Posts Tagged ‘Fiber arts’

I’ve been asked to teach a class on hand embroidery.  Although I started embroidery at my grandmother’s knee at about age 8, I am no expert. So, I must learn. Thank goodness for Pinterest.

First I needed to straighten out my own collection of embroidery floss. I didn’t take a “before” picture, but, just think: “spaghetti.” I have a collection of 6 strand “regular” embroidery floss and #5 Pearl cotton (the non-divisible kind). I recently added a #8 Pearl Cotton to my collection, which is finer, and useful sometimes.

With the 6 strand floss, it’s OK to keep it wound in the two paper bands it comes in, as long as you carefully find the correct end to pull out. If you have the wrong end, it will tangle right away. So – let that go, and find the other end.  If you do have the right end, a length will pull out easily.

With the #5 Pearl, I can find no other solution that re-winding it right away onto cardboard bobbins. (unless it is the kind that comes in sort of a ball.  You can leave it wound on that ball.)

You can buy the bobbins (they’re cheap), or you can make your own out of pressed cardboard (the kind cereal boxes are made of.)


The cardboard bobbins are also useful to organize and keep neat your 2-strands or 3-strands of the 6 strand floss that you have separated, but not used yet.

OK, so now my thread is organized.

box-1 box-2

I’ve been using embroidery as a surface decoration in my art quilts for some time.


But here is a piece I’m working on now that is all about embroidery.


I also will make a sampler piece with about 6 basic stitches.  And borrow heavily from Pinterest to give my students ideas: feminist or subversive sayings, “Zenbroidery” using a pen and ink abstract drawing as basis, botanicals – there are a lot of ways to go with this.

I’ll post more in the future as this develops.

Any ideas you may have are welcome!

Art Fairs from the artist’s point of view, at least mine last weekend, yield the sweet gratification of a person looking you in the eye and “getting” your art. But also the bitter taste of hour after hour of not selling any art.

I was accepted into the Mt. Gretna (PA) Outdoor Art Fair this year, a prestigious, large, well attended show. I did all my homework leading up to the event: made sure I was well stocked, everything was tagged and priced, and my display was above par.

My husband helped me set up the canopy the day before the event, and I arrived Saturday morning smiling and ready.

Sure enough I made my first sale of a piece of art within the first hour. My heart soared!

But the rest of that day all I sold were smaller items: Friendship Wine Totes, Hot Spots, hand stitched greeting cards, and — lord help me — Handy Litter Bags for the car.

Yet folk seemed to be serious about returning to make purchases of the actual art pieces.

Sunday morning dawned fair and cool and I arrived full of hope that someone would indeed come back. I greeted each person with a smile and my explanation of the art form, and my artistic motivations.

But by afternoon the day had grown hot and humid,and no one returned, and no one else bought a piece of art. I didn’t let my disappointment show. I kept my expression pleasant. I made quick visits to my new art friend just a few booths away.  She is on Facebook!  We have a friend in common! She likes my work! We traded a piece of art!

A judge came by to present me with a “Judges’ Choice Award” that came with a check. Cool! I was happy.  But the big fat ribbon outside my booth didn’t attract any more art sales.

My husband arrived to give me an ice cream break at 3:30, and that is when a couple finally returned and bought a $300 piece.

My heart soared!

The day after the fair my spirits were still dampened.  I had only sold two pieces of actual art, plus the exchange with my new friend. My total for the weekend was just under $1000, which was my personal minimum goal. And of course I now have to restock all of the litter bags I sold!

But the following day I was happy again. A lot of people signed up on our e-mail list. I am still new to this area, and the exposure was great. I am going to make a sign explaining Art Quits and how to hang them. Now I’m ready to get out there again!

Judges' Choice Award, Mt. Gretna Outdoor Art Show

Judges’ Choice Award, Mt. Gretna Outdoor Art Show

Martha Ressler booth at Mt. Gretna Outdoor Art Show, 2015

Martha Ressler booth at Mt. Gretna Outdoor Art Show, 2015