posts! Sign up on the sidebar to receive our posts by email.

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Designer Pillows: Ruby Wings Designs http://www.tafalist.com/designer-pillows-ruby-wings-designs/ http://www.tafalist.com/designer-pillows-ruby-wings-designs/#comments Fri, 17 Jan 2014 20:32:32 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13177

Peggy Wright of Ruby Wings Designs is a TAFA Member: Profile on TAFA. She shares with us her collaboration with her friend, Rose Allen, in developing a new line of pillows. Collaborations are a great way to divide the work load, to reach a wider audience, and to come up with new product designs. We […]

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Room Featuring Designer Pillows from Ruby Wings Designs

Room Featuring Designer Pillows from Ruby Wings Designs

Peggy Wright of Ruby Wings Designs is a TAFA Member: Profile on TAFA.

She shares with us her collaboration with her friend, Rose Allen, in developing a new line of pillows. Collaborations are a great way to divide the work load, to reach a wider audience, and to come up with new product designs. We wish both of them great success in this endeavor and hope that you will support and follow them as they continue to broaden their line.

[hr]

I am an art quilter, bead embroiderer, teacher, writer, and editor. My most recent venture is creation of designer pillows with my friend Rose Allen, who is also an art quilter and teacher. My passions are all related to surface design: painting and printing on fabric, dyeing, thread painting, free motion quilting, hand and machine applique, and hand bead and thread embroidery. Rose loves piecing, free motion quilting and thread painting, dyeing, and sewing of any kind.

We both design pillows. All of our pillows are handmade. I make my tops, but Rose does all the piecing and finishing. I am handling the website and promotion. The pillows in our shop all ship with a good-quality pillow form. Although the pillows below all have overlapping backs for inserting the pillow form, in the future we will be using zipper closures.

For my painted pillows, I first hand paint the tops using fabric paints and white cotton fabric. I strive to blend the colors into each other to create the illusion that you are looking at a landscape at sunset. I choose all the backings for my own pillows, some of which are my own or other people’s hand dyed cotton fabrics and some of which are commercial linens or cotton batiks, all high-quality fabrics. For example, part of the back of my red, gold, green, and turquoise painted pillow below is my hand dyed fabric.

Designer Pillow by Peggy Wright—Hand Painted Cotton Front

Designer Pillow by Peggy Wright—Hand Painted Cotton Front

Designer Pillow by Peggy Wright—Hand Painted and Dyed Cotton Back

Designer Pillow by Peggy Wright—Hand Painted and Dyed Cotton Back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also hand print monoprints for some tops. I pull each monoprint after painting with fabric paints on a gelatin base (as in the food) and placing stencils on or stamping the paint with various tools. For example, my rust, gold, and purple pillow below used some springs and circular objects that I found at a store that sells surplus hardware. This pillow has pieced linen borders and a linen back. The magenta and green pillow also features thread painting on the monoprinted top and has a batik for the borders and back.

Designer Pillow by Peggy Wright—Monoprinted Cotton Front, Pieced with Linen Border

Designer Pillow by Peggy Wright—Monoprinted Cotton Front, Pieced with Linen Border

Designer Pillow by Peggy Wright— Monoprinted Cotton Front, Pieced with Cotton Batik Border

Designer Pillow by Peggy Wright— Monoprinted Cotton Front, Pieced with Cotton Batik Border

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rose loves piecing gorgeous commercial cotton fabrics into intricate patterns. She plays with color and value in the patterns and with curved and geometric shapes to create dramatic or subtle, pieced tops. She them free motion quilts the tops to add dimension and texture to the pillows. The back of the pillows below also have backs made with commercial cotton fabrics.

Designer Pillow by Rose Allen—Pieced Cotton Front with Free Motion Quilting

Designer Pillow by Rose Allen—Pieced Cotton Front with Free Motion Quilting

Designer Pillow by Rose Allen—Pieced Cotton Front with Free Motion Quilting

Designer Pillow by Rose Allen—Pieced Cotton Front with Free Motion Quilting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rose has also been creating handmade chenille, using three or four layers of different commercial cotton fabrics. After layering the cotton, she stitches diagonally across the square pieces and then cuts between the stitching through all fabrics but the bottom one. She then washes the fabric to make the cut fabrics fray and create the chenille.  Finally, Rose adds borders to the chenille squares and free motion quilts them.

Designer Pillow by Rose Allen—Pieced Cotton Front with Chenille Insert

Designer Pillow by Rose Allen—Pieced Cotton Front with Chenille Insert

Designer Pillow by Rose Allen—Pieced Cotton Front with Chenille Insert

Designer Pillow by Rose Allen—Pieced Cotton Front with Chenille Insert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to my pillows, I make art quilts that hang with sleeves and other art for the wall that I have mounted on gallery-ready, stretched canvas. My most recent passion is making realistic, appliqued and thread-painted birds. I am willing to incorporate these birds into pillows on a commission basis.

Art by Peggy Wright—Appliqued and Thread Painted Bluebird with Free Motion Quilted Background

Art by Peggy Wright—Appliqued and Thread Painted Bluebird with Free Motion Quilted Background

You can see more of our pillows on the Ruby Wings Designs website at http://www.rubywings.com/shop/. The website has galleries for my art quilts and bead embroidery too.

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Fine Cell Work http://www.tafalist.com/fine-cell-work/ http://www.tafalist.com/fine-cell-work/#comments Fri, 17 Jan 2014 03:00:46 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13253

One my earliest memories as a child is that of my father making ornaments out of tin cans, much like this one: This was in Brazil, early 1960’s. My father was volunteering at a local jail where he was teaching the inmates how to make ornaments out of old cans. I must have been three […]

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Embroidered pillows by Fine Cell Work- Clint Eastwood!

Embroidered pillows by Fine Cell Work- Clint Eastwood!

One my earliest memories as a child is that of my father making ornaments out of tin cans, much like this one:

vintage tin can ornament

This was in Brazil, early 1960’s. My father was volunteering at a local jail where he was teaching the inmates how to make ornaments out of old cans. I must have been three or four years old and even at that age, I remember being surprised that prisoners would be allowed to handle sharp tools.

Twenty years later, I spent a semester at the Lutheran seminary in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. One of my friends and I also volunteered at a local jail. Although we did not teach crafts, I remember how excited the men were to see us every Saturday morning.

I’ve maintained an interest in prison art and believe that it provides a window to recovery, self-discovery and so much more! As our art programs are disemboweled in our schools and communities here in the United States, I see it thrive elsewhere and was delighted to learn about Fine Cell Work in the United Kingdom. Not only does needlework provide a healing function in the lives of those who participate in this wonderful program, but the quality of their products is also phenomenal! We often see good intentions translated into boring, icky things that should never have been made and that people will only buy because they want to help out. Not so with Fine Cell Work! Their designs run from elegant Victorian to cutting edge pop and the quality can grace any home or office.

Mission:

prisoner stitching“Fine Cell Work trains prisoners in paid, skilled, creative needlework undertaken in the long hours spent in their cells to foster hope, discipline and self esteem. This helps them to connect to society and to leave prison with the confidence and financial means to stop offending. We wish to build Fine Cell Work as a sustainable social business and charity with the prisoners as stakeholders in the enterprise. We are aiming to become more embedded in the prison system and to guide prisoners towards formal work training and qualifications and to match them up with organisations that can provide support or employment on release.”

I have lately picked up my own embroidery again, stitching away into the night. The hours fly by and I find so much joy in each stitch. How much more will someone enjoy this as an escape when they have nowhere to go, nothing to do? Many of our TAFA members have talked about how their art has healed them and provided a voice for their spirit, an outlet for their creative forces. Handwork and labor of all kinds, music, theater, and the arts all play important roles in our social fabric, in expressing who we are as people, sometimes broken, sometimes lost, and often in need of healing.

That Fine Cell Work has also successfully turned this endeavor into a successful social enterprise also emphasizes its importance as a model when looking at our current models of employment in our prison systems. It has great potential to develop strong bonds with the fashion and home decor markets in a humane way. We have heard of how Chinese prisons use its inmates as slave labor in the production of toys and other goods that are exported to the United States. Our own prisons in the US have been described as rife with cheap labor scams. Programs like Fine Cell Work enable prisoners to earn their own way back into society, both financially and with a stronger sense of self, community, and worth.

These videos that tell a bit of the story. The first is from a former inmate who now serves as a volunteer. Martin talks about embroidery helped him come out of depression:

 This second one is a speech by Jeremy Wright, MP, at a Fine Cell Work Event:

This one is longer, but a great overview of what they do:

 

Fine Cell Work has an online shop on their site, so if you want a great pillow, head on over there! They also have some quilts, and most importantly, accept commissions for almost any kind of needlepoint work. Here are some other examples:

Fine Cell Works Auction; Spencer House; St James', London. SW1; 27th November 2012.  © Pete Jones pete@pjproductios.co.uk

Fine Cell Works Auction;
Spencer House;
St James’, London. SW1;
27th November 2012.
© Pete Jones
pete@pjproductios.co.uk

Fine Cell Work

Fine Cell Work

Victorian pillows, Fine Cell Work

Victorian pillows, Fine Cell Work

Pillows at Tom Dixon Shop

Pillows at Tom Dixon Shop

Fine Cell Work quilt

Fine Cell Work quilt

I must say that it also warms my heart to see guys doing needlework! Break open the stereotypes and let all people enjoy these arts!

Fine Cell Work embroidery in process.

Fine Cell Work embroidery in process. Photo by Matt Watson.

Visit their profile on TAFA and spread their story! Engage your own local community into similar efforts. We are all in need of a bit of healing and a needle and thread goes a long way in spreading some love.

Fine Cell Work on TAFA

 

fine cell work logo

 

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Weaving Hand http://www.tafalist.com/weaving-hand/ http://www.tafalist.com/weaving-hand/#comments Sat, 11 Jan 2014 18:37:17 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13227

We are so pleased to have Weaving Hand join TAFA as a member! Located in Brooklyn, New York (USA), they are a vibrant organization which embraces the cultural roots of weaving around the world. They have built relationships with groups of weavers in many countries, offer workshops on traditional techniques such as Ikat Weaving, Guatemalan […]

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Weaving hand educational trip.

Educational trip.

We are so pleased to have Weaving Hand join TAFA as a member! Located in Brooklyn, New York (USA), they are a vibrant organization which embraces the cultural roots of weaving around the world. They have built relationships with groups of weavers in many countries, offer workshops on traditional techniques such as Ikat Weaving, Guatemalan Backstrap Weaving and Tibetan Carpet Weaving. Encouraging self-expression and awareness, Weaving Hand also has a healing approach to their work, working with children and adults who suffer from mental, emotional and physical disabilities.

Weaving classes for children.

Weaving classes for children.

We originally connected on Tumblr. Weaving Hand has an active social media presence and their photo stream there, on Facebook and their other sites show off a space that is happy and so full of life! Make sure to connect with them wherever you are!

Weaving Hand also has looms and other weaving supplies for sale, so make sure to look into that if you are a weaver in need of new tools. If you are in the Brooklyn area, make sure to pay them a visit and even get involved. They depend heavily on volunteers and this is one case where giving feels much more like receiving!

Weaving Hand on TAFA

Weaving Hand loom.

Weaving Hand loom.

Weaving Hand Looms and Supplies.

Weaving Hand Looms and Supplies.

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WordPress Plugins 2014 Review http://www.tafalist.com/wordpress-plugins-2014-review/ http://www.tafalist.com/wordpress-plugins-2014-review/#comments Sun, 05 Jan 2014 23:47:51 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13146

In “The Skinny on WordPress”, I outlined my basic understanding of how to use WordPress. I used a skeleton as an image to show how the platform has a basic structure that supports its main functions. Plugins are added to this skeleton so that it can perform more tasks. These plugins can be small and […]

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Wordpress Plugins Review

Previous post on how to use wordpress.In “The Skinny on WordPress”, I outlined my basic understanding of how to use WordPress. I used a skeleton as an image to show how the platform has a basic structure that supports its main functions. Plugins are added to this skeleton so that it can perform more tasks. These plugins can be small and lightweight or they can be massive. For example, our forum area on this site uses two plugins which are so big that they have their own websites and communities, BuddyPress and bbPress. BuddyPress allows us to create users and groups and bbPress controls how the forums operate within those groups.

The more plugins you have, the more work you create for your site and it can slow loading time down considerably. So, you really need to think about what you add and whether it is worth the extra baggage. In this post, I would like to share what I have been using on this site and on my other ones in the hopes that we can have a discussion on which are the best plugins out there for what we need done on our sites.

These plugins can be a nightmare! WordPress and all of these plugins are part of an opensource community, meaning that smart, techy people are writing code all over the world and making it available for us to use.  This is a wonderful gift on their part, but it is also fraught with pitfalls and torment. As the basic WordPress structure updates to keep up with changes in our technology, all of those plugins also need to update in order for them to continue to play nicely with the code. Many great plugins are authored by geniuses who come up with a great idea, write the code, make it available to the public, but then move on to other things. Eventually, what they wrote can become outdated and no longer works. It can make your site unusable and if you have a lot of plugins installed, the nightmare of what is causing the problems starts and you have to go through each plugin to figure out what went wrong.

Themes also contribute to the puzzle. The Theme is the skin or look that you have on your site, how your pages, fonts, colors and data are arranged. The theme writers also have to keep up-to-date with changes in the WordPress world. Sometimes you might have issues where the theme works well with WordPress and so do the plugins, but they don’t with each other. Then, you have to make a choice: ditch the theme or the plugin. All of these things have forums of their own where people are asking for help and others are trying to pitch in to make sense of things. Often the solutions have to do with re-writing code and for those of us who are not coders, this is indeed a nightmare. I am a tweaker, not a coder, and my problem solving rests on the kindness of strangers, of those who have spelled out what to do in baby tech-speak on these many forums, and to them, I am grateful!

Plugins

These plugins are all free. There are many plugins that can be bought, but I have found that any plugin needs to be tested first and that even some of the paid ones can be poorly written or extremely complicated to set up, so I am hesitant about going that route unless I have used their free ones and want further options offered in their paid ones.

Jetpack: Created by WordPress, offers lots of increased functionality to the site, including site stats and spam control. It’s heavy, but a must.

Admin username changer: If you have a WordPress site is your access name “Admin”? If so, change it! It’s the default name used by WordPress and most newbies don’t think of creating a unique name, but it makes it even easier for hackers to get into your site. This plugin allows you to make that change.

Contact Form 7: Most beloved plugin used to create a contact form page. Simple and straightforward.

TinyMCE Advanced: Adds extra functionality to your blog’s toolbox. The default WordPress one does not come with the ability to create tables and sometimes having one is essential to format a list of text and images more easily.

WordPress SEO: This plugin installs a box beneath your post where you fill in different fields to increase the chances that it will be found on the web. If you do everything right, a green light pops up indicating that you have done all the right things. Getting this green light is not easy and I have found that having this forces me to be disciplined about how I tag images, use keywords and titles and improve the presentation. I now consider this plugin to be essential on any blog. Having a blog should be considered an investment. Although much of the content might become dated pretty quickly, it will still be out there on the web, doing it’s work to bring you an audience. The comment area can always be used to update content, or a post can be revised or discarded. But, while it’s out there, this plugin helps others find it.

P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler): Allows you to see which plugins are slowing down your site. I have it disabled until I want to do a plugin check and see what is going on.

Featured Images in RSS w/ Size and Position: I found that our blog did not have an image feed and we are on quite a few places where having that image thumbnail is important. This is a lightweight plugin that resolves that. Why don’t we have an image in our feed? I have no idea!

WP External Links: Super lightweight plugin that just ensures that all external links open a new tab or window.  This post, for example, is loaded with external links. While someone is reviewing the plugin list, any link they click on will open a new tab and they can keep on reading without having to backtrack to the post. This plugin does not work with javascript, which was really disappointing when we set up our TAFA Market. We had hoped to figure out a way to open product links on a new page, but so far have not found a solution.

Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin: Ads one more security step in preventing spam by robots. Lightweight.

nrelate Related Content: Fun plugin with lots of design choices that generate “you might also like” thumbnails which link to past posts. This really helps readers find more of your past content. Lightweight.

Portfolio Slideshow:  My favorite portfolio plugin. Straightforward large image with small thumbnails to the side or below. I use it on my blog when I want to show a lot of images but keep posts relatively short in length. Example.

RSS Multi Importer: The best plugin that I have found to build a blog roll. See our Member Blog page as an example. It has a ton of options on the back end and is well built. However, the formatting often goes out of whack and many of the images are blurry. Note the posts that don’t have thumbnail images. They also need the Featured Images plugin mentioned above! RSS Multi Importer also allows us to have the blog posts show up on our sidebar, which we have on our Blog Page. Clicks to member blogs have been increasing steadily since we did this. However, I would really like to find a better solution. RebelMouse has a beautiful RSS Feed and I had hoped to use them for our Member Blogs, but they have a limit of 50 feeds and we have over 500 members so we would quickly exceed that total. Their solution is to sign up for a feed aggregator and have that post to their feed. So far, the ones that I have looked at are paid versions and I don’t want to pay for yet one more monthly service. If you know of anything that might work, please leave a comment below!

TAFA member blogs

TAFA Member Blogs using the RSS Multi Importer plugin.

Syndicate Press: A simple RSS feed plugin that allows us to list other feeds. We are using it to post feeds from similar orgs which have calls for artists, fellowships, etc. I haven’t been able to figure out how to keep images within our column size, but otherwise it’s a nice, lightweight tool.

Forum Plugins

Members: Powerful plugin that allows you to change roles and capabilities of users registered on the site. Kind of scary because changes are permanent and cannot be reversed to the default. This is especially difficult because WordPress and related user-role plugins assume that you know what the different roles mean and it takes some research to figure that out when you are starting out. Some things are obvious, but others are not.

bbPress Enable TinyMCE Visual Tab: bbPress has a basic editing box for posts which I think is pretty dreadful. As we are a visual group with products, it’s important to be able to load and share images so that we can discuss products, designs, etc. Finding a workable solution for this has been a major problem for me. This plugin increases the ability to format our discussions, but it has not been a stable plugin. It also requires all users to have authoring ability on the blog, which is fine with us, as we are a closed group which encourages member use of the blog, but this could be problematic to others. I would love to find a better option to this plugin and have tried all of the forum ones that are currently available with no success.

bbpress text editor

standard bbpress text editor

GD bbPress Attachments: Enables you to load images and docs to a forum discussion. This has been invaluable during the times when the bbPress Enable TinyMCE hasn’t worked. But, it sometimes duplicates images and that has been annoying. There must be a setting that I haven’t figured out yet. Heavy plugin.

BuddyPress Group Email Subscription: Excellent plugin which has allowed us to offer daily or weekly subscriptions to forum updates. This is important as it encourages member participation and lowers the need to constantly check our forum feed to see if anything new has been posted.

 

Ad Plugins

Ads by datafeedr.com: The ad plugin that I am using for our sponsors. Pro: You can place it where you want to: sidebar, below posts, inside of posts, etc. Easy to use and set up, keeps track of click counts, impressions, start and end dates. Con: No way to keep the same ad from showing up at the same time on the page.

Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin (AWPCP): Classified Ads plugin that we are using. Beautiful layout and lots of functionality! Integrated with PayPal. There have been some problems with email notices and users being able to set it up, but their forum is very helpful. It’s a heavy plugin. Ads have their own page, categories, and can show up on the sidebar. I really like this one!

Classified ads on TAFA

Other Plugins

Caching Plugins

The plugins described above are all ones that I am actively using, almost 20 plugins which creates a heavy load for a site. The bigger your site gets, the more you have to ensure that your server needs are being met. A slow site will drive people away, no doubt about it! One of the fixes for all of this back-end activity is to install yet another plugin, one that caches your page info. From what I understand, the basic idea is that the plugin takes a picture of your content and presents that to the viewer, a much quicker way than having to go retrieve it from the server. The two plugins that I have seen mentioned and reviewed most often are W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. Yet, both have conflicted with other plugins that I need, including our forum ones. So, right now this site seems to load pretty quickly, most of the time, but believe that I will have to upgrade it soon on the hosting end.

eCommerce

The beauty of WordPress is that you can grow it into a massive beast with many different capabilities. The challenge is to keep it from getting too messy or confusing for its visitors. Having eCommerce capabilities is certainly one of the reasons why WordPress quickly rose to the top of the opensource options. There are over 460 eCommerce plugins listed in the WordPress directory. I am hoping to work on a solution for Afghan Tribal Arts this year and am looking at WooCommerce as one possibility. Another option would be to use Big Cartel and merge it with WordPress. See tutorial. There are so many options and they all look wonderful when you look at their presentations, but after reading reviews, visiting forums, and processing the potential pitfalls, any one has headaches to deal with. If you are using an eCommerce solution, do leave a comment as I would like to do another post just on that.

Other Options

There are other ways of adding functionality to a site, especially using javascript code or shortcodes provided by different services. For example, we are using Merchpin to set up our TAFA Market. It’s all controlled by pasting javascript code on the pages. It looks like an eCommerce site, but the downside of it is that to search engines, our Market pages look blank. So, we need to add extra images and text in order to have content that can be found there.

TAFA Market

We are also using code from Amazon for our Book Shop. Many of our members have authored books which are available there and this has been a nice way to have them all in one place.

TAFA Member Books

Wish List and Conclusion

Posts by Email: This is my number one frustration right now. People who want to receive our blog posts by email can do so, but the default one from WordPress.org is as ugly as sin. The WordPress.com one is beautiful and I don’t understand why the .org ones can’t be the same. Most of us have used Google’s FeedBurner as an optional service for posts by email, but they are retiring it soon. This makes no sense as it is something that the blogging community loves! They have already done away with Google Reader, which was also a major staple used by blog readers.

MailChimp offers an integration with WordPress and that would be the best solution for us as we have our regular email list there already. But, I tried it and it was also quite ugly. There are several MailChimp plugins that are supposed to work with the blog subscribers, but I couldn’t get them to do anything. I suppose that I will have to ask for technical assistance and have them walk me through the options. If any of you have something else that we should look at, do leave a comment!

There are many little whines and complaints on my wish list and I wish things just stayed the same. Who knows where technology will be in five years? Each time there is a big, drastic shift in how things are done, it opens the doors to so many new opportunities, yet it ultimately means a lot of work in making everything compatible. Who knew ten years ago that cell phones would become a major surfing tool? So, we have to adapt, keep on learning and do the best we can to make use of all of these magnificent tools.

What about you? Are there any insights that you would like to share? Questions? I am by no means a tech expert, but I have learned some things along the way and am always curious to learn more. For this post, we are especially interested in learning about other plugins out there that might be important or useful. Let us know what you use along with a link to the Plugin’s site address to make it easy for everyone to find. I hope that you have found this WordPress Plugins 2014 Review of help!

Oh! And, if you like this post and what we are doing with TAFA, do sign up to receive our posts by email in the sidebar! One of these days, we’ll find a plugin that delivers pretty ones! :)

 

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Las Rancheritas, The Rug Hookers of Mexico http://www.tafalist.com/las-rancheritas-the-rug-hookers-of-mexico/ http://www.tafalist.com/las-rancheritas-the-rug-hookers-of-mexico/#comments Fri, 03 Jan 2014 17:33:33 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12790

I would like to introduce an exciting project in Mexico: The Rug Hook Project, Las Rancheritas. This women’s cooperative has been hooking rugs since 1998. The sixteen women are from the farming community of Agustin, Gonzales which is 14 miles from San Miguel de Allende. Their subject matter is the life around them, mountains, cactus, cows, […]

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Las Rancheritas, Rug Hookers of Mexico

Las Rancheritas, Rug Hookers of Mexico

I would like to introduce an exciting project in Mexico: The Rug Hook Project, Las Rancheritas. This women’s cooperative has been hooking rugs since 1998. The sixteen women are from the farming community of Agustin, Gonzales which is 14 miles from San Miguel de Allende. Their subject matter is the life around them, mountains, cactus, cows, horses, burros, flowers, a small house, a church, ducks, rabbits, chickens, roosters or fish.

Mexican hooked rug- rooster

Mexican hooked rug, camping

Mexican Hooked Rug dog

They are subsistence farmers who grow corn, beans and squash. The proceeds from selling these art pieces help with paying for additional food, children’s schooling, doctor visits and other family needs.  Many of the women are the sole support of their families. Each art piece is entirely unique as is the skill of rug hooking in Mexico. This slide show shows more of their life:

Our rugs are available on Etsy and at special events. The rug hookers of Mexico welcome visitors and you can also place special orders.  Contact us for more information on how you can get involved with this great project!

Day of the Dead hooked rug

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TAFA’s Year in Review: 2013 http://www.tafalist.com/tafas-year-in-review-2013/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafas-year-in-review-2013/#comments Wed, 01 Jan 2014 01:40:33 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13059

2013 is coming to a close, bringing with it the opportunity to stop and take a look at the year that has passed. Reflections on what has happened for us as a community during TAFA’s third year help us look forward into the next year, building on what has worked, changing direction on what hasn’t. […]

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TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

2013 is coming to a close, bringing with it the opportunity to stop and take a look at the year that has passed. Reflections on what has happened for us as a community during TAFA’s third year help us look forward into the next year, building on what has worked, changing direction on what hasn’t. The internet, the sites we use, the tools we develop and how all of that relates to what we do changes quickly. This, of course, leads us to look at our year in review, as so many others are also doing now.

I have had an image for my own life of the tree that can bend with the wind, that can be flexible, and I send those words out to all of you, too. Bend and allow the wind to dance with you, but keep your roots firmly planted in solid ground!

Linda Beach Art Quilts

Linda Beach Art Quilts

“The wind does not break a tree that bends”

- Sukuma proverb (Africa)

We started out 2013 celebrating the diversity of our members by creating the video “Red”. If you have not seen it, please watch it as it is probably the last one that I will make showing all of the members. We have gotten too big! I plan on doing more themed videos, but I find it so inspiring to see the work all together like this because it captures how textiles and fiber art translate into such a wide span of uses, interpretation, materials and expression.

Membership

We had 74 new members join TAFA in 2013! That brings us to 530 studio artists, organizations, and textile related businesses from 44 countries! Scroll through our Member List to see those who are up on our site and explore our Member Map to see where they are by location. Clicking on the pins takes you to their member profiles.

This is an old picture of our map. Many more pins now! A fun way to find our members!

This is an old picture of our map. Many more pins now! A fun way to find our members!

Interested in membership? Membership page.

We were very sad to lose Heather Lair who died in July from heart failure. She is sorely missed by all who knew her!

We were very sad to lose Heather Lair who died in July from heart failure. She is sorely missed by all who knew her!

TAFA Forum

Setting up this companion site to our main one was a huge project for me. I started working on it in January and it took about six months of bumps and hurdles to get it to function well. This is a BuddyPress site, WordPress’s solution for communities. They had a major re-write just as I started working on it and it took that long for the theme and plugins to catch up and update their codes so that things would play well on the back end. There are several areas on this site that can be accessed through the navigation at the top of each page. The forum area is for our members and the blog, Market, and other pages are for our community at large. We had two blogs on our main site which are now retired. A quick explanation of our public pages here:

  • Blog: Our posts have categories and tags to help find topics of interest. There is a drop down menu in the sidebar to help find the categories, showing how many posts have to do with that topic. We’ve had tech posts, member features and two ongoing series: TAFA’s Gift Guides and the Decorating with Textiles. All of our members have access to posting to our blog so expect to see more contributions coming from them in 2014. Sign up to receive posts by email in the sidebar or via Networked Blogs on Facebook.

Top Blog Posts:

Member Blogs:

Those of you who enjoy reading blogs can now follow our members on our Member Blog Page:

member blogs

The latest posts also show up on the sidebar of our blog.

TAFA Authors

Our members who have books on Amazon can now be easily found on our book shop page:

amazon shop

Call for Artists

We have a couple of excellent feeds announcing opportunities for textile artists on this page.

[hr]

Having this second site has really helped us to have a central location where we can communicate, share information, and plan activities. There has been a learning curve on how members use the forum and my hope is that it will become a comfortable place in 2014. We have hubs on several social media sites where information is also shared, but it becomes very hard to find it again when you want to revisit a topic or tip. Now, we can organize our interests by themes and use them whenever we need them.

Events

We have an Event Calendar on our main site which got a lot of activity in 2013. This is a handy tool as it has a Google Map on the listing and people can sign up to receive event announcements by email or on Facebook. We post the event again on our Facebook page a few days before it happens.

Social Media Sites

We are on quite a few sites with mixed results. You can see most of them listed on our hubs page. Here is a quick review on how we are doing on them:

Facebook: Our private group is our most active member hub. It’s fun, pleasant and informative. Our public page is the top referrer to both our main site and to this site. We have around 8,300 likes there at this time.

LinkedIn: We have about 1,000 people in our group there which is open to the public. There are spurts of good discussions, but they come and go.

Pinterest: Our following is growing and we have three group boards, a general one for our members, an Etsy board and a TAFA Market board.

Our Ravelry group is pretty much dead, I haven’t been able to get a following on Twitter, and we have some activity on Google+, but not much. We just started on Tumblr in September and have a growing audience there.  Many of our members are on Flickr and we have slide shows posted around, but they do not interact there. One of the best tools that we are using is RebelMouse, which can also have a social media side to it, but we have not developed much of a following there.

I find that much of my time is sucked up by these social media sites and one of my big goals for 2014 is to figure out how to become more effective at it. All social media is based on the assumption that relationships are being built, that we are “social”, not just dumping information out on to these various platforms. Interaction takes time, but also creates meaning. I think that this is something that all of us struggle with. I advise our members to pick no more than three places and to cultivate those and perhaps I should listen to my own advice for TAFA!

Etsy

tafa team badge 200 pixels

Over half of our members have shops on Etsy and we have created a beautiful destination there: TAFA Shops on Etsy.  Etsy has grown tremendously in the last couple of years and many of us find that our shops are just lost there. They also changed how they define “handmade” this year, now allowing designer products in the handmade category. There are many other problems which were outlined in Etsy’s New Guidelines, but it remains a place where we have a significant presence.

Having a common search result helps to bring us together there. Updates on our Etsy Team are on our blog, TAFA Team. We have a nice following there and get steady views on our posts. Member blogs are also posted there in the sidebar.

 

TAFA Market

Market Logo 200

In September we learned about a service called Merchpin that could be used to create themed collections of our member products who have shopping carts. It works seamlessly with Etsy, but can also take any cart that can be downloaded to a .csv file. We set up a separate area on this site and created a Market and now have 24 of our member shops represented there. The beauty of this service is that products can be arranged many different ways and just pasted on to a page with code. Click on an image and you land on that person’s shop.

We’ve had several features on our Market Shops in the last two months including a few interviews: Ariane Mariane, Wrapture by Inese, Afghan Tribal Arts, Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts, Castilleja Cotton, Something Else Studio, and Hot Moon Collection. Finding a shopping cart solution for our members is a top priority as most have products for sale. This Merchpin solution is not a perfect one, but it does offer a lot without having to have extra staff or set up an actual marketplace.


Our Sponsors

We cannot end the year without thanking our sponsors! TAFA does not have yearly membership fees so it is a challenge to come up with ways to generate income to pay for my salary (It IS a full-time job!) or to do any paid marketing. Our sponsors have been a huge support and we hope that you will support them in return. Their ads flash on our main site and on this one. Click to visit our current sponsors:

margaret wheeler ad  long ridge farm  Print

rhughes-tafa_0  candace ad  Ann Robinson ad new

dharma karma arts  anni hunt  new england felting supply

magic stitches  oaxaca cultural navigator  Cat Brysch 2013

ad  elena rosenberg  tafa ad

Beverly Ad  textiil ad  nestle and soar

Fiber Art Now  puchka ad  Arlee ad

 

 

Many thanks to all of them for their financial support!

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Click on the image for info:

Ad-Sponsor TAFA

 

Classified Ads

This year we also set up a Classified Ads page on this site. The ads are beautifully displayed and also show up on our blog’s sidebar.

affordable classified ads for artists

2014 Calendar

We finish off 2013 by offering a beautiful art calendar on Zazzle! “Roots” celebrates where we come from: our ancestors and our understanding of home. You can see all of the images for each month on this post and purchase the calendar on Zazzle. Zazzle often has discounts running on their site and at the time of this posting, they have a 20% off coupon running through Friday. It’s posted at the top of every page.

cover front small

Goals for 2014

Much of what I do is housekeeping: answering emails, helping members navigate through whatever issues or decisions they are making and networking on the social media sites. As the tree bends in the beginning of this post, I also try to allow the winds to change my directions, to be flexible and to try new strategies. I absolutely love this group and it gives me immense joy and fulfillment to work with them, promote them, and to build on what we have already managed to lay as a foundation in these last three years.

So, I move forward with just a couple of goals which are hopefully achievable:

  • Continue to develop our Market. I am thinking of a dedicated site for it and am exploring that option.
  • Look at the possibility of getting a couple of social media interns who can help make our hubs meaningful places.
  • Interact with design blogs which might feature our members.
  • Find interior designers and galleries/boutiques who might work with our members who make larger works (tapestries, art quilts, etc.).

If at the end of 2014 I can report on these four things with some success, I will have a feeling of accomplishment. If you have ideas, connections or feedback on any of these things, do leave a comment or contact me at rayela @ comcast.net (remove spaces). I have idea folders that are growing!

I have been thinking a lot about groups and their importance, both the virtual ones and physical ones. Many of us evaluate what a group can do for us, but I also think that it is about what we can each do for the group. I remember having a confrontation with my preacher father when I was a teen and didn’t want to go to church, “It’s boring!!!” He said, “It’s not about what YOU get out of it, but rather what you can GIVE to it.” I’ve never forgotten that and for me, it has been true that in giving, I have received much support, inspiration, joy and meaning. Think about that with whatever group you belong to. My mantra for TAFA has been and still is:

Together we can do great things!

On that note, I wish all of you a wonderful 2014!  Every year I make a funny Christmas card with me and my dogs. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope this brings you a smile:

Christmas 2013 800 pixels wideThanks to Colin’s Creatures for letting me use his sheep!

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TAFA Calendar 2014: Roots http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-calendar-2014-roots/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-calendar-2014-roots/#comments Tue, 31 Dec 2013 01:21:51 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13054

Last year we opened a TAFA Shop on Zazzle. Members donated images of their products which were then added on to mugs, t-shirts, cell phone covers and other Zazzle choices. A percentage of the sales go to help support our TAFA programming. It’s not much, takes a long time to amount to anything, but it […]

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TAFA 2014 Art Textiles Calendar RootsLast year we opened a TAFA Shop on Zazzle. Members donated images of their products which were then added on to mugs, t-shirts, cell phone covers and other Zazzle choices. A percentage of the sales go to help support our TAFA programming. It’s not much, takes a long time to amount to anything, but it helps and is a great way to give a longer life to these wonderful creations that take to long to make. Almost everything we make is one-of-a-kind and being able to use the images again in this way allows us to enjoy them further.

Our most successful items were our two calendars that we put together and this year, we have done it again! Our Roots Calendar celebrates ancestors who have encouraged creativity along with our feelings about “home”. People and place often define who we will become in future years, either embracing the feeling of love and acceptance or reacting against abuse and insecurity.

If you enjoy the textile and fiber arts, you will certainly like the selection we have put together for our TAFA Calendar 2014! It holds a nice variety of techniques and cultural traditions. Click on the images to visit the member profiles and learn more about each contributor. Our members often talk about how a grandmother, mother, aunt, father or someone in their family taught them how to knit, sew, or create when they were still little children. Visit The List to see our other profiles and as you explore, you will see this mentioned over and over again. Or, they will talk about where they lived as children and how that informed their later work.

As you explore these twelve and other stories, take to heart how important it is to expose children to the arts at a young age! Each of us has the ability to pass that on to the next generation and to spark that interest in them, too. Maybe someday we will be the honored ancestors, the ones who made a safe place called home.

TAFA 2014 Calendar Front Cover: Roots

TAFA 2014 Calendar Front Cover: Roots

January

Karen Anne Glick textile art

Karen lives in Pennsylvania in the US. Her work is often minimalist, exploring shape, movement and color.

February

Indira Govindan is a mixed-media artist from New Jersey with her roots in India. Here she honors her parents who encouraged her to develop fully in every way. The journal pictured was made using one of her mother's saris.

Indira Govindan is a mixed-media artist from New Jersey with her roots in India. Here she honors her parents who encouraged her to develop fully in every way. The journal pictured was made using one of her mother’s saris.

March

Nisa Kiley lives in Hereford, United Kingdom. Her quilts are intensely quilted, creating deep textures and rhythm, often inspired by Nature. Her mother is honored in this piece.

Nisa Kiley lives in Hereford, United Kingdom. Her quilts are intensely quilted, creating deep textures and rhythm, often inspired by Nature. Her mother is honored in this piece.

April

Anni Hunt is a mixed media artist, a Canadian from British Columbia. She uses a wide range of surface design techniques to create textures and images on her textiles, often transforming them into vessels. This nest is part of a series. She also offers video tutorials on many of her techniques.

Anni Hunt is a mixed media artist, a Canadian from British Columbia. She uses a wide range of surface design techniques to create textures and images on her textiles, often transforming them into vessels. This nest is part of a series. She also offers video tutorials on many of her techniques.

May

Peggy Wright lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. For many years she worked with bead weaving jewelry, but moved her focus to textiles a couple of years ago. She often incorporates beads into her quilts and textiles.

Peggy Wright lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. For many years she worked with bead weaving jewelry, but moved her focus to textiles a couple of years ago. She often incorporates beads into her quilts and textiles.

June

Ann Ridge lives in Malaga, Spain, and creates a variety of functional textiles and wearable art, from pillows to quilts to exquisite garments.

Ann Ridge lives in Malaga, Spain, and creates a variety of functional textiles and wearable art, from pillows to quilts to exquisite garments.

July

Aliona Carpov landed in Rabat, Morocco many years ago, but explores her Moldovian roots through her weaving and mixed media works. See this weaving in a post she did as a part of our Living with Textiles Series.
Aliona Carpov landed in Rabat, Morocco many years ago, but explores her Moldovian roots through her weaving and mixed media works. See this weaving in a post she did as a part of our Decorating with Textiles Series.

August

Anton Veenstra lives in Sydney, Australia. His parents arrived there as migrant workers from Holland and Slovenia. He was born in a migrant camp and he has done several tapestries about his mother and childhood. This work is made of old buttons.

Anton Veenstra lives in Sydney, Australia. His parents arrived there as migrant workers from Holland and Slovenia. He was born in a migrant camp and he has done several tapestries about his mother and childhood. This textile is made up of old buttons.

September

Cindy Grisdela lives in Great Falls, Virginia, USA. Her quilts are bold explorations of color and shape. She also makes home accessories which are just lovely.

Cindy Grisdela lives in Great Falls, Virginia, USA. Her quilts are bold explorations of color and shape. She also makes home accessories which are just lovely.

October

Meta Heemskerk lives in Eindhoven, Netherlands. She documents her work avidly on her blog, always exploring new techniques. She also started a small wall art site, galleriba. Several of our members participate in that group as well.

Meta Heemskerk lives in Eindhoven, Netherlands. She documents her work avidly on her blog, always exploring new techniques. Her peg people featured here are a part of a wonderful series. She also started a small wall art site, galleriba. Several of our members participate in that group as well.

November

Karen Miller is a rug hooker from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She often incorporates weathered wood in her work. Her inspiration comes from the landscape around her, Iceland, and people.

Karen Miller is a rug hooker from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She often incorporates weathered wood in her work. Her inspiration comes from the landscape around her, Iceland, and people.

December

This year I took part in the calendar, too. My parents were missionaries in Brazil (1962-1980) and my father was especially supportive of my creative learning. He was mechanical and built things, picking up carving for a few years. My mother taught us how to read and write and took us to movies on Sunday afternoons. Both are originally Minnesota (USA) farm kids. I now live in Kentucky, USA. I made each of them an embroidered scarf for Christmas.

This year I took part in the calendar, too. My parents were missionaries in Brazil (1962-1980) and my father was especially supportive of my creative learning. He was mechanical and built things, picking up carving for a few years. My mother taught us how to read and write and took us to movies on Sunday afternoons. Both are originally Minnesota (USA) farm kids. I now live in Kentucky, USA. I made each of them an embroidered scarf for Christmas.

Back cover of TAFA's 2014 art calendar

Back cover

I love learning about the stories behind the work and hope that you do, too! Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments area on ancestors and home and how they inform what you do, too.  Each story, joyful or painful, forms a part of the tapestry that is life!

You may purchase the calendar and other TAFA products in our Zazzle shop:

http://www.zazzle.com/2014_tafa_calendar_roots-158600962546896913

The calendar is $24.40. Zazzle often has promotional discounts going on, so make sure you take a look at the top of the site for a promo announcement. At the time of this posting, there is a 20% discount using 2014NEWYEARS as the code at checkout. You can use that towards anything that you might want to purchase in our shop.

I was very pleased with the quality of the calendars last year and have enjoyed seeing TAFA up on my wall all throughout the year. It will be fun to have that opportunity once again. When you look at our pages, know that you are supporting an amazing group with wonderful stories!

 

Happy 2014!

TAFA 2014 Calendar Collage

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Decorating with Textiles : Altexdesign http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-altexdesign/ http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-altexdesign/#comments Sun, 29 Dec 2013 21:05:22 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12369

by Aliona Carpov I come from Moldova (Eastern Europe) and am passionate about every art-related technique, especially silk dyeing, oil painting, and carpet design. I practiced these disciplines but tapestry, carpets and ceramics are the ones I enjoy the most. I moved to Morocco in 1999, where I continued to work as a designer, developing […]

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by Aliona Carpov

Aliona Carpov

I come from Moldova (Eastern Europe) and am passionate about every art-related technique, especially silk dyeing, oil painting, and carpet design. I practiced these disciplines but tapestry, carpets and ceramics are the ones I enjoy the most.

I moved to Morocco in 1999, where I continued to work as a designer, developing collections for toufté carpet, suitable for all styles of interiors. I have continued to research and develop art tapestries inspired by the traditional arts of Central Europe and modern African art, combining various techniques and various materials (wool, fabric, raffia, acrylic, silk plant, and leather) enriched by the shapes, colors and landscapes of Morocco.
In this post, I will present my work in the interior of my apartment and in the house of my friends.

The apartment in which we currently live is in Rabat and was built in a traditional Moroccan style riad style. I decided to decorate in the same style, reminiscent of Berber and Bauresquees symbols. We bought local furniture and carpets along with crafts and ceramics which I enjoyed painting. On the walls we hung my tapestry and the paintings of my daughter. All of my creations are a mixture of two cultures: European with a Moroccan touch. I love textiles for their textures and sweetness. I like to experiment with and develop my own techniques. I invite you to discover my own creations which I weave and I created in a contemporary spirit, modern in that traditional sense. I wish you a pleasant visit ! :)

LIVING ROOM

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Our living room is divided into two spaces – a desk and a seating area.
The office area is decorated with two of my textile creations.

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The right tapestry is made of  wool, silk, leather, and inlaid with river stones. I called it “Past” work as it reminds me of my childhood.

The left panno decorative textile was made in a mixed technique that I developed. The creation of this work was inspired by small villages in the mountains of Morocco.

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I upholstered the couches myself with fabric I bought on the local market to create a Moroccan salon. I stitched organza fabric for the table.  The pottery on the table comes from a craft workshop in Fes. The caned chairs were made ​​to order from my sketches. The floor is covered with handmade Turkish carpets.

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On the wall next to the window is a painting that was done by my daughter, a portrait of her grandmother. To the right on the wall is a tapestry of mixed techniques.

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The bookshelf holds books and various collectibles: ceramic, sculptures, etc…

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The tapestry above uses mixed techniques inspired by Berber carpets. I used silk, fabric painting and traditional jewelery. On the walls to the right of the tapestry there are three ceramic plates suspended with geometric designs painted by myself. I like mixing my creative activities. After discovering painting on ceramics, it has become my new passion. I wrote a book about how to use stencils to create these designs: http://www.edisaxe.com/la-peinture-sur-poterie.html

In this book you will find designs inspired by both my Slavic culture and Moroccan colors.

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In the corner of the small library, which is decorated with all sorts of creations – there is a large pot and pottery painted by myself, one of my tapestries, a silk painting, and a painting made ​​by my daughter.  The bookshelf is from a garage sale which I restored.

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This silk painting is a copy that I made of a work after an unknown artist  about “Saint George of Lydda” in African style.

 

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On the wall hangs a painting in mixed technique, created by my daughter.

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In the opposite corner of the library there is a set of artisan-made cane furniture, a white Berber carpet, and as usual, one of my tapestries and a painting done by my daughter. A small table covered with a cotton cloth that was woven in the north of Moldova was a gift for our wedding.

IMG_8649Panno textiles use mixed techniques: embroidery, painting on fabric as well as silk and raffia, titled “Between Heaven and Earth”. It was inspired from our flight on the plane. During the flight, I saw the sunset and sunrise. It was an amazing spectacle.

 

FOYER

The lobby and couloire is decorated in the same style of cane furniture, terracotta pots, tapestries and painting, and with local Moroccan handcrafts on the walls and ceiling.

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In the hallway on the left wall above the mirror hangs a small chandelier made by a local artisan in wrought iron which we bought. I love this little candle holder! It creates comfort in the hallway. :)

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Next to the candle holder is a small textile and painting, made in my mixed technique that I personally created. “Hand of Fatima” is an amulet of protection in the form of hand. According to local legends, it brings happiness to the home and saves us from the evil eye.The mirror and a small box for keys were also decorated by me with paint, leather and jewelry. 

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As you  enter through the front entrance, in front of you on the wall are hanging the two small panno textile decorations where I embedded Berber jewelry and Moroccan a plate. In this panno, I used wood, cotton, embroidery, painting and Berber jewelry. Below there is a vase with dried flowers, I collected in the field during a walk in nature.

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Our hallway is decorated with my textiles and paintings by my daughter. The floor along the walls of the corridor is decorated with pottery and Berber carpets in red color. Berber carpets are a classic art, produced in the region Khemisset and show the expertise of Berber women and brings an oriental touch to the interior decoration in my house.

 

BEDROOM

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In this bedroom I wanted to give an African touch with panno textile decorations and wood elements in the same spirit.

The triptych on the wall I have done in mixed media. Adjacent is an African wooden sculpture. The bed cover is handmade raw silk (sabra). The cushions are Berber and Indian fabrics. A Turkish carpet is on the floor.

 

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Triptych “African motifs”  of Africa series.

Textiles offer many decorating opportunities. They bring many beautiful and useful things for the home. I wanted a comfortable apartment for ourselves and I think we succeeded :)

 

VILLA OF MY FRIENDS

In this part of my post I would like to present my textile creations that decorate a friend’s home.

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I decided to decorate the hall  with  triptych “Africa”. I think that this triptych here looks best. Textile panno: mixed media, batik, natural materials, embroidery.This was one of my first creations.

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The European salon showcases tapestries woven by myself on the wall.

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Tapestry “Folklore” triptych , weaving, wool.
This work reminds me of my home.

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Decorative panno from the series “Morocco”. Mixed technique that I created personally.

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Tapestries made by me and my daughter hang on the walls at the back.

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Left: tapestry called “Inspiration”.  Right: two small rugs from the series “Morocco”. Weaving mixed media.

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My tapestry “Inspiration” and three mini tapestries by my daughter. Weaving, wool, silk, acrylic.

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The European salon is opposite to the Moroccan interior. I decided to decorate the Moroccan area with decorative panno from the series “Morocco” of my own creation.

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Composition consisting of decorative panels from the series “Morocco”. Mixed media. Created personally.

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Triptych “Morocco”. Decorative panno. Mixed media, created personally.

I appreciate how the textures in textiles play a valuable role in creating comfortable interiors and timeless colors. Decades ago, I discovered how yarn can be the source of spontaneity and creativity. I love creating original, exclusive and unique works.

I hope that my post will be interesting to people who love textiles and design and who want their home decorated with creations made ​​by these hands.

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 Decorating with Textiles Series

Many thanks to Alena for sharing her home and her friend’s place with us! It’s so interesting to see the blend of cultures, techniques, and aesthetics! Alena is available for commissions, so if you like her work, do not hesitate to contact her to see what she could do for you. You can leave a message here or there is a contact button on her Profile Page on TAFA.

Would you like to participate in this series? The Decorating with Textiles Series is an ongoing project on this blog. This offer is open to all of you out there who love textiles. Many of our TAFA members make beautiful decorative textiles and functional work as well and showcasing these homes can help stimulate new ideas of what to do with textiles. Seeing a photo online is much different from seeing how a textile will function in an environment. Many people appreciate textiles but have no idea how to display them or what to do with them. We’d like to have many people participate in this series, each bringing in their own ideas and tastes.

Make sure to leave a comment for Aliona. I know that would please her immensely!

Contact me if you are interested and would like to submit a post:

rayela [@] comcast.net (remove spaces and brackets)

Visit TAFA to see inspiring art quilts, weavings and accessories for the home. Maybe you will find the perfect accent for your home!

Also check out our TAFA Market and our TAFA shops on Etsy!

Don’t miss out on our future posts! Sign up on the sidebar to receive our posts by email.

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Mariposa Handwovens http://www.tafalist.com/mariposa-handwovens/ http://www.tafalist.com/mariposa-handwovens/#comments Fri, 27 Dec 2013 18:30:46 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=13036

Vicki Hedrick of Mariposa Handwovens has been weaving for over 30 years and is still in love with the process of creating fabric from thread! She lives in Carlinville, Illinois (USA) and has a nicely stocked shop on Etsy. Her business name, Mariposa, means butterfly in Spanish. She often finds her inspiration in Nature, experimenting with texture […]

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Mariposa Handwovens blue shawl

Vicki Hedrick of Mariposa Handwovens has been weaving for over 30 years and is still in love with the process of creating fabric from thread! She lives in Carlinville, Illinois (USA) and has a nicely stocked shop on Etsy. Her business name, Mariposa, means butterfly in Spanish. She often finds her inspiration in Nature, experimenting with texture and color through the use of novelty yarns and the weaving patterns she uses.

Visit and connect with her on TAFA: http://www.tafalist.com/members/mariposa-handwovens

Mariposa Handwovens scarf

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A TAFA Christmas: We Three Kings http://www.tafalist.com/a-tafa-christmas-we-three-kings/ http://www.tafalist.com/a-tafa-christmas-we-three-kings/#comments Sun, 22 Dec 2013 21:33:25 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12989

“We Three Kings” is an all-time Christmas favorite song, written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., an American composer and Episcopal clergyman. He wrote the song in 1857 as part of a Christmas pageant, but it did not appear in print until 1863. Enjoy this wonderful claymation video featuring the song sung by the three kings […]

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John Henry Hopkins, Jr.“We Three Kings” is an all-time Christmas favorite song, written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., an American composer and Episcopal clergyman. He wrote the song in 1857 as part of a Christmas pageant, but it did not appear in print until 1863.

Enjoy this wonderful claymation video featuring the song sung by the three kings and their camels. Super cute!

Scroll down to see the lyrics, illustrated by work of our TAFA members and sing along. Click on the images to learn more about them through their profiles on TAFA.

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Amie Starchuk Textile Artist

Amie Starchuk Textile Artist

green in the middle art quilt

green in the middle

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

Angel Fire Designs

Angel Fire Designs

Karen Henderson

Karen Henderson

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.

Kalahari Quilts

Kalahari Quilts

Born a king on Bethlehem’s plain,
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign.

Afghan Tribal Arts

Afghan Tribal Arts

MegWeaves

MegWeaves

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.

Ann Harwell Art

Ann Harwell Art

Frankincense to offer have I.
Incense owns a Deity nigh.
Prayer and praising all men raising,
Worship Him, God on high.

Maiwa Handprints

Maiwa Handprints

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.

Terry Aske Art Quilts

Terry Aske Art Quilts

Colin's Creatures

Colin’s Creatures

Myrrh is mine: it’s bitter perfume
Breaths a life of gathering gloom.
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

Donna Kallner Fiber Art

Donna Kallner Fiber Art

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.

Deanne Fitzpatrick Studio

Deanne Fitzpatrick Studio

Glorious now behold Him arise,
King and God and Sacrifice.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Sounds through the earth and skies.

Allison Svoboda

Allison Svoboda

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light

Bazaar Bayar

Bazaar Bayar

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and Holiday!

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A TAFA Quilt Christmas: Silent Night http://www.tafalist.com/a-tafa-quilt-christmas-silent-night/ http://www.tafalist.com/a-tafa-quilt-christmas-silent-night/#comments Sat, 21 Dec 2013 22:34:55 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12977

One of my favorite things about Christmas is all of the music, favorites from my childhood, both about the Christ Child and fun ones from our popular culture like Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph and others. Enjoy this illustrated version of Silent Night with some of our talented work by our TAFA members. Click on the […]

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Castilleja Cotton Singing Snowman Quilt

Castilleja Cotton Singing Snowman Quilt

One of my favorite things about Christmas is all of the music, favorites from my childhood, both about the Christ Child and fun ones from our popular culture like Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph and others.

Enjoy this illustrated version of Silent Night with some of our talented work by our TAFA members. Click on the video for vocals by the talented Sam Tsui accompanied on the violin by Yasmeen Al-Mazeedi and then scroll down to see the lyrics and images. Click on the images to see our TAFA Member profiles.

Silent night, holy night!

Sanctuary quilt by Dottie Moore

Sanctuary quilt by Dottie Moore

All is calm, all is bright.

Ann Harwell Art, From Whence Heaven

Ann Harwell Art, “From Whence Heaven”

Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child.

Joan Sowada, Beatrice with Ball, Art Quilt mother and child

Joan Sowada, “Beatrice with Ball”

Holy infant so tender and mild,

green in the middle, Quilt portrait of a baby.

green in the middle, Quilt portrait of a baby.

Sleep in heavenly peace,

Amie Starchuk Textile Artist, "Dream", Art Quilt

Amie Starchuk Textile Artist, “Dream”

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry, On the Wings of a Dream

Bryerpatch Studio, Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry, “On the Wings of a Dream”

 

Wishing you and yours a meaningful and beautiful Christmas!

If you do not celebrate Christmas, may this time also be filled with love and joy!

Morna Crites-Moore, Fok Art Angels in wool

Morna Crites-Moore/Wicked Waif, Folk Art Angels in wool

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TAFA Gift Guide: Bags and Purses http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-gift-guide-bags-and-purses/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-gift-guide-bags-and-purses/#comments Sun, 15 Dec 2013 00:15:10 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12886

Every year thousands of quilters come to Paducah for the annual AQS Quilt Show.  As a group, they tend to wear comfortable shoes and carry a big, gorgeous handmade bag. A bag which carries their needs for the day and will bulge with fliers and purchases. I feel like you can almost never have enough […]

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Collage bags final

Every year thousands of quilters come to Paducah for the annual AQS Quilt Show.  As a group, they tend to wear comfortable shoes and carry a big, gorgeous handmade bag. A bag which carries their needs for the day and will bulge with fliers and purchases. I feel like you can almost never have enough bags…  I have two big totes that I use for groceries, a dedicated one for the library, a small pouch that has my wallet and keys, a big leather bag I use for travel, another one for my laptop, and lots of pouches, passport bags, and small purses that can be snatched as needed. I have special things stored in bags in my drawers, large tote-types of bags holding various craft supplies and art purses that might make it to a party or gallery opening. Every culture around the world has bags assigned to specific tasks and for the fashion industry, launching new bag designs is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Our TAFA members make and sell all kinds of fun, handmade bags. Most are functional, begging to be used, while others tease the imagination, playing with form and function as wearable art. Get ready for eye candy as we treat you to this selected guide! There is something for everyone and we hope that you will explore the links to see more.

Click on the images to visit that member’s profile on TAFA. From there, you can click on their links to connect with them.

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Art Bags

These are bags that are functional, kind of… Definite ice-breakers at a party, but just be careful with them…

Ariane Mariane bag

Ariane Mariane has a whimsical line of felt bags which can be treated as sculptures when not in use. France

Rayela Art paper bag

Made out of hundreds of folded bits of paper, Rayela Art’s bags use the outer wrapper of dog food bags, beads and buttons. USA

Rensfibreart teaches free-form crochet. Her art bags are inspired by nature.

Rensfibreart teaches free-form crochet. Her art bags are inspired by nature. Australia

 

Evening Bags

A purse, clutch or bag with a dressy flair!

delight worthyn blue silk bag

Delight Worthyn ART/wares recycles cast-offs into hats, garments and bags often inspired by historical fashion. USA

Leisa Rich takes vinyl to a new level! USA

Leisa Rich takes vinyl to a new level! USA

Allthingspretty recycles fabrics and findings into Boho statements. Australia

Allthingspretty recycles fabrics and findings into Boho statements. This bag features old embroidery that has been salvaged. Australia

Kala Raksha is a non-profit in India, working to generate income through and to preserve traditional craft skills. Their bags add a tribal bling to the outfit.

Kala Raksha is a non-profit in India, working to generate income through and to preserve traditional craft skills. Their bags add a tribal bling to the outfit.

Embroidered Indian purse.

Maiwa Handprints works with several different groups in India and offers a great selection of textiles and accessories on their site. Canada

Coco Bags offers a large selection of designs, including some great ones for men. This clutch has a simple and elegant design. USA

Coco Bags offers a large selection of designs, including some great ones for men. This clutch has a simple and elegant design. USA

Fibernique's felt purse speaks of warmth and simplicity.

Fibernique’s felt purse speaks of warmth and simplicity. USA

African purse by UrbanKnit

Urbanknit uses African fabrics in many of her clutches and purses. United Kingdom

Danny Mansmith's free-form sewing speak to the free spirits out there. This patchwork clutch nods to the Boho world.

Danny Mansmith’s free-form sewing speak to the free spirits out there. This patchwork clutch nods to the Boho world. USA

Shoulder Bags and Purses

Messenger bags and strappy purses help us keep track of our stuff. Sling them over, wear them on the shoulder….

Beautiful messenger bag from Unique Batik. Handwoven Guatemalan fabric.

Beautiful messenger bag from Unique Batik Fair Trade. Handwoven Guatemalan fabric. USA

Art Nomadyx crochets fun hats and bags. Australia

ArtNomadix MeggaYarnz
crochets fun hats and bags. Australia

Bazaar Bayar used reclaimed woven fabrics in this messenger bag. Turkey

Bazaar Bayar used reclaimed woven fabrics in this messenger bag. Turkey

IngerMaaike felts wonderfully rustic garments and accessories. Norway

IngerMaaike felts wonderfully rustic garments and accessories. Norway

MayaMam Weavers are a fair trade group in Guatemala. This is one of their handwoven messenger bags.

MayaMam Weavers are a fair trade group in Guatemala. This is one of their handwoven messenger bags.

Something Else Studio has catered to the Renaissance Festival crowds for years. They have a large selection of great purses!

Something Else Studio has catered to the Renaissance Festival crowds for years. They have a large selection of great purses!  USA

Odpaam crochets purses, bags, baskets, rugs and much more! Israel

Odpaam crochets purses, bags, baskets, rugs and much more! Israel

Delightful crocheted purse by HEraMade! Hungary

Delightful crocheted purse by HEraMade!
Hungary

SAORI Salt Spring handwoven bag. Canada

SAORI Salt Spring handwoven bag. Canada

Manitoba Gifts: Leather purses, wallets and more! USA

Manitoba Gifts: Leather purses, wallets and more! USA

Siamese Dream Design has great messenger bags and backpacks made out of reclaimed vintage embroidered fabric, mostly Hilltribe. Thailand

Siamese Dream Design has great messenger bags and backpacks made out of reclaimed vintage embroidered fabric, mostly Hilltribe. Thailand

Totes

Larger bags to carry shopping are always great to have around!

Karen Lukacs Textiles specializes in making purses and totes of all sizes and shapes. USA

Karen Lukacs Textiles specializes in making purses and totes of all sizes and shapes. USA

embroidered bag from Thailand

Lavish Lanna uses reclaimed textile remnants from Thailand and India in her bags. Thailand

Terri Stegmiller's beautiful, quilted tote bag.

Terri Stegmiller Art Quilts: beautiful, quilted tote bag. USA

Solid needlework covers Kasia Urban Rybska's bottle tote bag. Poland

Solid needlework covers Kasia Urban Rybska’s bottle tote bag. Poland

handwoven bag from Peru

Threads of Peru is a Canadian fair trade group working with Peruvian weavers.

Hand printed tote by Art That Moves. Canada

Hand printed tote by Art That Moves. Canada

Sally Manke Fiber Artist's coiled rope tote, strong and great as a market bag! USA

Sally Manke Fiber Artist’s coiled rope tote, strong and great as a market bag! USA

Pouches

Passport bags and drawstring pouches are so great for traveling or for carrying the small things you need.

Cloverleaf Art & Fibre  pouch felted on a small farm in Canada.

Cloverleaf Art & Fibre pouch felted on a small farm in Canada.

Another of our sheep herders, this pouch came from one of Farm Genevieve's sheep. USA

Another of our sheep farms, this pouch came from one of Farm Genevieve’s sheep. USA

A sweet little pouch by Linda Marcille Art on Cloth.

A sweet little pouch by Linda Marcille Art on Cloth. USA

Hand dyed passport pouch by Susan Fennell Studio. USA

Hand dyed passport pouch by Susan Fennell Studio. USA

Rainbow quilt purse by Ann Brauer. USA

Rainbow quilt purse by Ann Brauer. USA

Wallets and Coin Purses

Store your jewelry, make-up and small tools in them!

Hand printed zipper pouch by Morgen Bardati. Canada

Hand printed zipper pouch by Morgen Bardati. Canada

Diviner pouch by LaTouchables. Germany

Diviner pouch by LaTouchables. Germany

Vintage embroidered wallet from Afghan Tribal Arts.

Vintage embroidered wallet from Afghan Tribal Arts. USA

Leather wallet by Christine Marie Ford. Canada

Leather wallet by Christine Marie Ford. Canada

Little pouch by Lente Julcsi. Hungary

Little pouch by Lente Julcsi. Hungary

Specialty Bags

The bags above are just examples of what each of our members does, but many have specia bags for laptops, ipads, cell phones, eye glass cases and much more. Here are a couple of examples:

Ipad protector by Fuzzy Logic Felt. USA

Ipad protector by Fuzzy Logic Felt. USA

Laptop cover by Blue Jacaranda. Australia

Laptop cover by Blue Jacaranda. Australia

Vintage sake boro bag from Kimono Boy. Early 1900's. Japan

Vintage sake boro bag from Kimono Boy. Early 1900’s. Japan

As you can see, there is an amazing range of styles, materials used, provenance, function, and price points offered in this overview of our TAFA bags. I find it so interesting to see how the different materials are treated and with all of the options that are out there, the handmade ones succeed in truly being one-of-a-kind.

How to find our TAFA bags and purses

Logo papyrus

On TAFA

Search TAFA with keywords like bag, purse, pouch, backpack, and see what comes up.

Click to see the search results for “bag”.

 

 

 

tafa team badge 200 pixels

On Etsy

At the time of this posting we had almost 5,000 items there. The same suggestion applies as on our site, except that you need to have “TAFA” before the keyword: TAFA bag, TAFA purse, TAFA wallet, etc. Make sure you check off the ship anywhere option so that you see everyone.

Over 200 items popped up when I searched for TAFA bag. Click to see them.

 

Make sure to sign up for our blog posts in the sidebar! We are posting regularly! Check out our other Gift Guide posts for scarves, hats, gloves, kid’s items and more.

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Bear Creek Felting http://www.tafalist.com/bear-creek-felting/ http://www.tafalist.com/bear-creek-felting/#comments Wed, 11 Dec 2013 17:51:59 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12851

Bear Creek Felting Teresa Perleberg lives in North Dakota and has her own flock of sheep. She uses their wool, dyes the colors she needs and also purchases or trades with other wool dealers when she needs other fibers. She mostly needle felts wild animals but also has an interest in farm animals and has […]

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bear creek felting needle felted wild animals

Bear Creek Felting

Teresa Perleberg lives in North Dakota and has her own flock of sheep. She uses their wool, dyes the colors she needs and also purchases or trades with other wool dealers when she needs other fibers. She mostly needle felts wild animals but also has an interest in farm animals and has a whimsical line of cute snowmen and other smiling critters. She has her work and kits available on Etsy and on her website.

water buffalo by bear creek felting

needle felted polar bear

snow man

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TAFA Gift Guide: Fiber and Textile Jewelry http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-gift-guide-fiber-and-textile-jewelry/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-gift-guide-fiber-and-textile-jewelry/#comments Wed, 11 Dec 2013 02:30:34 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12800

When you think of jewelry, do you automatically think of metals or beads? Cultures around the world have decorated themselves throughout history with soft jewels made of fabric, wool or other fibers. In the last ten years, we have seen textile and fiber artists go wild with the possibilities our favored materials offer, translating both […]

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textile and fiber jewelry

When you think of jewelry, do you automatically think of metals or beads? Cultures around the world have decorated themselves throughout history with soft jewels made of fabric, wool or other fibers. In the last ten years, we have seen textile and fiber artists go wild with the possibilities our favored materials offer, translating both simple and complex techniques into wearable art. Our TAFA members are no exception! We are pleased to show off some of our jewels here and hope that you will want to buy them for yourself or as gifts. Fiber and Textile jewelry with a heart!

Most of the artists featured here make many different kinds of jewelry, but we will show just a few examples and then hope that you will explore more deeply by clicking on the images and following their links. You are in for a treat! Aside from being beautiful, most of these pieces also offer several benefits: those allergic or intolerant of wearing metals, can enjoy these pretty accents, many are warm and offer protection in the cold, and the soft ones are great for young mothers or others who might be nervous about sharp edges.

Necklaces

Fiber and textile necklaces

Plumfish: Recycled sari strips are crocheted into scarves and necklaces. Australia

Plumfish: Recycled sari strips are crocheted into scarves and necklaces. Australia

DILETTANTEsoutache: Ancient Indian technique called soutache. Cyprus

DILETTANTEsoutache: Ancient Indian technique called soutache. Necklace and earring set. Cyprus

Hot Moon Collection: Vintage Alex & Lee 'Love & Peace' Necklace 1970s. USA

Hot Moon Collection: Vintage Alex & Lee ‘Love & Peace’ Necklace 1970s. USA

Franjuli: Crocheted sterling silver wire. USA

Franjuli: Crocheted sterling silver wire necklace. USA

Gilgulim: Fabric is rolled into beads and then made into jewelry, often mixed with other beads. Israel

Gilgulim: Fabric is rolled into beads and then made into jewelry, often mixed with other beads. Israel

Design Talented One: Recycled sari strips with pendant and flowers. USA

Design Talented One: Recycled sari strips necklace with pendant and flowers. USA

Fearless Fiberworks: Felted choker embellished with beads. Canada

Fearless Fiberworks: Felted choker embellished with beads. Canada

Morgen Bardati: Printed, dyed and sewn fabric.  Canada

Morgen Bardati: Printed, dyed and sewn fabric necklace. Canada

Elena Rosenberg: Crocheted necklace. USA

Elena Rosenberg Wearable Art: Crocheted silk necklace. USA

Fibernique: Sewn fabric collar. USA

Fibernique: Sewn fabric collar. USA

Odpaam: Felted strands. Israel

Odpaam: Felted strand necklace. Israel

Ariane Mariane: Felted collar. France

Ariane Mariane: Felted collar. France

Dianne Koppisch Hricko: Dyed silk scarf/necklace. USA

Dianne Koppisch Hricko: Dyed silk scarf/necklace. USA

HG Handmade: Dyed and hand stitched neck pouch. Germany

HG handmade: Dyed and hand stitched neck pouch. Germany

Rensfibreart: Crocheted collar with beads and shells. Australia

Rensfibreart: Crocheted collar with beads and shells. Australia

KnitOneFeltTwo: Felted pebble necklace. Australia

KnitOneFeltTwo: Felted pebble necklace. Australia

Leisa Rich: Industrial felt chunks. USA

Leisa Rich: Industrial felt chunks. USA

Earrings

As you can see, we’re an international group, using lots of different techniques.  It always amazes me to see how each person can shape materials into something that is uniquely theirs in style and design! Most of these also make earrings and bracelets, but here are a couple of earring examples:

Wai Yuk Kennedy: Machine embroidery sculpted into earrings. United Kingdom

Wai Yuk Kennedy: Machine embroidery sculpted into earrings. United Kingdom

Christine Marie Ford: Fabric earrings. Canada

Christine Marie Ford: Fabric earrings. Canada

HEra Made: Crocheted earrings. Hungary

HEra Made: Crocheted earrings. Hungary

Cuffs and Bracelets

Cuffs are a perfect shape as small textiles and they look great and are fun to wear! We have a lot to choose from:

Cuffs and bracelets

Textile Gems: Vintage fabrics embedded under layers of epoxy on a brass cuff. USA

Textile Gems: Vintage fabrics embedded under layers of epoxy on a brass cuff. USA

Madrigal Embroidery: Hand embroidered cuff. USA

Madrigal Embroidery: Hand embroidered cuff. USA

All Things Pretty: Beads and findings heavily sewn on to a cuff. Australia

All Things Pretty: Beads and findings heavily sewn on to a cuff. Australia

Lente Julcsi: Embroidered cuff. Hungary

Lente Julcsi: Embroidered cuff. Hungary

Ethelruby: Knit wool bracelets. Australia

Ethelruby: Knit wool bracelets. Australia

Cloverleaf and Fibre: Felted horse cuff. Canada

Cloverleaf and Fibre: Felted horse cuff. Canada

Latouchables: Sewn goatskin cuff. Germany

LaTouchables: Sewn goatskin cuff. Germany

Bozena Wojtaszek: Sewn and embellished fabric cuff. Poland

Bozena Wojtaszek: Sewn and embellished fabric cuff. Poland

Rayela Art: Folded and sewn dog food paper and ostrich egg shell beads. Bracelet.  USA

Rayela Art: Folded and sewn dog food paper and ostrich egg shell beads. Bracelet. USA

Pins and Brooches

They are in big time! Big ones, small ones- wear them on your lapel, close a scarf with them, attach them to your bag, hat and even shoes!

brooch collage

Victoria Gertenbach: Fabric Bird Pin with embroidery. USA

Victoria Gertenbach: Fabric Bird Pin with embroidery. USA

Sally Manke Fiber Artist: Zipper brooch. USA

Sally Manke Fiber Artist: Zipper brooch. USA

Denise Kovnat: Embroidered brooch with beads. USA

Denise Kovnat: Embroidered brooch with beads. USA

CherScapes Fiber Art Studios: Dyed fabric brooch flower. USA

CherScapes Fiber Art Studios: Dyed fabric brooch flower. USA

Danny Mansmith Sewn Fabric Brooch of a Sewing Machine. USA

Danny Mansmith Sewn Fabric Brooch of a Sewing Machine. USA

Delightworthyn ART/wares: Fabric Flower Pins

Delightworthyn ART/wares: Fabric Flower Pins, USA

Cat Brysch Creations Studio: Fabric Flower Brooch

Cat Brysch Creations Studio: Fabric Flower Brooch, USA

Farburvur: Fabric and crochet creature pins. USA

Farburvur: Fabric and crochet creature pins. USA

Wooly Boulevard: Felted wings and heart pin. Canada

Wooly Boulevard: Felted wings and heart pin. Canada

Bazaar Bayar: Oya needlework brooch. Turkey

Bazaar Bayar: Oya needlework brooch. Turkey

This wraps up our Jewelry Gift Guide! There are plenty of styles and price points to make anybody happy and we hope that you will support our talented artists! We know that when you wear these jewels, people will ask you where you got them. Always an ice breaker at a party! These are also great gifts for teachers, co-workers, and teens. When you need a gift, buy handmade! Whether it’s from us or other artists and organizations, your buying power counts and provides income for self-employed artists and fair trade groups.

How to find our TAFA Jewelry

First, remember to use variations of the same word. Jewelry is the American spelling and jewellery, the British. I’ve seen brooch as brooche. Fiber and fibre are another variation between countries. Now here is where you can look (Click on the images):

Logo papyrus

On TAFA

Search our site with keywords like necklace, brooch, bracelet, cuff and earrings and see what comes up.

 

 

 

 

 

tafa team badge 200 pixels

On Etsy

At the time of this posting we had almost 5,000 items there. The same suggestion applies as on our site, except that you need to have “TAFA” before the keyword: TAFA necklace, TAFA earrings, TAFA jewelry, etc. Make sure you check off the ship anywhere option so that you see everyone.

 

 

 

 

Some of our Jewelry items are featured below. Click on the image and you will land on the shop’s listing.While there, explore the rest of the items in that shop.

Enjoy the search!

Make sure to sign up for our blog posts in the sidebar! We are posting regularly! Check out our other Gift Guide posts for scarves, hats, gloves, kid’s items and more.


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TAFA’s Gift Guide: Christmas Decorations http://www.tafalist.com/tafas-gift-guide-christmas-decorations/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafas-gift-guide-christmas-decorations/#comments Mon, 09 Dec 2013 20:41:25 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12773

We have been doing a series of posts on ideas of what would make great holiday gifts from our Member products. We’ve shown you great handmade scarves, hats and gloves, gifts for kids, stocking stuffers and created a DIY guide of supplies and tools. Most of what we offer is handmade, one-of-a-kind and when you […]

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We have been doing a series of posts on ideas of what would make great holiday gifts from our Member products. We’ve shown you great handmade scarves, hats and gloves, gifts for kids, stocking stuffers and created a DIY guide of supplies and tools. Most of what we offer is handmade, one-of-a-kind and when you buy from our members, you get that feel-good satisfaction of supporting the handmade lifestyle and small businesses. Almost all of our members are women, and although we love our manly members, too, you might find an extra value to supporting the talent and labor of these women-owned businesses.

For this post, we will point you to some of our members who offer specific, Christmas-themed decorations. For those of you who go all out in decorating, choosing handmade ornaments, stockings, nativities and table top settings adds warmth, richness, and a unique voice. Christmas decorations are also a great way to get the young people in your family started on their personal collections. I love attaching an ornament to my gifts. A handmade one, of course!

Click on the images to visit the member profiles represented below.

From there, you can go to their shops and see all of their products.

daria lvovsky nativity

Art of Felting has a shop full of wonderful felted animals, birds and Waldorf toys. Daria has several nativities to choose from. Smaller sets have just the Holy family or animals or there are complete sets like this one.

MOLICA Santa Claus

MOLICA Natural Fibre Art also has lots of Waldorf needle-felted figures, including this happy Santa.

art that moves santa doll

What’s Santa saying? Art That Moves screen prints kitchen linens, bread bags and has quite a few Christmas themed items.

colin's creatures elf sheep

Santa needs his elves to help out and these sheep are willing to jump in on the action. Colin’s Creatures specializes in making porcelain sheep of exotic breeding. Too cute!

HEra Textile Christmas Tree painting on silk

The Christmas tree is central to our decorating and HEra Textile Art has painted this one on silk. It can be propped up or hung in the window for a stained glass effect.

always sugar coated sushi ornament set

Christmas trees need their decorations and these sushi felted ornaments make a great gift for the chef in your life! (Or, for anyone who likes fun food!)

sally manke christmas stocking

Fill a Christmas stocking with handmade goodies! Sally Manke has several choices and loads of other Christmas themed items in her shop!

siamese dream design christmas stockings

Siamese Dream Design takes the Christmas stocking to a tribal level. Made out of vintage embroidered Hmong fabric, these stockings are beautiful and great fun!

Thistle and Rose Weaving Christmas Runner

Thistle and Rose Weaving has several hand woven runners that add an elegant touch to the Christmas table.

terry aske art quilts christmas tree runner

Terry Aske Art Quilts has this Christmas tree runner which will appeal to quilt lovers.

castilleja cotton christmas quilt

Castilleja Cotton has lots of Christmas themed quilts, runners, and tree skirts, but I love the sweetness in this one. She also has lots of patterns to choose from, a great gift for those who want a project for next year.

morna crites-moore christmas card

Morna Crites-Moore has recently given extra life to her folk art designs by offering them as cards. She has several designs and you can mix and match!

Are you filled with the Christmas spirit? We hope that you will explore these shops as well as our other members and think outside of the box! I find inspiration in what our TAFA members are making every day and it gives me a warm thinking to think of all of them, working away at what they live, all over the world! We have over 500 members in 44 countries and our common language is this love for textiles and fiber art. Some are rooted in traditional techniques and designs while others push their methods to the limits of their imagination! It’s a great community and I love being a part of it. You are also invited to join in the excitement by connecting with and supporting them.

Most importantly, if you celebrate Christmas, we wish you a wonderful one with the most important gifts of all: meaning, love, charity, and good will.

[hr]

 How to find our Christmas items

Logo papyrus

 On TAFA

Search our site with keywords like Christmas, ornament, angel, nativity and see what comes up.

 

 

 

 

 

tafa team badge 200 pixels

 On Etsy

At the time of this posting we had almost 5,000 items there. The same suggestion applies as on our site, except that you need to have “TAFA” before the keyword: TAFA Christmas, TAFA nativity, TAFA ornament, etc. Make sure you check off the ship anywhere option so that you see everyone.

 

 

 

 

 


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Amie Starchuk Textile Artist http://www.tafalist.com/amie-starchuk-textile-artist/ http://www.tafalist.com/amie-starchuk-textile-artist/#comments Sun, 08 Dec 2013 19:56:39 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12765

Amie Starchuk Textile Artist Amie Starchuk is a Canadian artist living in Saudi Arabia. She uses thermofax screens and stamping for her designs and then quilts heavily to achieve dimension and texture. She works on a small-scale and finishes off her pieces so that they can be hung or propped up on an easel. She […]

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Just Regal I

Amie Starchuk Textile Artist

Amie Starchuk is a Canadian artist living in Saudi Arabia. She uses thermofax screens and stamping for her designs and then quilts heavily to achieve dimension and texture. She works on a small-scale and finishes off her pieces so that they can be hung or propped up on an easel. She is inspired by architectural elements, symbolism and objects.

Visit her profile on TAFA to learn more and to connect with her: http://www.tafalist.com/members/amie-starchuk-textile-artist.

 

hand of fatima

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TAFA’s Gift Guide: Kids http://www.tafalist.com/tafas-gift-guide-kids/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafas-gift-guide-kids/#comments Sat, 07 Dec 2013 21:54:16 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12720

    Do you have a child in your life? Or, maybe there is still a kid inside of you! Either way, it’s important to nurture that child with an environment that embraces the handmade lifestyle! These days, kids are pushed to consume, to want, to need, to have… often things that will fall apart […]

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Do you have a child in your life? Or, maybe there is still a kid inside of you! Either way, it’s important to nurture that child with an environment that embraces the handmade lifestyle! These days, kids are pushed to consume, to want, to need, to have… often things that will fall apart or be discarded quickly. Surrounding them with things that are handmade and encouraging them to make their own teaches them about process, about where things come from and about how they, too, can participate in the world.

The wonderful contribution that textiles and fiber art make in this mix is that they soften the space, bringing in color and texture, and evoke feelings of love and comfort. We’ll show you some things here offered by our TAFA members that kids can wear, roll on, touch or look at. Hopefully, this will inspire you to explore our site and look for more ways in which our talented people can inspire and connect with you! Many are happy to work with others on special commissions, tweaking their designs so that they fit perfectly with your own aesthetic. Do not hesitate to ask!

Play and Learn

Children love to interact with what they see and here are some toys and learning tools which will stand up to squeezing, hugging, and touching. Click on the images to visit their profiles on TAFA where you can learn more about them and find their shops and social media links.

Sally Manke paper dolls

Sally Manke has several sets of fabric “paper” dolls like this one in her Etsy shop. They come with a pocket folder for storage. She has lots of other things that would delight a kid, too!

MOLICA Natural Fibre Art and Craft Waldorf toys

Michelle Jose of MOLICA Natural Fibre Art and Craft specializes in making needle felted Waldorf toys.

Interactive play set by Leisa Rich.

Leisa Rich has several play sets like this one with pieces that can be moved around, encouraging story telling and sparking the imagination. She also has dolls, puppets and lots of other fun stuff!

little jenny wren doll

Jennifer Marshall also works with Waldorf inspiration. Her dolls are so popular that she can’t keep up with the demand! So, if you want one, you might have to get in line…

Lente Julcsi teddy bear

Lente Julcsi’s teddy bear is such a sweet companion for a little baby! Julia has several in her shop on Etsy.

art that moves softie

Christine Pensa of Art That Moves has several toy designs in her shop. These are softies that can be rolled on and squeezed, nice for a baby!

kasia urban rybska muscle men

Kasia Urban Rybska’s humor shines through her needlepoint softies. An older child would latch on to one of these muscle men!

toy farburvur RAI rainmaker

Farburvur has created her own mythical world and welcomes you into it! This is RAI, the rainmaker. He’s not sad. It’s just his style…

Now we will show you some things that look like toys, but need more care. They are great decorations in a kid’s room, set on shelves or dressers above their reach.

fibreheart needle felted dog

Fibreheart specializes in needle felt commissions of pets, both cats and dogs. Your child will love it!

daria lovovsky needle felted horse

Art of Felting offers all kinds of animals, birds and Waldorf toys in her shop, some which can be played with and others more suited for decoration. It all depends on how the child handles them, too. Her creatures are life like and elegant, great inspiration for stories!

colin's creatures

Colin’s Creatures is a favorite for sheep and animal lovers! He carves the bodies out of porcelain and then attaches fibers that resemble his scores of sheep and goat breeds.

Pencil and Sheep felt dragon

Every kid needs a dragon in their life! Or a panda, or a bear, or any of Pencil and Sheep’s felted creatures. They are purveyors of happiness!

Dress them up!

A child wearing something handmade just looks more loved, don’t you think?

jwrobel baby hat

Isn’t this baby just cuteness personified? Jwrobel’s little hat adds to the charm, for sure! Jess also knits little sweaters and other baby items and has patterns for those who want to DIY!

RhinoSaurusRexKnits woodland hat

RhinoSaurusRexKnits is all about stories and fun! There are hats with scales, Rabunzel braids and woodland creatures, for both little and big kids!

 

blue jacaranda world map t-shirt

Blue Jacaranda has a lot of gifts for kids, all hand printed and fun, but I got a kick out of this boy’s face. He’s wearing a screen printed t-shirt with a world map.

fairy tale incorporated red cape

Fairy Tale Incorporated turns kids into super heroes! Fly around in this red cape or pick a different color!

 

Quilts

Quilts have long been a treasured gift for a newborn as they have a long life and can be used as a child grows. They can also set the atmosphere in a child’s room as wall art. We have way too many art quilters on TAFA to feature them all here, so make sure you scroll through our member list to see what might work for your home.

peppermint pinwheels play mat

Pepppermint Pinwheels specializes in modern designs for baby quilts and play mats. She has many sizes and colors available in her Etsy shop.

ommadethreads baby quilt

Aren’t these happy colors? OmMadeThreads makes baby quilts and other sewn goods and will work with you on commission.

terry aske quilt portraits

Terry Aske can make your pet, you, your child, your family or anybody else you want into a portrait quilt! She has lots of finished quilts available as well.

maggie dillon quilt

Maggie Dillon blows photos up and then translates the figures into fabric. She uses batiks which add richness and depth to the design.

green in the middle portrait quilt

Meta has done many, many portrait quilts. She often talks about her techniques and projects in her blog, so if you are interested in learning, make sure to follow Green in the Middle!

louise schiele quilt girl with baby stroller

Louise Schiele uses photo transfers to make many of her art quilts. She likes images of the past, capturing a moment in daily life.

terri stegmiller quilt

Terri Stegmiller’s art quilts use soft colors and often feature girls and animals. Perfect art for an older girl or teen!

Other fun decorative items

nestle and soar pillow

Pillows are wonderful in a child or teen’s room! Georgianne Holland of Nestle and Soar is inspired by nature and folk art and her colorful pillows are perfect for almost any palette!

odpaam fabric mobile

Babies and little kids love things that hang and move with the wind. Odpaam has several fabric mobiles that are delightful. She also has colorful rag rugs, chunky baskets and many other things to liven up a kid’s room!

peaceofpi silhouette embroidery

Jo of peaceofpi did a series of these amazing silhouettes in machine embroidery. Young and old profiles captured in thread! Check with her on whether she is willing to do a commission.

las rancheritas hooked rug

Las Rancheritas hooked rugs are made in Mexico as an economic development project there. The designs are inspired by every day rural life in the village: chickens, dogs, kids playing, harvest and nature. They can be hung on the wall or are great under little feet!
Make sure to search our site for other rug hookers, too!

salley mavor prints

Salley Mavor has delighted thousands of children with her Wee Folk Studio embroidery! Used to illustrate children’s books she has prints and cards available with her designs. Make sure to buy a book, too!

This about wraps up our TAFA Gift Guide featuring presents and decor items for kids. As you can see, this is one talented group! Even if you do not have or are not buying for children, please share this post and our other members on TAFA with your friends and circles. The handmade items you see take time and talent to create and all of us depend on having a supportive public which appreciates what we do and will support us with their buying power. We believe that living the handmade lifestyle is better for the planet and for the spirit and we hope that you will share with us in this journey!

[hr]

How to find our TAFA Kid Items

Logo papyrus

On TAFA

Search our site with keywords like kid, child, boy, girl, teen, toy and see what comes up.

 

 

 

 

 

tafa team badge 200 pixels

On Etsy

At the time of this posting we had almost 5,000 items there. The same suggestion applies as on our site, except that you need to have “TAFA” before the keyword: TAFA kid, TAFA boy, TAFA child, etc. Make sure you check off the ship anywhere option so that you see everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

Some of our Member items for kids are featured below. Click on the image and you will land on the shop’s listing.While there, explore the rest of the items in that shop.

Enjoy the search!

Make sure to sign up for our blog posts in the sidebar! We are posting regularly!


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TAFA Market Feature: Hot Moon Collection http://www.tafalist.com/feature-hot-moon-collection/ http://www.tafalist.com/feature-hot-moon-collection/#comments Sat, 07 Dec 2013 01:32:45 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12697

We have a market on this site which features 22 of our TAFA members and we have been sharing a bit more about them on this blog. Today, Gabrielle Ruvolo, or Gaby, tells a bit of her story and what she loves about running the Hot Moon Collection, a gorgeous gallery in Venice, California. As […]

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hot moon collection

Gabrielle RuvoloWe have a market on this site which features 22 of our TAFA members and we have been sharing a bit more about them on this blog. Today, Gabrielle Ruvolo, or Gaby, tells a bit of her story and what she loves about running the Hot Moon Collection, a gorgeous gallery in Venice, California.

As she states in her profile, the “Hot Moon Collection explores the world with reference to a diverse ethnic art collection, timeless antiques, exotic vintage textiles, small unique treasures from the owner’s many travels and the culmination of years of collecting. Blessed with a fine eye and a wandering spirit, Gabrielle has amassed treasures from across the globe; from flea markets, city galleries, country antique shops, and obscure villages.”

Hot Moon Collection

The brick and mortar gallery is loaded with treasures and for those of you who cannot make it to Venice, the Hot Moon Collection also offers a nice selection online. As our focus is on textiles, you will find them here in the Hot Moon Collection Market Shop. But, she also has antique sculptures, jewelry, and artifacts on her website.

Gaby’s Story

My first trips were to Mexico. Visiting the small villages started my quest and love for textiles in the 70’s. In the early 80’s, Asia became by new roaming grounds and I found the textiles there to be complex and dazzling. I am a traveler with an art background who has had years of experiencing many countries and cultures. I love the possibility of discovery, which often leads me into a magical engaging world of artisans. I have always been intrigued by the rituals of different people’s rich traditions, and the history and the beauty of the life of the people.

Some of my favorites are the textiles of the Dida people from the Ivory Coast in Africa. Made of fiber from the raffia palm, finger woven and dyed with earth pigments in stunning patterns.

textile museum og canada dida cloth

Dida Textile, Ivory Coast

I find fascinating the two Baluchi embroidered dress panels from Pakistan that I have at the moment, with their intricate repetitive geometric patterns and colors.

Baluchi Dress Panel

A rare wonderful Baluchi embroidered dress panel. The embroidery of Baluchistan, Pakistan is called “doch” and is unique in its intricate repetitive geometric patterns and colors. This woman’s dress yoke from Baluchistan (pashk) features a repertoire of densely embroidered patterns in silk thread.
Women cut and reapply the embroidered bib section to new garments from their old garments, after all their very careful and diligent work.

I often wonder what effect our modern technology will have on the weaving communities in the years to come. We already see the younger generations shifting their focus, where as what was once handed down as a tradition is now often abandoned for the mass-produced market. Knowledge of these detailed crafts will fade if interest is lost.

flat woven kilims

Hot Moon Collection has a healthy selection of hand woven tribal rugs for the discerning collector.

I am gratefully excited and inspired to be planning my next trip to Turkey and Morocco in the coming year!

Rugs and textiles at the Hot Moon Collection.

Rugs and textiles at the Hot Moon Collection.

Hot Moon Collection is a finely curated selection of colors and textures, rich aged patinas, woven treasures and minted beauty. I take great joy and care in curating my collection of vintage and antique textiles. My sensibility looks towards colors, patterns and textures with a critical eye to what is authentic and beautiful. I work with collectors, museums and decorators sourcing unique art, textiles and furniture, along with collectible jewelry.

Hot Moon Collection also offers furniture and large decorative objects.

Hot Moon Collection also offers furniture and large decorative objects.

This Burkina Faso cloth went viral when we shared it on Tumblr:

Indigo cloth

With a very soft worn feel, we have these wonderful natural indigo tie dyed cotton strip cloths having been worn by the Mossi women of Burkina Faso or used in shaman rituals. Mid-century“For centuries before the introduction of synthetic dyes the ability to transform everyday white cotton into prized deep blue cloth was a mysterious and highly valuable skill passed on by specialist dyers from generation to generation. A century ago blue and white striped cloth was the normal attire across a vast area from Senegal to Cameroon, while numerous traditions of “shibori” type resist pattern dyeing flourished. Although today only isolated pockets of real indigo dyeing remain it is still possible to source old cloths from some remote areas.” Adire

 

Gaby leaves us with this quote:

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.”

-Denis Waitley

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hot moon collection on TAFA's market

Hot Moon Collection on TAFA’s Market

Click on any of the images below to visit the Hot Moon Collection’s website. Once there, click around to see Gaby’s other products.

Leave a comment for her here, too! We all love to get feedback on what we are doing.

Make sure to sign up for email updates for our future posts on this blog! (See the sidebar.)

Visit our TAFA Market to see our other shops!


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TAFA’s Gift Guide: Hats and Gloves http://www.tafalist.com/gift-guide-hats-and-gloves/ http://www.tafalist.com/gift-guide-hats-and-gloves/#comments Tue, 03 Dec 2013 22:00:20 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12633

Humans have expressed themselves with their clothing throughout history. Garments told a story, informing others about status, wealth, rank, role and function. Hats, especially, grab attention as they top off the rest of the attire. We have another post with historical images and fun links in our Alphabet Post Series, H is for Hats.   […]

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hats from the 1920'sHumans have expressed themselves with their clothing throughout history. Garments told a story, informing others about status, wealth, rank, role and function. Hats, especially, grab attention as they top off the rest of the attire. We have another post with historical images and fun links in our Alphabet Post Series, H is for Hats.  

Many cultures still use hats to tell their stories, but most of us now wear them for warmth or for fun. Why not combine the two? Handmade hats come with the stories of their makers and often add an extra pizzazz to tell your story. Do you wear hats? Do share with us in the comments when you are finished reading this post. We love hearing from our audience!

TAFA has a couple of members who specialize in interpreting their own versions of historical hats. We’ll start with them.

delightworthyn ART/wares

Delightworthyn ART/wares especially loves hats from the Edwardian era, but she is versatile, coming up with new creations which truly delight!  She uses recycled materials, scavenged from thrift shops, adding eco value to her hats. Her hats could be described as historical, romantic, and maybe steampunk…  Delight also creates bridal pieces with lace and veil which are just lovely. Hats are just one of her products. She also makes garments and jewelry.

pith helmet by heather daveno

Heather Daveno, also known as August Phoenix, focuses solely on hats, taking inspiration from world cultures, especially Asian ones, and historical uses. She sells through galleries and at shows and also enjoys a steampunk following. Heather’s workmanship is tight and impeccable and she also uses recycled materials in her work. Her website has a gallery of images of past hats which can be made to order, so make sure to check that out.

Hats are collected by many people. Hard ones look great on the wall, while floppy ones need some kind of a stand to show them off. I like to use tall ornate candle holders for mine. Here are a couple of tribal hats offered by our members:

ata nuristani hat

This Nuristani baby’s hat is heavily embroidered, probably from the 1950’s. The tree of life runs up the side and buttons and other elements protect the infant from the evil eye. Afghan Tribal Arts stocks many tribal hats from Central Asia. Skull caps are normally worn with a turban around them with a view of the cap at the back, identifying where the man lives. Turkmen women wear ornate hats full of hammered metal beads and trinkets.

itsa studio chinese baby hat

Itsa Studio has several vintage Chinese baby hats on her website at a reasonable price. Miao embroidery is dense and symbolic. A minority in China, they are related ethnically to the Hmong in Thailand and Laos.

Then, we have some art hats that take a brave soul to wear them. Break the ice at a party! Become the art at an opening! These are NOT hats to wear for a tumble in the snow…

ariane mariane felt hat

Ariane Mariane will dress you from head to toe in felted art! Then she will surround you with felt sculptures and maybe make you sleep in her felt hut! If you are allergic to wool, this could be a problem…  If not, it just might be paradise!

rayela art paper hat

This is a hat I made using the candywrapper folding technique. Little bits of paper are folded, interlocked, made into long chains and then sewn together. I call it “King Tut”. The paper is recycled from the outer layer of dog food bags. This technique was made famous by prisoners and outsider artists who used cigarette packs for the paper. I’m the only one I know of who adds beads and buttons to the surface. The fun thing about this hat is that you can wear it with the opening to the front or, if you have long hair, pull it through! I also have several bags and cuffs using this technique. My profile on TAFA.

Now we’ll look at some functional hats that keep your head warm, but which are also great fun to wear. 80% of your body heat leaves through your head, so if you are going out and it’s cold, cover it!

denise kovnat kint hat

Denise Kovnat has a couple of lovely knit hats in her shop on Etsy. A multi-talented fiber artist, Denise does not have a huge inventory, so if you see a hat, sweater or scarf that you like, you better snatch it up, quick, quick!

rensfibreart crocheted hat

Rensfibreart has several crocheted hats in her shop. A teacher and an author on crocheting, Renate’s work is often free-flowing and dimensional. She is as sweet as can be, so drop her a note and get to know her!

hat by leisa rich

Prolific is Leisa Rich‘s middle name. It seems like she has mastered every fiber art technique that is out there and you never know what she will come up with next. From space blobs to huge installations to dolls and accessories, grab what you can because you will never see it again!

hat by designtalentedone

Design Talented One sells recycled silk sari ribbon in her shop on Etsy. Lots of it in every color under the sun! She makes hats and bags and home decor items using this same ribbon. I love the chunky feel and the colors in this one!

fiberartistry felt hat

Most of Fiberartistry‘s felt work is sculptural or wall art. Yet, she does offer a few hats and scarves on her website. Functional and warm, this hat is also elegant and can be dressed up or down. A hay ride or an event, this one is a classic!

RhinoSaurusRexKnits hat

Kids, anyone? This little girl has been modelling hats and accessories for RhinoSaurusRexKnits ever since she was born! Far from shy, she is a natural with great expressions and a beautiful openness. You will find dinosaur hats and other fairy tale inspired wear in their shop. Not just for kids, but for the kid in you!

artnomadix

How about this little pixie? I just want to pick her up, give her a squeeze and twirl her around! ArtNomadix MeggaYarnz has some really cool hats which have won awards, but I had to show off this little girl. The more complex hats include ones that can be worn or played with as a puppet. Clever!

Gloves often matched a hat back in the old glamour days and also told stories about the wearer. The elite might have worn silk up to the elbow, a servant wore white gloves to prove cleanliness and a laborer might wear fingerless gloves to keep on working. Thieves wear gloves to keep their fingerprints safe. We wear them because we can! Although, I have to say that I would probably fit into that labor class as I only wear the fingerless ones anymore.

brenda abdullah gloves

Brenda Abdullah Designs are fab! Recycled from sweaters and other knits, Brenda’s fingerless gloves are serged into fun and color! Perfect for teenagers and college students, any age will love them!

ariane mariane gloves

Another Ariane Mariane creation, I had to show her off once more because she has been making a lot of these and they are way cool! Some are shorter, more like cuffs, and then there are others that have been made into vessels for home decor. Makes you smile!

elena rosenberg

Now here is a sensible pair of fingerless gloves that you can wear to the office, to church, and to dressy occasions. Elena Rosenberg Wearable Fiber Art uses luxury yarns in her gloves, shawls, cowls, hats and other accessories. Stay warm with class! If you knit, make sure to check out her pattern shop!

bazaar bayar gloves

Another knitwear designer who offers patterns, Catherine Salter Bayar of Bazaar Bayar knits intricate designs using fine wool. She and her husband, Abit, live in Istanbul, Turkey, and also sell great reclaimed and overdyed rugs in their Etsy shop.

That’s it for our hats and gloves show-and-tell! Need a scarf? Check out this post where they were featured.  

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How to find our Member Products

Logo papyrus

On TAFA:

Search our site with keywords like gloves, mittens, hat, cap, and see what comes up.

 

 

 

 

 

tafa team badge 200 pixels

On Etsy:

At the time of this posting we had almost 5,000 items there. The same suggestion applies as on our site, except that you need to have “TAFA” before the keyword: TAFA hat, TAFA cap, TAFA gloves, etc. Make sure you check off the ship anywhere option so that you see everyone.

 

 

 

Some of our member items are featured below. Click on the image and you will land on the shop’s listing.While there, explore the rest of the items in that shop.

Enjoy the search and know that we appreciate the support!

Make sure to sign up for our blog posts in the sidebar! We are posting regularly!


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TAFA’s Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers! http://www.tafalist.com/tafas-gift-guide-stocking-stuffers/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafas-gift-guide-stocking-stuffers/#comments Mon, 02 Dec 2013 21:14:38 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12599

  Do you hang Christmas stockings and fill them up with goodies in your home? Well, even if you don’t, small gifts are often needed for presents as thank yous at work, for teachers, gift exchanges, and more. We’ve picked a few ideas for you coming from our TAFA members, but just remember that although […]

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stocking stuffers collage

 

Do you hang Christmas stockings and fill them up with goodies in your home? Well, even if you don’t, small gifts are often needed for presents as thank yous at work, for teachers, gift exchanges, and more. We’ve picked a few ideas for you coming from our TAFA members, but just remember that although an item might be small in size, it does not mean that it is “cheap”. Most of these are quite inexpensive and under the $30 range, but a couple are much more.

We recently posted a guide to our supplies, tools, and kits and that list is loaded with links to great places where you can also find small gifts. Then, we have lots of jewelry made out of cloth and fiber and they would also make great gifts for small packages. Those will be featured in a separate post. Think outside the box when you are looking for great stocking stuffers and explore our TAFA links!

If you would like to keep up with our features, make sure to sign up for email notices in the sidebar!

Pin Cushions

A fiber or textile artist can never have enough of them!

pin cushion

Gale Gibbons of OmMadeThreads also makes quilts, yoga bags and other sewn work.

pincushion- manitoba gifts

Manitobagifts offers many small works in wool and crewel embroidery, including eye glass cases. Her partner also makes great leather accessories.

pincushion- lorna bateman

Lorna Bateman Embroidery‘s embroidered pin cushion is timeless and elegant. You can also make your own as she has everything you need in her shop: thread, ribbon, and complete kits.

pincushion- victoria gertenbach

For those of us with a more rustic aesthetic, Victoria Gertenbach‘s woven and embroidered pin cushion has perfect appeal! Victoria makes many different accessories for the home, all beautiful.

Eye Glass Cases

Aging eyes? Sunglasses? I know I have many that need a nice pocket to keep them safe!

eyeglass case- morgen bardati

Morgen Bardati prints, dyes and sews. Her work is precise, warm, and inspired by nature. She has many accessories to pick from for home and body in her shop.

eyeglass case- ann brauer

Ann Brauer is known for her landscape quilts that use these same bold colors and strips of fabric. She also makes pillow covers in the same technique. Makes your day happy to see her colors!

Coasters

Stack them up and spread them out! Coasters are always handy to have around!

coaster- cindy grisdela

Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts focuses on wall art, but also has coasters, eye glass cases and pillows for sale. She is another one who is color driven!

coaster- fuzzy logic felt

Deborah Brackenbury’s Fuzzy Logic Felt is a delight in contemporary design!  Her pillows and other accessories emphasize contrasts in bold lines, shapes and color. Simple and powerful!

coasters- bozena

Bozena Wojtaszek‘s folk art style delights the eye, bringing lightness and a smile. Bozena is extremely prolific and pursues a range of product interests. From ornaments to quilts, there is something for everyone!

Things you can fold or roll up

Isn’t if fun to keep people guessing about what’s inside a wrapping? I haven’t bought wrapping paper in years. Instead, I either make fabric bags or use newspaper as wrapping. Stamping brown bags for paper is fun, too! Here are some things that you can wrap up as a surprise.

bag susan fennell

You’ll find lots of fabric options in Susan Fennell Studio‘s shop! She dyes and loves indigo and many of her cloths are inspired as Japanese style wraps. See? Why add to waste with Christmas wrapping that will just get thrown away? The wrap itself can be a gift!

bread bag- art that moves

Christine Pensa of Art That Moves prints on fabric. She has many variations of these useful bread bags. Then, there are fun stuffed doll pillows and more! Her aesthetic consistently uses the black print on white, then with color washes on some of her items.

make up bag, hera

Another sweet bag that could be used as a wrapper or rolled up as a surprise. Intended as a cosmetic bag, your gift could store all kinds of precious little things. HEraMade is another prolific one with loads of beauties to pick from in her shops. Make sure that you check out both of them! One focuses on crocheted items and the other on fabric.

pencil holder- blue jacaranda

This one’s already rolled up for you! Blue Jacaranda intended it as a pencil holder, but think of all of the other things you could store here…  Carving tools, batik pens, long needles, and so much more! The Dutch Houses are one of her printed themes and there are other options in her shop. She also likes to use a lot of burlap.

tea towels- mayamam

Guatemalan weaving is known for its sturdiness and these tea towels will give a lifetime of service! MayaMam Weavers is a fair trade group in Guatemala and has many other products, including headbands which would also make good stocking stuffers.

Critters

These creatures should all fit inside a big stocking. If not, they could be tied on to the outside. Big smiles are guaranteed.

soft sculpture- cloverleaf

Aren’t these just too cute? Cloverleaf Art & Fibre‘s wool comes from their own sheep and their love of animals spreads through to the work. Make sure to check out and even commission a large wall art piece. Stunning!

soft sculpture- indra's ideas

When Indra’s Ideas first joined TAFA, most of her work centered on the embroidery she excels at. Since then, she has expanded into other areas, including soft sculptures like these adorable birds. She also has some amazing feather pens that would make great “small” gifts, but I wouldn’t want them to get squished in a stocking! Her jewelry boxes and journals also make great gifts for teens.

ornament- five points studio

Elena Ulyanova teaches workshops on natural dyes and shares her photos with us. They look like so much fun! Then, she makes all kinds of fun things including these angel ornaments, woodland creatures, ties for men, and much more. I thought these were so fun and can see them hanging on a stocking!

soft sculpture- farburvur

You’ve just got to meet Farburvur‘s family of creatures! Most would be too big to fit in a stocking, but I think this shrimp could just squeeze into one. She also has small, minimalist pins which would be great as a small gift, but I wanted to show off one of her critters.

shrimp ornament- always sugar coated

We have a shrimp theme going here! This one, however, is in sushi form! Felted Chicken‘s humor shines in her work! If you are a Day of the Dead fan, you will also need to check out her pulp skulls. Sushi lovers can pick other prepared felt foods, too.

small art- danny mansmith

Danny Mansmith says that sewing saved his life. He goes at it with abandon, always coming up with new ideas. He has a series of these bendable people that are a lot of fun. Plus, loads of other things that could fill up a stocking!

Sachets

Protect your stockings from stinky feet syndrome! A lovely sachet will do the trick!

lavender pillow lente julcsi

Lente Julcsi made these lavender sachets. They will find their way into someone’s dresser drawer for sure! She also has lots of fabric jewelry that make perfect small gifts.

lavender sachet latouchables

Also lavender, LaTouchables has sweet sachets in a variety of royal fabrics. Check out her jewelry and bags, too. Her shop will satisfy the Boho Spirit!

Other Ideas

There are a million other small things that I could show you, but we’ll just do a couple more for this post. Journals and small art make great gifts at any time of the year. Here are a couple of examples which could fit in a stocking.

journal- dharma karma arts

I’m a big fan of using recycled materials in our art and Indira Govindan of dharmakarmaarts does a great job using rice backs as her journal covers! She is multi-talented and you will find many treasures in her shop!

small art- hg handmade

HG handmade explores many collaged themes, including the human form, in her small works. A set of them would make a wonderful feature on a wall. She also has little packs of fabric that she has dyed.

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How to find our member products

 Logo papyrusTAFA: Search our site using various keywords.

Most of our members probably will not have tagged their things with “stocking stuffer”, so think of words that might show you results for small items. Examples that we have used in this post would be great: ornament, pin cushion, journal, soft sculpture, nuno felt, etc.

 

 

 

 

tafa team badge 200 pixelsEtsy: Go to our TAFA search result there and add a keyword to narrow the results.

At the time of this posting we have almost 5,000 items there. The same suggestion applies as on our site, except that you need to have “TAFA” before the keyword: TAFA pin cushion, TAFA journal, TAFA ornament, etc. If you are on a budget, you can also sort the results by price and look at them by the lowest price showing up first.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the search and know that we appreciate the support! Let us know in the comments whether you use stockings if you celebrate Christmas. If not, how else would you use small gifts? Hanukkah is a great time for sharing special little things in our Jewish communities. Oh, and if you find something by one of our members that you snatched up, let us know here! We’d love to hear about it!

Make sure to sign up for our blog posts in the sidebar! We are posting regularly!


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Feuer Und Wasser http://www.tafalist.com/feuer-und-wasser/ http://www.tafalist.com/feuer-und-wasser/#comments Sun, 01 Dec 2013 18:18:29 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12591

  Yekaterina Mokeyeva of Feuer Und Wasser is originally from Russia, now living in San Francisco, USA. A master felter, she finds her inspiration in Nature, encouraging humans to live in harmony with it instead of competing against it. She has a shop on Etsy where she sells garments, scarves and other accessories. Visit her […]

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Feuer Und Wasser

 

Yekaterina Mokeyeva of Feuer Und Wasser is originally from Russia, now living in San Francisco, USA. A master felter, she finds her inspiration in Nature, encouraging humans to live in harmony with it instead of competing against it. She has a shop on Etsy where she sells garments, scarves and other accessories.

Visit her profile on TAFA to learn more: http://www.tafalist.com/members/feuer-und-wasser

 

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Cape Cod Shibori http://www.tafalist.com/cape-cod-shibori-2/ http://www.tafalist.com/cape-cod-shibori-2/#comments Sat, 30 Nov 2013 16:58:40 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12582

Rachel Switzer of Cape Cod Shibori has had many interests within the textile field, with shibori dyeing her current focus. She has a shop on Etsy where she offers fabric for other artists along with finished pillows, runners and other finished home accessories. Learn more about her on her TAFA Profile. Rachel recently shared her […]

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Cape Cod Shibori offers hand dyed fabrics for other artists as well as finished accessories for the home.

Cape Cod Shibori offers hand dyed fabrics for other artists as well as finished accessories for the home.

Rachel Switzer of Cape Cod Shibori has had many interests within the textile field, with shibori dyeing her current focus. She has a shop on Etsy where she offers fabric for other artists along with finished pillows, runners and other finished home accessories. Learn more about her on her TAFA Profile.

Rachel recently shared her home with us in our Decorating with Textiles Series, so make sure to take a look at that, too. It’s lovely!

Cape Cod Shibori pillows

Cape Cod Shibori pillows

 

Cape Cod Shibori runner

Cape Cod Shibori runner

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TAFA’s Gift Guide: Handmade Scarves http://www.tafalist.com/tafas-gift-guide-handmade-scarves/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafas-gift-guide-handmade-scarves/#comments Fri, 29 Nov 2013 20:32:07 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12561

  Scarves make wonderful gifts as you can never have enough of them. My friend, Abdul of Afghan Tribal Arts, once talked about the reasons why turbans became a necessity for so many nomads: It protects you from the sun, rain or wind. It’s a helmet. If you fall off your horse or camel, you […]

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Scarves make wonderful gifts as you can never have enough of them. My friend, Abdul of Afghan Tribal Arts, once talked about the reasons why turbans became a necessity for so many nomads:

  • It protects you from the sun, rain or wind.
  • It’s a helmet. If you fall off your horse or camel, you land on something soft.
  • If you can injured, you have plenty of fabric to wrap the wound.
  • You can make it into a satchel and carry things.
  • You can use it to cover yourself at night.
  • You can carry a baby with it.

The scarves we wear are distant relatives to the long yardage that graces these men’s heads. But, we also use them in many ways:

  • Around the neck.
  • As a shawl.
  • As a beautiful runner on a table, shelf or dresser.
  • As a small curtain.
  • For picnics.
  • As a wall hanging.

Whether we use them for warmth or for beauty, handmade scarves have the added benefit of coming with a story, that of the maker and of the process. Our TAFA members offer hundreds of scarf options as it is perhaps, the favorite functional object they create. Scarves are a perfect project for textile and fiber artists as their size allows for a reasonable completion time and offers many opportunities for expressing different color combinations, techniques and special touches. The materials and techniques used range from painting on silk to felting with wool, crocheting and knitting with many different fibers, or sewing fabrics of all kinds. We feature just a few of them here today with a bit of their story and hope that you will explore our links to find the perfect one for you or for your gift!

singing scarves

Singing Scarves

“I am an Estonian silk artist who is specialized in custom silk paintings. My name is Maria Jürimäe, and I am mother of two lovely girls. Painting on silk is my passion. I have painted on silk and taught silk painting for over 15 years.

I love to sing while painting. In old Estonian and Finno-Ugric tales the power of song is really strong – it can influence our lives, it can create the new worlds. Our nation has not forgotten this wisdom. And we sang ourselves free from the Soviet Union! My silk scarves and silk ties carry the joy of making them, and the good wishes that are specially painted into them.” – Maria Jürimäe, Estonia, Handpainted Silk

 

klaradar handpainted silk scarves

klaradar

“My name is Klara, I am a full time artist and a mother to two boys. I grew up living right by the sea and spent my childhood playing with seashells, gazing at the expansive horizon. The word “Dar” means gift in my language, therefore my shops translates is “Klara’s Gift”. I have always been an artist.” -Klara Arnaudova, Bulgaria, Handpainted Silk

 

banner mountain textiles handwoven scarf

Banner Mountain Textiles

“I’m a weaver, spinner, dyer and knitter and use the natural beauty of my surroundings on Banner Mountain (my home) as inspiration for my work.  My handwoven and knitted works are all one of a kind and I often use yarns spun and dyed by me in my creations. I design  my own weaving designs with computer software and then translate that design to the loom in colors and textures that are unique to each piece I weave.” -Beryl Moody, California, USA, Handwoven Rayon

 

handwoven scarf by Margery Meyers Haber

mm handwovens

“Color, pattern and texture–and their interplay–intrigue me. I weave and knit slowly, savoring every part of the design process. In addition to making my own yarns, this includes adding “eccentric threads” and other surprise elements to each piece. My textiles are a little bit quirky and deliberately special. The plied fringes I like to make are twisted by hand, a minimum of 100 times each, for a nice, secure finish. When I create cloth, every bit of yarn or thread has traveled through my hands–and been loved–many, many times!  My favorite materials are silk, wool and luxury fibers.” -Margery Meyers Haber, New York, USA, Handwoven Silk and Wool

 

thrums textiles handwoven scarf

Thrums Textiles

I started weaving in 1996 and haven’t looked back! I am primarily self taught but have met some wonderful mentors along the way.
Weaving is truly my ‘happy’ place.

I like to weave with fine cottons, silks and silk blends, linen, tencel, and bamboo. I enjoy watching elaborate twills and other patterns grow as I throw the shuttle. I’m not a production weaver, but rather a weaver of short limited runs of what ever interests me. I place a great deal of emphasis on quality over quantity.”  -Susan Harvey, British Columbia, Canada, Handwoven Tencel

 

handwoven japanese scarf

FurugiStar

“I am here to share my love of Japanese antique mingei textiles, especially boro. I collect and sell indigo cottons with a particular interest in katazome, tsutsugaki and kasuri. My shop does have a wider range of items including clothing and gifts. All are vintage or antique.

I identify with the Japanese mingei movement, the concept of ‘yu yo no bi’ – beauty in practicality, and ‘mottainai’ – no waste. These concepts have great relevance to the sustainable fashion movement to which I hope my shop contributes, at least in a small way.”  -Stephanie Hannon, Shibuya-ku, Japan, Antique Cotton Indigo Cloth.

 

handwoven fair trade scarf from peru

Threads of Peru

“Threads of Peru purchases textiles from women’s weaving cooperatives in remote Andean villages. We pay the women for their work up-front and at a fair market price. We also invest in the communities where we work, by providing training which strengthens their economic outlook and makes it easier for the Quechua people to remain in their ancestral homelands if they choose.” -Angie Hodder, Cuzco, Peru, Handwoven Wool

 

felted scarf by fibernique

Fibernique

“I live in a small fishing town on the Oregon coast and I only have to walk outside to be inspired. I love fiddlehead ferns curling into life, old moldy leaves with exposed skeletal structure, shells, seaweed, sunsets through storm clouds, and a multitude of other items offered by the Pacific Northwest’s natural bounty.

I started quilting in 1989. I specialize in machine techniques including free motion embroidery and quilting. In 2009 I opened a shop on Etsy that allowed me to explored my creativity on smaller projects. My shop carries felted and sewen items including scarves, purses, jewelry and handmade fiber beads.” -Julia Donaldson, Oregon, United States, Wool and Silk Nuno Felt

 

morgen bardati printed scarf

Morgen Bardati

“I am a textile artist and designer living in the mountainous Kootenay region of British Columbia in Canada. My home is in a tiny village nestled next to the Slocan Lake across from the beautiful pristine wilderness of Valhalla Park. I enjoy working with a mixed media of traditional and innovative textile design techniques on natural fibers including cotton, linen, hemp, silk and wool. I use dye, shibori, screen printing, painting, sewing and piecing to transform cloth into garments, accessories, housewares and artworks. My passion for the environment inspires me to make use of re-purposed fabric as much as possible in my clothing and accessories.”  -Morgen Bardati, British Columbia, Hand dyed raw silk, Screen printed.

 

heramade

HEra Made

“My name is Era Hódi (HEra). I’m a Hungarian artisan and textile artist. I live with my family in a small town nearby Szeged, Hungary in the heart of Europe. Since my childhood, I’ve been fascinated by the colors, folk motifs, mystical and mythical world of wonders. I make modern home furnishings and clothes for everyday wear ​​using traditional techniques and natural materials. They are made by pursuing those internal expectations of creating miracles by combining patterns and colors. My style is a little antique and romantic.”  -Era Hódi, Hungary, Crocheted Acrylic and Cotton

elena rosenberg shawl

Elena Rosenberg

“Head over heels in love with designing and creating knit and crochet accessories, clothing, and wearable fiber art, I have been experimenting with textures, colors, shapes, and drape since 2007. Each piece in my collection is an original design, created entirely by hand, one stitch at a time, in my one-person studio in Westchester County, New York. I work almost exclusively with natural materials, including merino wool, baby alpaca, silk, cashmere, and fine cottons. I have sold my work online through Etsy for several years, and, since 2011, I have been exhibiting and selling my work at juried fine craft & art shows.” -Elena Rosenberg, New York, USA, Hand Knit Merino Wool

 

plumfish crocheted silk scarf

plumfish

“I have always loved to create. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t knit or crochet or sew. My grandmother had the enthusiasm and patience to teach me when I was very young – but more importantly she shared her fascination with every stitch I created; showed her excitement and eager anticipation as each piece unfolded; and jubilantly celebrated every completed work.

I love vibrant colours, and rich textures… colours that ask to be noticed and textures that long to be touched. The accessories I make are sometimes said to be flamboyant and lively – an expression of a part of me, that is otherwise hidden beneath a conservative quiet exterior.”  -Rosemary Boyd, Western Australia, Ausralia, Crocheted Silk.

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As you can see, we are a diverse and international group, numbering over 500 members from 44 countries!  It was hard to pick which scarves to show here as there are so, so many beautiful ones, but I wanted to give a glimpse into various materials, sensibilities, locations and techniques.

Where to find our scarves:

Logo papyrusTAFA: Search our site using the keyword scarf: Click!

 

 

 

 

 

 

tafa team badge 200 pixelsEtsy: Enter TAFA Scarf into Etsy’s search. At the time of this posting our members have over 700 scarves there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the search and know that we appreciate the support! Handmade scarves are going to be more expensive than what you will find at box stores, but they were made with loving care and come with a great story! Let us know in the comments how you use your scarves, what your favorite ones are, and if you find one from one of our members.

Make sure to sign up for our blog posts in the sidebar! We are posting regularly!


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TAFA’s Do-It-Yourself Supplies and Tools Directory http://www.tafalist.com/tafas-do-it-yourself-supplies-tools/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafas-do-it-yourself-supplies-tools/#comments Thu, 28 Nov 2013 06:19:52 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12435

Many years ago, I asked my mother what she wanted for Christmas and she said, “NO MORE ART!!!” Ha. Guess what my family is getting this year? Handmade scarves made by me. Is it art? Well, I think so, but it’s functional, so I can get away with it… Making my own gifts has always […]

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Do it yourself with TAFAMany years ago, I asked my mother what she wanted for Christmas and she said, “NO MORE ART!!!” Ha. Guess what my family is getting this year? Handmade scarves made by me. Is it art? Well, I think so, but it’s functional, so I can get away with it… Making my own gifts has always been a fun part of holidays and birthdays for me, but I don’t have the time to create all of the things I would like to anymore…  But, when I do, there is nothing like using materials that mean something, recycled, natural, or handmade by someone else.

TAFA members provide a wealth of great supplies, kits, patterns, and tools for the DIY community who creates with conscience. We have tons of fabric options: hand-dyed, hand woven, designed on Spoonflower, and salvaged from old textiles. You can dye your own using botanical dye supplies offered by our members. For the knitters and embroidery people, we have beautiful yarns and embroidery threads that have been dyed or hand spun, offering color and texture choices not easily found in commercial outlets. Kits are a great way to introduce new techniques to those starting out, perhaps the child in your life. And, if you are looking for gifts for your artist friends, our supplies will delight them! The craft industry is a multi-billion dollar machine and our hope is that you will choose to support handmade over the commercial options, whether buying from us or from other artists and indie suppliers.

Finding these treasures can be a bit of a chore, so this guide hopes to lead you to our members who specialize in supplies and tools on an ongoing basis. As you explore our links, remember that much of what you will see is one-of-a-kind or in limited supply, so if you like it, you better get it!

How to find our TAFA supplies and tools:

TAFAs site

On TAFA

Search our site using keywords like “yarn”, “fabric”, “kit”, and “tool” and see what comes up. Scrolling down our Member List is also a good way to get a bird’s eye view of what our members do.

However, this is a limited resource as so many of our members offer more than what you can see on our site. They can each have four images that show up in the search, so they might choose to prioritize their finished work or products over their supplies. Even so, there is a lot that can be found there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

tafa team badge

 

On Etsy

Half of our members have shops on Etsy and we use a common tag to generate a search result there. Type TAFA into Etsy’s search to find us.  At the time of this posting, we have over 4,600 products there.

Once there, you can narrow your search to find specific things. Add a keyword or two: TAFA yarn, TAFA dyed fabric, TAFA woven fabric, TAFA textile stamp, and so on.

Our Etsy shops are a great way to find us, but they leave out our members who have their own shopping carts and who have established businesses which offer extensive resources and supplies.

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the thumbnails to visit our Member Profiles.

From there, explore the links.

Fabric

Ananse Village

Ananse Village is a fair trade shop which focuses on Africa. They have great traditional textiles like mudcloth and heavier weights which would work for upholstery, along with cotton wax prints, perfect for quilting and other sewn projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

angel fire designs

Angel Fire Designs: Patricia Gould is selling off her commercial fabric stash. Check her etsy shop and eBay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

arlee barr fabric

Arlee Barr dyes fabric and lace and offers limited supplies in her shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art Cloth Studio

Art Cloth Studios. Jane Dunnewold creates gorgeous fabric patterns on Spoonflower, manipulated graphics from her handmade designs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

blue jacaranda fabric

Blue Jacaranda has fabric available on her Etsy shops and designs ready for print on Spoonflower.

 

 

 

 

cat brysch handwoven fabric

Cat Brysch Creations Studio has been weaving yardage for other artists for over 30 years.

 

 

 

 

cherscapes fabric

CherScapes offers hand-dyed silk fabric and hand painted Fat Quarters in her shop on Etsy.

 

 

 

 

 

batik fabric

Cultured Expressions carries batik fabric packs and other supplies, including metal embellishments with African designs.

 

 

 

 

 

fabricadabra ikat yardage

Fabricadabra has a great selection of exotic ikat designs in many colors. She also has a few African wax prints.

 

 

 

 

obi lilac

FurugiStar‘s shop on Etsy is loaded with vintage Japan! Lots of yardage and old textiles.

 

 

 

Fannie Narte Spoonflower designs

Fannie Narte‘s designs will warm your heart…  Her fabric is available on Spoonflower. The panels make great focal images on quilts, pillows and bags.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harmony Art organic cotton yardage.

Commercially grown cotton that is hard on the earth and can be extremely toxic. Harmony Art provides an alternative with beautiful designs grown organically.

 

 

 

 

helen klebesadel spoonflower fabric

Known for her beautiful watercolors and activism around women’s issues, Helen Klebesadel has a wonderful variety of fabric designs in her Spoonflower shop. She also wrote a great tutorial on how to design fabrics there for us.

 

 

 

 

 

justcolours.de fabric clubJustcolours.de sells hand-dyed fabric by the meter. Join their Fabric Club!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Mango Imports - Fabric

Little Mango Imports has fabric and crafts from around the world, with an especially great selection of handwovens from Guatemala and Indonesian ikats.

 

 

 

 

Marble-T Design marbled fabrics

Marble-T Design will razzle and zazzle your senses with their marbled fabrics! Linda and Dean sell at a lot of quilt shows, but also have a selection on their Etsy shop. Always ask about availability of more than what you see there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

okan arts yukata fabric

“Yakata be Crazy!”  Patricia’s sense of humor comes through as she describes her latest shipment of Yukata fabrics from Japan. Okan Arts sells through their Seattle Shops, at trunk shows and through several other outlets. Beautiful fabric!

 

 

 

spanglish fabrics

Former Peace Corps Volunteer Debbie Maclin fell in love with Guatemalan fabric and made it her excuse to return often! Spanglish Fabrics has lots of handwoven ikats and is expanding into embroidery and finished products.

 

 

 

 

 

sudio jules

Great hand dyed fabric by Studio Jules, perfect weight for quilting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fair trade silk yardage from tammachat

Fair trade silk yardage from TAMMACHAT Natural Textiles. Be royal and feel good about it! TAMMACHAT works with weavers in Thailand and Laos. Also look for their bark fibers and appliqued trim.

 

 

 

 

 

hand painted fabric by wen redmond

Most of Wen Redmond‘s work is finished, ready to hang on the wall. But, you can find some of her hand painted fabrics in her etsy shop. Snatch them up!

Remnants and Inserts

Afghan textile remnant.

Afghan Tribal Arts has lots of vintage textile remnants, many salvaged from old garments. These inserts work beautifully with the Afghan dress patterns by Folkwear. (See patterns.)

 

 

 

 

 

1930's quilt red

Fabrique Fantastique rescues old quilt tops and other vintage fabrics, many which can be used as cutters or incorporated into other projects.

 

 

 

 

crocodile and lovers mola

If you are a mola lover, you need to connect with Dr. Christi of HeART of Healing Gallery. She has a huge collection in many price ranges. Her specific interest is in healing plants and healers, but she also has many, many other themes.

 

 

 

 

japanese village textiles

Kimono Boy specializes in vintage village textiles from Japan. Lots of old indigo boro! Remnants and wraps can be used in other work.

 

 

 

 

 

banjara textile

Rayela Art. That’s my shop! I buy vintage textiles from small importers, old tools and other things that might interest our textile community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Yarn and Thread

colourspun yarns

ColourSpun offers an extensive selection of hand-dyed designer yarns on their website.

 

 

 

 

Nicole with plastic waste behind her

Darn Good Yarn has a mission: to keep plastics, fabric and paper from heading to the dumpsters. They have successfully recycled materials into fun yarns. Much of their work also goes towards poverty alleviation in Nepal.

 

 

 

design talented one

Design Talented One hand offers recycled sari ribbons from textile mills in India, hand-dyed in a rainbow of colors! Check for availability of sari yardage, too.

 

 

 

 

 

donna kallner yarn

Donna Kallner Fiber Art dyes yarns and fabric using eco processes. Check out her shop on Etsy for other supplies she might have on hand, too.

 

 

 

 

Farm Genevieve handspun yarns

Farm Genevieve‘s yarns are yummy! Hand spun and naturally dyed.

 

 

 

 

knox farm fiber hand spun wool

Hand spun knubby yarns full of character! KnoxFarmFiber will delight you!

 

 

 

 

long ridge farm

Long Ridge Farm has a huge online shop with hand dyed yards and threads, fiber, dye supplies and more! Go explore!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lynn's Texas Fibers

Felter’s take note! Lynn’s Texas Fibers has a great selection of natural and dyed fibers. Lynn also carries dye supplies and a bunch of fun tools.

 

 

 

 

 

paloma textiles yarns

“Shopping is political!” Paloma Textiles takes a stand and sources yarns that come from good places. Lots of great textures, weights and colors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

saori salt spring threads

SAORI Salt Spring has quite a few weaving threads and other SAORI supplies in her shop on Etsy.

 

 

 

 

exotic yarns hand dyed by swoon fibers

Luscious and exotic yarns hand dyed by Swoon Fibers, many different weights. Silk blends, camel hair and more!

 

 

 

 

 

yarns by wrapture by inese

Wrapture by Inese has cooked up her own yarn recipe: kid mohair is hand selected in Istanbul and then she adds silk threads and cotton yarns available to her in Riga, Latvia. All of the yarns are upcyled/recycled. You’ll find kits in her shop, too.

 

 

 

Beads and Buttons

 

fibernique fabric beads

Fibernique has lots of hand rolled fabric beads in many different colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

fabric beads by gilgulim

Hagar Arnon Elbaz started out by recycling old ties into fabric beads. Now she makes them out of any fabric that she loves. With Gilgulim, she incorporates them into her jewelry, but you can use them wherever you want to!

 

 

 

 

 

mm handwovens buttons

Nothing like handwoven buttons to finish off your coat, purse or neck warmer! mm handwovens usually has a few sets in her Etsy shop, but if you need more, just ask!

 

 

 

 

nell's embroidery buttons

Nell’s Embroidery‘s shop on Etsy is loaded with supplies, especially great knubby and beaded threads. But, her buttons are just too cool and had to be the feature here.

 

 

 

 

 

Embellishments

Ariane Mariane embellishments

Ariane Mariane has these cute little felt sculptures, leaves and other small felted designs that can be added to larger projects or worn as pins.

 

 

 

aspinnerweaver straps

ASpinnerWeaver. Annie weaves straps of many shapes and colors. Great for purses, guitars, hat bands, and decorative elements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

jane porter ribbons

Jane Porter‘s family has a ribbon mill in the US which she represents. She also sells gorgeous Japanese ribbons, dye supplies, spinning tools and much more!

 

 

 

 

hand dyed silk coccoons

Sarah Hopping calls her shop The Rainbow Girl for good reason! It’s a saturated display of every color in the rainbow! She would also fit into most of the categories here as she has fabric, yarn and so much more. I had to pick these hand dyed silk cocoons because they are so very cool. Visit and dive in!

 

 

 

 

 

wooly boulevard peace signs

Donna James tends to work small, making little felted objects that can be worn as pins or used as beads. But, you can also use them as closures or attach them to your larger projects. Donna is a cancer survivor and works with a cancer project in her area. She also sings. Wooly Boulevard is her way of working with her hands.

 

 

Dye Supplies

botanical colors

Botanical Colors specializes in natural and botanical dye supplies. They also carry dye kits and a few other specialty items.

 

 

 

 

 

 

colour vie pigment system

Colour Vie offers an environmentally friendly pigment system. Check site for availability of fabrics. Tutorials on how to use the system are available.

 

 

 

 

 

maiwa natural dyes

If you are a dyer, you must check out Maiwa’s supplies and resources. They have accumulated a huge repository of knowledge and offer a great guide to dyes on their website. Maiwa Handprints has many other supplies and fabrics, so make sure you explore their whole site!

 

 

 

 

 

the yarn tree dye supplies

Linda LaBelle closed her brick and mortar shop in order to be able to work more with her charity-based organization, Stories of Hope. Through The Yarn Tree, she continues to sell dye supplies, yarns, fibers and much more!

 

 

 

 

Tools

adinkra stamp

Cross Cultural Collaborative has adinkra printing stamps available on their website. Ellie might also be able to source fabric and other supplies from Ghana for you.

 

 

 

 

green mountain spinning wheel

Spinners! What could be better than using a handmade spinning wheel? Green Mountain Spinning Wheels are made with care and love. They often have kits available on their site, so check for availability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

heartfelt silks palm washboard

Inventors of the Palm Washboard, a perfect tool for wet felters, HeartFelt Silks carries these in different sizes. Individually hand crafted, give one to your favorite felter! Check out their shop on Etsy for felt kits as well.

 

 

 

 

Indian textile stamp

ITSA Studio offers a variety of surface design supplies, embellishment, and great ethnic textiles. These old textile stamps are always a favorite. Barbetta also has shisha mirrors for those of you who want to incorporate them into your embroidery!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

linda's art quilts fabric stamps

Linda’s Art Quilts uses stamps like this one on her art quilts. Due to popular demand, she’s made some available in her Etsy shop. She makes them herself!

 

 

 

 

 

new world textiles spinning shuttles

New World Textiles is all about organic cotton, old world techniques, engineering, spinning, weaving and creating modern textiles. The website is old school, difficult to navigate, but get beyond that and you will find an in-depth resource and serious tools and supplies. Eileen invented this shuttle. Spin directly on to it and go to the loom with it!

 

 

 

oshiwa

Oshiwa Designs is a small fair trade workshop in Namibia that focuses on creating textile stamps for artists. They are made out of wa-wa wood that comes from a sustainable forestry project. Smooth and beautifully made, they can also be used on paper and imprinted into clay or even cookie dough!

 

 

 

 

 

saori loom

SAORI Santa Cruz is an authorized and certified SAORI weaving studio and equipment dealer in the USA. Jill Sanders has looms, tools, threads and finished products in her Etsy shop. Huge resource!

 

 

 

 

 

Kits

Donna Burkholder quilt kits

Donna Burkholder creates beautiful quilt kits. You can get everything you need or buy just the fabric or the patterns. The fabrics are hand dyed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

spindle kit

Jane Deane Textiles could fit into many of these categories as she has dyed yarn, dye supplies, fiber, tools, kits and more. Make sure to check out her silk worm connections!

 

 

 

lorna bateman embroidery kits

Lorna Bateman Embroidery offers great kits and stunning hand dyed embroidery threads!

 

 

 

 

Patterns

wrapture pattern

Bazaar Bayar. Catherine knits and has patterns available on Ravelry. This one is a collaboration with Wrapture by Inese, the Turkey-Latvia Connection! (See Yarns for the Wrapture by Inese info.)

 

 

 

 

carolyn manning

Carolyn Manning Designs specializes in cross stitch patterns. She also has fabric available on Spoonflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

castilleja cotton quilt patterns

Castilleja Cotton has scores of quilt patterns available on their website and Etsy shop, including table runners and other decorative items.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elena Rosenberg patterns

Elena Rosenberg‘s fine knitwear patterns are available for download on her Etsy shop. Find her signature shawls, cowls, and fingerless gloves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

folkwear patterns afghan dress

Folkwear Patterns have been leaders in historical patterns for decades. This Afghan pattern uses an insert in the dress panel which can be found through Afghan Tribal Arts. (See Remnants and Inserts) Folkwear has traditional designs from many cultures along with Western styles from days gone by.

 

 

 

 

 

Jwrobel knitting patterns, baby wear.

Is there a baby in your life? Jwrobel‘s knitting patterns will sweeten up that child! There’s a rug hooking pattern in the mix, too.

 

 

 

 

 

linda matthews patterns

Linda Matthews has quilt and purse patterns available in her shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rose hughes quilt pattern

Rose Hughes has written several books on her applique process and has many quilt patterns to choose from on her site. She also has several of her favorite tools that she uses on her own quilts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ruby wings designs bead weaving pattern

For years, Ruby Wings Designs focused on bead weaving. Although now her focus is on fabric, needle and thread, her patterns are still available for download on her Etsy shop.

 

 

 

smudged textiles studio

Smudged Textiles Studio is a great thermofax resource and normally has lots of screens available in the etsy shop. Sold out! But check out this cute owl pattern.  Great fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whew! What a nice selection! There is something here for everyone who is a DIY maker! The ultimate TAFA Do-It-Yourself Supplies and Tools Directory!

Have you purchased from any of our member shops? Share your experience here and tell us what you made. We’d love to hear from you.

Be sure to sign up in the sidebar to get our blog announcements as we will be doing many other member features here and we don’t want you to miss out!

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TAFA Market Feature: Something Else Studio http://www.tafalist.com/feature-something-else-studio/ http://www.tafalist.com/feature-something-else-studio/#comments Tue, 26 Nov 2013 22:03:36 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12406

  Something Else Studio is our TAFA Market Shop featured today. Jannelle Olmstead and Joe Guarnere combine their sewing and woodworking skills to recreate stunning garments, bags and wooden objects that might have been used during the Renaissance era. A pioneer TAFA member, they joined in June of 2010 and Janelle has been an active […]

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something else studio

 

Jannelle Olmstead

Something Else Studio is our TAFA Market Shop featured today. Jannelle Olmstead and Joe Guarnere combine their sewing and woodworking skills to recreate stunning garments, bags and wooden objects that might have been used during the Renaissance era. A pioneer TAFA member, they joined in June of 2010 and Janelle has been an active member since. She shares a bit here about how they balance a festival life with a home life along with how they chose this lifestyle. Jannnelle’s bags are their core product, but as you can see from these photos, her skills are extensive. Have a wedding coming up? Maybe you can talk her into making one of her signature gowns!

Something Else Studio sells their products on Etsy when they are not immersed in the festival season. Learn more about them and find their social media links on their TAFA Profile.

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Special Edition Large Purse with an original painting on wood adornment by Something Else Studio.

Special Edition Large Purse with an original painting on wood adornment by Something Else Studio.

A Little Interview with Jannelle Olmstead

We have been having fun! After designing renaissance wedding gowns for several years, I decided to go all in and join the festival circuit. We started with our small portable booth and criss-crossed the N.E. doing weekend renaissance festivals, Celtic festivals and faerie festivals until we put down roots at The Sterling Renaissance Festival in Sterling, NY. It is an 80 acre 7 weekend summer festival next to Lake Ontario. We really loved that faire and enjoyed our time there until we had the opportunity to purchase the beautiful building we now own at The Maryland Renaissance Festival outside of the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area.

Here we are in our first version of a portable renaissance festival booth.

Here we are in our first version of a portable renaissance festival booth.

 

We pack up everything we can think of and move onto the festival grounds by mid-August where we have several weeks to set up my sewing workshop, apartment, show room and my husband’s woodworking area. The festival kicks off at the end of August with sweltering hot late summer breezes and the threat of mid-Atlantic hurricanes. We are among the few artisans that have an apartment above their store so we live in a glorified tree house for the next several months without indoor plumping. With our rental porta-privy and a walk to the festival campgrounds shower house we are ready for the BIG SHOW :) The festival is open to the public only on the weekends but a large community of artisans and performers from all across the US will call this shire home for the next several months.

Something Else Studio's Shoppe at the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Annapolis, MD

Our Shoppe at the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Annapolis, MD

Inside Something Else Studio Shoppe

This is part of our upstairs apartment over our shoppe in the Maryland Renaissance Festival.

For me, it’s a 7 day work-week with 5 days of sewing to finish before the next weekend rolls along. By the end of October we are totally exhausted and ready to pack up and return home for the holiday season. But there is no resting on one’s laurels for long because time is ticking away and we have a mountain of work to finish up in the next 9 months before it’s time to return and do it all again…Huzzah!

How long have you been doing what you do? What drew you to it?

I opened my art studio in 1995, after graduating with a BFA from Eastern Michigan University in 1993. I went to collage when my sons were in school and I was in the education program to become a Skills For Living (Home-Ec) & Art Teacher. But in the course of my studies, I kept running into unemployed art and home-ec teachers so soon I began to question my career path! Unless I wanted to move to Alaska there wasn’t any local positions for me in my state. During my last semester I had room for some optional courses so I took textile arts…and OMG!! Why hadn’t I started with these classes? :)

When my oldest son got married we all agreed that a renaissance themed wedding would be perfect for them so I made their outfits including headpieces, bouquets and garlands for family members. After the wedding I thought.. “Wow, I can do this for other people.”  So, I opened my studio designing and creating custom made-to-measure historical wedding fashions. I joined The Association of Sewing and Design Professionals (formerly the Professional Association of Custom Clothiers–PACC) and met some wonderful folks around the country following a similar professional path. After five years of doing local Bridal Shows I revamped my focus and moved to designing and crafting renaissance accessories at the renaissance festivals. I took my kids to the Michigan Renaissance Festival EVERY year I could when they were growing up and often thought that it would be so much fun to have a shoppe there. So THAT was an inspiration that first brought me to do what I do today!

My son, Justin, and his wife, Jenny (I made everything they are wearing).

My son, Justin, and his wife, Jenny (I made everything they are wearing).

 

Jenny's wedding dress.

Jenny’s wedding dress.

This pair is wearing a little bit of all my festival accessories (except for the purse pockets):

 I made the head pieces, the fancy collar and the fur trimmed Cloaklets they are each wearing.

I made the head pieces, the fancy collar and the fur trimmed Cloaklets they are each wearing.

 

What are your long-term goals?

I would LOVE to have more time to design mixed media contemporary designs art for the Fine Arts And Crafts Shows, and I believe I’ll do it! These images are combinations of painting on fabric and or wood, fabric stamping, hand quilting and piece work.

"The Oubliette" or Prisoner Of The Mind.  Dye painting, appliqué, hand quilting on hand dyed fabric in an oak wood frame. 53" x 55"

“The Oubliette” or Prisoner Of The Mind. Dye painting, appliqué, hand quilting on hand dyed fabric in an oak wood frame. 53″ x 55″

 

Hand carved stamps, positive & negitive images in fabric paints with quilted piecework border ~ 27" x 33"

Hand carved stamps, positive and negative images in fabric paints with quilted piecework border ~ 27″ x 33″

"Moon Dance" oil on wood painting with cyanotype photography face on raw silk with silk floral garland ` 16" x 22"

“Moon Dance”, oil on wood painting with cyanotype photography face on raw silk with silk floral garland ` 16″ x 22″

 

 What is the favorite product that you have for sale and why?

I have a lot of fun with Pockets and purses by adding wheels and gears to my bags but I also like to paint on wood and fabric. The projects with my husband (the woodworker) makes painting on my Treasure Chests Houses some of my favorite products too.

A Banner Bag with an original painting on canvas front pocket with hand stitching.

A Banner Bag with an original painting on canvas front pocket with hand stitching.

My husband designed and build this cherry wood box and I hand painted the four panels. My original Treasure Chest House (2012).

My husband designed and build this cherry wood box and I hand painted the four panels. My original Treasure Chest House. (2012)

 

What is your daily routine like?

I’m a late night sewing owl. I’m up late and stay up late. Every day is casual Friday as I work out of my home. I’ve turned my bedrooms into fabric cutting rooms and my Living Room into my main sewing area. The biggest problem is that I can’t get away from my work as it’s always somewhere in my house.

One of my upstairs bedrooms converted to fabric room with cutting table.

One of my upstairs bedrooms converted to fabric room with cutting table.

 

My Living Room converted to my main studio sewing room (with "The Oubliette" on the back wall).

My Living Room converted to my main studio sewing room (with “The Oubliette” on the back wall).

 

Hobbies?

If I had time for hobbies it would be gardening. I spent years planning and planting the gardens around our village house. If I had more time I’d plant a large vegetable garden, but by harvest time we would be long gone to festivals :)

 

Favorite quote?

From a 1982 Hallmark poster in my sewing room~ “How high I aim, How much I see, How far I reach, Depends on me”.

 

Top people whom you admire?

The Dalai Lama, all those caring people who do the “right thing” by helping others without fan fare, my hard working parents and environmentalists everywhere who work hard at keeping us aware of our big boot prints stomping all our Mother Earth.

 

What are the biggest challenges you face?

Doing outdoor festivals can be tricky because of changing weather conditions, depressed economic conditions, the out-putting of money for shows and supplies (8 to 9 months before selling them) and it’s just plain exhausting hauling bins and boxes all over the country-side. It is also all-consuming to craft over 400+ items EACH season to sell for just one show. If I expand to other shows, can I add an additional 200 items each season? On-line sales have been flat so I have to keep travelling to sell :)

Favorite place you’ve been to and place you dream of going to:

I used to do about 18 days of festivals at several locations through out the year, but these last few seasons I have just one multi-weekend festival for 9 weekends. We LOVE to spend three months of each year in our renaissance festival apartment over the top of our festival shoppe right on the grounds of the Maryland Renaissance Festival :) It would be grand to have something call a “vacation” where we could get a larger camper and go someplace just for fun…not to work a festival.

See more photos of their Shoppe.

 

Do you have a family, children, pets?

I have two great sons who brought me two great daughter-in-laws and now I’m blessed with a wonderful 6-year old grandson. My husband and I have two adorable Carin Terriers that travel everywhere with us, so they are our newest kids :) I also am the care-giver to my mom who turns 90 this month (November) and has lived with us for the last 8 years.

My handsome grandson Tristan :)

My handsome grandson Tristan :)

 

Here is one of my gowns from my wedding collection called "Isolde's Dream" with my fur trimmed gold netting Mantle Cape and one of my sparkling Icicle Crowns.

Here is one of my gowns from my wedding collection called “Isolde’s Dream”. Fur-trimmed gold netting Mantle Cape and one of my sparkling Icicle Crowns.

 

something else studio square

Something Else Studio

on TAFA’s Market

Click on any of the images below to visit Something Else Studio’s shop on Etsy. Once there, you will be able to see all of their products there. Leave a comment for here, too! We all love to get feedback on what we are doing.

Make sure to sign up for email updates for our future posts on this blog! (See the sidebar.)

Visit our TAFA Market to see our other shops!


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TAFA Market Feature: Castilleja Cotton http://www.tafalist.com/feature-castilleja-cotton/ http://www.tafalist.com/feature-castilleja-cotton/#comments Sun, 24 Nov 2013 19:55:22 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12341

Castilleja Cotton is featured in this post.  Diane McGregor is one of TAFA’s pioneer members, having joined back in June of 2010 and actively contributing in our growth. Based in Calgary, Alberta (Canada), the core of Diane’s business comes from patterns that she makes from her original quilt designs. They are available both on her […]

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castilleja cotton

Diane McGregor of Castilleja Cotton

Castilleja Cotton is featured in this post.  Diane McGregor is one of TAFA’s pioneer members, having joined back in June of 2010 and actively contributing in our growth. Based in Calgary, Alberta (Canada), the core of Diane’s business comes from patterns that she makes from her original quilt designs. They are available both on her website and in her Etsy shop. She also has the original quilts available for sale and those are featured in our TAFA Market collections. Learn more about Diane and connect with her on her Member Profile.

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Golden Retriever by Castilleja Cotton

Golden Retriever by Castilleja Cotton

A Little Interview with Diane McGregor

How long have you been doing what you do? What drew you to it?

I have been sewing since I was a little girl around 6 years old. I made clothes for myself with my mother’s help. In 1991 I took my first quilting class and was hooked on quilting. I made so many quilts that I need to start selling them so I could make more. Since quilting is very time consuming it is difficult to make a profit. I also don’t like making the same quilt more than once. So I decided to making patterns of my quilt designs.

What are your long term goals?

My long term goal is work less and eventually retire in a few years. I have over 500 quilt patterns and still like the design process so it as long as I am enjoying it, I will continue designing for the next few years. I recently started making art quilts and sometimes they turn into a pattern in a simpler version. Selling my art quilts has been a difficult process.

"The Treasury", Art Quilt by Castilleja Cotton

“The Treasury”, Art Quilt by Castilleja Cotton

What is the favorite product that you have for sale and why?

Frankly, I am bit mercenary so my favorite product is one that sells well. So right now that is my Fire Within Quilt pattern.

"Fire Within", Quilt Pattern by Castilleja Cotton

“Fire Within”, Quilt Pattern by Castilleja Cotton

What is your daily routine like?

I spend most of my day until 2:30 pm working at my computer. Filling orders, add new products to my various online stores and designing new patterns. I then go for a walk for about 1 hour. There has to be a blizzard before I will miss my daily walk. I then spend the rest of the afternoon at my sewing machine, sewing samples for the patterns.

Diane McGregor's fabric stash.

Diane McGregor’s fabric stash.

Hobbies?

I have done a lot of hiking, golfing, snorkeling and reading. My newest hobby is riding my horse Majic whom I just purchased. I ride bareback with just a halter. My goal is to ride him without anything.

Diane McGregor with Majic, her horse.

Diane McGregor with Majic, her horse.

Favorite quote?

Dream It, Believe It, Achieve It

Dream It, Believe It, Achieve It

Dream It, Believe It, Achieve It!

A couple of people that you admire?

Caryl Byer Fallert is one of the best instructors that I have had. She taught me that if you can draw it, you can make a quilt out of it.
Susan Carlson is another great instructor that pushed me to open myself to new ways of designing.

Biggest challenges of what you do?

Finding the time to design is a big challenge. Sometimes running the business consumes too much of my time. I really have to prioritize to find the time to design new quilts.

Favorite place you’ve been to and place you dream of going to.

I have traveled a lot and love learning about new people and countries. My favorite place is the big island of Hawaii. It is so easy to be there and usually my brother, my sister-in-law, my sister and my husband spend 2 weeks every 2 years on the big island.

The big Island of Hawaii near Kona

The big Island of Hawaii near Kona.

Do you have a family, children, pets?

My husband, Don, supports whatever I do. He fills all the orders from the quilt stores and has even done a few designs of his own. My sister, Colleen, also contributes many design as well. My son, Kevin, is a music teacher. Our dog Callie, a springer spaniel, is getting older now and so it content to sleep most of the day. She still likes a good game of fetch the ball. My horse Majic is my new love. He is a grey Arab. We are learning about leadership and I have a lot to learn.

Diane's sister, Colleen, her husband, Don, and Diane McGregor at the International Quilt Market.

Diane’s sister, Colleen, her husband, Don, and Diane McGregor at the International Quilt Market.

 

Bargello Quilt by Castilleja Cotton

Bargello Quilt by Castilleja Cotton

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castilleja cotton square

 

Castilleja Cotton 

on TAFA’s Market

Click on any of the images below to visit Diane’s shop on Etsy. Once there, you will be able to see all of her other products. Leave a comment for her here, too! We all love to get feedback on what we are doing.

Make sure to sign up for email updates for our future posts on this blog! (See the sidebar.)

Visit our TAFA Market to see our other shops!


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TAFA Market Feature: Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts http://www.tafalist.com/feature-cindy-grisdela-art-quilts/ http://www.tafalist.com/feature-cindy-grisdela-art-quilts/#comments Sat, 23 Nov 2013 20:02:18 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12316

Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts is our featured Market Shop on this post. Cindy is one of our pioneer members, joining TAFA soon after its launch back in 2010. She has been an active participant and we enjoy her tremendously! Cindy’s signature is her love of color, creating bold statements of mood and vibrancy in her […]

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cindy grisdela

Cindy Grisdela with her sewing machine.

Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts is our featured Market Shop on this post. Cindy is one of our pioneer members, joining TAFA soon after its launch back in 2010. She has been an active participant and we enjoy her tremendously! Cindy’s signature is her love of color, creating bold statements of mood and vibrancy in her quilts. Her workmanship is also impeccable. We had a live market in 2011 where she participated with several pieces, all top quality in materials and finishing.

Cindy has a shop on Etsy and often sells at festivals if they are not too far from her home in Virginia. Find her social media links and connect with her through her TAFA Profile.

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"Coral Reef", Art Quilt by Cindy Grisdela

“Coral Reef”, Art Quilt by Cindy Grisdela

A little interview with Cindy Grisdela

How long have you been doing what you do? What drew you to it?

I’ve been quilting for over 30 years, but I just began showing and selling my work about eight years ago. I studied art in school and spent time drawing, painting and sculpting, but I’m drawn to working in fiber because of the tactile nature of the medium. I like to think that I use fabric the way a painter might use paint to create a composition. Then I have the opportunity to enhance the composition with texture when I add the stitching lines–drawing them freehand with my needle and thread as though I had a pen or brush in my hand. No other medium allows me to do that.

Cindy Grisdela sewing in her studio.

Cindy Grisdela sewing in her studio.

What is your daily routine like?

When I’m not on the road for a show, I exercise in the morning first thing, then try to get into my studio to work by 9 AM. Mornings are my most productive time. I spend the morning and early afternoon in the studio, then take a break around 2 pm to get coffee and work on the business side of my business–writing blog posts, social media, and marketing.

Cindy Grisdela Studio - Fabric Bins

Cindy Grisdela Studio – Fabric Bins

Hobbies?

I love to read, garden, and travel. When our boys were young, my husband and I set a goal to take them to all of the National Parks in the US. Now they are grown, and we made it as a family to 47 of the 58 parks–most of the ones that are left are difficult to access, like the five that are above the Arctic Circle in Alaska. It was a great way to show our children the amazing country they live in!

Favorite quote?

[quote author=”- Picasso” image=”” w=”” h=”” image_align=””]”Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”[/quote]

Biggest challenge of what you do?

Educate the public at my shows and exhibits that quilts can be art and have value beyond covering the bed.

Cindy Grisdela Booth Setup

Cindy Grisdela Booth Setup

Favorite place you’ve been to and place you dream of going to.

It’s hard to choose just one place, but probably Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. I’d love to visit Australia and New Zealand some day.

A peek inside Cindy Grisdela's home.

A peek inside Cindy Grisdela’s home.

Do you have a family, children, pets?

I have two wonderful sons and two cats.

"Cat's Eye" by Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts

“Cat’s Eye” by Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts

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cindy grisdela square

 

Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts

on TAFA’s Market!

 

Click on any of the images below to visit Cindy’s shop on Etsy. Once there, you will be able to see all of Cindy’s products there. Leave a comment for her here, too! We all love to get feedback on what we are doing.

Make sure to sign up for email updates for our future posts on this blog! (See the sidebar.)

Visit our TAFA Market to see our other shops!


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Pencil and Sheep http://www.tafalist.com/pencil-and-sheep/ http://www.tafalist.com/pencil-and-sheep/#comments Fri, 22 Nov 2013 18:49:11 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12174

Kate Barsotti of Pencil and Sheep shares a bit about her wonderful creatures and how she found her calling. Visit her profile on TAFA to learn more. [hr] In a weird way, sheep saved me. I was a miserable soul a few years back. My dream job soured into a nightmare. I was not proud […]

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pandabig

Kate Barsotti of Pencil and Sheep shares a bit about her wonderful creatures and how she found her calling.

Visit her profile on TAFA to learn more.

[hr]

In a weird way, sheep saved me.

I was a miserable soul a few years back. My dream job soured into a nightmare. I was not proud of the work I was doing, yet I had no power to improve it. The more I tried, the more humiliating it became.

siggy

Siggy the Dog – Commission – Pencil and Sheep

Then, one day, I walked through a magic doorway into a long shop with brick walls, old wood floors, a huge loom, spinning wheels, and all sorts of yarn and fleece. I’d never seen such a place. Spinning wheels? Did people still do that sort of thing. Once I got the hang of it, I was a convert. I learned to spin, then knit (badly), which lead to a class in wet felting and needle felting.

I’ve never looked back.

Needle felted lion - Pencil & Sheep

Needle felted lion – Pencil & Sheep

I love each and every critter. I am fascinated as they come to life in my hands. Sometimes I set out, determined to make a lamb, and a mouse emerges, or a llama. I end up adapting to the sculpture rather than the other way around.

The most common question is: how long do they take? Days. Sometimes weeks, working off and on. I try to use the best quality materials and to sculpt them to the best of my ability. I am still learning.

The sculptures led me back to my sketchbook. I’ll be drawing more and more, as the paper and the needle seem to need each other. This process brings me peace. I hope it gives you a laugh or a smile.

sketch-cat

sketch-mouse

 

Website: Pencil & Sheep

rabbit-vest-full-anotherpose

 

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TAFA Market Feature: Afghan Tribal Arts http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-market-feature-afghan-tribal-arts/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-market-feature-afghan-tribal-arts/#comments Thu, 21 Nov 2013 22:00:54 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12269

Afghan Tribal Arts is our featured TAFA Market Shop on this post. Abdul Wardak is a native of Afghanistan who immigrated to the United States in the early 1980’s. He is a direct importer of vintage textiles, handmade carpets, hand-carved beads, and other ethnographic items from Central Asia. The textiles are, of course, what are […]

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afghan tribal arts

Abdul Wardak

Afghan Tribal Arts is our featured TAFA Market Shop on this post. Abdul Wardak is a native of Afghanistan who immigrated to the United States in the early 1980’s. He is a direct importer of vintage textiles, handmade carpets, hand-carved beads, and other ethnographic items from Central Asia. The textiles are, of course, what are featured in our TAFA Market, but the beads are the core of his business. He travels a route between Wisconsin and Florida, selling at bead shows and wholesaling to other tribal galleries. He has a shop on Etsy and a retail gallery in Pendleton, South Carolina, Sturee Tribal Village. Find all the links and more info on his TAFA Member Profile.

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Abdul Wardak at a rug shop in Afghanistan in 2002.

Abdul Wardak at a rug shop in Afghanistan in 2002.

A Little Interview with Abdul Wardak of Afghan Tribal Arts:

How long have you been in business and what drew you to it?

After I immigrated to the United States, I focused on getting my family out of the refugee camps they were in in Pakistan. I started going back and forth between the US and Afghanistan in 1984, each time bringing some things back to the US to sell that the refugees were making at the camps. I fell in love with amazing work that represented the region and slowly my inventory grew. I saw it as a real way that I could create a bridge between my two homes, my mother country and my adopted one, both places that I love.

photo by John Tobias

Photo by John Tobias, a friend who spent time in Afghanistan in the 1970’s, the same period when I was a young man.

What are your long-term goals?

I need to increase my sales online so that I don’t have to travel as much. It’s become very expensive to be a modern nomad with the cost of gas, hotels, and show fees eating into what I can bring in through sales.

What is your daily routine like?

Normally I have a bead show on the weekends, often in cities far from each other so I need to get there. On the way, I stop and visit with friends, sell to other shops or may have trunk shows set up.

What is your favorite product that you sell and why?

Definitely the Afghan rugs and carpets. They take so much skill and hard work to make and to me, represent the tribal art of that region.

rugs at Sturee Tribal Village

Tribal Rugs at Sturee Tribal Village, Pendleton, South Carolina

What is the biggest challenge you face with your business?

Travel. The time it takes, expense and labor involved is wearing me out. Still, I love seeing new places and people on the road.

Abdul driving.

On the road…

 

Do you have any hobbies?

Yes! I have always loved poetry and have written things down from time to time, but lately have been taking it seriously. I think about the poems in my native language, Pashto, then write them in English. Friends help edit the poems and sometimes we have big arguments over the meaning of what I am trying to say. :) I have a few on my website, but started a Facebook page where I can collect them all into one place. This one honors the widows and orphans of the Afghan conflict. I was thinking about loss of a loved one.

Lately, the marriage of silence
Together with the darkness of the night,
Takes me deep into the thoughts of your departure.
I remember when laughter was
the prescription of the day
When holding hands was a favorite habit.
I will never forget how every moment and every kiss started and ended with “honey, honey.”
Every pain had a cure.
Every wound a bandage.
Every day brought happiness, every evening led to peace.

Hear me if you can…
Let the pain be mine.
It’s ok to be wounded.
No need to hold your hand,
I will not ask for kisses,
I will never laugh again.

If only you would come back.
If only I could see you one more time.

AAW 11/15/13 Venice, FL
© 2013 All Rights Reserved

The poet Abdul Wardak

The poet Abdul Wardak

Who are the top five people whom you admire?

  • My father, Abdul Manan Wardak, who passed away many years ago.
  • Ahmad Shah Durrani, an emperor from the 1600’s who shaped modern Afghanistan.
  • Rachel Biel for her work with TAFA and with me.
  • Ronald Reagan for ending the Cold War and getting the Russians out of Afghanistan.
  • Nelson Mandela for his wisdom and work for peace.

What is the favorite place that you have been? What place would you like to visit?

There are so many places that I love! Top of the list are Afghanistan, India, Germany, Florida and Wisconsin.  I would like to visit Australia someday.

Do you have a family? Children? Pets?

I have six children who are mostly out of the house now. One is married and I have my first grandchild. Our house in Wisconsin has a few acres and we have a big dog, cats, chickens, goats and a guinea hen.

Home.

View of the barn from the kitchen.

View of the barn from the kitchen.

Chickens and goat.

Chickens and goat.

Roshan Wardak

My son, Roshan, on top of the world.

Zaland Wardak

Zaland just started college.

Abdul Wardak

See you on TAFA!

afghan tribal arts square

Afghan Tribal Arts

on TAFA’s Market!

Click on any of the images below to visit Abdul’s shop on Etsy. Once there, you will be able to see beads and tribal jewelry not listed in our Market. Leave a comment for Abdul as he will LOVE that and make sure to sign up for email updates on our blog in the sidebar. Visit our TAFA Market to see our other shops!

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TAFA Market Feature: Wrapture by Inese http://www.tafalist.com/feature-wrapture-by-inese/ http://www.tafalist.com/feature-wrapture-by-inese/#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 17:25:55 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12245

Wrapture by Inese is our TAFA Market feature in this post. Inese Liepins lives in Riga, Latvia and has been a TAFA member since October 2010. Inese is originally from Chicago, lived in San Francisco for awhile, and now considers Latvia as her home. She has many interests and skills. As an interior designer, space […]

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Wrapture by Inese

Inese Liepens

Wrapture by Inese is our TAFA Market feature in this post. Inese Liepins lives in Riga, Latvia and has been a TAFA member since October 2010. Inese is originally from Chicago, lived in San Francisco for awhile, and now considers Latvia as her home. She has many interests and skills. As an interior designer, space is a statement that begs personalization. Inese’s knitwear is what we see on TAFA, but she is also a graphic designer, glass artist, and photographer. Visit her profile on TAFA to connect with her through her website, shop on Etsy and social media sites. Wrapture by Inese is one of our Market Shops. Clicking on any of her images in the Market will take you to her shop.

sweaters for guys

One of the great things about Wrapture by Inese is being able to find great sweaters for guys!

A little interview with Inese:

How long have you been doing what you do? What drew you to it?
My mom taught me to knit when I was 5 or 6, I remember trying to knit a blue angora headband that turned into a one shoulder barbie dress because of dropped stitches. I guess that was the first attempt at fashion design. Off and on since 1980 I have supported myself as a knitwear designer, working for myself as well as for big companies.

What are your long term goals?
I want to do exclusive one of a kind items knit by myself as well as having a collection of knitwear that I design, but that someone else knits.
What is the favorite product that you have for sale and why?
My kid mohair and silk infinity wrap. It was the item I started with and it is such a classic that the same women keep coming back for another when they get a new coat or just for the new season.
Infinity scarf

Infinity scarf by Wrapture by Inese.

What is your daily routine like?
With breakfast I check emails, sales stats, finish my coffee seeing what is happening on BBC news. The rest depends on if the sun is shining. Once or twice a week I go for several hours of biking or skiing in the woods, my days off are not on weekends, but on sunny days. If its not too overcast, I also need to take any photos starting at noon when I am getting good light.  New listings and renewals take place around 3pm (Im at GMT+2). During sunlight hours I knit. After dark I edit and photoshop colors on photos.
Inese Liepens home.

Where I live and work.

Hobbies? (outside of the business)
Mountain biking, cross country skiing.
Bike trail in Latvia

Nature telling me biking season is over on my favorite trail.

Top 5 people that you admire:
(not in this order):
  • Musicians, I can’t live without music, and I myself cannot make music, so I am entirely dependent on musicians to do it for me.
  • My mom.
  • Kris, who I have known since college, who has reinvented herself while staying true to herself and is an amazing positive person
  • Those who don’t back down when faced with injustice, which keeps changing with current events. Right now I am in awe of the courage of Nadezhda Tolkonnikova.
Road by Baltic Sea.

The road home along the Baltic Sea during a 4 day biking music festival trip.

Biggest challenges of what you do:
Sales.  It’s the part I am not good at and which I hate doing.
Riga, Latvia

The 8 tents in the bottom is the outdoor beer garden where I sell my knits in Rīga, Latvia, during the summer tourist season.

Favorite place you’ve been to and place you dream of going to.
New Zealand
My tent in Mongolia.

My tent in Mongolia.

Do you have a family, children, pets?
A cat.
inese liepens purple sweater

Visit Wrapture by Inese!

Wrapture by Inese square

Wrapture by Inese

Click on any of the items below to visit Inese’s shop on Etsy.  Make sure to explore her whole shop! There is something for everyone!  Visit our TAFA Market to see our other shops!

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Decorating with Textiles: Cape Cod Shibori http://www.tafalist.com/cape-cod-shibori/ http://www.tafalist.com/cape-cod-shibori/#comments Tue, 19 Nov 2013 17:36:46 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12223

Rachel Switzer has enjoyed exploring many textile techniques from early childhood on to adulthood. Her current passion is dyeing fabrics using shibori folding techniques. She sells fabric, pillow covers and other home accessories in her shop on Etsy, Cape Cod Shibori. Rachel lives in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA, and shares her home with us today […]

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Cape Cod Shibori

Cape Cod Shibori by Rachel Switzer

Rachel Switzer

Rachel Switzer has enjoyed exploring many textile techniques from early childhood on to adulthood. Her current passion is dyeing fabrics using shibori folding techniques. She sells fabric, pillow covers and other home accessories in her shop on Etsy, Cape Cod Shibori. Rachel lives in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA, and shares her home with us today in our Decorating with Textiles series. She learned about it through our TAFA Group on LinkedIn and we are pleased to have her as a guest!

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Most of us have a home full of textiles. We have a closet full of clothes, blankets, rugs, upholstery, even a rag box in the basement. And what about the kitchen? Dish cloths, pot holders, napkins and tablecloths. With some, we think only in terms of their usefulness, while others are purely decorative. It’s a treat when our functional items and pattern and color collide. Along with being surrounded by pattern and color, I enjoy the processes of many textile arts. Every textile in today’s post was made by me.

Here are some patterned Shibori pillows for comfort and color in the bedroom:

shibori pillows

 

A primitive hooked wool rug for warmth and decoration:

hooked rug by Rachel Switzer

One way to I love to display textiles in the home, is to put them in a frame. It encourages viewing the fabric in terms of pattern and color. Here is a woven example:

framed weaving by Rachel Switzer

A triptych of Indigo dyed hand stitched Shibori patterns:

framed indigo shibori

The kitchen can be a festive place to display fabrics we love. Here is a contemporary Arashi Shibori table runner I made using some re-purposed Indigo dyed linen napkins:

shibori runner

Altering the look of the table is as easy as changing the linens. Here is another recycled linen piece pleated and dyed in Indigo:

indigo dyed shibori runner

I already mentioned upholstery. Here is a way to get even a remnant of a favorite fabric out of your stash and into plain view. This chair only needed a fat quarter:

upholstered chair with indigo

I also like how the colors in the quilt echo the map colors.

There are many wonderful mass produced fabrics. It’s hard not to bring home every great pattern I see in the fabric store to add to my stash, or yearn for that graphic rug I see in a catalog. Chances are they are less expensive than a one-of-a-kind specially made item. So why bother? There could be many reasons. Unique personal style and self expression is one. You also may be able to better determine if your choices are made with ethical practices, regarding both labor and the environment.

Happy Hunting for those special handmade items! It can be a delightful journey.

Rachel Switzer has dabbled in embroidery, quilting, rug hooking, batik and weaving but works mostly in the Shibori technique these days. She enjoys creating housewares and fabric for quilters under the name of Cape Cod Shibori. You can purchase her work in her shop on Etsy and follow her on Pinterest and Facebook

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Decorating with Textiles Series

Many thanks to Rachel for sharing her home with us!

Would you like to participate in this series? The Decorating with Textiles Series is an ongoing project on this blog. This offer is open to all of you out there who love textiles. Many of our TAFA members make beautiful decorative textiles and functional work as well and showcasing these homes can help stimulate new ideas of what to do with textiles. Seeing a photo online is much different than seeing how a textile will function in an environment. Many people appreciate textiles but have no idea how to display them or what to do with them. We’d like to have many people participate in this series, each bringing in their own ideas and tastes.

Make sure to leave a comment for Rachel. I know that would please her immensely!

Contact me if you are interested and would like to submit a post:

rayela [@] comcast.net (remove spaces and brackets)

Visit TAFA to see inspiring art quilts, weavings and accessories for the home. Maybe you will find the perfect thing for your home!

Also check out our TAFA Market and our TAFA shops on Etsy!

Don’t miss out on our future posts! Sign up on the sidebar to receive our posts by email.

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Alicia Forestall-Boehm http://www.tafalist.com/alicia-forestall-boehm/ http://www.tafalist.com/alicia-forestall-boehm/#comments Mon, 18 Nov 2013 18:16:20 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12217

Alicia Forestall-Boehm is a Chicago artist working with cheesecloth and encaustic. She explores simple shapes that speak about form, movement and color. Her inspiration is both the urban environment she lives in as well as the physical and mental boundaries of the space we inhabit. Learn more about her and explore her links on TAFA! […]

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 Alicia Forestall-Boehm 1

Alicia Forestall-Boehm is a Chicago artist working with cheesecloth and encaustic. She explores simple shapes that speak about form, movement and color. Her inspiration is both the urban environment she lives in as well as the physical and mental boundaries of the space we inhabit.

Learn more about her and explore her links on TAFA!
http://www.tafalist.com/members/alicia-forestall-boehm

Alicia Forestall-Boehm 2

Alicia Forestall-Boehm 3

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Decorating with Textiles: Ellie Schimelman http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-ellie-schimelman/ http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-ellie-schimelman/#comments Sun, 17 Nov 2013 19:31:38 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12185

Ellie Schimelman lives in Brookline, Massachusetts (USA), but spends part of each year working in Ghana with the Cross Cultural Collaborative and Aba House: Cross Cultural Collaborative, is a non-profit educational organisation that promotes cultural exchange and understanding. Our programs emphasize multigenerational and multicultural collaborations encouraging participants to find rewards in different forms of art. Aba […]

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umbrella in living room

An umbrella from Ghana is the centerpiece in Ellie’s living room.

abaEllie Schimelman lives in Brookline, Massachusetts (USA), but spends part of each year working in Ghana with the Cross Cultural Collaborative and Aba House:

Cross Cultural Collaborative, is a non-profit educational organisation that promotes cultural exchange and understanding.
Our programs emphasize multigenerational and multicultural collaborations encouraging participants to find rewards in different forms of art.

Aba House, as it’s known in the small village of Nungua, helps the local children to develop their creativity by teaching how to use tools for expanding their imagination and craftsmanship. The organization also supports the children by providing them with school materials and other necessities. We bring volunteers and artists from different cultures together in a supportive environment where they can get to know each other through the language of art. At the core of our program is the belief that interaction between African and non-African cultures is mutually enriching.

Aba House

Aba House in Ghana

Aba House’s design flows organically, blending function with African design. The walls radiate warmth while mosaics and painted surfaces invite creativity and welcome.

Aba House 2

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Inside spaces have that same warm feeling with African textiles adding richness and more color.

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Ellie recreates some of that same feeling of color and welcome in her home in the US. She talks about her choices below:

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For as long as I can remember I have wanted a red wall, so that’s where I started.

Ellie red wall

Red wall 2

And then the dining room wall became blue. I didn’t realize that I was mimicking the colors of some walls in African houses until someone mentioned it.

Dining room

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My workspace is painted what the paint can called Watermelon (sort of hot pinkish). The salesman said, “Are you sure that you want that color?” Yes, indeed. White walls make me nervous!

My furniture is mostly “early Salvation Army”. I solved that problem by covering my tables with African cloth.

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I LOVE traditional Kente cloth which means that I have expensive taste, but I chose to save my money until I could buy a few pieces. And I am also the happy recipient of some as gifts.

The umbrella in my living room was a gift. (first photo at top of this post) The old Ghanaian man who made it didn’t want me to have it. He said that it is meant for a Chief. So, somehow, my friend convinced him that I’m a Queen Mother. It helped that I wasn’t visible during the negotiations.

Perhaps the way you decorate reflects your personality. I tend to be spontaneous, but calm. I guess you could say Kente calms me!

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Ellie is a member of TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List. See her profile here.  The Cross Cultural Collaborative offers workshops in Ghana where you can work on art projects with the local community and visit local artists. Ellie does have textiles and other crafts available for sale from her home, so contact her if you are interested in Kente. Surface designers would also really like the gourd carved stamps she has, used to stamp fabric and paper with African designs. You can purchase them here.

adinkra stamp

Adinkra stamps made from carved gourds.

 

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Decorating with Textiles Series

Many thanks to Ellie for sharing her home and Aba House with us!

Would you like to participate in this series? The Decorating with Textiles Series is an ongoing project on this blog. This offer is open to all of you out there who love textiles. Many of our TAFA members make beautiful decorative textiles and functional work as well and showcasing these homes can help stimulate new ideas of what to do with textiles. Seeing a photo online is much different than seeing how a textile will function in an environment. Many people appreciate textiles but have no idea how to display them or what to do with them. We’d like to have many people participate in this series, each bringing in their own ideas and tastes.

Make sure to leave a comment for Ellie. I know that would please her immensely!

Contact me if you are interested and would like to submit a post:

rayela [@] comcast.net (remove spaces and brackets)

Visit TAFA to see inspiring art quilts, weavings and accessories for the home. Maybe you will find the perfect thing for your walls!

Also check out our TAFA Market and our TAFA shops on Etsy!

Don’t miss out on our future posts! Sign up on the sidebar to receive our posts by email.

 

mural

 

 

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TAFA Market Feature: Ariane Mariane http://www.tafalist.com/market-feature-ariane-mariane/ http://www.tafalist.com/market-feature-ariane-mariane/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 19:45:03 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12161

Ariane Mariane is our TAFA Market feature in this post. Ariane lives in Paris, France, and has been an active TAFA member since September 2010. Her enthusiasm, generosity and richness of spirit have consistently informed who she is, even as she has struggled with direction and making a living through her work. She shares a […]

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ariane mariane

Ariane Mariane is our TAFA Market feature in this post. Ariane lives in Paris, France, and has been an active TAFA member since September 2010. Her enthusiasm, generosity and richness of spirit have consistently informed who she is, even as she has struggled with direction and making a living through her work. She shares a bit of this journey here, an inspiration to all of us who face these common struggles. Visit her profile on TAFA to connect with her through her website, blog and social media sites. Ariane has a shop on Etsy and is one of our Market Shops. Clicking on any of her images in the Market will take you to her shop.

Ariane Mariane Felt HatI started selling my felt work in 2005 and jumped in full-time in 2008. My background in architecture and graphic design made it easy for me to create outstanding one-of-a-kind designs. But, I had to learn a lot about felting. It seems so easy, yet doing a high quality felt piece is more than a technique – you have to feel it, become a part of and most of all: be patient and persistent…. Nowadays, I feel in harmony with my felt work and I’m proud of its quality and technical beauty. Becoming a master in felting techniques finally allows me to focus on the artistic aspect. I evolve more and more into the artistic direction. Some years ago, with my design degree in pocket, I thought of myself as a designer. Today, I affirm myself more and more as an artiste. I’m not dreaming any longer of doing a fashion line. I want to tell stories, share images and emotions, make people feel, smile and think.

Maybe the economic crises finally helped me to see myself as an artiste. As it became very hard to earn money as a designer, too, I was better able to accept myself as a poor artiste. Instead of thinking about how a design will sell, I only do what really fulfills me in the present moment. I have a restless mind and am wildly hopping between wearable art, accessories, installations and wall art.

By the way, it intrigues me that here in France art is defined as only something that has no function. If you want to be part of the artiste insurance for example (which allow paying less social taxes), your work needs to be useless! (Well, they say it more sophisticated by saying “art can’t have a function”)

car purse ariane mariane

In France, the definition of art is not allowed to be functional. Is this car purse by Ariane Mariane art?

In my work I love playing with this nonsense. My hats are worked like sculpture. They look great just displayed on a book shell or wall but if you are crazy enough, you put them on your head and they will spread warmth and coziness. To show that my art vests are paintings to be displayed on a body, I recently made several wall hangings in the same spirit.

Ariane Mariane Vest

Ariane Mariane vest’s can be worn inside out and upside down.

 

fantasy world by Ariane Mariane

“Fantasy World” uses the same techniques as the Ariane Mariane vests, but it is for the wall.

In my latest work I request if art is a question of scale. I did a small edition of bracelets. They are standing on their own like sculptures but are beautiful for accessorizing an outfit, too. In parallel, I felted sculptures in the same style and spirit but their size forces them to be displayed on a bookshelf… So this is really art!!!

Making myself laugh, by imaging these theories or doing comic-like fiber paintings, makes me stand up happy and powerful every day. But above all, is the glimpse in people’s eyes, their laughter and joy when facing my art work that gives me the strength to continue on my way.

Ariane Mariane cartoons in felt.

Ariane Mariane cartoons in felt.

I love the internet because it allows me to show my work to the world. I need the feedback to continue. My biggest challenge was and still is, taking great photos. It’s frustrating when you don’t get the beauty of your artwork to freeze on a photo. I read a lot about photography, made many experiments and invested in a good camera. It’s funny but it took me years to understand that it is all about light.  Two years ago my hubby offered me two professional flashes and ever since then my photos have become better and better.

Example of old photo.

Example of old photo.

Whenever I can’t take my photos outside (still the best when not too sunny), I build up my home studio and have huge fun by experimenting with light. I am always learning, another point of why I really love what I do and I hope there is still a lot to come!

Ariane Mariane felt purse

Ariane Mariane felt purse, photographed outside.

ariane mariane shop

 

 

Shop Ariane Mariane!

Click on any of the images below to visit the item on Ariane’s shop on Etsy. Please note that they system we are using does NOT do currency conversions, so the prices shown here are in Euros. The correct price for your currency will show up on the Etsy listing.  Visit our TAFA Market to see our other shops!

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Decorating with Textiles: Boisali Biswas http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-boisali-biswas/ http://www.tafalist.com/decorating-with-textiles-boisali-biswas/#comments Sat, 09 Nov 2013 16:55:46 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=11984

I am Boisali Biswas, a studio Fiber Artist and Art educator, originally from India. I am a real enthusiast about textiles and love to be immersed in their beauty, their feel and their creation. When we came to this country (USA) some 20 years back as students, we lived on very little income and in […]

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IMG_3609 - Copy

Boisali Biswas

Boisali Biswas

I am Boisali Biswas, a studio Fiber Artist and Art educator, originally from India. I am a real enthusiast about textiles and love to be immersed in their beauty, their feel and their creation. When we came to this country (USA) some 20 years back as students, we lived on very little income and in very tiny apartments, filled with stuff from garage sales, hand-me-downs, etc, But even then, I had to make an environment, which was my very own.

Cardboard boxes, neatly covered with exotic handmade fabrics from India, and created by me, became pedestals, book rests, corner tables, and made me feel at home. After we moved into this big old house, much bigger than our needs, with all the space, it seemed like a palace to us. From day one I started making it our own. I painted walls, doors, covered closet mirrors, painted murals on fences, painted closet doors in kids bedrooms and an old kitchen table with Kandinsky (our favorite Artist), went on and on, until I could make it look like my very own.

Even though we were no longer students, we couldn’t get out of our thrifty spending habits. We didn’t spend a fortune buying expensive furniture but did with what we had and added some more but nothing very exotic. Cardboard boxes, covered with fabrics still played an important role. They were flexible, could be expanded, adjusted according to needs and fun to assemble, and we could change the look completely with no expenses at all.

With this I share some spaces in our home. Enjoy!

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Living Room

This is a seating arrangement in our living room, made with a set of box spring and mattress, covered with an Indian block-printed bed cover. The backrest is a big cardboard box covered with my screen-printed fabric. Pillows printed and painted by me, handmade durrie from India, small raised platforms to hold artifacts or books are made with cardboard boxes covered with fabrics, created by me. Art quilts on the wall are by me. This room pretty much serves as my gallery and our music room. The artifacts are all collectibles from different parts of the world, mainly India and some of our creations.

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A wider view of the same room.  The sitar on the couch, which my son is learning how to play, is a beautiful Indian instrument. At the right hand corner is a cd cabinet made by us, on which we installed an Indonesian mask.

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A view from a different angle. At the right hand top corner is a wallpaper weaving hanging from the ceiling.

On the left is my second Art quilt, about my association with my first born child, my daughter. Everything seems to be more fascinating as a first time mother. I had just learnt how to silk screen with discharge paste, and was so excited about it! In the center is an Art quilt I had made for my son’s 10th birthday. Next to that is a piece, made with discharged/overdyed cotton velveteen and photo transfer.

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A close-up of that favorite corner of mine! Below the quilt is a ceramic/weaving sculpture, by me, and 2 raku rattles by me. On the floor is a kilim rug, from India.

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A close up of the arrangement, with a painted rain stick in front.

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A close up of the other corner. A little painting by my Cypriot friend on the bottom shelf, a ceramic sculpture by me at the left and some acquired pottery/artifacts from different parts of the world, and dried flowers from our garden.

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A closeup to show how I use cardboard boxes for pedestals, and book rests, etc. I am a little too obsessed with fabrics, so the inexpensive arrangements work perfectly for me.  All of the fabrics are created by me, either printed or woven.

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Things in this room change from time to time, especially the walls. I hate empty walls, so when a piece goes to a show, it has to replaced with something else. The same goes with collectibles: a new piece acquired has to get squeezed in somewhere.

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Turning a little to the other wall… My large piece “Padharo maro Desh“, (Welcome to My Country), an Assamese floor cushion cover over the box (actually it is a harmonium, an Indian instrument, that me daughter plays), with an Indian wooden horse on top. At the back of the piano is my oldest weaving, purely from scraps. and on top of the piano are 2 potteries by me on each side and various collectibles from around the world.

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Next to the piano, on the opposite wall of the main wall.

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My wallpaper weaving on the left, to be sent off to Tanzania through the Art in Embassies program. To the right is discharged piece with stamps and embroidery. Next to that is a hand carved wooden stick from Africa. And on the bookshelf are various collectibles, ceramic sculptures, etc.

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The corner beside the opening into the room, another cardboard box covered with a block-printed fabric from India and various collectibles on it.

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The entire corner, with my multi-layer woven sculpture hanging from the ceiling.

Foyer

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As you enter, this was how our foyer looked until few months back. A terracotta pot painted by me with Mexican motifs, a cardboard box covered with block printed Indian fabric. The lampshade was a tacky lampshade, covered by me with fabric that I painted, inspired by Moroccan lamps. On the wall are African and Indonesian masks.

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The foyer as it looks now, a newly acquired table, hand painted table and a rug, all from India. And there is a Moroccan lamp! On the wall is photograph by my daughter, a very magical effect of the stairs, shot at this angle and hence the location… a little strange :)

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As you enter through the front entrance, a woven piece with ceramics, at the right. Those coat closets had the 60s mirror doors, and I couldn’t stand them. Instead of going through the expense of replacing them, I covered them with paintable wallpaper and painted on them.

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On the left to the entrance, a small beautiful quilt made by friend Donna and a lovely glass wall vase made by my friend Sue.

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The other coat closet, at the a side little piece of woven belt from India.

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An antique embroidered piece on the table below the salt lamp, above is an original papyrus from Egypt.

Family Room

Biswas  family

We are the Biswas Family!

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A corner in our most used room, the family room, the pizza boxes hanging from the ceiling were painted by my well-known painter aunt Shanu Lahiri, when she was visiting us. We love to recycle :)

On the left my quilt Dreamtime II and a small weaving made a long time back, holding dried flowers. On the right, a raku clock made by me.

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The opposite corner in the family room with an embroidered piece from India covering an inexpensive table :) From the ceiling hangs a mobile made by me woven with shredded photographs.

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The fireplace with miscellaneous collectibles, quilted pillows by my friend Janet, my weaving on the wall of my kids.

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My first quilt “My Little Sunshine”, for my daughter, when she was born, hanging in a very messed up toy room, with very complicated Lego contraptions by my son :) The quilt was a discharged, screen printed on over-dyed fabric, with photo transfers of my daughter and her favorite associations.

Dining Room

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Our formal dining room with a beautiful kantha hanging on he wall which was done by an old woman in an Indian village. On the two sides are Gond paintings, from a folk tribe in India. Ikat table cloth, and Indian table runner. Before this kantha was up, I had my Ecstatic Trinity hanging there for years.

A favorite corner in the dining room, with a marionette from Thailand, Madhubani, Jamini Roy from India, and an exotic begonia. The little table has piece of the handwoven bedspread from India, that we used to reupholster our dining chairs.

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A fabric doll made by my friend Janet, named after me !

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Another favorite corner with a group of baskets made from birch barks by my friend Mary Horning. On the wall is a wooden walking stick from India.

Bedroom

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Our master bedroom, with an Indian handwoven bedspread stapled to the wall, curtains made by me, woodcarving from India. The dresser is an inexpensive one painted by us.

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Ours being an older home, we don’t have any walk-in closet, so the screens behind the bed are my effort to make one. Sometime I want to change those reflecting copper panels into oxidized ones. From the ceiling hangs my first ever screen-printed fabric!

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From a different angle. A block-printed, hand-embroidered bedspread. On the wall, one of my wallpaper weavings.

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Another close-up

Maintaining fibers and textiles has not been much of a problem to me in this country. Growing up in India, we were used to see surfaces being covered with a thick layer of dust, unless someone dusted every day. Compared to that, things stay pretty clean in the closed environment over here. I often take my fabrics outdoors during the summer and shake them out. I haven’t tried any sealants yet because I don’t know of any. If anybody recommends something, please share in the comments.

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Two of my wallpaper weavings from my India series.

Stairwell

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The stairwell… with an old frame tapestry by me and a Kalamkari wall-piece from India.

Guest Bedroom and Bath

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Our guest bedroom, with a quilt on the wall, woven pillows by me, block-printed bedspread from India and my small weaving on the bedside table.

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The guest bathroom wall with an applique wall hanging from India.

Downstairs Half Bath

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Half bathroom, downstairs. An assemblage on the wall. A fabric bird mobile from India in the corner.

Well, this gives you a good idea of how we use textiles in our home. If you come through Michigan (USA), please visit us! We love having visitors and making new friends, chatting over a cup of tea or coffee. An advance notice will be appreciated to make the house presentable! We don’t want you to be disappointed after seeing these pictures :)

Boisali Biswas and Family

The Biswas Family in Paducah, Kentucky, Summer 2013

Boisali Biswas on TAFA

Decorating with Textiles Series

Many thanks to Boisali for this enthusiastic sharing of her home, work and sense of style. I had the pleasure of meeting her and her family in Paducah as they passed through on a family trip in the summer of 2013. Boisali is as vibrant as her home! It’s so fun to meet people in real life that we connect with online!

Would you like to share your home with us? The Decorating with Textiles Series will be an ongoing project on this blog. Boisali is a TAFA member, but this offer is open to all of you out there who love textiles. Many of our members make beautiful decorative textiles and functional work as well and showcasing these homes can help stimulate new ideas of what to do with textiles. Seeing a photo online is much different than seeing how a textile will function in an environment. Many people appreciate textiles but have no idea how to display them or what to do with them.

You can see that Boisali also used paint to pull things together into a cohesive palette. The same things might look completely different against green or blue walls. That’s why it will be so fun to have many people participate in this series, each bringing in their own ideas and tastes. Make sure to leave a comment for Boisali. I know that would please her immensely!

Contact me if you are interested would like to participate in our series.

rayela [@] comcast.net (remove spaces and brackets)

Visit TAFA to see inspiring art quilts, weavings and accessories for the home. Maybe you will find the perfect thing for your walls!

Also check out our TAFA Market and our TAFA shops on Etsy!

Don’t miss out on our future posts! Sign up on the sidebar to receive our posts by email.

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New Profile on TAFA! FabricsofNature Art Quilts http://www.tafalist.com/fabricsofnature-art-quilts/ http://www.tafalist.com/fabricsofnature-art-quilts/#comments Wed, 06 Nov 2013 23:17:26 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12027

  New profile on TAFA! Nisa Kiley named her business FabricsofNature because that is where she finds her inspiration! Her art quilts are richly textured and worked, coming alive with light and shadow, shape and context. She often finishes them off with a piece of driftwood to hang them, a perfect complement. Shown here are art […]

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Pheasant Art Quilt

 

New profile on TAFA!

Nisa Kiley named her business FabricsofNature because that is where she finds her inspiration! Her art quilts are richly textured and worked, coming alive with light and shadow, shape and context. She often finishes them off with a piece of driftwood to hang them, a perfect complement. Shown here are art quilts with a pheasant, poppies, orangutan, and dragonflies.

Nisa is from Hereford in the UK and we invite you to visit her profile and connect with her there: http://www.tafalist.com/members/fabricsofnature

 

scarlet fields

orangutan art quilt

dandelions art quilt

dragonflies art quilt

Visit FabricsofNature art quilts shop on Etsy:

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Cross Cultural Collaborative: A Taste of Textiles in Ghana http://www.tafalist.com/crossculturalcollaborative-textiles-in-ghana/ http://www.tafalist.com/crossculturalcollaborative-textiles-in-ghana/#comments Wed, 06 Nov 2013 21:55:49 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=12019

Ellie Schimelman runs a cultural program in Ghana and shares a bit of her love of the textiles there in this post. Visit her profile on TAFA to learn more about what they do there and about the textile workshop she is offering at the Cross Cultural Collaborative in March 2014. This is my first […]

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Ellie Schimelman runs a cultural program in Ghana and shares a bit of her love of the textiles there in this post. Visit her profile on TAFA to learn more about what they do there and about the textile workshop she is offering at the Cross Cultural Collaborative in March 2014.

Asante king wearing Kente cloth.

This is my first TAFA blog entry so I will introduce myself. My name is Ellie Schimelman and my niche is Africa, specifically Ghana. After many years in Ghana as a volunteer teacher and as a student in traditional crafts villages, I started Cross Cultural Collaborative, an educational non-profit, partly because I saw visitors coming to Africa and having a very superficial experience. If you approach your visit in the right spirit, you leave a changed person. For an artist the visual overload is dazzling. For a textile enthusiast it is overwhelming. My mission is to help visitors understand what they are experiencing in the context of the culture.

Textiles in Ghana

Perhaps the most recognizable Ghanaian textile is Kente. Without knowing anything about it you sense that it is very special. There was a time when it was only worn by the Asante King and his court. Now it can be worn by anyone (although some designs are still only worn by the King), but it is expensive. Those wearing it are showing their status. Sometimes the children of a mature man will buy a piece together to give to their father as a thank you for bringing them up.

The two ethnic groups that weave Kente are the Ewe and the Asante. Who started it first? It depends who you ask. Although they tend to copy each other’s designs, the Ewe Kente is recognized by the symbols woven into it and traditionally the Asante Kente is geometric.

If you’d like to know more, two good books are AFRICAN MAJESTY: The textile art of the Ashanti and Ewe and   The Art of African Textiles by John Picton.

ABA House

Much of our local work has to do with working with children at Aba House in the small village of Nungua. Programs help the local children to develop their creativity by teaching how to use tools for expanding their imagination and craftsmanship. The organization also supports the children by providing them with school materials and other necessities. We bring volunteers and artists from different cultures together in a supportive environment where they can get to know each other through the language of art. At the core of our program is the belief that interaction between African and non-African cultures is mutually enriching.

This video gives you a little taste of what it’s like for us in Ghana and at ABA House:

 

We invite you to connect with us in whatever way you can! The world is big and small, different and the same…

http://www.culturalcollaborative.org

Follow us on Facebook!

Do you have any questions about Ghana, Aba House, or our programs? Leave a comment and I’ll be happy to respond.

tour_ghana

One of our past textile workshops, all wrapped in Kente!

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Join Astronaut Karen Nyberg in Creating a Space Quilt for the 2014 Houston Show! http://www.tafalist.com/astronaut-karen-nyberg-space-quilt/ http://www.tafalist.com/astronaut-karen-nyberg-space-quilt/#comments Mon, 04 Nov 2013 18:50:48 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=11960

Astronauts seem to be having a lot of fun in space these days!  Just the other day, I saw an interview with astronaut Chris Hadfield on one of the blogs I subscribe to, Six Pixels of Separation, and that led me to over an hour of watching videos of Chris showing the complexities of getting […]

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Astronaut Karen Nyberg quilting in space.

Astronaut Karen Nyberg quilting in space.

Astronauts seem to be having a lot of fun in space these days!  Just the other day, I saw an interview with astronaut Chris Hadfield on one of the blogs I subscribe to, Six Pixels of Separation, and that led me to over an hour of watching videos of Chris showing the complexities of getting basic things done without gravity: clipping your nails, shaving, and even crying. (Tears don’t run down your face. They just form a big blob.) Stuff I had never thought about. He performs a great rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddities here:

 

Hadfield generated a huge following by using social media, tweeting with Captain Kirk and others, reporting on what he was seeing, and awakening great interest in what’s out there, in that big place beyond our planet we call Earth. He is back on the ground, but Karen is up there with needles, scissors and thread!  Not an easy task! Have you ever thought about cutting fabric with no gravity? About needles and pins that might float around?

Karen shows us a bit about what it’s like to be a quilter in space. She also invites us to participate in a community project where her quilt block will be added to others for the 2014 Houston Show:

 

The YouTube info:

Astronaut Karen Hadfield sewing in space.

 

NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg, a lifelong lover of sewing, is inviting fellow crafters to join her in stitching together a global community space quilt.

Nyberg, in the final weeks of her mission, recently shared a star-themed quilt square she was able to complete inside the International Space Station. Now, she’s inviting quilters from the public to create their own star-themed quilt squares to help celebrate her mission and passion for the quilting arts.

The International Quilt Festival and Nyberg will work together to have the squares stitched together for display at the 40th annual International Quilt Festival in 2014 and other public displays.

 

Nyberg’s complete biography

Nyberg’s personal sewing hobbies

 

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Pretty funny to see her hair flying all over the place, isn’t it? Another thing I hadn’t thought about. (And, I’ve watched a lot of sci-fi movies…) How does she wash it? They have to be very careful about water consumption even though all of their fluids and body wastes are recycled and purified, re-capturing 97% of the water used on board. Hadfield talks about this in one of his videos. Well, Karen demonstrates how she keeps her locks clean:

Isn’t this fun? If you have kids, building a block together for Karen’s project would be a great way to stimulate interest in both the space program and in the textile arts!  Details here.

A couple of starry TAFA quilts:

Kalahari Quilts

Kalahari Quilts

 

Ann Harwell Art

Ann Harwell Art

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Fall Inspiration from our Textile and Fiber Artists http://www.tafalist.com/fall-inspiration-from-textile-and-fiber-artists/ http://www.tafalist.com/fall-inspiration-from-textile-and-fiber-artists/#comments Sat, 02 Nov 2013 17:37:26 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=11918

Leaves are falling, blowing around outside. Orange, yellow, brown and green… Changes of seasons, life to death to life again… rest and renewal. Fall inspiration from our textile and fiber artists on TAFA! Click on the images to visit our Member Profiles and be inspired!

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Banner Mountain Textiles

Banner Mountain Textiles

Leaves are falling, blowing around outside. Orange, yellow, brown and green…

Changes of seasons, life to death to life again… rest and renewal.

Fall inspiration from our textile and fiber artists on TAFA!

Click on the images to visit our Member Profiles and be inspired!

Bozena Wojtaszek

Bozena Wojtaszek

Donna Lorraine Contractor

Donna Lorraine Contractor

elena rosenberg

Elena Rosenberg

fabric8tions Art Quilt

fabric8tions Art Quilt

farburvur

Softie by Farburvur

Fuzzy Logic Felt

Fuzzy Logic Felt

linda j mendelson

Linda J Mendelson sweater

Linda Marcille

Linda Marcille Art on Cloth

long ridge farm

Long Ridge Farm

maiwa dye supplies

Maiwa natural dyes.

martha hall

Martha Hall Textile Art

nicky perryman

Nicky Perryman Textiles

peaceofpi

peaceofpi Studio

plumfish

plumfish creations

quick2listen

Quick2Listen

rensfibreart

rensfibreart

textiil

Textiil

threads of peru

Threads of Peru

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Featured Artist: Colin’s Creatures http://www.tafalist.com/featured-artist-colins-creatures/ http://www.tafalist.com/featured-artist-colins-creatures/#comments Tue, 29 Oct 2013 17:51:50 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=11865

I have one problem with Colin Richmond’s creatures. I want them all. Most of the creatures, such as the sheep and goats, have heads, horns, and climbs made from cast porcelain; the artist carved each piece and then created the molds. Details, such as eyes or a pink tongue, are painted once the clay is […]

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Cotswold Ewe Kissing Lamb

Cotswold Ewe Kissing Lamb

I have one problem with Colin Richmond’s creatures.

I want them all.

Most of the creatures, such as the sheep and goats, have heads, horns, and climbs made from cast porcelain; the artist carved each piece and then created the molds. Details, such as eyes or a pink tongue, are painted once the clay is fired.

The sturdy body of each creature is carved from hydrostone. For sheep and goats, Richmond covers the stone in the same woven alpaca or mohair used on the fine Steiff stuffed teddy bears. Other figures, such as the lion, have more exposed porcelain and stone with a faux fur mane.

Richmond takes great care in his research, trying to meet each breed in person to study their appearance and character. He plans to add more types of animals in the future, including whimsical and cheeky holiday creatures sporting caps, stockings, or elf boots.

In this video, Richmond explains his process, showing the creatures in various stages of development. A beautiful, intimate look into his studio…

 

 

See? Not so easy to pick one out, is it?

Colin Richmond enjoys opening his studio in Asheville, North Carolina, to visitors. He said people tend to gravitate to “their” creature right away. He’s also a savvy marketer. Besides welcoming visitors, the main website features a “Creature Club” to connect with customers, provide special offers, and receive feedback on experiments with new sculptures. Richmond’s website also has a Wish List.

Visit Colin’s Creatures on TAFA:

Colin’s Creatures

Reindeer Elf Sheep

Reindeer Elf Sheep

 

 

by Kate BarsottiTAFA Reporter

rattie-clothes-face

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Etsy’s New Guidelines: Reaction? Action! http://www.tafalist.com/etsys-new-guidelines-reaction-action/ http://www.tafalist.com/etsys-new-guidelines-reaction-action/#comments Fri, 18 Oct 2013 22:50:13 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=11751

A month ago I wrote a post here called “Selling on Etsy“, basically trying to cover some of the basic advantages and challenges of having a shop there. Soon after that post, Etsy announced new guidelines that have pretty much rocked our virtual world. This post seeks to address what these guidelines might mean for […]

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A month ago I wrote a post here called “Selling on Etsy“, basically trying to cover some of the basic advantages and challenges of having a shop there. Soon after that post, Etsy announced new guidelines that have pretty much rocked our virtual world. This post seeks to address what these guidelines might mean for those of us who sell there.

TAFA has over 500 members now and more than half of us have shops on Etsy. Some of us have been there almost since the beginning and others have jumped in more recently. Most TAFA members have a physical product to sell, while others are more conceptual or offer a service that is connected to the handmade textile and fiber art niche. Our mission seeks to help all of our members reach wider markets and as part of that, offering technical assistance and improving business skills is front and central to how we communicate as a group. All of TAFA’s members must have a web presence in order to join. This means that if we have a product to sell, most of us need a shopping cart system which we can use to get our products out to the world. Basically, we have two options: run a self-hosted site or become a part of of a marketplace. Selling through a marketplace offers many advantages, of which having site traffic is the most important. Etsy, as a marketplace, has been the darling of the online handmade community for many reasons:

  • The listing process is fairly easy.
  • Fees are reasonable.
  • It’s now the largest market after eBay and Amazon.
  • It has invested a great deal into providing business tutorials and support.

Most importantly, Etsy has been built by a loyal following of both sellers and buyers who have subscribed to the “Handmade Revolution”, envisioning a world where handmade products have value in terms of the materials used, labor, and authorship. This goes hand in hand with many of the other movements that seek to green the world, from organic food production to recycling.

So, Etsy has seemed like a good fit for TAFA members and we now have a sizable destination there with over 4,000 products, from supplies to high end art quilts and weavings. This shows you our quilts there, 267 of them:

quilts

The New Guidelines

Etsy’s new guidelines point to three main principles: Authorship, Responsibility and Transparency. Then, they spell it out with the following statements:

  • The size of your shop is up to you.

    Hire help if you need it or collaborate, even from different locations. Everyone who helps you make handmade items should be listed on your shop’s About page.

  • You can use shipping and fulfillment services.

    If it’s right for your business you can let someone else handle these logistics. Keep in mind that shop owners are ultimately responsible for buyers’ customer service experience.

  • Manufacturers can help you produce your designs.

    Sellers create their handmade items in many different ways. Partnering with an outside business is okay, but we’ll require you to be honest about how your items are made.

Why are people upset?

There has been a problem with re-selling on Etsy for years and these new policies will make it even harder for artists selling on Etsy to get seen on the site. Re-sellers are forbidden, even under the new guidelines on Etsy, yet they are rampant on there. A re-seller is anyone who buys a new product from someone else in order to re-sell it. Sellers are allowed to offer their own work, vintage (over 20 years old) and supplies on Etsy. An example of a re-seller is someone buying new clothing that looks handmade, is artsy and fun, but it’s made in China, sold as handmade for a fraction of what actual designers could charge. An example might be these Thai Fisherman Pants selling for $10:

Thai fisherman pants

The differences in currencies and economies make it hard to know whether something is actually being made in a factory or not, but from my experience with fair trade groups, a $10 pair of pants triggers alarms in my mind: someone is not getting a fair wage….

The new guidelines means that anyone can now design a pair of pants, have it made in another country, sell it on Etsy and use the Handmade category. Martha Stewart could sell her products on Etsy, if she shows Authorship, Responsibility and Transparency. So, the cost of goods is one reason people are really upset.

Etsy staff have responded to questions and to the panic and have set up a Most Frequently Asked Questions page, addressing some of the top issues. They are setting a new approval system in place where sellers using “manufactured” processes (factories, etc), must apply and then state how their things are made in their About page. They believe that they will be able to enforce this, but the site is already over run with commercially made products that have nothing to do with the handmade culture. Does this fit with your idea of a handmade product?

usb cables on etsy

Re-defining Handmade

Etsy is basically trying to re-define handmade. There is nothing wrong with supporting designers, but they are separating the production process from the product, and that is central to what a handmade product is. All products have a designer. Anything found in Walmart or created in sweat shops was thought up (or copied) by someone. If Etsy had created a separate designer category, perhaps there would have been more acceptance towards these new guidelines. But, in my view, these new guidelines actually penalize the heart of the organization: the artist and crafters who create their own products. The other two categories, Supplies and Vintage seem to be able to continue on with business as usual even though there are many violators in both of those areas as well. The vintage section is loaded with thrift store stuff that is less than 20 years old.

Even though the word handmade is no longer found in Etsy’s mission statement, the tagline on its search result is: Buy and sell handmade or vintage items, art and supplies on Etsy, the world’s most vibrant handmade marketplace.  Their About page states:

[quote author=”Etsy” image=”” w=”” h=”” image_align=””]Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. Our mission is to re-imagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world.[/quote]

“Commerce” can mean anything!  “Unique”? These vagaries just blow open so many holes and dilute what has been a somewhat defined marketplace for the handmade crowd. There is genuine angst and feelings of betrayel throughout the Etsy community as they see a great idea, a home to many, basically appear to sell out to what can be readily found at any box store.

Traffic and Search

I’ve spent a lot of time pouring over comments and threads on other forums, trying to understand what this might mean for our TAFA members. The biggest question I have for myself is, “Do I continue to encourage our members to open shop or even stay on at Etsy?” We could just say, “Ok, so it’s no longer a handmade destination and things are going to really start looking like eBay over there. If we just accept that, we can still benefit from all of the traffic that is there, right? Hmmm….  it doesn’t look like it.

I sold on eBay for 9 years, then I joined Etsy in its second year, maintained both shops for about a year and finally closed my eBay shop because I found it hard to maintain two places and identified more with Etsy’s culture. I did well on Etsy in those early years. My shop was visible and I’ve sold over 1,600 products there. The first barrier to finding my shop on search there happened when they changed Search to default to handmade. Although I also make my own things, the bulk of what I offer are handmade supplies and vintage textiles, along with other vintage things like stereoview cards. I don’t even remember when that happened, but there was a huge uproar as we pay the same fees for all three types of products and all of a sudden, didn’t have the same access.

Then, we were told to change our listings as the first three words in the title would carry the most weight in search results. It takes hours to make these kinds of changes, but I did them. Suddenly, a year ago in November, traffic almost completely stopped to my shop. I thought it was just because I spend most of my time and energy on TAFA, that I was to blame, etc. But, other TAFA members noticed it, too. Now, in preparing for this post, I saw many references to Etsy diverting traffic from handmade products to the re-seller ones because they are more profitable. !!! ????  It doesn’t really make sense to me, because you would think that selling an artist made pair of pants for $120 would be more efficient than having to sell 12 fisherman pants for $10 each. Accusations were also made about Etsy staff playing with search algorithms and results creating chaotic results. Apparently, they are now inserting their own tags (test phase) which is landing products into irrelevant categories. There is nothing more frustrating for a potential buyer than having to weed through pages of irrelevant search results to find what they are looking for. Chad Dickerson, Etsy’s CEO, made my eyebrows curl in this interview when he jokingly talked about how Etsy engineers are all hackers and enjoy throwing wrenches into the system to see what happens.

To make things even more confusing, Google has recently changed how search works, launching Hummingbird, it’s latest search algorithm. In a nutshell, it makes keywords irrelevant and content king. I’ve installed an SEO plugin for this site which operates on this same principle and you get a green button on the back end if you have done everything right. I think I’ve gotten one green button so far. Intelligent search tries to assess the meaning of the content and then generate results that interpret that as closely as possible. There is a lot of talk about this on Etsy’s forums because apparently Hummingbird is causing Etsy shops to disappear from search results. This thread talks about possible reasons and emphasizes understanding how to tailor shop listings to both Google and Etsy search results. Another thread talks about how there seems to be favoritism in search results as the same sellers show up first, even if they have the same tags and listing titles as others who are not showing up. Apparently, both Google and Etsy now have formulas that also weigh in how much that product shows up elsewhere (pinterest, facebook, etc.). Social media promotion adds to the product’s relevancy.

It sounds like you basically have to have a master’s degree in Geekhood to figure out how to get found now. If that is the case, then maybe there is no real benefit from being in a huge marketplace like Etsy.

TAFA's handmade jewelry on Etsy

Mutings and Shop Closures

The other complaint I saw everywhere had to do with frustrations in how Etsy staff handle forum threads, adversity and shops. I mentioned this in the other post and will not go into it much here, but just want to throw it into the soup as a measure of what needs to be thought about. When I first joined Etsy, the forum was a vast community where tons of knowledge was shared openly among members. There was also dissent, complaining, and whining, but the majority were seriously focused on how to best use the technical resources that were available. I learned loads over there. Most of those forums were closed down a couple of years ago and Etsy moved to a “Team” structure. If you had a common topic, create a team and explore it there. Originally, Teams were designed to bring products together based on common ground (type of product, materials used, location, etc.). So, the Forums lost their unity and the Teams became diluted. Comments on many of the articles on the New Guidelines referenced many sellers on Etsy who have been muted for life (!) because they have been critical of Etsy policies. Shop closures have been reported. These actions encourage a culture of instability and fear. We actually moved our Team Forum off Etsy because several of our members expressed that they did not feel comfortable expressing themselves somewhere where Etsy staff could read what they said.

Reaction? Action!

In order to understand better how our members were feeling about what they saw happening on Etsy, I asked them to write a couple of sentences responding to these words: Reaction? Action? How do you feel about this and what are you going to do about it? I’m keeping their identities private (just in case….).

[hr]

Reaction: I’m not surprised that Etsy has moved in this direction – it seems that maybe they couldn’t monitor the shops well enough and so they are just giving in.

Action: I have been following all the discussions about the change to Etsy and it just confirms for me that having my own store on my own website is the best direction for me. I am in the process of having my website redesigned and it will include a shopping cart and I’ll begin promoting that rather than Etsy. I may keep a presence at Etsy just to direct people to my website, but I’m not sure about that yet. My sales at Etsy have always been sporadic (as has my listings there) so I’m not concerned with losing sales there. I really need to figure out how many sites I should have my work listed on and how many I am able to promote – I’m leaning towards only promoting my website.

[hr]

Reaction: Curious and observing how this develops. It has been going in this direction for some time now, but having it officially in print makes it more concrete.

Action: I’m actually seeing some positivity in this, in the sense that it’s making me explore additional venues. Just logging into TAFA is a huge bonus (we are not alone), and as an artist I get inspired by the huge amount of talent and voices represented here.

[hr]

Reaction: disappointed. How will buyers know what they are getting? The handmade ethos is what took Etsy into the black. Sad that everything is about only $$$.

Action: I have resurrected my Big Cartel site and I am setting up a website that will use it as my shopping cart. Although I will keep my main shop on Etsy for now but it will not be my focus. My 2nd shop will be closed.

[hr]

Reaction: Disappointed with Etsy that handmade is no longer a focus.  I think that they could still carve out a handmade section.

Action:  For now I will keep my quilts on Etsy and a few quilt patterns.  I can quickly move all of my quilts to my own store if I see a need to do that.  I would have trouble recommending Etsy to anyone looking for handmade unless they check out the seller or have purchased from them before.

[hr]

Reaction: interested to see what develops

Action: I’m going to continue with my plan which was and is to revitalize my Etsy shop as it is mostly static.

My thoughts are that Etsy is an easy to use website that I can use as my shopping cart. In the beginning I tried to do all the things that are recommended to get attention/sales on Etsy and have concluded that I don’t want to waste my time in that way. It’s my job to drive customers to my website and my shopping cart which for now is ETSY. I would prefer that ETSY truly represent the handmade community, but unless ETSY develops an unsavory reputation with the buying community I am okay staying there.

[hr]

Reaction: Sad and disappointed, yet not completely surprised. I have been on Etsy since 2007 and have seen the new in-coming blood chip away at the original version and goal of  Etsy, bit by bit. However, I am trying to stay positive and keep an open mind to possibilities, (that had not yet occurred to me) coming clearer into focus.

Action: For now, staying on Etsy and viewing it as an affordable and simple to manage shopping cart, keeping in mind that it is MY sole responsibility to promote items and drive traffic to my shop. My blog and Pinterest are currently the primary tools in doing this. Along with TAFA, I have also joined two more handmade focused teams on Etsy, that both use treasuries, to help gain exposure. My sales are stagnate, but favorites have greatly increased, which means those items are listed in more Etsy members feeds, causing a ripple effect in possible views, hopefully resulting in eventual sales.

I am also keeping my radar up, watching to see which on-line selling sites might eventually take the place of what Etsy use to be. I am not moving to a new site yet, but eventually see this happening.

[hr]

Reaction: I don’t see that it will effect me very much as I use Etsy as a convenient problem free selling platform and drive most of my own traffic there from my blog, Facebook and Pinterest. My shop is mostly empty as what I put in the shop usually sells straight away. I do keep a knitting pattern there and may add more patterns over time.

Action: none. I have been experimenting with other selling platforms such as Hyena cart and Indie cart which allow for a variety of selling methods such as lottery style draws, auctions and buy now, they also allow me to preview a doll before the selling date. I do however really like the book keeping tools on Etsy and I like being a part of that community, having it as a legitimate, well known and trusted selling  base to link to from my other places on the web.

[hr]

Reaction:  After I read the new guidelines I didn’t see where too much had changed, so I shrugged it off.  Then I started reading the forums on Etsy and all the complaints and claims of Etsy filling up with Ebay sellers, then I started to wonder.  Time will tell, I guess.  My shop is my hobby so I don’t obsess over these things.

Action:  Absolutely nothing.  Here’s why: You make your own sales and create your own traffic.  If you concern yourselves with what others are doing you will drive yourself crazy.   If you think your items will be harder to find in a search then don’t rely on search.  Use your own wits and ideas to get the customers to your shop.  If you put in the effort, you will get your rewards.  If your items don’t stand out from the crowd,  your sales will reflect that so don’t blame Etsy.

My mantra is “cream rises” and so it shall.

[hr]

Reaction: Saddened & disappointed with the changes in Etsy. I have a very small shop and am not dependent on it. I feel fortunate to have the venue. I haven’t been very focused on the selling aspect until fairly recently. I have found though, that it’s the one place where (on the web), I’ve been at all successful. It’s where I’ve found my best and repeat customers. I am paying attention to these discussions and checking out links, looking at other places…researching and wondering.

Action: For the time being I’m likely to continue with Etsy. I’ll have to re-think if I see things change even further.

[hr]

Reaction: Disappointment, but know that things were heading this way already. It certainly was a very good concept and obviously did not make enough $ for them.

Action: Wait, watch and see how things play out….there might be MORE traffic for me on Etsy because there is more searching going on. I’ve just made another sale last night. I am also tagging ”made by artist” and ”Made in USA” and ”original design” and ”one of a kind” as well as making sure that I have ”tafa team” on every item….before I had ”TAFA” but not necessarily using ’team’. I plan to stay on Etsy for now and see if people search for HAND MADE or some such tag….my sales might actually go up! What’s most important is that I will continue here on TAFA. I have always used Etsy as my cash register, and, since I cannot provide that for myself currently, I will continue for now….

[hr]

Our rebels: like any other group, we have members who don’t follow the rules. :)  These are comments from those who didn’t use the Reaction/Action format:

I don’t depend on the shop for my livelihood but I do have annual sales goals for my shop, which, I am very sure I will not achieve this year. But, this is not new. Every time Etsy makes a change, we lose control of our shop a little more. Although Etsy brings a lot of traffic, the chances of anybody finding a particular shop is totally random.

For a while, it seemed Facebook could be used to promote our shops. But, with FB is pursuit of that elusive ad revenues, it too has become quite unfriendly and opaque to business owners.

What I am considering is adding a paypal button on my blog. I do have a fairly active blog and I feel that it is one venue that is totally in my control and I have a good understanding of how to generate traffic to the blog. My only concern is  whether it will be safe from hacking.

[hr]

We’ve been on Etsy since 2007, but only really pushed to stock our shop there for the last three years, since we closed our brick and mortar shop. It’s been a good primary income until about 3 months ago when sales completely dropped off. Many other vintage rug dealers here in Turkey have added shops selling at not even 10% over cost, which is exactly what happened at ebay when I was one of the first selling suzanis 15 years ago. I do have a decent following with interior designers since we do custom work, and I refuse to drop pricing much, but do find myself offering more discounts to attract business. Pinterest has become the biggest driver of traffic to Etsy, followed by our site; Facebook is far less helpful. I’m currently pushing to develop other home decor, and will be gathering a group of artisans from Turkey and Eastern Europe together, using our own websites and contacts to sell wholesale and retail. I’ll keep the Etsy shop, but don’t see it as the business resource it once was, more as a marketing tool. I too think they’ve just given up trying to police shops since so many have been selling manufactured good for years.

[hr]

I sell my bead patterns there, but I am no longer making new ones. I am just trying to get rid of the ones that I still have. I won’t move that shop.

I’m now making art quilts and have a shop on Etsy, but when my sale periods run out in November, I will be closing it and selling on my own website and some other venues.

I also am making designer pillows with a friend/partner.  We will be selling mostly through interior designers, I hope.

I am also a writer and editor and make most of my income from those skills. Those customers have to come first, and my other work has to happen around that work, for now anyway.

[hr]

Think of Etsy as a business incubator, providing infrastructure for shops to grow.  Shops start out small.  Most die off,  Some remain small.  And others grow as they change in response to market demand.  I think that Etsy’s trend toward permitting more manufacturing to help the growing shops is inevitable.

In response, some shops may disappear from Etsy, but there will probably be a huge influx of other shops.

Shops will soon be required to have About pages disclosing how they receive production assistance.  In addition to their being a way for you to “tell your story,” they provide an incredible way for Etsy to gather data, to understand the whole process of market dynamics … how businesses grow in response to consumer demand.

Etsy can use this data for resource allocation, as it understands it revenue streams.

It might also identify what I will loosely term shop “size.” It’s for more complex than that, and a multi-dimensional metric will be needed to quantify it.  But conceptually, think of shops ranging from small to large … or from using slow hand processes to efficient manufacturing processes.  If it wants, it can then provide customers with a way to choose what kind of shops they want to look at, from small to medium to huge.

My guess is that this will happen, eventually.

How does this affect us, being mostly at the small end of things?  We could leave.  That doesn’t make much sense, because Etsy provides an excellent selling platform.  We can drive business to our shops from other places.  Good idea.  And we can continue to market on Etsy.  A customer choosing to look for stuff from a huge shop will never find our items.  But if a customer is interested in stuff from a tiny shop and we are clever in our own marketing, he might.

[hr]

I have been on Etsy since 2006 and sales on there have dipped year on year and increased on other avenues. Whilst it is easy to set-up an attractive and easy to use store I wonder if all the effort that goes in there is not better spent on my own website. Seeing as it requires just as much effort, I might as well spend it on a platform I have complete control.

I guess it is different for everyone. We all have out unique experiences. My instinct tells me to spend less time on Etsy.

[hr]

As you can see, most who shared are watching, thinking, evaluating. Meanwhile, there is a seller flight happening on Etsy. This has happened before. Something major shifts loyalties, people get fed up and leave en masse. Where are they going?

Zibbet

Two Australian guys are benefiting from the Etsy Exodus. With five staff, Zibbet’s site crashed as over 6,000 new shops opened up there in the last month, most coming from Etsy. Zibbet is no Etsy. It’s an ugly little place, but it has that same commitment to handmade (supplies and vintage are also allowed) and reports around the web extol how wonderful these guys are, participating in discussions, brainstorming with sellers, one big happy family. They are seeking funding to beautify the site and if they can do that, they will be more able to attract the higher end crowd. So far, in searching around there, it seems pretty crafty, with low end, easy to make crafts. From the beginning, Etsy was able to attract eye candy. It used to be an amazingly beautiful place to find handmade ART and high crafts. They are still there, just buried beneath usb cords and cell phone covers.

Will Zibbet succeed? Or, will they sell out once they get big enough? We have seen many markets come and go over the past two decades. What we do know is that there is definitely a niche market out there looking for a new home. Let’s hope that Zibbet can grow into something wonderful.

What about eBay?

I heard rumors of an eBay invasion, moving on over to Etsy en masse because of the new guidelines, so I went over to their forums and poked around a bit.  I was surprised to find a sorrowful and disappointed discussion about the new guidelines. The basic thread was that eBay also has been going through changes that affect search results for the little guy, that it wants to be the next Amazon, and that now Etsy wants to be the next eBay. They seemed truly sad to see the handmade mission take a dive.

What about this invasion?  I don’t know. I got tired. Does it really matter?

Action!

What to do? What to do? Like the others, I am watching, reading, trying to inform myself and will do nothing. The timing, just before our busiest season, is awful. I would like to see our TAFA Team members give our search results on Etsy a big push, driving traffic there. If people are looking for handmade textiles and fiber art, we have wonderful things! I am hoping that Etsy will see the sense in making some revisions and carving out a place for the handmade community, separating it from their new designer target. I would like to see them crack down on re-sellers, to improve search, to allow free speech, and to step into a leadership role that truly speaks out for a better world. We’ll see how it all falls into place as things settle, morph, change and become clear.

handmade supplies on etsy

More Reading

Google search results on Etsy search algorithms

Daily Dot review on Etsy’s new guidelines

Conditions of factory workers in China (toys)

General article on working conditions in China

More on Hummingbird Search

What About You?

Reaction?

Action?

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Wildcrafted Fibres From Laos http://www.tafalist.com/wildcrafted-fibres-laos/ http://www.tafalist.com/wildcrafted-fibres-laos/#comments Tue, 15 Oct 2013 14:30:41 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=11671

From TAFAList member TAMMACHAT Natural Textiles, Jan. 31, 2013, Northern Laos By Alleson Kase, co-founder, TAMMACHAT Natural Textiles Muang La, Oudomxai: After 3 days of travel – bus to Chiang Khong, boat to Pak Beng, bus to Oudomxai – we knew we needed at least 2 nights in Oudomxai (also spelled Oudomxay, Udomxai, Udomxay, Muang […]

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From TAFAList member TAMMACHAT Natural Textiles, Jan. 31, 2013, Northern Laos
By Alleson Kase, co-founder, TAMMACHAT Natural Textiles

Muang La, Oudomxai: After 3 days of travel – bus to Chiang Khong, boat to Pak Beng, bus to Oudomxai – we knew we needed at least 2 nights in Oudomxai (also spelled Oudomxay, Udomxai, Udomxay, Muang Xay, Xay Town). However, we’re having such a good time in the heart of Northern Laos, that we’ve already extended our stay here to 4 days.

On Day 2, we rented a Chinese motorbike (a Zongshen Cub, 100 cc semi-automatic 4-speed) and traveled up to Muang La, said to be one the fave places of Joe Cummings (of Lonely Planet fame). It was great riding through an undulating, narrow river valley with lots of agricultural diversity and as many ethnic groups.

Photo: rivers in northern Laos feed local people
 Laos is filled with rivers and mountains, fishing and foraging

We didn’t find the recommended Buddha footprint en route but we did find a local handicraft shop specializing in Khmu bark weaving. We’ve been wondering for years where a particular type of net bag comes from. Now we know!

Photo: Girls visit their mother in the Muang La craft shop
 A small craft shop sells local woven textiles

“Bark” is a bit of a misnomer. There were actually products made from 2 types of wildcrafted fibres that involve lots of processing and we bought some of both, of course.

The first is what Europeans once knew as bast. Long ago there, it was made from the inner bark of the linden tree. It’s likely what ropes on Viking ships were made from. As you might guess, it’s not used much anymore. Except here in Northern Laos there’s apparently lots. Here it’s called yaboi or lavang. (One’s allegedly female, the other male, but we didn’t get into that.)

Anyway, the Khmu people in Laos have long made fibre by processing the inner bark found between the outer bark and the woody core (technically, the nutrient-rich phloem from the dead epidermis and inner xylem) of their chosen tree – a labour-intensive process involving a really sharp knife and much patience.

Photo: stripped Yaboi bark is pounded, then ripped into strips
Stripped Yaboi bark is pounded, then ripped into strips

This must be dried, pounded, split into very thin strips and then twisted by hand, usually by rubbing it along a Khmu woman’s leg and then twisted again to join it into a continuous “yarn.” This can then be woven into narrow bolts of fabric, generally about 5 metres (or 6 yards) long.  Depending on the season and the tree (remember that gender thing?) the colour will vary from off-white to deep brown.

So, we bought 2 rolls of this fiber, about 32 cm wide and 6 metres long, to make…something unique.

Photo: Yaboi bark fabric is tightly handwoven and strong

 

We also found those net bags we’d seen in markets and souvenir shops (without provenance so we’ve never bought them before).

Photo: Kheupiad vine bags are strong and waterproof

 

This time we know where they came from, right down to the village, and how they were made. They’re made from kudzu vine, which the Khmu call kheuapiad.

Photo: Khmu woman harvests kheupiad vine in the jungle
Khmu woman harvests wild kheupiad vine

Rather than the invasive species we consider it in the West, this jungle vine has long been used by Khmu people to make fishing nets and netted bags. Unlike in Japan, where only the root is used for fibre, the upland people in Laos use the inner fiber. Like kudzu, it’s a time-consuming process to strip, dry, split and twist this into a workable fibre.

Photo: Khmu woman strips kheupiad vine to make yarn
Photo: Khmu women work with kheupiad vine
Photo: kheupiad vine strips ready to twist into yarn
Photo: twisting kheupiad vine into yarn

 

Traditionally, the resulting fine twine is netted with a piece of bamboo fashioned into something resembling a crochet hook. Like yaboi, it can be woven on a backstrap loom into narrow fabric. It can also be dyed as yarn before the final product is made.

Photo: Kheupiad vine yarn
Photo: kheupiad vine product

 

No surprise that when we headed back to Oudomxai town, the bike was more loaded than when we set off. Before going back, though, we had Lao PDR (please, don’t rush) lunch at a local café that allowed us to sample some the many vegetables we’d seen growing along the route. We also took time to stick our fingers in the local hot spring and, last but not least, stop at the Buddhist temple across the river that locals regard as THE destination for supplicants.

On our way out, Ellen noticed some young women and men dressed in ethnic dress too perfectly matching to be anything but staged. We followed them to the edge of a grassy area overlooking the river below and, sure enough, they were performing traditional Khmu songs and dances being recorded by a professional cameraman…and Ellen, of course.

Photo: traditional dancers in northern Laos

 

We have greatly enjoyed our time here in Oudomxai, the heart of Northern Laos, especially our discovery of new, interesting, wildcrafted fibres.

[Thanks to the Productivity and Marketing Center (PMC) for their generous sharing of many of the photos shown here and for much of this information about the making of these products. They support Village Productivity Groups and provide a link to potential customers. We bought some fibre products from the PMC in Oudomxai town and others from the handicraft centre in Muang La. You can contact the PMC directly to enquire about product development and purchasing: pmcmarketing.odx@gmail.com.]

For more stories of TAMMACHAT’s work with rural women artisans in Thailand and Laos, visit our blog. And for a more visual story, follow TAMMACHAT on Tumblr: Artisans. Textiles. Travel.

Two unique rolls of handmade yaboi fabric are available in TAMMACHAT’s online shop.

Photo: TAMMACHAT Natural Textiles' Yaboi bark fabric

Photo: TAMMACHAT Natural Textiles' Yaboi bark fabric

Alleson Kase, co-founder, TAMMACHAT Natural Textiles

Visit TAMMACHAT on TAFA!

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Facebook for Artists: A Basic “How To” http://www.tafalist.com/facebook-artists-basic/ http://www.tafalist.com/facebook-artists-basic/#comments Thu, 10 Oct 2013 23:39:48 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=11630

TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List could not have grown as quickly as it did without Facebook. It consistently is our number one referrer to our website after regular search engine results. Most of us who use it regularly expect other social media sites to have Facebook’s functionality and get annoyed when we can’t […]

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facebookTAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List could not have grown as quickly as it did without Facebook. It consistently is our number one referrer to our website after regular search engine results. Most of us who use it regularly expect other social media sites to have Facebook’s functionality and get annoyed when we can’t “like” something, post images (come on, LinkedIn!), or share easily to our various places there. Yet, this loyalty comes with some hesitation as most of us have a “love/hate” relationship with this monster of a site. The main reason for this is that it is NOT intuitive and you almost have to go to Facebook College to figure it all out and once you do, Facebook will change it on you next week. It’s almost impossible to write a tutorial about it as whatever is written will be outdated in no time.

For our purposes, I can only share what has worked for me and what I use, along with some tips that I hope will help our members and others make the most out of this exceptional platform. I will focus on business pages as most people figure out the basics of their personal pages, but will point out the differences between the two. At the end, you will find a couple of resources if you want to pursue your degree at the Facebook College.  :)

Beginner’s Guide

If you are totally befuddled about how to use Facebook, watch this video. Audrey gives a solid overview of the tools you should know about in navigating Facebook. Even if you feel pretty comfortable there, you might learn something new with her.


When I first started using Facebook, I almost went nuts with all of the stuff people shared, especially games and causes. Once I figured out that you can block these things out, Facebook became a much better experience for me. It’s been a great way to connect people from my past: I have friends from my childhood in Brazil, from our church there, the youth group I attended, other missionary families, then there were friends that surfaced from High School, College and my Chicago days.

Who is your “friend”?

At first, all of this was really fun. Then, friends of friends started wanting to connect. Vague connections or people who remember our family, but whom I don’t remember. Or, lots of online connections that are connected to other people that I interact with “virtually”. Now I’ve got almost 800 “friends” and most of them are people whom I have never met in real life. I could have thousands if I wanted to and I see many who do. But, why? Maybe some people are just more social than I am, but I find that I just can’t handle that much interaction on this level. When I get a friend request, I check out that person’s page and see if we have any common ground. If they seem interesting, I accept, but if it becomes clear that it’s just going to be about “noise”, I quietly “unfriend”.

What about the annoying ones?

Some people document their every move online. I just went to the bathroom! Just crossed the street! Just ate green jello! Or, it’s on and on about politics, relationships, babies, dogs, etc. Whatever it is, someone you really care about, might rub you the wrong way online or just vomit out too much information. You can hide them from your feed and still keep them as friends.

I have found that I have very little time for socializing online like this anymore, so I rarely even check my feed. But, when the mood hits, it’s there and I can visit the feed or I can go on over to a friend’s page and look at their pics, see how big their kids are getting, catch up, etc. Facebook is a tool and does not have to be an addiction! Think about this: are YOU one of the annoying ones? Basically, is the behavior online the same as it would be face-to-face?  I have friends on Facebook whom I avoid because their personal pages are loaded with images of abused animals or starving kids. I have love animals, have rescued dogs and birds, and I want to see an end to world poverty. But, I just can’t handle endless images of them. If we were enjoying a visit together, I know that these friends would have other things to talk about, so I don’t get the incessant preaching to the online community.

Your business could be annoying your friends!

This brings us to the core message that I have for this post:

Keep your personal and business pages separate!

Sure, they can mingle here and there, but there are important reasons to set up a business page if you are promoting it on Facebook. Let’s take a look.

facebook personal page

This is my personal page. I do share some of what I am working on here, but I try to share mostly other things that I think will interest people: personal news, personal photos I know my friends will enjoy, articles that I find thought provoking, stuff I am thinking about. This is the place where you can talk about that trip to the bathroom, the flowers, garden, kids, politics, etc. I enjoy having a diverse group of people on my personal page, but as I said, don’t use it as much as I would like to.

There are two other kinds of pages: Business and Group.

Business pages are what artists would set up for what they are promoting. Groups are set up for people who want to explore a topic together. They can be public, private and by invitation only. I have set up quite a few groups for TAFA when members and I worked on specific issues or projects. It’s a great place to collaborate! We also have a members only group which is our most dynamic sharing place. It’s easy to use, you can load documents, edit them as a group, share links, images, videos, etc., and our group there has been a truly special place for me. I also set up a group for the missionary families that were in Brazil and have a very small group for several friends who grew up together. I’m in the U.S, one is in our hometown in Brazil, another is in Panama and the other two are in Japan. Every now and then, we make it into that group at the same time and use the chat feature to talk. I usually end up laughing so hard because they are way too fast for me and super funny. There are groups about anything you can imagine on Facebook and it’s a great way to create communities.

The Business Page

This is where we focus on the main meat for this post. Here are some reasons why you should separate it from your personal page:

  • People might not want to be your “friend”. I get so annoyed when I want to follow a business, but they have set it up on a personal page. They might be OK with having the world have access to their friends and family, but it’s a two way street. If you are using a personal page to promote your business, you are forcing people to choose whether they want to share their private information with you. What if it’s a gallery owner who is interested in your work? Maybe that person is going through a divorce and has an intimate group of friends on Facebook and they don’t want strangers in on their private conversations. They are not going to friend you and you are losing out on a professional opportunity. Personal pages have different degrees of privacy and some people keep their intimate circle very small. I have a cousin whose personal page is invisible and you only know he is there if he reaches out to you.
  • Business pages are public. This means anyone can follow you and they also show up as search engine results. This is extremely important if you want people to find you on the internet.
  • There are Facebook tools that are only available to Business Pages. For example, we “like” our Member’s business pages using our TAFA identity and they show up in the Like Box on our page, creating almost a member directory of our members who have pages on Facebook. If someone were looking for textile and fiber art pages to follow or explore, they could go through our like box and find lots of gems. There are many apps that will only work on business pages.
  • It’s just good manners. Again, why slam your friends and family with what you are selling on Etsy?  They, yawn…………  already know about it and would rather know about when you last went to the bathroom. The people who follow your business page, however, have done so because they really are interested in knowing what you are selling and where they can find it.

I’m going to use Audrey again as a tutorial on how to set up a business page, if you have not already done so:

TAFA’s Page, An Example

Let’s take a look at how this is working for our page.

Facebook page top numbered

  1. Posting Identity: When you are navigating on other pages, you can like pages and post using your personal or business identity. This is especially important if you want that page to tag you. When we post member images on TAFA’s page, we try to tag the image with both their personal and business identities. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a good thing to do because it alerts the person that their image was posted and their friends and followers can also see that they are getting promoted somewhere. Hopefully, they will come to our page to check it out and maybe follow us, too.
  2. Posts notifications: This tells you how many people are seeing what you posted.
  3. Edit your page: go here to make changes on the info your page is showing. Whenever I join a new site, I click around on all of these links, especially in the setting to see how things work. Don’t be afraid to explore what a place has to offer you.
  4. Messages: they show up here for your page and NOT in your personal message area. For some reason, Facebook sends me copies of my personal messages to my email box, but not the ones to my business pages. And, they have recently been trying to monetize messages and have made it harder to connect with non-friends. One of the really annoying recent changes over there.
  5. Account notifications: Click on that world to see how people are responding to anything you have posted anywhere.
  6. Invite your friends: I have gone through my friends list and invited people whom I thought would be interested in following my various pages. But, I think it is better to share the page every now and then and let people decide for themselves if they want to follow it.
  7. Promote your page: Pay Facebook to promote your page. I’ve spent around $500 over time, promoting TAFA’s page. This was key to helping it grow as it force feeds posts into friends and their friends feeds. But, now we have almost 8,000 followers, so we are getting natural viral activity that happens as you get bigger.
  8. Banner: Make it fun! I’ve been using images from our 2012 Calendar and really think they have worked well for us.
  9. Logo: Don’t have one? It’s really important to establish a brand, a symbol that people can recognize on different sites. If you don’t have one, put it on your to-do list!
  10. About: Make sure to fill this out and add your links here. Many people don’t and any serious business relationship will look for more info about who you are, what you do and where you can be found.
  11. Photos: Click here to see photos that have been posted to the feed, albums and videos. I always click on this when I visit a new page.
  12. Apps: They add more pages to your page. There are many out there and you can find them doing searches on google or elsewhere. Ours lead to our main website, to our TAFA search results on Etsy, and to our Member Blog page.
  13. More stuff: Facebook only shows those four boxes but many of us have more installed. Click on that to see what else is hidden.

 

That was the top part of a page. A lot of info in there! Then we get to the main body of what we see:

Facebook page bottom numbered

 

 

14. Status box: This is where you enter your new post. They can be images or links. I have found that sharing images is the best way to get people to share what you post as they are visually bigger and draw more attention. Facebook just changed the image sizes to links and some are showing better than others.

15. Post with image: an example.

16. Invite friends: Showing up again. I guess Facebook wants you to invite your friends…

17. Recent posts by others: Facebook used to allow us to choose whether we wanted other people’s posts to show up in the main body of the page or not. I much preferred that as members could share their own announcements and images and it was much more collaborative. However, if you click on that box, you do get a nice display of what others have posted.

18. Data on post: this shows you how much activity a post has gotten.

19. Likes: The like box that I mentioned before. Most of ours are our members, along with other like-minded organizations which we would like to promote.

Tips! (Marketing Strategies for your Business Page)

Share varied content: It’s a lot harder to keep the momentum going with just your “stuff”. With TAFA, I find it easy to promote our members because I truly love what they are all doing. I go through our member list, check their blogs and see if there is something new to share. I also share our sponsors, member events, and anything else I can think of that has to do with the members. But, for a smaller business, it can be tough to come up with content that is not going to be repetitive. I think that sharing other artist’s work is a great way to build community and to keep your page interesting. Share only what you truly love (none of this promote me and I’ll promote you back nonsense.) Then, think of other things that support what you do and which might interest your audience. A quilter, for example, could show images of how quilts are displayed in homes and public places, information on how to clean, care or repair them, what kind of batting or tools are used, tutorials that seem like a good fit.

Share your process: Many artists share the progress on a project as they make and quite a few have successfully sold their work this way. People get curious and interested and have a much better understanding of how much time goes into a piece when they see the progress photos. Create an album for each project and continue to add to that album as you go and you will end up with a great portfolio!

Organize your images: I’ve created themed albums on TAFA and re-visit them from time to time so that I can add in new members and delete outdated images. This helps make things easier to find, too.

facebook albums

Our albums are full of eye candy and each time new things are added, new people see the older images that were loaded. This helps save time.

Invite participation: Ask your followers for their opinions on different things, encourage them to comment. Many people have successful giveaways on Facebook, something I have not tried. Be careful with Facebook policies as some things are against the rules and they can close down your page. One more of those things that is always changing.

How important are the number of followers?

I think they are important because they do help build that viral action that we all crave.  But, it’s much more valuable to have a truly interested following than thousands who are just looking for free stuff. Be true to who you are and those who really care will find you, but it takes time and persistence to build a good following. High numbers also assure newcomers to your page that you are serious about what you do and that you have worked at establishing a base. This is one of the things that we can offer our sponsors: visibility on our Facebook page.

The difference between “liking” and “sharing”.

When you “like” something, it shows up on the ticker that runs on the right hand side of your screen. Your friends who might be paying attention to that, might see it and might come and check it out.  “Sharing” is much more powerful! When you share something, it gets added to the feed. Choose where it is appropriate to share: personal, business or group? I use “like” more as a way to acknowledge that I saw something. If I really want other people to see something, I share it. Our images that get shared get much more viral traffic than the ones who are liked. So, if you want to support your fellow artist or business, SHARE IT!

Watch that ticker!

I mentioned the friend ticker above. It looks like this:

facebook friend ticker

If you hover over one of the entries, you will see a larger thumbnail of what is going on and can respond right from there, without visiting the page. It also tells you how many of your friends are active on Facebook at the time. The ticker moves quickly when there is a lot going on or stays at a standstill when there aren’t people online. If you are going to share something on your page and you get on there and see that the ticker is stopped, you might want to wait until it is busy. Many more people will see something as you post it. If they have a lot of friends, your info will disappear into their feed. Find out what times that ticker is moving the fastest and use that time to post your news.

Link you page!

Make it easy for people to follow your business page on your other sites. You can either load avatars and link to them or use this handy widget:

This is the code:

<remove this partiframe src=”http://www.facebook.com/plugins/likebox.php?id=352242502649&amp;width=400&amp;connections=12&amp;stream=true&amp;header=true&amp;height=587″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ style=”border:none; overflow:hidden; width:400px; height:587px;” allowtransparency=”true”></iframe>

Remove the orange text and change the id number (in green). That is TAFA’s id. Sometimes it is hard to find the id for a page and I’ve often had luck finding it by looking at images. You can change the width and the height so that it can fit a sidebar or in a post. Hover over the middle part and scroll and you can see the past posts. Very easy to follow a page this way if you like the content you see displayed.

Networked Blogs

If you have a blog, you might want to register it with Networked Blogs (do a search on Facebook and you will find it). It can post your blog automatically to your facebook page and others can also follow it and get it in their feed. Networked Blogs also has a handy reader so that if you do follow a lot of blogs on Facebook, you can see them all on one page:

facebook networked blogs

This about exhausts what I wanted to share on this post. There is so much more that one could go on ad nauseum.

Jon Loomer has made a career out of explaining Facebook to people. If you want to maximize your presence there and stay on top of all of the changes, follow him.

Then, I get emails from the Facebook Developers group announcing new changes. Most of it goes way over my head, in one eye and out the other. But, it alerts me to changes that might affect us and then I can try to understand more so that I can share it with our members.

Finally, you might want to check out Social Fixer.  This is an outside app which allows you to have more control over your Facebook experience. One of our members alerted me to them and I really like it. Funny thing is, I guess Facebook doesn’t like them and closed down their Facebook business page with no warning. The app still works and they still have a support group.  Go figure.

What about you?

Do you have any tips for our audience? What do you use, enjoy, dislike, etc? Share some of your insights of how Facebook has impacted your experience on the web.  We’d love to hear about it!

Questions? Most of these things have gobs of tutorials about them on YouTube and around on the web. Do some searching (like we all had to) and if you are really stuck, ask away and we’ll try to answer your questions.  Please share your business page’s link if you would like us to take a look.  (Maybe you will get some new followers!)

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TAFA on tumblr! Are you there? http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-on-tumblr-are-you-there/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-on-tumblr-are-you-there/#comments Wed, 25 Sep 2013 23:23:06 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=11151

Tumblr. has been around for quite a long time, but somehow we just never made it over there. However, we finally set up a place there and hope to find our niche. Our new TAFA Market has a great posting feature, highlighting products from our different categories. We will post those over there and other news […]

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tumblr-logoTumblr. has been around for quite a long time, but somehow we just never made it over there. However, we finally set up a place there and hope to find our niche. Our new TAFA Market has a great posting feature, highlighting products from our different categories. We will post those over there and other news as we go along, plus we’ll share really cool stuff along the way.

We found some of our TAFA members, but need a bigger crowd to make it fun!

Would you like to tumblr along with us?

If you are over there, leave a comment with your link so that we can all find each other. Click on the image below to visit our spanking, brand new site on tumblr!

tafa on tumblr

Update (October 7):

Now that we’ve been there for a couple of weeks, I am loving it!  I’ve found some great people to follow and then others through the content they are posting. It is pure eye candy! For some reason, looking at one image at a time is easier for me to process than the sensory overload that I get at Pinterest. I especially like that you can create long sets (up to 10 images) as one post and they just look great!

I’ve also found a free theme that I really like:

tafa on tumblr

So, if you are over there, definitely connect with us!  http://tafalist.tumblr.com/

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Tapestry Commissions and Choices for the Home http://www.tafalist.com/tapestry-commissions-and-choices-for-the-home/ http://www.tafalist.com/tapestry-commissions-and-choices-for-the-home/#comments Mon, 23 Sep 2013 17:39:28 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=11122

Ulrika Leander shares her latest project, a commission celebrating 30 years of marriage. Learn more about Ulrika on TAFA. Living with a tapestry doesn’t require a castle. The interiors of many modern houses and apartments are truly amenable to them and a custom-designed, site-specific tapestry never fails to enrich the beauty of the home. About […]

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Downtown by Ulrika Leander of Contemporary Tapestry Weaving

“Downtown” by Ulrika Leander of Contemporary Tapestry Weaving

Ulrika Leander shares her latest project, a commission celebrating 30 years of marriage.

Learn more about Ulrika on TAFA.

Living with a tapestry doesn’t require a castle. The interiors of many modern houses and apartments are truly amenable to them and a custom-designed, site-specific tapestry never fails to enrich the beauty of the home.

About ten months ago a man called me up and told me that he wanted to commission a tapestry for his wife for their 30th wedding anniversary. I was rather amazed about the kind of gift he wanted for his wife; many men do not think further than jewelry for anniversary presents. However, this husband wanted something very special for their home, something that every day would remind them about thirty happy years together. He asked me if I thought he should discuss his idea with his wife and I immediately advised him to do so since a fairly large tapestry must be something both of them like and can imagine living with for the rest of their lives.

Our first meeting took place in my studio where I showed them images of previous commissions and also an ongoing tapestry on the loom so they could understand the process and the time and effort that goes into a hand-woven tapestry. Over the years I have kept all my designs which are very helpful in showing how I work and demonstrating the intensification of colors that occurs when the water-color design is magnified some 8-10 times in the final woven tapestry.

It was very good that the husband decided not to make this a surprise and involved his wife from the outset. In the early discussion he was convinced that she wanted a tapestry with flowers but what she really wanted was a tapestry with geese flying off from their water front property. It turns out that she has a love-hate relationship with the hundreds of geese that land and make a lot of noise and mess up their lawn. She is amazed by their beauty and power but also quite often runs out and chases them away.

The second meeting took place in their home and most of the time was spent discussing which wall would best lend itself for a tapestry. A few rules apply for siting a tapestry. Firstly, keep the tapestry out of direct sunlight; the sun is a killer. Secondly, keep the tapestry as free as possible from dirt, dust and sticky fingers and try to avoid large temperature changes; hanging a tapestry close to an active fireplace is not a good idea.

I must admit that this was the first ever commission during more than thirty-five years in this field that I have been asked to design and weave Canada geese. A new challenge and I was very eager to start working on a meaningful design for this couple.

I often try to make two or three designs to give the client choices. I never charge any design fee because I strongly believe that if the artist can’t come up with a design that pleases the client, it is the artist’s problem and the client shouldn’t have to pay for that. Below on the easel to the right is the design this couple picked. To personalize this design, I included thirty geese to mark the thirty years they have been married. The tapestry, which I named “Migration”, is slowly growing on the loom.

Geese flying

Migration Tapestry by Ulrika Leander

“Migration”
6ft x 4ft
Warp: 100% cotton
Weft: 100% wool (moth proofed)

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TAFA Market Feature: Dianne Koppisch Hricko http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-market-feature-dianne-koppisch-hricko/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-market-feature-dianne-koppisch-hricko/#comments Sun, 22 Sep 2013 17:09:24 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=11042

    Website TAFA Profile   Dianne has her studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA): “I am an artist who loves working with dyes and silks. My studio is in the Crane Arts building and is gorgeous, light filled and large enough to allow me to have two big padded print tables on which to make […]

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Dianne Koppisch Hricko

dianne_1portrait_web

 

 

Website

TAFA Profile

 

Dianne has her studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA):

“I am an artist who loves working with dyes and silks. My studio is in the Crane Arts building and is gorgeous, light filled and large enough to allow me to have two big padded print tables on which to make the items you see. Each item is one of a kind and any patterns that see were made by me. I spent years teaching high school art and now can practice what I preached.”

Click on any of the items below to visit her shop on Etsy.
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TAFA Market Feature: LoomOnTheLake http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-market-feature-loomonthelake/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-market-feature-loomonthelake/#comments Sat, 21 Sep 2013 22:45:07 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=11011

Lynn has a great name for her business, Loom on the Lake, as her New York studio actually does look out on to a lake!  She poetically describes what moves her: “As a mathematician and physicist, I see beauty in abstract mathematical concepts, crystals, and the stars. As a musician playing the recorder, I hear […]

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LoomOnTheLake

Lynn has a great name for her business, Loom on the Lake, as her New York studio actually does look out on to a lake!  She poetically describes what moves her:

“As a mathematician and physicist, I see beauty in abstract mathematical concepts, crystals, and the stars.

As a musician playing the recorder, I hear beauty in the flow of music.

As one who loves nature, I see beauty in the waves on the lake, the clouds,the mountains.

And as a weaver, I create beauty in my intricate scarves.”

Lynn at loom

Shop

TAFA Profile

 

 

 

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Click on any of the images below to visit Lynn’s shop on Etsy:


Visit our TAFA Market to see our other Member Shops!

a Market Banner

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TAFA Market: Using Merchpin to Create a Marketplace http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-market-using-merchpin-to-create-a-marketplace/ http://www.tafalist.com/tafa-market-using-merchpin-to-create-a-marketplace/#comments Sun, 15 Sep 2013 23:05:48 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=10768

I wrote an article about Selling on Etsy recently that spurned quite a bit of interest. Little did I know that it would dramatically change how I spent my time in the following weeks! The comments and other discussions taking place in our Forum and in our Facebook group clearly pointed to the angst many […]

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tafa market horizontal

I wrote an article about Selling on Etsy recently that spurned quite a bit of interest. Little did I know that it would dramatically change how I spent my time in the following weeks! The comments and other discussions taking place in our Forum and in our Facebook group clearly pointed to the angst many of us are feeling with Etsy’s choices and direction. The two biggest issues (look for them on your favorite search engine) have to do with all of the re-seller products that are now sold on Etsy and with a change in the feedback system between sellers and buyers.

Re-seller products are basically junky items that can be purchased in mass and are resold, clearly violating Etsy’s original mission and their current rules. There is so much now, that it is impossible to control it. Etsy also no longer has the word “handmade” as a part of their mission, so it might just be a part of their plan for the future.

The feedback system has been based on “positive” or “negative” reviews between both sellers and buyers. That has now suddenly changed to a five-star system for sellers only, creating a fear that their rating will go down as many people don’t give 5 stars as nobody is perfect…  but, more than that, the change has also impacted customers who may feel that their support of the site and their historical relationships with sellers has been wiped out without warning, along with cute thank you photos that were exchanged between both.

Navigating around the web shows extreme discontent with Etsy these days. It’s a shame because I still think it is one of the nicest shopping cart solutions out there and Etsy has contributed so much in staff time and in documentation of resources that have helped so many small businesses improve and succeed at what they do.

One of the comments left on my post was by Beverly Rustica whom I have had some contact with over the years because of her work with Indie Artisans. Beverly makes beautiful drawer knobs and other things out of beach glass and clay, selling them from her Sea Glass and Knobs site:

Sea Glass KnobsSea Glass Knobs by Beachy Rustica

It turns out that both of us have had some parallel experiences on other marketplaces, including the now defunct 1,000 Markets. Beverly has also worked with several of our TAFA members in the past. Boiling it down, she has been embedded into the handmade movement and its mutations for many years. Her comment basically encouraged me to take a look at Merchpin as a marketplace option for our TAFA members.  From time to time, the longing for our own marketplace comes up (where each member could have their own shop) and all along I have rejected that as a possibility because it would mean hiring staff, dealing with customer service and delving into technical issues that I can’t resolve on my own. Etsy’s current crisis made me look at what options are out there for us and I concluded that we are just not there yet. However, Beverly’s Merchpin solution was viable.

In a nutshell: Once you sign up with Merchpin, it creates a catalog for you and is able to synch with several different platforms including Etsy. It pulls all of the products into a searchable database which you can then use to create curated collections. For example, type in quilt in their search and all of the items that use quilt in the title or tags pop up into a list. From that list, you can choose which products you want to use and then assign a new keyword for them.  Beverly runs a site that has a beach theme and is using Merchpin:

boardwalk artisans

In order to understand how it works, I used some TAFA members as guinea pigs and loved the potential! But, I also saw that this was going to be a lot of work and it’s a sizable financial commitment for me at $99/month. In order to make it work, members would have to pay a set up fee and a monthly maintenance fee. I figured that if ten of them signed up, I would go for it.

TAFA’s Market is now up!

Visit TAFA's Market

How it Works

I’ve created several themed pages where products can be shown in different ways. The easiest way to manage what shows on the pages is to use keywords that are logical like wool bag, blue scarf, etc. But, I have found that this is too random of a selection and doesn’t control who is showing enough. As our product selection increases, my goal is to have tightly curated pages that will feature carefully selected products that work well together, giving as many participating members as much visibility as possible. Etsy has a popular tool that reminds me of this, Treasuries that are created and shared by both buyers and sellers. They are often quite stunning and fun. Click on the image and you land on that product’s shop. The same is true here: click and you go to wherever that item is hosted.

The beauty of this is that it is not Etsy-centric. Merchpin supports many other shopping cart systems, including Big Cartel, which many of our TAFA members use.

merch

This is exciting because it means that we can be much more inclusive about creating something that members who have their own site carts can also use. If we all direct our followers to this common Market, then we all have much more potential to be seen and to bring new people on over to wherever we are. The code can also be pasted anywhere. Our new forum is only a couple of months old and if I had known that we would be doing this, I would have named the site something else. The Forum area will soon be visible only to members who are logged in, leaving the Market, Blog and a few other pages as the ones that are visible to the public. It’s a bit strange to have TAFA’s market have the forum as its host url, but for now, it’s what we will use. We can create special collections which members can also paste on their own sites and blogs if they want to. I really believe in joint marketing and this system has many possibilities which I haven’t even tested yet, including a Facebook app which we can install on our Facebook page.

Beverly thinks that this will be the next big trend in group merchandising. Instead of investing time in promoting our shopping cart sites, we promote a destination that will host us no matter what changes we make on the back-end. For example, let’s say someone has a shop on Etsy and they decide that it is time to have a shopping cart on their own site. We delete the Etsy feed and add the new one. It might involve some re-tagging of their things to get them to show in the right collections again, but it’s not a major task for most shops. I can imagine like-minded friends banding together for featuring their products together, either on a main site or on a page on their site. Merchpin’s code works well anywhere. Beverly has been using Blogger and we’re using WordPress.

home-slide3

One thing that I really liked: how the products display can be customized to fit into your blog or site. That’s a biggie in my book!

The Downside of Merchpin

It’s not intuitive and there is little documentation. Beverly has been using this for quite some time and she has been helping me along. She has spent countless hours this past week explaining things to me and I consider myself to be pretty techy. Without her, I would have given up.  On the site there is a link to review their extensive tutorials and there is only one short video there.

No staff contact.  I was expecting some direct interaction with the staff but so far that hasn’t been forthcoming. Beverly and the site developer do have an agreement that she would help train groups, so that’s fine. She has gone above and beyond any expectations of what we see with tech assistants these days. But, I’ve had a couple of questions that are critical for us, and haven’t received any developer response or comments.  I’m told by Beverly that he is very nice, so at least that is reassuring.  (!)

The pricing does not make sense:

pricing

Who would pay $9/month to show 20 products? If you have an Etsy shop, you can post your Etsy mini around for free. Here are 25 products from my shop in a mini:

And, if you have a group of people, reaching the 250 products limit for the $39/month plan will happen in a twinkle. Part of the problem is that although you can deactivate items from showing up on your site, they still show up in your main catalog on Merchpin and count as products, even if you aren’t going to use them. They get in the way as you can’t delete them from your results there and show up when you are doing keyword searches. It would be great to delete all products that don’t fit in our theme, ugly photos, etc. and only look at what might be used. The developer has waived the 1,000 item limit on the $99/month plan which is the only thing that makes sense for Beverly and for TAFA. She has over 4,000 items in her cart and ours will reach that quickly as well.  He has given her the freedom to give others the discount and if you are interested in setting you your own market with no limit, use this link.

Here is what I think would work better:

  • Forget the impressions. They are irrelevant. What matters is not how many times something is seen, but whether the right crowd is seeing it. I don’t see how that affects performance issues with the Merchpin site. Holding significant amounts of inventory in a catalog, however, could end up costing extra server space. I haven’t tried the targeting rules yet, so don’t really know how that would impact us.
  • Create some kind of a bounce system for unwanted items that get kicked out of the selection. Items go into a holding area for approval and if rejected, they are not allowed back in but are reviewed each time they are re-listed or renewed on the host site. The remaining items count towards the Merchpin total.
  • Price categories: $9/month for 100 products, $25/month for 250 products, $50/month for 750 products, $99/month for unlimited. This would attract more small groups that might limit themselves to the 750 products. I can see the $9/month appealing to people who might want to arrange their shop on their blog or website. I would even consider that for mine! :)  (He’ll make more money if he listens to me…)

 

There are many other little things that are just annoying but most have workarounds that Beverly has figured out. I am going to put all of her tips into one manual format to make it easier to review and to remember. Both of us see Merchpin as a genius solution to something so many of us are struggling with in terms of doing joint marketing. I can see groups organize around all kinds of products: gardening, books, classes, homeschooling, church groups….  If it’s on a shopping cart it could be Merchpinned.  (I created a new verb!) Hopefully, the developer will see this potential and make it more user-friendly so that we can spend more time marketing what we’ve set up instead of struggling to do the set up. Even at the stage that it’s in, I highly recommend it as an option for those of you who already operate in a community and have products you can market jointly.

Visit and share!

Go visit our TAFA Market and share with your friends! Check back often as we continue to develop it, add products and pages and curate new collections. True eye candy! And, if you buy something, you will be spreading that happiness factor that comes with supporting the handmade way of life. We truly appreciate your support!

Untitled-1

Do you have questions about Merchpin? Feedback on what we are doing? Special requests?

Both Beverly and I can answer your questions here, so feel free to ask!

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Selling on Etsy http://www.tafalist.com/selling-on-etsy/ http://www.tafalist.com/selling-on-etsy/#comments Sun, 18 Aug 2013 04:05:58 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=10235

There are three options for those who want to sell online: Open a merchant account and have a shopping cart on a personally hosted site. Use Pay Pal to install payment buttons on products on our site. Use a marketplace to host our items. (eBay, Etsy, Big Cartel, and others). Of these, hosting your own […]

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TAFA search page results on Etsy with team badge

There are three options for those who want to sell online:

  1. Open a merchant account and have a shopping cart on a personally hosted site.
  2. Use Pay Pal to install payment buttons on products on our site.
  3. Use a marketplace to host our items. (eBay, Etsy, Big Cartel, and others).

Of these, hosting your own shopping cart on your own site would be ideal. However, self-hosting invites barriers which can overwhelm some people: monthly fees, SSL certificates for secure shopping, and inventory management all demand a certain amount of technical ability, financial investment and discipline. Joining a marketplace might make more sense for smaller shops or for those who want to use the inbuilt tools offered on that site.

Half of our TAFA Members have shops on Etsy and I have encouraged newbie sellers to use Etsy as I believe that it offers the best tools for the most affordable price. As with anything else, there are positives and negatives about being there. Let’s take a look at some of the things to consider.

Etsy’s Reach

Etsy was launched in 2005, making it eight years old. In it’s first years, it truly felt like a handmade community. It positioned itself as the top handmade market online and it truly had an impressive impact on the Do-It-Yourself and Handmade movement. The mission has become a bit vague nowadays:

[quote author=”Etsy Mission” image=”” w=”” h=”” image_align=””]

Etsy is the marketplace we make together.

Our mission is to re-imagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world.

  • We are a mindful, transparent, and humane business.
  • We plan and build for the long term.
  • We value craftsmanship in all we make.
  • We believe fun should be part of everything we do.
  • We keep it real, always.

[/quote]

Their team has grown in size and if you take a look at their pics, you will see a young, fun group: Etsy’s Team. For a long time, that youthful zeal translated into experimental strategies for the site and ignored important seller tools. New leadership has brought maturity and sellers now have access to information and data that can help improve strategies and decision-making. Etsy has always avoided direct marketing but instead, chose to focus on building community and growing its reach through word-of-mouth. Overall sales are robust. Here is their June 2013 report:

[quote author=”Etsy Blog” image=”” w=”” h=”” image_align=””]

We’ve got your summer reading list right here! Check out the monthly stats for a dose of knowledge, such as a 51.5% increase from June 2012′s to June 2013′s total of dollars of goods sold. (At the same time, items sold were up 38.1% year over year.)

The stats:

  • $93.8 million of goods  (after refunds and cancellations) were sold by our community in June, 8.8% lower than May’s $102.9
  • That represents 4,074,923 items sold for the month, 7.2% lower than May’s 4,391,101
  • 2,613,652 items were listed in the month, 8.5% lower than May’s 2,855,505
  • 922,443 new members joined the Etsy community in the month, 5.6% lower than May’s 977,061
  • 1.62 billion page views were recorded on the site in June*

[/quote]

Bloggers, magazines, trend setters, shop owners, and designers are among some of its audience that come searching for new, fresh products.  Recently, Etsy has started a Wholesale program and has partnered with Kiva to provide loans for its sellers. Etsy’s reach goes beyond selling products, it aims to change how the world creates and sells. Without a doubt, Etsy has played a key role in defining craftivism and the Handmade Revolution.

Etsy Headquarters via Apartment Therapy

Etsy Headquarters via Apartment Therapy

Cost

Etsy’s fees have not changed much since they launched and are affordable. They charge $.20 per listing for a four month viewing and another 3.5% of the item’s price when it sells. (Details here.) Add in another 3 or 4% for PayPal fees and you can estimate that a sold product will have 7.5% deducted in cost. I pay PayPal $30/month for TAFA’s shopping cart, plus other yearly hosting and SSL fees, so when comparing, take those fees into consideration. If listing fees on Etsy went over $30/month, one could start evaluating which option has more advantages and whether paying Etsy for the extra fees is worth it. Most of our members probably fall way under the $30/month fees.

Selling Tools

Sellers on Etsy have several great tools at their disposal:

  • Easy listing process. When they first started, you had to click through four pages to list an item and they did not have a copy function. Now it’s all on one page and similar items can be copied which makes the process much faster.
  • Etsy Mini: a great widget, this code can be used on blogs and websites. There are two sizes, thumbnail and gallery, and two choices of what can be shown, your own products or your favorites. The products are live images that link to the listing, a great way to bring in traffic from other sites. Here is the one we use for our TAFA Team:

  • Traffic data: Etsy provides good stats on which shop items are being seen, where the traffic came from, who is adding them to their favorites, etc.
  • About Page: Etsy recently added an About page where the seller can tell their story in a visual way and have outbound links to their other sites. Until then, only internal links were live on Etsy and having this has really helped sellers with their presentation and with bringing their audience from Etsy on over to their sites.
  • Tutorials: Etsy has always prioritized offering its sellers good advice in how to improve shop appearance, product development, customer service, etc. They offer guidance through their blogs and videos. In the early days, the forum was a vibrant place of discussion and many sellers also took leadership roles, helping less knowledgeable sellers with technical advice and feedback. Unfortunately, the forum has been greatly reduced and no longer has the sense of camaraderie it once had. Still, a novice shop owner has access to great resources through Etsy.

Etsy Labs

Community

Etsy’s emphasis on community has been largely successful. They state:

[quote author=”Etsy Community Page” image=”” w=”” h=”” image_align=””]

Etsy is more than a marketplace: we’re a community of artists, creators, collectors, thinkers and doers.

Join a teamshare ideasattend an event in your areajoin a streaming workshop or watch an archived one.

[/quote]

We’ve mentioned their blog and tutorials, but Etsy also has hands on interaction with sellers and buyers through workshops at their base in Brooklyn and through live events around the world. Although most of their efforts have focused on the United States, they have recently been doing a better job of doing more in Europe and of making the site more user friendly for the non-English speaking audience.

Teams

About three years ago, they launched the concept of “Teams”. Any group of people can form a “Team” around a concept or topic. Teams have formed based on common interests such as location, language, type of product, technique, and so on. TAFA has its TAFA Team. We have a private forum on Etsy, a Team blog, the team mini (shown above), and a TAFA destination on Etsy.  Being able to organize like this has huge potential. Our members use TAFA Team as a tag and if you type TAFA into Etsy’s search, you will see our member’s products. And, it’s especially nice that you can add keywords to narrow down the search. We currently have around 4,000 items using our TAFA tag. Here is an example of a search result using TAFA Pillow:

Search results for TAFA Pillow.

Search results for TAFA Pillow.

The potential is enormous, especially if all of the Team members promote these links on their sites and blogs.

Treasuries

Etsy’s front page showcases a treasury or curated selection of items that somebody put together. Anyone with an Etsy account, both sellers and buyers, can create a Treasury. This has been one of Etsy’s big successes in terms of creating something that its users truly enjoy. The rules are basically that you cannot promote your own items in the treasury nor more than one of any one seller. It’s altruistic, encouraging the community to explore, share what they like and network with each other. Of the thousands that are created, Etsy staff picks which ones make it to the front page, a goal that many treasury makers desire.

Many of our TAFA members enjoy putting treasuries together, sometimes featuring only TAFA members, other times mixing them with another team they might belong to. Once again, a TAFA search on the treasury page pulls up those treasuries using our keyword: TAFA Treasuries.

TAFA Treasuries

TAFA Treasuries

 

Some teams do a great job of organizing weekly themes which their members might contribute to. The idea is to share the treasury elsewhere, on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and bring an audience to further explore those represented.

Teams and Treasuries are just a couple of ways the Etsy community organizes and expresses itself. An effective team will develop a loyal following which will benefit all of its members.

Appearance

Having all shops look alike using a minimalist design is one of the reasons I think Etsy has succeeded in retaining its appeal. On eBay, shops have control over their fonts, their layouts and the result can be truly horrific. The Etsy community invests a great deal into photography and the layout allows photos to pop. It’s attractive, easy on the eyes, and makes for an enjoyable experience. One problem has been its automatic cropping of photos to fit into its thumbnail sizes, which is compounded by having two different dimensions. Gallery images are slightly wider than thumbnail images. The solution is to crop images to a square, leaving room for cropping on the borders. Looking at a page of dolls with all of their heads cut off can give one the shivers!

If one chooses to self-host a shopping cart, consideration of the design needs to be taken into account. Several TAFA members use software that seems outdated in this photo-hungry age of Pinterest trend-setters. Product images are tiny and hard to see, fonts and links might be unattractive, and the navigation clunky. Since Pinterest went through the roof, I have seen other sites adopt similar layouts, including some of Etsy’s search pages, Google+, Flickr, and many others. Interestingly enough, Pinterest has responsive design while Etsy still does not. This means that the site will rearrange itself depending of the size of viewing screen. Responsive sites use building blocks, called grid design, which will move around when viewed on a cell phone screen, notebook or desktop. A responsive design eliminates the need to scroll across the screen to see all of the content. Instead, one only needs to scroll down.

Competition

Etsy has grown immensely in the last three years, which means, “good news and bad news”…  Here is a report from Etsy’s CEO, Chad Dickerson, from earlier this year:

[quote author=”Chad” image=”” w=”” h=”” image_align=””]

It’s been two years since I stepped into the CEO role, and we’ve made a lot of positive progress. At the beginning of July 2011, Etsy was on the verge of passing 10 million members, but not quite there. 95% of payments on Etsy were processed by a third party, and Etsy was an English-only website with no mobile apps.

Fast forward to today, and Etsy has surpassed 30 million members. We’ve made Etsy available in nine languages, with payments capabilities across the world. In each of the past holiday seasons, the year-over-year growth rate of sales in the community has accelerated, bringing opportunity to more people than ever before. The company has become an award-winning leader in the B Corp movement, setting an example for other companies that you can both prioritize social good and run a strong business.

The 900,000 independent businesses on Etsy are selling their unique goods to millions of people around the world, and the sense of connection comes from real human interaction, not slick marketing. There are over 8,000 self-organized Etsy Teams supporting and empowering each other. One of the beautiful things about Etsy is that as we grow, we are only a larger collection of many smaller things, an umbrella for many communities. Thank you for being part of what we are creating together!

[/quote]

Good news? Etsy has a thriving purchasing audience.

Bad news? Competition is fierce.

I opened my shop on Etsy a year after it launched and did well there until I launched TAFA in 2010. I still have a nice shop stocked with almost 100 items, but as I have zero time to promote it, very little action happens there. This is the thing that most people who open a shop on Etsy don’t realize: You have to work it in order to make it work! People think that they can list a few items and that the sales will come pouring in. A shop on Etsy needs the same dedication and promotion as a stand-alone site would demand. Sure, we can hope for internal traffic to find us, but the bigger it gets, the more unlikely it is that you will be “found”.

CraftCount keeps a tally on Etsy’s top sellers and the results are quite telling:

craft count aug 2013

My shop actually made the top sellers list in the vintage category a couple of years ago. I’ve had 1,651 sales there since I opened (meaning that I’ve probably taken over 4,000 photos as I try to have 3-5 photos per item!), but this year, my total sales have been around $1,200 or $150/month, not quite enough to live on, eh? And, I normally have at least one item featured in a treasury every week. Again, I have not been promoting my shop, so actually, this is better than one could expect.

Etsy sellers are allowed to sell Handmade (meaning you made it yourself), Vintage (over 20 years old) and Supplies (almost anything under the sun). The top sellers are all Supplies and they far surpass the other categories. Granted, this is a count for number of items, not total value of goods sold. CLBeads has over 6,000 items listed and a huge number of them are under $5. They opened their shop exactly five years ago, so let’s assume they are selling 48,674.40 a year with an average of $5 per sale. That’s $243,372 income a year. Sounds good, but take away the fees, paying for staff (there is no way this is a two person operation!), warehousing costs (no, inventory will NOT fit in that cupboard in the living room) and it’s a decent income for several hard working people.

Etsy launched with the goal of giving artists a marketplace and access to visibility. Supplies and vintage were allowed in because they were seen as complimentary to the lifestyle of makers who re-use and are eco-conscious. Now the marketplace is so big that it is impossible to control what is sold. They do have an Etsy police, out looking for violators and shutting down shops, but I see stuff all the time that is listed that I know is newly made and not by whomever was selling it. And, by having both Supplies and Vintage so broadly defined, factory made products far outnumber the handmade ones. Anything found at a thrift store might be pawned off as vintage without any kind of authentication:

etsy shoes

etsy baseball caps

Do these look older than twenty years to you? Hard to know, but I believe that Etsy made a huge mistake in not having some kind of a vetting process to weed out sellers who bring in junk. Sure, one person’s trash, another person’s riches, but still….  Etsy could have been truly amazing! It still is, in many ways, but not as a purveyor of all things handmade.

Downers

There are two specific things that really bother me about Etsy:

1. We are not allowed to sell handmade items that are made by somebody else (unless they are vintage). In the past, I bought wholesale from fair traders and re-sold their products on eBay. There are many small scale artisan groups who do not have access to technology, to banking systems, or to reliable postal systems, so people like me could really help them access larger markets. Or, one of our TAFA members wanted to represent a group of disabled quilters and she was turned down by Etsy’s staff. Etsy should be at the forefront of making these possibilities happen for all of the disenfranchised groups and people who truly depend on selling their handicrafts and art for their livelihood. Etsy has long expected each seller to do everything: make (or buy), photograph, list, market, sell, ship, and do customer service. It’s neither a realistic nor fair model. I think that a big reason has been lack of maturity and exposure of Etsy staff. Most are quite young, have exposure only to their local indie markets and don’t have the knowledge or understanding to identify products that would benefit or damage the larger vision.

2. Etsy can close your shop at any time. This is a major fear inducer. You do NOT own your shop on Etsy, Etsy does. Three of our member’s shops have been closed down for crazy reasons. No warning, just “prove who you are” after the fact. This is scary business as listing 100 items is a significant investment of time and energy. I highly recommend downloading a copy of your inventory on Etsy on a regular basis.

Conclusion

Etsy is not the perfect solution for evverybody, but it is an excellent option for those of us who need a shopping cart or who want a presence there. I have seen many Etsy sellers succeed and move out of Etsy to set up their own shopping carts. Many retain a presence on Etsy and sell their seconds or sale items there as a hook to bring its audience on over to their self-hosted sites. There are other options out there, too, and quite a few of our members have shops in several places. I find it hard to manage more than one, but I do think that if you have the capacity to spread things around, it’s a good way to ensure that when things are slow in one place, they might be better in another. Each person who uses Etsy needs to decide how to engage with its community. It’s a great place to learn new skills, to make new friends and to mature as a seller, but it can also be extremely time-consuming.

Half of our members have shops on Etsy and I believe that we can become a major destination there. Our members are vetted in based on their professionalism and while many of us still have much to learn, most have top quality textiles and fiber art along with excellent supplies and vintage items. If TAFA can become known for the best of these on Etsy, we will save a lot of people quite a bit of aggravation from searching through the junk and baubles that now flood the site.

YOU can help us get there! Send your people to Shop TAFA on Etsy!

Type TAFA into Etsy’s search bar or here is the link:

https://www.etsy.com/search?q=tafa&view_type=gallery&ship_to=ZZ

flipcard

What about you? 

Do you have a shop on Etsy? Anything we missed or that you would like to share? How has your experience been, both as a shopper or seller?

Feel free to leave your shop links as a comment so that we can take a look at them! Whatever you decide to do, we live in an amazing time with many choices where we can access the whole world. But, it’s so much easier when we have a supportive community to help reach that audience that we need. Our motto here on TAFA:

Together we can do great things!

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Using Blogger Effectively As Your Website http://www.tafalist.com/using-blogger-effectively-as-your-website/ http://www.tafalist.com/using-blogger-effectively-as-your-website/#comments Tue, 13 Aug 2013 20:26:14 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=10167

TAFA’s Old Site on Blogger When I first thought of launching TAFA back in 2010, I decided to use Blogger as a free platform to test the concept and see if there was any interest.  There was! Blogger worked well as our initial test site. As Google’s free blogging platform, Blogger has immediate entry into […]

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Old Blogger site

TAFA’s Old Site on Blogger

When I first thought of launching TAFA back in 2010, I decided to use Blogger as a free platform to test the concept and see if there was any interest.  There was! Blogger worked well as our initial test site. As Google’s free blogging platform, Blogger has immediate entry into a vast network of blogs and support. Many of our members and others out there barely explore the potential it offers in terms of both design and reach.

Reasons for using Blogger:

  • It’s the easiest blogging platform out there for non-techies. Blogger’s posting steps are straightforward and lightweight. They changed their format on the back-end awhile ago, which has made it a little harder to navigate then it used to be. For example, the post tags or labels used to be right under the editing box and now they are on the right sidebar and I often forget to add them….
  • It’s free. Blogger offers a good way to test an idea or even if someone will take to the whole blogging process. A good blog does demand some organizational and technical skills. Images should be beautiful, text should be readable and make sense, and there should be new posts on a regular basis.
  • The design can be personalized. Blogger used to have just a few designs to pick from and if you wanted to change it, you would have to go through a painstaking coding process. For example, it only used to offer one sidebar and many of us wanted two. Now it has the easiest tools for customization that I have ever seen! Fonts, colors, layouts, etc. are easy to change with a live preview showing choices as you go along. It really is great!
  • It has powerful networking tools. Followers can join the community, it has an attractive blog roll that can be tweaked, sidebar widgets accept html code for displaying social media and other widgets, RSS feeds are easy to install, and so on. And, because it is a Google product, I have a feeling that Blogger blogs get special treatment by them in terms of Search Optimization.  (No proof, just a gut feeling!)
  • 20 separate pages can be set up with a navigation bar. Again, back in the early days, Blogger only offered one page where the posts were shown, a major design flaw for those who wanted to use it as a website. Now you can have all the pages you need to create static content (information that does not change much over time). You can have the About page, the Gallery pages, Contact page, etc. It’s really the easiest way to create a website.
  • A unique url can be used instead of the Blogger one.  By default, all Blogger blogs have blogspot.com as the address.  For example, your site would be called www.yoursite.blogspot.com. For only $10 a year, you can buy your own domain name (through Blogger or elsewhere) and replace their address. You would then have www.yoursite.com, a much more professional way to market yourself. Plus, if you eventually moved out of Blogger, you would take all of the links that had been created with that domain with you.  It might be a bit problematic as the links can break if they are not the same on the new site, but they would still take you to the new place. This happened to us when we moved TAFA from Blogger to our own site. The links on Blogger reverted to the blogspot address and are now broken within that blog.

 

blogger-resume

Blogger’s Downside:

  • It’s not your real estate. Although it does not happen often, all Blogger blogs belong to Google and they can shut any blog down at any time for any reason. If you pay for your own hosting, you never have to worry about that. It’s your real estate to use as you please.
  • The template has limitations. I mentioned how easy it is to tweak and personalize the theme, but one of the big limitations is that every page has the same layout. A self-hosted WordPress site, on the other hand, allows each page to have its own design. This can be useful if you need links on the sidebar to point to different things depending on the page’s content. But, for simple sites, this is not a big deal.
  • Search results always show the most recent content first. This was one of the big problems that we had with our Blogger platform as our membership grew. The search always gave higher priority to members who had joined most recently, rather than what was most relevant for the search.
  • There are limited widgets for galleries and other special effects. Self-hosted WordPress sites have a million plugins out there which can transform how the site operates, including how images are displayed. Blogger is way behind on that in terms of available tools that are user-friendly.

There are probably many other pros and cons, but those are the basic ones that I think are important in terms of deciding whether to use Blogger as a primary website. The way I see it: Blogger is a great platform for beginners who will eventually graduate into a more sophisticated solution.

Now, let’s take a look at a couple of examples of how a Blogger blog can be improved to better suit one’s needs. I’ve recently worked with two TAFA members on their blogs to help them make better use of what they had. The most recent is Jacque Davis who had a basic blog. She had been struggling with getting a website up, didn’t feel like she had the technical skills to take it on herself, got burnt in the process and was über frustrated. Her blog looked like this:

Blog before doing anythinghttp://jacquelynndavis.blogspot.com/

 

One pager with posts and a few links on the sidebar. In three hours of tweaking, I changed it to this:

Blog after revision

The blog column and sidebars are much wider, she now has several pages, including a gallery of images, and we ditched the Thread of Life name. This is a common mistake that many people (including myself!) do with their blogs. They have a completely different name from the rest of the person’s web presence. Jacque also owns the url http://jacquedavis.com/ which also points to the blog. So, the new blog name matches the url name.  Most importantly, Jacque now understands how she can tweak the blog and its design to make it work for her needs.

Pull of the Moon detailPull of the Moon, detail, by Jacque Davis

Blogs initially started as a way to keep a web journal. They were such a hit that soon every mother and her sister was blogging! Because they have new, dynamic content, people soon realized that their old static (unchanging) websites would perform better if their blogs and websites were at the same place. Blogs show up better in search engine results, but the static pages were also important as they provided key information that could be understood quickly. For example, if you have twelve quilts for sale, it’s much better to have a page dedicated to them with the price and other descriptive info than to have them buried in various posts. Blogs and websites have largely merged into one tool these days.

Unfortunately, there are some website services that do not offer a good blogging platform. Such was the case with Georgianne Holland’s new site. Georgianne invested a great amount of time, energy and thought into having her new site designed. It is beautiful and provides her with the tools she needs to accept commissions for her folk art pillows.

new site final

Nestle and Soar

She already had a blog on Blogger, so she hired me to tweak it so that it would match her website as closely as possible:

blog final

Nestle and Soar Blog

They are obviously different from each other, while clearly related. Using the same logo, graphics and colors helps the two speak to each other. So, for Georgianne, this is an imperfect, but useful, solution for the problem she had with her new site.  Notice that she also has a navigation on the blog, and yes, you can imagine that having two sites means more work. When updating the main site, she also needs to make sure that the info on the blog is still relevant.

il_570xN.359781704_5ozdNestle and Soar on TAFA

I moved my site and blog over to WordPress last year (See The Skinny on WordPress) and although I know that it was the right thing for me to do, I still miss how easy it was to work with Blogger. I still use it when posting on our TAFA Team Blog:

TAFA Team Blog

TAFA Team Blog

Hopefully, looking at these examples, you will think of ways where you can improve how you are using Blogger. Have you added extra pages? Are you using your sidebars effectively? Have you personalized the design and purchased your own url? Websites can cost thousands of dollars to farm out and having such an accessible option can really help level the playing field for anyone who wants a presence on the web, no matter how limited their financial circumstances might be. Some time, some patience, taking good photos, and keeping a regular blogging schedule can all help your chances of being found and followed on the web.

Tip: When I see something that I like on someone else’s blog or website, I try to figure out how they did it. I will do searches for it, read posts, watch videos and then hopefully, figure it out. There are a gazillion tutorials on YouTube on how to use Blogger. The problem is that you have to do a lot of digging to find some gold as much of the freebie stuff out there is truly poor quality. I did some weeding out and found this one as he does cover quite a bit, is clear and easy to follow. It’s 40 minutes long, but if you want to learn something, it does take time to understand how things work:

What about you? Have you used Blogger? Any tips, questions? We love it when people share their experiences, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

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Roma and Banjara: Untamed Stories http://www.tafalist.com/roma-and-banjara-untamed-stories/ http://www.tafalist.com/roma-and-banjara-untamed-stories/#comments Sun, 11 Aug 2013 17:00:43 +0000 http://www.tafaforum.com/?p=10157

Revised from original post in Rayela’s Fiber Focus. Vintage Gypsy Postcards available on Vintage Charmings From time to time, I buy a bunch of Banjara patches from a woman in India. (none in stock right now…) Wild, gaudy, and bright, they are among my favorite indigenous textiles. I love the shisha mirrors, coins, and use of […]

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Revised from original post in Rayela’s Fiber Focus.

Vintage Gypsy Postcards available on Vintage Charmings

From time to time, I buy a bunch of Banjara patches from a woman in India. (none in stock right now…) Wild, gaudy, and bright, they are among my favorite indigenous textiles. I love the shisha mirrors, coins, and use of color. Coveted by belly dancers as costume decorations, the patches are also great to use as accents on other accessories like pillows, bags, hats and larger textiles. My interest in an object, style or technique often leads me to dig deeper into the origin. Who made this? What is the cultural context? How is it used? What materials enrich this piece? With indigenous textiles, the story often has a dark side, one of abuse that can point to cultural annihilation. Such is the case with the extended family of the Banjara: the Roma (commonly known as gypsies throughout the world although they find that name pejorative).

 

Banjara patch
Rayela Art

The Romani people have long been associated with the Banjara as their languages and customs have similar roots. Yet, only since DNA analysis has become available has their connection been accepted as fact within the academic community. The Banjara have in their oral tradition stories of how part of their people left over one thousand years ago, never to come back. Most historians believe that the diaspora was spread initially through military contracts and then later continued as their descendants continued to move east, on into Europe and then to the New World.

Milos Tchóron, London, 1911 University of Liverpool

Both the Banjara and the Roma have resisted assimilation into their dominant host societies. Marriage outside of the clan is discouraged and both retain similar dress codes and mores. Although the Roma have largely converted to Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism, in Europe, they have syncretized old beliefs into new ones.

I had read about the connection between the Banjara and the Roma in the past and knew I wanted to learn more. As always, the information is larger and more disturbing than I expected at the outset. The Roma have been persecuted wherever they have been for centuries. Most people know that they were also exterminated during the holocaust, but I was shocked at the numbers. The accepted guess is between 220,000-500,000 although some believe that the number was in the millions. Orders by the Nazis were to shoot them on sight, so who knows how many actually perished…   (Roma People) Also shocking to me was reading about forced sterilization of women without their consent in Europe as recent as 2005. The