People sometimes forget that for me, weaving is a year round, full time job. And so when I appear at a craft fair, the contents of my booth do not reflect just a few weeks or even months of work, but at times, years.
Since I have never yet actually sold out of anything in one year, whatever is left gets brought out the next year. And the next. Until I get sick of dragging it around and donate it to a worthy cause, or sell the last few pieces of a line at discount prices, usually at the annual guild sale in December. It's a great way to support the guild (who gets a % of sales) and get rid of things that have been hanging around for far too long.
Some of the things in my booth might have been woven five years ago; some were woven this year.
But bottom line? If I didn't work at this all year round, I would not have enough inventory to do the (now) three major shows that I do in October and November (plus the guild show in Dec.)
Weaving by hand is still a labour intensive activity. People constantly want to know how long is has taken me to weave something. Which is very difficult to say without doing some serious number crunching.
So - place mats.
It takes about 30-40 minutes to wind a warp which will yield 12 mats and one table runner.
It takes about 30-40 minutes to beam that warp. (What can I say, I'm fast)
It takes about 30-40 minutes to thread that warp. (See bracket above)
It takes about 10-15 minutes to sley and tie on.
It take about 30-40 minutes to weave 4 mats, so a total of about 140 minutes plus breaks to weave that warp. If I push hard I can weave the entire 10.5 meter long warp off in a day.
Cut and serge? About 30 minutes.
Then into the washer and dryer.
Then a couple of hours to press.
Hemming takes about 40 minutes each. Yes, finishing an item can take as long if not longer than weaving (as in shuttle throwing).
Then a final press.
And I'm fast. Most weavers can't come close to my efficiency.
Yes, people can buy place mats for cheaper at Target. But they won't get my designs. Because in the 21st C what hand craftspeople are selling - in addition to their skill - is their unique design aesthetic. Something that cannot be found anywhere but from them.
For all the people who have believed in me and my skills/designs over the decades - my heart felt thanks for supporting me in my dream of creating unique textiles.
We set up for Studio Fair tomorrow, set up for Circle Craft Christmas Market (Vancouver) next Tuesday, and once I get home I will be re-opening my shop on the Circle Craft website.
Currently reading Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal