Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Knitting and Stitching Show, and some new hats.

I went to the Knitting and Stitching show at Harrogate last Saturday.  I worked in the college stand for a few hours, and then had a brief look around.  

There were a handful of stands that I wanted to look at / needed to get some supplies from, so I didn't spend that much time aimlessly wandering about, unlike at last years show.  The things that struck me, and that when I have time I'd like to try playing with, were some of the massive hanks of thick yarns, or textured yarns.  I think that you could do something really interesting with those (but I need a little practise first!).

Hats on display at Knitting and Stitching Harrogate 2012 (mine are the cloche, the black leather one, and the barely visible black suede one at the back). 

Hats on display at Knitting and Stitching Harrogate, 2012 (the cloche, leather and feathers, and the black suede at the back are mine).

The college stand at Knitting and Stitching Harrogate, 2012

Knitting and Stitching 2012

Knitting and Stitching 2012

Knitting and Stitching Harrogate, 2012

All I actually bought was some thread that I'd just about run out of, and a headpiece / fascinator block (from the Milliner Warehouse stand).  Most of what they had was aimed at the 'make a fascinator in a day / make your own' crowd - pre blocked shapes that just needed to be trimmed (not that there's anything wrong with that, just not currently my thing).  They had some nice feathers, just nothing that inspired me to buy.  I am going to get some stuff from their website though - they have some nice large wool felt capelines (wide brims), that I think might give the scope to do something really interesting free-form.  

Anyway - the block is a nice little vintage-y shape, and dead easy to block (I have already), though the getting off the block will take some time.  And it's just the right size for using up those middle bits you get left with when blocking brims.

new headpiece block in use, using up one of those left over 'middle bits'

new block underside - may be tricky to remove the felt, but should be nice shape

The show also got me thinking about the self editing of your work.  I've had a theory for quite a while, that I've put into practise (or tried to) with my costuming work.  It's not complicated, it's basically just that you should be careful about what work you present to the world at large.

What got me thinking about that was an item of costume on another stand.  I'm not going to go into any more detail about who or what, because that wouldn't be fair to the maker.  But it was a mess.  The cut was completely off, in a number of areas; things didn't hang the way they should (including in the photo of it on a person); the finish was poor; the attention to detail was lacking...  it was just basically bad.  It was the sort of work that if I presented it to a client as a finished piece, it would be thrown back in my face, and they'd be demanding a full refund, and refusing to pay.  And I have to say they'd be right.  

As a result of seeing it I started thinking about the way that I've been editing my work for a long time.  Everybody has off days.  Everybody who makes things sometimes makes things they're not happy with (quite frequently if you have perfectionist tendencies!) - things that just don't work - if you make things for other people you'll occasionally end up making something that you hate with a passion.  And, yes, sometimes you might make things that you don't think are good enough - or sometimes things that are absolutely stunning and some of your best work, and your photos are dreadful.

Quite simply, you don't put those things on display, or on a website.  You self-edit the front that you present, so that the work that people see is the best that there is to show them (and ideally, so that it's the stuff you'd be happy to make more of).  

I have to be generous and assume that there was a problem with getting stuff to display for some reason (aside from the fact that there were similar issues with other things that were displayed in photos).

Of course, you can go too far in the opposite direction - there was another stand that only had one piece displayed.  I know all about the gallery theory of having a large space, and lots of room to move around exhibits, and the piece itself was stunning, but the stand just looked unfinished.

Ouch, is too late now, and I have more to type up, so I'll have to finish tomorrow (by which time I'll have even more to write about)!

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