Thursday, 17 August 2017

A Shift in Focus

Almost two years ago, after a lot of serious thinking I decided to cut back on my machine embroidery and teaching and explore different avenues... namely cake baking. Many of my regular classes were being cut back and there had been a noticeable fall off of interest in things like Open Studios etc. This combined with a change in our personal circumstances meant that I could no longer afford to belong to the exhibiting group Prism and I also need to secure a more regular income, hence my baking business Apricot and Fig was born. It was and continues to be moderately successful but I have never stopped with the embroidery, it has just been lower key. However I have reached a decision point again. I spend a lot of time on the baking, especially on the shopping and the book keeping as well as hours on my feet actually baking and decorating cakes for fairly low returns. To move forward, I would need to convert a room (probably my studio) into a store room/office, buy and store in bulk and up my production considerably. In other words it would need to become full time. But that is not what I really want.

After a couple of remarks from people along the lines that they thought I had given up textiles altogether, I decided that I needed to have a rethink, which coincided with some new classes being planned and several enquiries about other weekends away teaching. And so there will be another shift in focus as I re-launch my art career. I won't stop baking cakes (I don't think I'll ever stop baking cakes) but the textiles and art will come first once again.


Which is all quite funny when you look at my latest sample made for some forthcoming classes. I posted the first photo on social media and one person thought it was an open sandwich with some fancy bacon, three people thought it was cake and my friend Isobel, who at least identified it as embroidery, wondered why it was on toast! I can only concude there has been too much food and not enough embroidery around here of late.


It is neither bacon, nor cake but free machine embroidery on scrim worked on water soluble fabric, enhanced with beads and mounted onto a book cover of painted pelmet vilene, not toast!


Because as well as embroidery I'm going to be teaching some basic book making too, so it will be a double duty sample.


Meanwhile I'm continuing to enjoy painting with my Mum and last Saturday saw us take a water colour class with artist Ali Lindley. I was way out of my comfort zone with this. We were painting birds just using big brushes and after four unsuccessful attempts I finally ended up with this, which is just about passable. Well at least it is recognisable as a painting of an owl rather than an item of food!


I'm hoping that by improving my painting skills it will improve my artwork all round so at least my embroidery will stop looking like bacon sandwiches!

18 comments:

  1. Those who thought your book cover was edible might benefit from a trip to SpecSavers! and your owl is far more than passable. Good luck with all the new plans.

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  2. Well it didn't enter my head it was edible. Really like that owl. Keep painting.

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  3. I am surprised that anyone can see food in this delicate beautiful embroidered book cover! Bacon?! From what I read here over the years, art is your calling and I am really pleased that you are re-launcing your art career.

    Your owl looks fab, I imagine it is just about to land on a branch, or maybe launching an attack on a small furry creature.

    Good luck! x

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  4. Wishing you all the best with the new ventures. The book cover is beautiful (I know I'm vegan but bacon??? ) and the owl painting is so much more than passable.

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  5. Well as a veggie...bacon is far from my mind...it looks like a stargazer lily to me and very pretty it is too!
    Best wishes in your resumed art career...but don't forget to show us some cake! ;)

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  6. My first glance of the first photo did make me think "cake", but then could see the lovely beaded embellishments. Baking and stitching seem so far from each other and you're so good at both that I can hear the inner turmoil you are having. Either way, you seem to always enjoy the creative outlet of both. It's actually quite nice that you have the choice to focus again on your needlework arts without completely giving up the cakes. I quite like the owl painting! You got the feel of the movement of the bird perfectly. You sound happy to be creating with stitches again ;)
    Wendy

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  7. Thanks, that brought the first laugh of the day, as I am currently languishing on the sofa having woken up with a cold (and it appears to be the serious about type usually reserved for men!)

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  8. The embroidery is lovely and perfect on a book cover - rather than toast!! But best of all - the owl - I am a real owl fan and think you have done a great job. x Jo

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  9. The bacon comment made me laugh. The flower and the owl are both amazing, how lovely that you're focusing on art and textiles again, you're so very talented, and I hope you enjoy spending more time on it. CJ xx

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  10. Immediately thought of a flower made from textiles as soon as I saw it. It's beautiful and when we get our motorhome next spring, I will need to look out for your classes. I love making books, so for me, a class doing this would be heaven. Good luck with the re-launch of your art projects. Your owl looks ready to land-it's way more than passable. Catriona

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  11. I thought it was some of your wonderful embroidery used as a cake topper! So a combo of the two I guess. Although I don't see bacon, I can see how you could see it quickly glancing at the photo on ig!

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  12. Bacon and beads hmm? The embroidered book and owl painting are beautiful. Best wishes for your new direction/projects and I'll be looking out for your courses.

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  13. You're very talented. As they say if you do what you enjoy you never feel like you are working!

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  14. Lovely multi talented Gina. I think there are many people who absolutely know the time and effort a cake takes (design process,buying ingredients, mixing, baking delivery etc..) but it is really difficult to charge what you'd REALLY like and deserve. I often ended up way below the minimum wage! One customer long ago who came to pick up a cake didn't even feel I was worth paying for a celebration cake, and paid me in two church concert tickets (which she was performing in!) Have you ever come across the comment "i could make it for less myself"- well actually you just go and do that!! Sorry for being cynical. People accept that a plumber is going to charge them £80 an hour a lawyer £425 an hour (yes really) etc... but anything creative unless you are in the realms of darling creative stardom it's difficult to realise what you'd like. Never let anyone dull your shine! Much love x

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    1. Thank you Liz. Not everyone understands or gets just how frustrating it can be trying to establish a creative business in any field.

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  15. I love the owl! Think it's brilliant. I am also glad to hear you're returning to your textile art, you've got such a skill and it's lovely to see it.

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