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!