Bethlehem ArtWalk

So the ArtWalk came and went! I spent months preparing for this, working on stocking up my inventory of weavings and creating the overall look I wanted for my "booth". I worked up until the 11th hour to get everything finished. From my logo sign on my booth, to creating what felt like a million little "S" hooks to hang the weavings, to making my business cards, it all came together in the end and I'm proud of how it turned out. Although I didn't sell as much as I'd hoped, it was a fantastic experience and I did what I went there to do: get my name out there and display the pieces that I worked so hard creating.  It was the perfect day to have all of us local artists come together in Downtown Bethlehem and showcase our work. The sun was shining, the street was buzzing with people heading to dinner and shopping, all in all, just perfect.

My mother has been making dreamcatchers for as long as I can remember, and she made some for me to sell at the ArtWalk along with my weavings. They fit right in and looked absolutely beautiful with my pieces, and definitely made a lot of people stop to admire them. I'm going to work with her getting set up on Etsy soon! ;)

The first couple of hours (the event was four hours long) was a bit slow. People were preoccupied with getting to dinner and didn't seem to have much time to stop and look at everyone's work. All of us artists were spread out along Main St. in Bethlehem and a couple of nearby cross-streets, and I was in a great location next to one of my favorite restaurants. It was a bit windy and my weavings were taking a beating from time to time, but they held up well and worked with the garment rack set-up I had.

Towards the end, around 8pm, more people were stopping and showing interest. I think if I was there another hour or so, my sales might have been up. But like I said, I'm happy regardless of how many got sold. A few of my business cards got taken, which I was thrilled about. Who knows, maybe I'll get an e-mail or two within the next week for some custom orders! :) 

What made this experience so fulfilling wasn't the fact that I sold some products and had my art on display for everyone to see. It was the crazy amount of support I received from my family, friends, boyfriend, and even Instagram followers whom I have never met. It was unbelievable. After reading all of the supportive comments, the "how did it go?" texts, the phone calls, the sharing of my photos, my heart was (and still is) so full. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have this support system and people rooting for me from all over the world. It's such an amazing feeling. I want to say a huge THANK YOU to my family, my friends, and everyone who has given me a pat on the back for this. I may end up doing another one in August if I have time. But this is just the beginning and I can't wait to see what the future holds. :) 

And I've gotta say, I could not have done any of this without the help of this guy right here. And of course, his trusty Platinum wagon to carry all of my things. ;)

Here's a little sneak peak of what I'm working on now...soon I'll have my weavings for sale on Etsy! 

Make Your Own Tapestry Loom... for Under $20!

When I first started weaving I was browsing the internet for an affordable loom to buy. After about a day of looking I realized I wasn't going to find one under $75, which is out of my price range, unfortunately. I ended up finding some DIY looms, but most of them still cost close to $50 to make, so I decided to figure it out myself. I remembered an article I read about New Friends, and saw in some of their pictures that they used canvas stretcher bars for their looms. I figured if it works for them, it will work for me! And I already had spare stretcher bars, so I was halfway there.

If you are new to weaving or are a seasoned weaver and just want to have your own custom loom that's quick and easy to make, this project is for you. And the supplies will cost under $20 in the end! That is, assuming you have the necessary tools to begin with. :)

What you'll need:

  • Four canvas stretcher bars- you can get these at any art store, I bought mine at Blick Art Supplies and it came to about $12 for four bars. The price will vary on which bars you choose. I went with bars to make a 22"x34" loom.
  • Finishing Nails- I could only find ones that were 1.5" in length because there weren't any shorter ones, but I wouldn't go any shorter than 1". You can find these at any hardware store for under $2.
  • Drill-a small hand drill with a 5/64in drill bit will work just fine
  • Tape Measure
  • Hammer
  • Marker/Pen
  • Four wood screws -or- a staple gun (I recommend staple gun)
  • A companion or two

Now you're ready to make your loom!

Step 1: Frame It Out

The nice thing about using canvas stretcher bars is that they're made to fit right into one another, so go ahead and put those bad boys together.

Step 2: Secure the Corners

This is where a staple gun comes in handy. I made this frame a long time ago before knowing I was going to use it for a loom (it was fate, I know) so I used wood screws to hold the corners in place. They worked just fine, but I used a staple gun on a larger loom I made a few months ago and it's much easier and more efficient. If you're using a staple gun, just shoot a couple of them over the gap to connect the two pieces.

Step 3: Measure

I measured 2" in from the sides of each of the shorter bars and 1" in from the top just to avoid any collision with the gap where the bars meet. Once you have those set and marked up, just measure and mark every 1/2" along the bar until you have enough to span the width of the loom. 

Step 4: Make Pilot Holes

This step is very important. I know from experience that if you skip this step, the wood will split and the nails won't be secure. Take your drill with the 5/64in drill bit and make small pilot holes at each of the spots you have marked. This is a tedious step but well worth it! Be sure not to drill too far in or your nails won't set correctly.

Step 5: Nails Nails Nails

You're almost there! The final step....pound those nails in. After setting the pilot holes, you're ready to get the nails in there. They aren't going to be perfectly straight, so don't worry about that. All that matters is that you get them in their spots securely without splitting the wood. This is where having a companion or two helps. Since you're spending this time making something for yourself that you will clearly cherish forever, why not have someone to help you pass the time? In my case, it was my boyfriend and my cat Floyd.

Step 6: Relax!

You've done a lot of work getting this loom together. Now it's time to bask in your own glory. Go on with your bad self! You just saved a good chunk of change and you're going to weave on a loom you made all on your own. Well done! 

If you have any questions regarding this process, feel free to send me a message on my Contact page! 

Tapestry Weaving Love

I finally completed my very first tapestry weaving a couple of weeks ago. It took me longer than I had hoped to finish mainly because I work full time and my only chance to weave is on nights and weekends. And also because after moving from the small Lap Loom to one that is almost triple the size is very daunting. I think it would have taken a long time regardless of working, though, since it was my first tapestry-sized piece. Since I made the loom by hand using finishing nails and canvas stretcher bars (will create a how-to post soon!), not everything is lined up perfectly. It did seem to work very well, though! Plus it saved me from spending a crazy amount of money on a brand new loom, and who doesn't like to save money?

I started off having a clear idea in my head of how I wanted this weaving to look. I made a few sketches before warping my loom in hopes that I could follow the patterns that were coming to mind. After about a day of weaving, I quickly realized that my sketches would not directly translate to my loom, and I was fine with that. I've come to love the fact that it's such an organic process that allows me to make decisions on-the-go based on the color of yarn I used last or the technique I chose. 

Initially I had planned to have a mohawk-like look to this weaving, with the long strands of yarn spanning from top to bottom, straight down the middle. After making the bottom "tail" out of thick blue and thin golden yarn, I felt how heavy that one section was and decided to go against my mohawk idea. At that point, I just started to wing it. 

I like the look of neutrals with little bursts of color added here and there. The softness of the off-white yarns mixed with a contrasting deep blue and mint green allow the piece to be subtle, but still have a presence. All in all, I'm happy with how this piece turned out. As with all of my work, I look at it and think of what decisions I could have made differently, but that's just part of the process.

Knowing that my possibilities are endless when it comes to different looks for my weavings, I'm excited and anxious to keep creating these tapestry pieces. I'm constantly inspired by everything around me so I take what I see and build off of that whenever I create. I can't wait until I am able to start creating custom, commissioned pieces for clients. They will be able to display their piece knowing I took into account their personal style and vision, and that will be the most gratifying process of my work. As long as I can make one person happy, I'll be happy!

I still have a lot to learn when it comes to tapestry weaving, but it will all come with more practice and more work. I'm ready to take that on and keep going, knowing each piece will be better than the last!