Monday, April 4, 2011

Plein Air treadling

Sorry for no posts last week. I was busy with work, life and mostly getting ready to have an artist's booth at a local arts festival. ARTsFEST, at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA, is an annual art and art education festival with tons of hands-on art activities for kids. They also have an artists' market, and artists are asked to demonstrate their work.

The wind kept blowing our display board down, so we rearranged.
So I spent last week finishing and framing several art quilts and hand-dying bandanas, gathered them up, plus some mixed media jewelry, fabric postcards and a few glasses cases and little drawstring bags, loaded them with a tent, table, sewing machine and cabinet, chairs, display board and all my sewing stuff. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

A beautiful day to sew outside
Other than the loading and unloading – and the sunburn – it was a blast. I worked on several small pieces, thread sketching and thread painting, as people stopped by. The reactions were so much fun. Some of the older visitors talked about learning to sew on a treadle or having a mother or grandmother who sewed on a treadle. Many had a family treadle tucked away at home and I gave them information on cleaning and taking care of them. A lot of the men were interested in the age of the machine, how it worked and sewing machine history. A number of women who do sew were interested in the actual sewing, as well as getting their own treadles to work. Since the university has a fashion design program I got a lot of interest from younger people who sew, or are learning to sew. And the kids were interested in how the machine worked.

I think the most common comment was that people had never seen anyone sew on  a treadle, or didn't know anyone still sewed on a treadle.

video
On the art side, I got lots of compliments on my quilts and many people said they'd never seen anything like them. It didn't seem to be much of a buying crowd, so I didn't sell any bigger works, but I did sell a few small items, at least enough to cover the cost of entering the show. My sister came along to help, and handled most of the sales and kept an eye on the merchandise, which let me concentrate on my demo and talking about sewing and machines.

It was great fun, I got some good exposure as an artist and saw a lot of friends I haven't seen in a while, since I worked in Statesboro for years. And I even got the basic quilting/thread sketching done on several pieces while I was there.

And I learned a lot about having an artist's booth. I need a better display, mine kept blowing over in the wind. I forgot to bring cards, next time bring cards and handouts with references on sewing machines and art quilting. And if I do ARTsFEST again, I'll bring along a handcrank sewing machine and let people try it.

Have a great week, more later.