Friday, August 29, 2008

A Kind Of Pale Jewel

I am so late getting tot he blog this morning. This is what happens when a 1 year old gets sick and keeps me up all night. I can't even remember what it was that I was going to talk about today. I had promised myself that I would lay off the mask business for at least a day and blather on about another subject, but since I'm fairly certain that you don't want to hear about how my baby kept me up all night I'll just go back to mask progress and hope you all don't boycott my lack of creative subjects.

I finished the base structure for the Mardi Gras mask, put it on with the matching necklace and promptly decided that it still needed something. I couldn't figure out what, so I've put the design on the back burner. I'm hoping it will come to me as I work on other designs. I do think that it looks great with the necklace so I won't abandon it entirely, but for now I'll be moving on.

I picked up the jeweled version of my first mask and finished it up yesterday and managed to get some photos so I could list it on the etsy. I paired it with my Portrait choker for the photos and I think they look amazing together and I keep wishing that I had any reason to wear them out, but as I rarely leave my home to go anywhere terribly interesting, it's unlikely that I will be soing that anytime soon. Check out the listing for more photos of the pair, I really like a couple of them. This one is called "A Kind Of Pale Jewel" because I've decided all of my masks will have a Labryinth themed name. This has had the unfortunate side effect of wedging the soundtrack into my head for the last week. I've tried, but it just won't budge.

I've now moved on to a mask design based on my Gears of Grace and Diamond in Lace chokers only much bigger. I think this design will have to take on an entirely different look to be a successful mask, but it should still match the necklace. I might have a prototype done by Monday, but my baby brother is coming up for a visit this weekend so I might be a little too busy with that. Well, I'm sure I'll have soemthing for you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Here We Go Again

I hope that I haven't bored you to death with all this mask nonsense, because I'm afraid that I have more. First, my mask got it's first virtual shout out over on the Access Fashion blog. It's just a little blurb and a picture, but it's always nice to get a little unsolicited praise. I managed to get about halfway through the embellished version of the mask before I stopped to work on my newest idea.

This one was actually inspired by the avatar of a fellow steam teamers avatar, well that and Mardi Gras in general. I still don't know if it's going to work after shaping and I think that I'm going to have to do some sort of border to make it looka little less like a granny square quilt on your face, but I shall work through my doubt. Doing this mask has actually gotten me thinking about trying to make a mask counter part to a few more of my chokers. The picture here is actually my Art Deco Duo necklace laid with some new pieces to see if this idea will fly. Imagine the neckalce worn with mask though. I think it would be pretty stunning. So after this one, I imagine I'll make a least a couple more before I get utterly sick of this mask making.

When I first started tatting bookmarks and doilies, I never imagined that just a few years later I would not only be making such elaborate things, but doing so much of my own designing. I never thought I would be able to translate shapes into stiches, rings and chains. It just seemed like such a mathematical operation. I mean look at my first sale on etsy, which was one of my very first bracelets. It's just a string of simple flowers from a pattern I found somewhere online. I assumed that this was the most I could expect out of my newly discovered craft. Now I know that there are no limits to what can be created with tatted lace and I'm certain that I will come up with many more off the wall ideas in the years to come.

I'm babbling on about this stuff in hopes that it can be inspiring to new tatters or anyone who thinks that they've taken thier art of craft as far as they can. There is always another hill you can climb if only you simply try. I am by no means suggesting that everyone can succeed at anything if they try hard enough, talent is not universal and hard work does not always make up for raw talent. I am suggesting that you don't know, if you don't try as I certainly didn't know what I was capable of before I picked up my needle and thread and simply tried. I used this slow sales time to stretch my limits and I think I will be better off for it in the long run. So that's the end of my inspirational speech. I'll be back tomorrow with more mask news!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Just Another Day

It's another of those blah days. I worked all day yesterday on a second tatted mask to relist and thankfully I finished that. Today, I must attend to my neglected home. You know, all the mundane details, dishes, laundry, kitty litter, feeding and clothing the children. I do have a new idea for another mask, although this one is a little far fetched. I want to use the Art Deco motif that I've made scarfs and chokers from in the past, but it's such a solid shape that I'm not certain that I will be able to adjust it to fit a face properly without warping the design too much.

Of course my design process is being tested by my one year old. See, she has taken to screaming in short bursts to get my attention. This has made any extended thought nearly impossible. I must stop and address said screams immediately or they will not cease and they are not quiet. The continuing war between stay at home mother and creater of objects wages on unabated. Only thier tactics change, but the end result is the same, me with my sanity hanging on by a thread, the house barely presentable and a large portion of my creative ideas lying unfullfilled.

So, here's one more of the pictures from the photo shoot. I love the way my neckpiece stands out in this one, all stark and white! I'm told there are still more coming and I will show them off as I recieve them.
Photos: Silent Shudder Photography / Model/MUA Beaux Deadly / Hat & Styling - Topsy Turvy Design

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wow, Just Wow!

After I finished my mask, I was proud of myself. I thought,'Wow, I did it', then I listed the mask. I showed it off with all the excitement of a five year old on show and tell day. I assumed that it would, however, sit in my store for a millennium just as my other "art" pieces like my hats and scarfs have. I even awoke this morning overwhelmingly curious to see how many views my creation had received whilst I slept. Instead, I discovered that my baby had already found a very good home. After a full day of wonderful and might I say ego boosting comments, I am exhausted and happy.

Of course this just means I have to get off my duff and make those other masks that I said I was going to make right away! So that's enough from me today, I've got work to do. I shall leave you with a couple more photos from the photo shoot with Topsyturvydesign and her lovely model credited below.
Photos: Silent Shudder Photography / Model/MUA Beaux Deadly / Hat & Styling - Topsy Turvy Design

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Mask And Some Hats

So either I severely underestimate my skills or I am just a huge liar. Either way, I have completed my prototype tatted mask. I actually finished it on Friday and took a bunch of pictures. I was so pleased with the way it turned out I didn't even bother putting on my makeup before snapping a few of me wearing it. I say this so you will forgive my appearance in said photos. As I anticipated the person who had made the initial request has decided against the mask, but as I mentioned this project had ceased being about a custom order the second I decided I had to attempt this.

I am already finished with the black version as well, which I will offer up for sale later today. I'm hoping that I will reach the masquerade ball crowd or high end Halloween costume types. As per usual, I am struggling with the pricing for this one especially since it contains more time consuming elements like wrapping the wire around the eyes with thread, I will list with a ballpark price and adjust as i settle in. I sure am glad I opted not to give the perimeter a wire base as I am certain that would have driven me batty. Thankfully it lays nicely without it and is remarkable comfortable. You might also have noticed that I got a bit of a makeover this weekend. I am simply returning to my pre-baby hair. Anyway, after the basic black model, I plan on making one more black one embellished with crystals for an extra fancy look.

Speaking of extra fancy, recently I was approached by Kim of TopsyTurvyDesign to use a couple of my chokers for a photo shoot of her fabulous hats. If you have seen her etsy shop, you know that she has the most spectacular photos and models in her listings. This was not an opportunity that I was going to pass up. So I made up two pieces and sent them to her a month or so ago and I now have the results of the secret alliance. I shall just offer up a couple here today and perhaps I shall dole them out to you in small doses when I've nothing better to share. I'm still trying to decide the most effective way to use them in my listings. She will also be submitting the photos to other sites for publication and the potential exposure for my pieces is really exciting.
Photos: Silent Shudder Photography / Model/MUA Beaux Deadly / Hat & Styling - Topsy Turvy Design

Friday, August 22, 2008

Does It Look Like A Mask Yet?

Progress on my tatted mask is going much smoother than I anticipated. Although I shouldn't be surprised. I develop severe tunnel vision when faced with an intriguing project, much to my husbands chagrin. What is surprising me most about this piece, is how many of my "mistakes" have turned out to be fortuitous. I'm working by using a flat outline and the center section was bowing out. Just before I decided to cut off the whole piece and start over, I decided to lay it over my mannequins face and low and behold, it fits the bridge of the nose like I meant to do it. Wait...forget I said that, I did mean to do it. I am an amazingly insightful designer who makes no mistakes. You buying any of this? Yeah, I didn't think so.

I still don't know how I'm gonna tat the top of the mask yet and I'm dreading the final finishing process a bit. I plan to attach the tatting to a wire frame both around the eyes and the perimeter of the mask so that it is free standing lace. Then I will need to cover the exposed wire with thread, which I anticipate taking about a week itself. Finally I will stiffen the whole piece which should theoretically make it wearable. Then I will turn right around and make the whole piece again in black, providing of course that the entire project doesn't fall flat entirely.

So far, I'm pretty happy with the way it is shaping up and who knows, if it works out, it may just be the first of many masks. Of course then I will have to decide whether or not they are something that I can actually sell and at what price and now I'm just getting ahead of myself. I shall go back to my needle and thread and hopefully Monday will bring much progress to share.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Tatted Mask

Yesterday I waxed poetic on the downside of a disappearing custom customer. Today, I'd like to share the bizarre upside of this phenomenon. I was asked if I could create a masquerade mask by a customer just the other day. They haven't necessarily disappeared, but even if they did, I was left with a very intriguing project which I'm doing one way or the other. The spark of an idea has entered my head and like my tatted hats and scarves it will not go away until the idea has come to fruition. I know that I said I wouldn't start work on a custom project without payment, but this one I'm doing just for the adventure of it.

These off the way ideas that don't seem to fit well with tatting are like a drug to me. I am not the most talented or skilled tatter by a long shot. I have seen those that create amazing three dimensional objects, animals, perfectly tensioned doilies and countless other projects far beyond my meager skills, but I am creative. My style and taste in tatting is very different than most I've seen and the chance to create something that has not been done before is not something I can pass up.

I've already begun and the process has already yielded yet another benefit. Through the power of split rings, I've re imagined a pattern that I could never do before. As a needle tatter, I am often confronted with a vintage shuttle pattern that I cannot for the life of me convert into needle tatting. While the occurance is rare it is none the less extremely frustrating. My overwhelming desire to creat this mask allowed me to work through the mental block and I have done it! To prove this, I have posted a rare photo of me and my gigantic ball of practice thread.

Here's the beginning of the mask with the vintage motif rescued through the magic of split rings. The final mask will be done in black, of course and I'm hoping to have one done in time for the Halloween season. This is definitely going to be an "art" piece that I hope even other tatters will be impressed with. I hope you won't mind being updated on this project as I'm certain it will dominate my thoughts for awhile.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Now You See It...

Now you don't. I am referring to the amazing disappearing special order customer. I've only had a few of these over the years. It took me a couple of times to learn my lesson. I would instantly get to work as soon as a request was made. I would offer up a completed product or even worse, I would work on prototype that required tons of design work only to have them change their minds or simply disappear. Eventually I learned that I shouldn't do any work until I get paid.

Flash forward a year or so, I haven't had any of these bad apples in quite a while and I begin to trust that people who ask for something really want it or they are at least up front about the tentativeness of the request. I begin to let my no work until paid rule slide a bit and nothing bad happens so I start to forget that anything could go wrong. That of course, is when the amazing disappearing customer act is performed again with such slickness that I never saw it coming.

I don't think that these thing are malicious, just inconsiderate. This time, I ordered supplies, and made a prototype all based on very consistent communication. Then more than a week later...nothing. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, life happens, thing get in the way. In fact, I still hold out hope that the order is still coming, but either way the lesson has been relearned. Do no work, order no supplies, go not one step beyond until paid confirmation.

Luckily for me, the supplies I ordered can easily be re purposed if necessary and there was very little effort expended. This time I get off not too worse for the wear, but in the past, I even had a trade go south where I custom made five pieces before the communication stopped cold. At this point, I'm wondering if I should institute some sort of nonrefundable design fee for all request to avoid this drama in future, but I still want to operate under the assumption that people are generally honest and forthcoming. Maybe that;s me being naive, but I want to trust in people.

I hope that my disappearing customer turns out to be a fluke or better yet, that they reappear and I can create wonderful pieces for them. I would much rather be tatting than worrying about getting paid.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Slow Times

I think I now have an answer to one of the most popular forum questions of the summer. It is a question that sits right along side of, "Why am I not selling?". In fact it's really the same question thinly veiled in sincere curiosity. "What do you do during this slow time?" See, the question points out that times are slow, which translates as, I'm not selling, so tell me what to do to change that. It comes off less whiny than the first question, but that does not change it's nature.

Well, sales have been slow for me as well and I, of course, started out wallowing in self pity, but then I opted to use the time to my advantage. I started working on new pieces and on duplicate pieces in anticipation of busier times. As a result of all this work, my store has reached 100 listings and I have several pieces ready for future venues. Now, I could have very easily spent this slow time wasting mine in the forums whining until it got me a pity sale. I could have fallen into a pit of self doubt and stopped working at all, but I think I chose well.

This convergence of slow sales and productivity may have an even better result as the holidays roll around. All my extra stock will allow me to rest more and create less as the stress of the busy time sets in. Which might mean that I can spend more time with my family without a tatting needle permanently attached to my hand. The moral of the story is, use every bit of time you are given because you never know when you'll get another free minute. Always move forward without dwelling on unpleasant circumstances. I am by no means an optimist, but I do know that no lasting good can come from whining and hard work is the best way to achieve your goals, whatever they may be.

I will be continuing to work on building up stock and I will spend very little time in the forums. I will come up with new designs and I will improve my skills. If I make a few sales along the way, well that's great, but I'm not going to let sales or the lack thereof derail me. I will use this slow time to my advantage, I will not let it beat me and you should not let it beat you either.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another Year Wiser

Happy Monday all. Thanks everyone for all your birthday wishes, they are very much appreciated. As to the answer of the blog contest. I entered this world at 3:31 am and even though the 30% off deal was not in fact a clue, Hyla Waldron guess of 3:30 was about as close as you can get. Thanks for playing, perhaps there will be more of these comment contest in future.

I had a pretty good weekend, but this was the first birthday I've had where I actually felt older. You know how people can't help but ask if you feel any older on your birthday and inevitably the answer is no. You generally feel exactly the same age as you felt the day before. That is of course unless you visit the mall, which we did after going out to dinner with the kids. I find that a spot of shopping can make even the most uneventful birthday a bit better. It is even better when you venture into shops that you normally stay out of because they tempt you to spend too much money, either because they are overpriced or because they carry those things that you simply don't need. To that end, we entered the Hot Topic, who's products are both overpriced and generally useless, but occasionally nostalgic.

It is not the products in the Hot Topic that made me feel old, but the god awful "music" blasting at a volume that precludes any conversation below a shout. Look, I like music, I like heavy sounds, deep beats and industrial droning. I also think music should contain a melody of some sort complete with intelligible lyrics or maybe I am just getting old. I know I feel old in that store and I feel like a grown up when my favorite birthday gifts are my new desk with plenty of work space and a massage pillow because my back is killing me. Though as I tatted during the kids naps yesterday, I listened to my ipod and those great, if somewhat dated beats reminded me that the fact that I disliked the aggro noise in the mall doesn't make me old, it just makes me wise.

Friday, August 15, 2008


If you've been paying any attention at all, you know what today is. That's right it's the 10th anniversary of the imac, oh and it's my birthday too. If you haven't done it yet, you might what to hazard a guess in my blog contest detailed in yesterdays post. You have until I get up Monday morning to get your guess in. While you're reading that post, make sure you check out the sale that ends at midnight tonight.

I figured I would take a moment to look back on my last year and what it has brought. I celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary. My baby grew into a toddler and my toddler grew into a kid, so my life as a wife and mommy has evolved dramatically. My creative life too, has grown by leaps and bounds. During the course of the last year. I was published twice in Belle Armoire Jewelry, started my blog, joined indiepublic, the Etsy SteamTeam and was featured in several wonderful blogs. Both my skill and tatting style has improved and I've designed dozens of new pieces. I feel like I've gotten much better at taking product shots and I actually started using my flickr account. I hosted my first Tatting challenge and it went better than I could have imagined.

I've also made many new friends through my blog, etsy, steamteam and random connections. It is the continued support of these amazing people that has helped me come into my own as an artisan. As I write all this out, I am actually amazed at all I have done this last year. I really didn't feel like I was that busy throughout the year. Now I'm a little afraid of what my next year will bring. How much further can I really go? I guess only time will tell. Well, I'm off to enjoy my day, so don't forget to enter the comment contest and see you all on Monday.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

How About A Sale

I had intended to simply preview my one day birthday sale today, but I've changed my mind. Instead, I will start a two day sale for today and my birthday tomorrow the 15th. I also decided to add one more element to the event, a blog comment contest. I've not tried doing a comment contest yet, so please bear with me as I muddle through.

The sale starts now and goes through the end of the day tomorrow the 15th. Take 30% off everything in the store. This deal does not apply to custom orders. I will not be listing the sale anywhere in the store, so only blog readers will know about it. You must wish me "happy birthday" in the notes to seller to get the discount. You have two payment options at that point, you may either pay immediately and I will send a refund or wait for a revised invoice before paying.

Now the contest, leave a comment at the end of this post with your guess to my question and the closest guess will win a super secret tatted goody. The contest will run through the weekend to give everyone a decent chance to guess with the winner chosen on Monday.

The question is: What time was I born?

Make sure I have a way to contact you if you are the winner, if I can't email or convo you through your own blog or store make sure you leave contact info in your comment. Good Luck!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Is There Anybody Out There?

Hello....hello, anyone? Nobody, really? Oh well, I'm just as comfortable talking to myself. Still no new sales this morning and though I'm really beginning to feel ignored, I'm doing alright. This is shaping up to be one of the single longest weeks ever and I'm getting an amazing amount of things done with my time. Yesterday I tried out a new photo style for my future Lollishop. I figured that my usually style wouldn't blend in very well, so I searched my abode for something girly to use as a prop and I found this vase that was a wedding present. I hope this looks alright, it is clearly not within my comfort zone.

Feel free to let me know what you think of them. There are more on my flickr page. That is of course, if there is actually anyone looking today!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere, But Not A Drop To Drink

I have been floating in a sea of productivity and recognition for the last few days. Prompted by my acceptance to Lollishops, I have been working on new pieces for that future storefront, my etsy shop as well as another set for a Steam Punk convention in the fall. In fact I had been so busy creating, I took me a few days to realize that I haven't made a sale in a while. Just when that was starting to get to me yesterday, I got a couple of nice surprises. I was mentioned in the lovely blog by Amy Esther. It's listed on top of my feature list on the left. What was even nicer than the kind writeup were the comments left at the end. I am always uplifted by those comments from strangers who confess to being fans of my work. I'm always surprised to find out that people have heard of me.

Then the mailman brought me my early copy of Belle Armoire Jewelry. It contains my second article for the publication. This one features my tatted chokers and I write out the pattern for my Grand Victorian Daisy choker. Of course I was not actually surprised by my article in the magazine, but what did surprise me a little was that I was not the only artisan using tatting in the issue. I was the only actual tatter, but there was a feature on two different artisans that use vintage tatting in their work, one does gorgeous assembled necklaces and the other makes cuffs. While the magazine is not what I would call a mainstream publication, it does appeal to an entirely different demographic of jewelry creators, exposing the art form to a new audience.

I made a ridiculous claim months ago that one of my goals was to make tatting the next crafting craze. I never in a million years thought that we were truly at the beginning of a resurgence of this amazing art form, but if this magazine is any indication, the world might be ready for tatting! Check out the magazine when it hits shelves and be sure to tell me that you saw it so I can feel all famous and stuff even if I'm not making any sales.

Monday, August 11, 2008

There's A Birthday At The End Of This Week

I am not a complicated person. I generally do not act in a way that is contrary to my nature. If I have done something that appears out of character you can be fairly certain that the reasons behind my actions explain them entirely. You see over the weekend I applied and was accepted to a forthcoming online marketplace. I have often said that I am very happy at etsy and I have no plans to diversify my selling experience. This is still true, when this site was mentioned in the forums simple curiosity led me to check it out. The site is called lollishops and it is by far the most sacrin site I've ever seen. Frou frou is not a strong enough term to describe the pink, ruffled bow that is lollishops.

Now, if you know me at all you're wondering why on earth would I, of the black themed blog, be at all interested in the wonderful world of frou frou. Well, the simple answer is, I wouldn't, well not to shop anyway, it's just not my bag. However, as a tatter I have a natural draw to create the doily and the doily does not sell on the etsy. Lollishops aims to fill a niche that the owner feels is left out in the modern, hip bent of etsy, so only folk that can fit in with this niche would benefit at all from joining. All I have to do to fit in is ditch the black thread in favor of a softer palette, which I'm happy to do while continuing my Gothic, Victorian vibe on the etsy. That isn't the reason I applied though. The real, deep down reason that I did it, is that it is a juried site. If you don't know what that means, juried is a fancy way of saying you are being judged and only the people whose work is not only good enough, but also fits the theme or niche will be allowed in.

You see, I have a few, lets say odd habits. One of those is my love of people watching. I sit and watch and analyze and judge people all the time and I often wonder what people think about me as well. Since it is virtually impossible to walk up to strangers and get their honest opinion of you, your work or anything else for that matter, I jump at chances to be virtually judged. I apply for things just to see if I would fit, or if I'm good enough. So this being juried was just another way for me to fish for opinions. I honestly assumed that my black tatting would be rejected, but apparently the frilly frou frou of tatting can not be fully hidden with dark thread and it was clear that a small color change would make me a perfect fit. I'm actually pretty excited to be in on the ground floor of a new site and I've been busy tatting in my new shades so I'll have enough inventory when the site goes live this fall. I added their button the right column near the bottom if you'd like to have a look.

In other news, Friday is my birthday. I'm certain to have a little sale to celebrate, so if you've been waiting for an excuse to shop, there it is. Though at this point birthdays are more reminders of the steady march of time than chances for rampant celebration, if you'd like to send gifts, I'm not adverse to that kind of celebration. I'll let you all know what the sale will be on Thursday so you have a little heads up.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Verbal Vomit

I often think about what I will write here as I go about my early morning routine and if I am at all distracted by anything I will lose my train of thought and sit down in front of the computer with nary a thought. I will race through several topics in my head trying to pin down one that would make a cohesive post. This process has resulted in some of my most passionate posts, unfortunately it has also resulted in pieces of meandering verbal vomit. I really try my hardest, I usually skim through the various forum subjects looking for something that I have an opinion about, but after my treasury stint, I have broken my cycle of forum addiction. I merely visit, lurk for anything important and move on with my day. That is hardly enough time to get worked up about anything.

I've tried posting reviews, but I'm hardly a respected authority on anything so I feel like they are of little use to anyone. I enjoy posting about projects I'm working on, but rarely do I actually get the camera out while I am creating to document the process. I've though of posting tatting patterns for the people who arrive here whilst searching for free tatting patterns and there are quite a few of them, but I'm afraid they would be lost on the vast majority of those who actually read my blog, either they don't tat or if they do, they are plenty talented enough to not need my modest designs.

I'm actually starting to wonder if I shouldn't inject some sort of structure into the blog. You know, like review Friday or vent Wednesday, so at least I know what subject I should write about. I say this, but I'm fairly certain it won't happen. I can't even keep laundry day consistent from week to week. Oooh, while I was writing I just got my google alert and I've been mentioned on the Fashion Me Fabulous blog. Wow, I am rarely surprised by a mention, this one has my Victorian Lace Cuffs posted. Go check it out and leave them comments so I look popular! See, got all distracted and I've completely lost my train of thought. I'll just stop now as I am truly hopeless.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Production Artist

You remember the guy from the movie Xanadu, you know the sensitive artist, stuck in the creatively castrating job of replicating album covers for record stores. His coworkers were wont to remind him that he was just lucky to be a working artist. Well not all of us have a muse in roller skates and feathered hair to solve our creative versus income dilemmas. I am currently finding myself in a similar quandary. My shop has been selling well recently, well enough anyway, and this has left me remaking sold items more often than creating new designs. I have even less time and energy to make one of a kind items either.

So what is one to do at this juncture? I still enjoy making my existing designs, so I could concentrate on that and keep my store well stocked, but I'm afraid I would eventually want my own roller disco to engage my creative side again. While thinking about this topic, I began thinking about fashion or jewelry collections. While I have no idea if it really works like this or not, I assume that they design for a period, produce the line, stop production to design for the next season and repeat the process. This may be a solution though it might be a little too structured for me. Imagine I spend a month creating new designs then simply make those designs over and over for a few months. Then take a break from production to go into design mode again. I don't know that I have the discipline for that process, what if i come up with an amazing idea during production phase. Can I put the idea on ice and not return to it for months?

Of course this raises other issues as well. Am I a sell out, if I simply remake a popular design repeatedly to get sales? Do other artisans lose respect for a production artist or is it a simple case of jealously over success? I am in no way implying that I've become popular enough to inspire said jealously, but I do wonder about these things. Should I even bother worrying about what others might think of my creative process if it still makes me happy? I guess I should just go with the flow and not worry about it so much. I figure I'll know when remaking a design is draining the life out of me and that's when I'll stop in favor of creation, but if you see me complaining and not stopping, feel free to beat some sense into me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I Made It Myself

As you may be aware, I am fairly new to the world of tatting. I've only been at it for a few years. A year or so ago I had an etsy friend ask me to deign a piece for them, a large heart. So I did what I always did at that point, I searched the Internet for patterns. I ran across an uncredited picture of a tatted heart, figured out the pattern and made it up in a couple of different colors. After I sent off the one my friend liked I listed the other in my shop. Later I was contacted by etsy who had been informed that the pattern was copyrighted and permission had not been given for me to sell anything made with it. I was mortified, I removed the listed and vowed that I would only use public domain patterns and start creating my own designs.

Flash forward to a couple a days ago when the same request was made of me, except this time the heart needed to fit inside a preexisting shape. Now, I have designed many pieces of jewelry and a few small motifs at this point, but I have never designed something this big. First I tried to draw the design out and when that failed, I just started to design as I tatted. This is the most comfortable method for me. I used scraps of tatting from failed prototypes and laid them around the design until it felt right.

So, here it is my very first large motif. It isn't finished as I still have to hide the thread ends, but it fits just inside the shape and I'm pretty proud of myself. Does this mean that I'm a grown up tatter now? Probably not. I've seen designs that make mine look like stick figures sitting next to the Mona Lisa. I just hope that if I've come this far in just a few year that after a couple of decades of tatting, I am as amazing at it as some of the other tatters I've seen.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Hat for James

Ah, the calm after the storm. The challenge has ended and it will be quite a while until the next one. If you haven't checked out the winners yet, scroll down, they are awesome! I have a few small projects, but mostly I'm thinking onto the holidays. Is that absolutely ridiculous? I mean, I hate the fact that stores begin stocking for the holidays before the first chills of winter even begin and here I am worried about whether I should be making tatted snowflakes already. I guess I'm becoming part of the problem.

I do want to show you something today that I made. I made this over the weekend, but I didn't want to interrupt the challenge coverage with it. My youngest brother has requested that I make a cap for him using a pattern he had found on flickr, of all places. I dragged out the sewing machine, dusted it off and began to sew something I'd never tried to make before.
I'm pretty proud of myself and I thought I'd show everyone that I'm not just a one trick pony. Of course my brother suggested that I could sell these and it was insanely simple to make, so don't be shocked if I find someway to combine tatting and this hat in the future. I'm adding it to the list of one day projects, you know the ones I'll probably never get around to be will constantly thinking about. It's becoming quite an behemoth at this point and I better get around to something on the list soon, but I almost certainly won't. Oh , well.

Monday, August 4, 2008

And The Winners Are...

First of all I would like to make a heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in my little experiment of a challenge. It was a true pleasure to meet each of you and contribute in a small way to your amazing and diverse creations. I hope that the experience was a good one for all of you as well. I reserved the difficult challenge of judging to a few new friends and they all expressed a great amount of difficulty in choosing our winners, in fact this resulted in three third place winners.

There were some amazing pieces that did not place, but I'd personally like to make special mention of them. First I'd like to mention the striking red cuff made by Waterrose. The skill of embroidery mixed with tatting created a piece with a very artisan feel. Secondly, I'd like to mention the distilled rose piece by thebeadedlily. While I felt the piece wasn't the best feature of the tatting, it was an amazing piece of art and it's softness and beauty are unmistakable. I really loved all of the pieces for different reasons and I actually feel bad that I can't give them all a little something, but that's not the way a contest works right?

Now on to the winners, we'll do this backwards all Miss America style. The three third place winners were all chosen by different judges and they will all have their choice of my pendants as their prize.

Wenchie for her SteamPunk Hair Stick.

MadArtJewelry for her Flies' Time Necklace.

IndustrialFairyTale for her faux Ivory and Medallion Choker
Second Place goes to Lamplighter for her amazing lampshade. She will receive any item up to $20 from my humble collection.Fetishghost had this to say, "Wow! My eye kept coming back to this piece. Visually, it's a very strong piece. I'm intrigued by it's design and construction. It appears extremely well crafted. Great work!"

Finally, our first place winner who was chosen by all the judges, SkyIsland for her incredible baroquen mandala. She will receive an item up to $40 from my tatted goods.

This piece of praise by another of our judges, Jane Eborall,"... I like baroquen skyisland mandala - angle by miahawk as not only is it a stunning piece of work she's put a lot of time and care into it (mind, they all have!)"

I'd like to end with some quotes from our judges, first Slvrlily, "That was tough. I went with the three I felt best incorporated the tatting into the piece." Next Fetishghost on judging, "Wow, that was a tuff choice. It took a good while to find my top choices based on originality, craftsmanship, and beauty... this of coarse didn't narrow the field down at all. Each piece is amazing for it's own reasons, congratulations to all." Last from Jane Eborall, "This is one of the hardest things I've been asked to do for a long time but I've thoroughly enjoyed it."

Well, that was a lot of excitement, my life is bound to get a little boring now that this event has concluded. I hope that all the participants will join me again after the holidays for a fresh challenge and I'm looking forward to many more artisans jumping in to help me bring tatting to some fresh new places. Thanks again everyone!

All photos are property of and copyrighted by their respective creators.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Entries Are In!

Well are all aboard who are going aboard. These are the entries for the very first Tatting is Not a Lost Art: The Challenge!
All of these spectacular pieces were created around tatted medallions made by me just for the occasion. Judging is currently underway and the winners will be announced Monday morning to create the proper amount of anticipation. All items and pictures belong to the respective artisans and many of the pieces are available for sale through etsy.

1st row( from left to right):,,,

2nd row:,,,

3rd row:,,,

4th row:,,

I can't even begin to tell you how proud and impressed I am by these pieces and I am so grateful to every one these artisans for participating in this little adventure of mine. Please visit the flickr group to see more pictures of these pieces and check out the participants etsy stores for many more amazing creations. Until Monday!