Last weekend, I participated in another crafts market organised by Faszination Handwerk. Markets are held twice a year in differing locations roughly in the Tegernsee-area. This allows for people from Munich to visit without the very high-costs associated with organising such a market in a central location in Munich.
Since we were allocated a corner between two doors, the above became the set-up of my stand. I even managed to eke out a small corner of one of the tables to clamp an embroidery hoop on. Although the lighting was really good, the location was your standard conference building with little to no charm. Since the organisation does not provide tables, we take our own. The above is all our Toyota Auris can hold :). Thanks to your excellent feed-back after last year's Leonhardimarkt, I think I achieved a better overall set-up. My stand was no longer so flat and had more 'explaining' going on regarding time and skill involved. I also added a cheaper category of pendants.
Since the car was really full, I couldn't bring trestles and a slate frame. Instead, I demonstrated some French boutis. I still had the 'heart' kit by Averyclaire. This type of whitework embroidery is both 'large' enough and not too complicated; ideal for demonstration purposes. Unfortunately, people were not at all impressed. Mental note: only bring goldwork.
The show ran for three days and was really well attended. Many of my colleagues reported good sales and/or follow-up trade possibilities. Unfortunately, my embroideries did hardly sell and I did not even recoup my entry fee. I can only hope that there will be follow-up trade this time. Overall feed-back of the visitors was that my embroideries were perceived as being 'foreign' and not of 'local tradition'. Many did not understand what it was all about and were not happy for me to explain. It was generally really hard to get into contact with people about what I make. What they did pick up on was my accent. And some were really not cool about it. I was even asked if I could understand and speak German... I could almost hear grandpa Grimm turn in his grave!
So. I will no longer exhibit at these particular fairs. Costs are too high and I am not a charity. However, I will try to attend at least one local market a year as I do understand that I need to meet the locals. But these markets must have low entry fees. And luckily for me, one such market stood on my doorstep last week! Or at least its organisers did. In May, I will join sculptor Marion Werner and two other artisans at Marion's home at Steingaden for a crafts market. Marion and her husband have been organising these for many years and have built quite a following. I feel honoured that they'll allow me to join them this year! And the entry fee? Two home-made cakes to sell to the visitors. I can live with that :).
As life tends to come between me and my threaded needle, I've roped you all in to keep me on track of this year's resolution to embroider more. How? you might ask. Simply by blogging about project progress each month. The thought of letting you, my dear reader, down, spurs me on immensely!
First up, are my French embroidery projects: the colourful Glazig embroidery kit by Pascal Jaouen and the Boutis white work kit by AveryClaire. My goal was to finish them both before today. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to accomplish them both. To no fault of my own.
Not only where the instructions of the Glazig kit very meagre, so was the amount of thread accompanying the kit. I have nearly finished, but not quite. I still need to do the last of the weaving in the red 'fire' bit. This is the first time ever I have run out of thread in an embroidery kit. As this kit is stitched using Au ver a soie silk perle, you really want to be able to use many short lengths as the thread is so prone to wear. This is actually what the instructions tell you to do. Even so, I would have preferred to re-stitch some parts as the thread has really suffered. However, I could see half-way through the project, that the threads were probably not going to be enough, so I didn't. On another note, silk perle is an ultra-slippery thread and some stitch combinations really require practice. Again, not possible with the amount of thread provided for in the kit. One way around this would be to substitute the silk perle with cotton perle.
Overall, this expensive kit just doesn't deliver. Apart from the meagre instructions and the lack of materials, the work drawing and the picture of the finished embroidery do not quite meet up. Furthermore, the way certain single-stitch areas are pre-printed onto the fabric means that you can't completely cover the ink with your stitching. Needless to say, I have emailed Pascal Jaouen two weeks ago to ask him to send me some more thread so that I can finish my project. So far, I haven't heard back... And I never would!
What I was able to finish, were these stylish Boutis ornaments by AveryClaire. I enjoyed my foray into this elegant white work technique immensely. And I have so much spare thread left, that I could stitch up some more :). I might just do that before next Christmas. In the meantime, I'll keep an eye out for further kits by the very talented Karen of AveryClaire!
Next week, we'll check in with St. Laurence to see how he is doing. Hope to see you then!
Being the grand-daughter of a German economic refugee comes with an innate suspicion of the French and anything French. So when each summer all our fellow Dutch countrymen clogged up the Route Soleil to holiday in France, the Grimms went East. However, since a few weeks, I've come to like something typically French... Oh, dear!
It all started quite innocent with me coming across an embroidery blog. I added it to my Feedly reading list and was treated to lovely Boutis embroidery. Of course I knew that Boutis embroidery originated in France. But what harm can it do to read a blog about it? Well, as things go, after a while reading about it wasn't enough. I started to wonder if I should try my hand at this particular elegant form of white-work. The hack with the Grimm's family values! And so I ordered my Boutis Christmas Ornaments kit from Averyclaire NeedleArts.
The kit soon arrived and it contains everything in abundance to make the three ornaments. And since Karen, the woman behind Averyclaire, added a cute lavender sachet, everything smells so nicely. For those of you new to Boutis, it is a padded embroidery technique using two layers of very fine cotton batiste. This creates a lovely contrast between the 'see through' areas and the padded elements. Added bonus: although the cording (padding) needs to get used to, the whole stitching doesn't involve complicated stitching. When you can do running stitch, you can do Boutis.
I started with the Noel and Holly ornament. Doing all the running stitches didn't take long and it was fun to do too. Once I figured out that the cord only fills the channels between the running stitches when you double your thread, they were no problem at all. The berries were no problem either. But how do you cord such a 'weird' shape as the holly leaf. Never daunted by anything embroidery, I decided to stuff them as much as I liked. Since I wasn't a 100% sure that's the way it's done, I contacted Karen via email to check. She was super-fast in answering my question and yes stuffing them to your hearts content is indeed what you do.
We also chatted a bit about the right approach to filling the snowflake. It's the design I like the most. Here you see a picture of all the cording done. You can see the large holes in the fabric at the back through which you pull the cording. They do vanish quite well after soaking in water.
All in all it is an elegant new white-work technique that I would like to pursuit more. And since Karen mentioned that she will bring out more kits and instructions in the future, I will get ample opportunity to do so! Just one thing remains: How do I tell my family?
P.S. Dear French readers if you feel that I should try other typical French things in order to start to like you even more, then please leave your suggestions below! It is also okay to poke fun of either the Dutch or the Germans or both in your comments below :).
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