Saturday, 31 January 2009

Merry Go Round

Jump on our merry go round and join a group of artists/crafts-women as they link hands around the world and tell you a little about their lives in art a

We are group of 8 women from all over the world
, we have got together in what would constitute an example of peaceful idea exchange and diplomacy, and agreed to come to our blogs once a month and share a bit more about ourselves.
We choose a question and all of us have to answer it in our blogs. It will be very interesting to read what each of us has to say, taking in account how much our lives and crafts differ.

This months question is: what craft would you like to attempt and learn this year, providing you had the resources for it.

I will be the first to admit that I am a very curious person and always like trying new things. I wouldn't have moved half way around the world if I weren't. I have a list of crafts I want to try out, techniques I want to learn. I think about this in a very philosophical way, whereas some other people might think that I have the concentration span of a kid: it isn't that I get bored of something I know already and decide to jump to something new... nono... I look at it more in terms of broadening my art's education, and adding one more skill. You don't forget what you already know and knowledge takes up no space. Learnign something new can help you with things you already know.
So, I'm still wet felting almost daily (the proof is in my roughed hands! too much warm water!). I'm
still working with clay trying to master the art of making a tea pot (that works without you burning with tea...) and now I have a new sewing machine (even though I hardly know a trick or two of the sewing book).
And I want to try and learn this year:
To spin wool: I've looked around everywhere for a teacher but I can't find one. So, the internet shall have to do! My husband made me a drop spindle and I'm on it.
To dye wool with natural dyes: I already signed up for a workshop in May for a day of shearing a sheep and then working with its wool.
Glass fusion is always in my list, so is bookbinding, jewellery making, sewing, paper making and papier mache. That is quite a list you might say... and it is. But I take steps towards learning this things daily by reading, searching and even trying it out.

It makes me happy and excited to have all these interests because they add add ideas and challenges to my life. I might not have unlimited financial resources but I will find the way. This seriously makes me think of what a great life I have, apreciate my life's circumstances. It is just what I always wanted...

(sorry Im a day late, I am a bit sick and it takes time to drag myself to the computer...)
For more testimonials, please do check the blogs of the other women whom take part of this Merry go Round:

Thursday, 29 January 2009

On my desk...thursday?

glass and wool1
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

Sorry, this was supposed to be posted yesterday. But instead yesterday, I decided to spend it all day in bed with sinusitis and an hear infection (second product of the first). Joy! After much begging on the phone with the doctor, I finally got some penicillin and...boy, it works wonders that stuff.
This little piece, which is just a square of hand-felted wool, was yet another experiment... attaching glass pebbles to a piece of felt whilst I'm making it... so, I place the pebbles and the wool and then went on to felt. They are very tightly attached now.
This particular piece isn't anything specific, but I just wanted to try. I have an idea already....mmmmh......

Monday, 26 January 2009


Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

Part of the session called "Experimenting, that is how we learn", in this -smaller- wall hanging I was just trying to get 3D texture. The back of those bubbles are hollow. Amazing how felt, once it is settled, will hold whatever shape.
I was looking for this little one this morning to photograph it and found it under a book... when I picked it up, the bubbles where still there, nothing had happened, the weight of the book hadn't done a thing to it. Wool, water and soap... that is all! oh yeah... and magic :)

Sunday, 25 January 2009

little forest

little forest2
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

The second of those wall hangings I anticipated days ago... This little forest was hand felted with merino and tencel (wood pulp derivate product).

Friday, 23 January 2009

casitas wall hanging

casitas wall hanging
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

One of the wall hangings is done. I don't want to add anything else to do. I just like it simple like that. The sky is a mix of merino and tencel, so when the light hits it, it sort of shines... it's very nice.

Casitas: little houses in spanish.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Working on them...

Working on them...
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

Experimenting with textures and fibers. Part of my New year's resolution...
4 different wall hangings, done soon.. I hope :)

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Handfelted bags

Handfelted bags
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

These past days I've been on a felting spree. I needed a small handbag for myself and along the way I discovered a shape which I like, it's comfortable and everything I need fits!

The first black one is the result of a scarf gone wrong. So I was left with a large piece of felted fabric which I turned into a bag (the white inside the flowers is wool where the black has been carved out). It's irregular -not a perfect rectangle- has two straps and it is lined with a black and white polka dots cotton fabric.

The red one is handfelted with no seams. I wanted texture so I added some locks on the same red color. It's really difficult to photograph red (at least for me) so one can not see the detail in the locks which have a little bit of silk. This one is staying with me. I used it yesterday all day and was surprised at how comfortable and big it actually is.

The small grey squarish one was the first one I made. It is small and on purpose like that. Also felted with no seams, so they are super strong.

Lastly, another round grey one. The handles are flat, not a coil like the red one. It's simple, has no embellishments, but sometimes that is better, right.

I'm now going to try and experiment with some pattern and texture. I bought from Monika's Soft Fiber etsy shop, a sample pack with lots of beautiful fibers I'm dying to try... so enough internet, to work.

Friday, 16 January 2009

troubles and tribulations 2

Thanks everyone for the feedback in the previous post.
The item arrived in the end and the customer was super happy so that was that. However, it doesn't change the basic question. Regardless of the size of the item, shouldn't we make our policies stand and be followed. Isn't that why we have them? It is also a way of respecting our own work as artisans, I think.
I believe most of the buyers and sellers on these e-commerce platforms are nice people, honest. However, I have actually had two clients that placed an order and then didn't pay. You wait, ask them if they need more time, if everything is ok... and in the meantime your item is out of the shop, losing the chance maybe of others to buy it.
I had a client from India wanting to pay with a Bank transfer. Good enough, when the money is in, the item is out (part of those policies). A month went by and no money was in. Ok, money is being transfered here on elephant's bank. Don't know. All of a sudden communication stopped... "do you know how much longer? have you talked to the bank...etc". Nothing. But all along she has a shop on Dawanda and she kept adding stuff to her shop and being active there. She just ignored me. Never payed, obviously. I guess she was expecting me to send the stuff before the money got in. And in which case I would have lost the items and the shipping costs money.
So, that experienced taught me to be a bit more weary and not be so trusty all the time.
Policies are there and when you choose to buy something from another shop it is understood you read them. It's like reading before signing a piece of paper. It's part of the contract established momentarily when one buys something and one sells. One can naturally choose to be flexible, but if the rules were established before hand... why should you be the one to lose?

This is very personal I suppose. I probably sound like I'm an evil seller hahah when in fact I always take the utmost care with packages and add gifts to every order.
I got a couple new orders yesterday and I will ask about the insured packages. And I guess I will add on the page of each item "READ THE POLICIES OF THE SHOP" like I've seen many shops have... now I know why!

Thanks everyone!

This is something like commercial philosophy! LOL

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

troubles and tribulations

Here is a question for all those sellers and buyers on online venues or e-commerce platforms... what to do when the intermediary, the postal service, fails you?
Until today I had never had a problem with the postal service. I usually do not send packages insured because it implies multiplying the shipping costs almost 5 times. Yeah, that much. Sure, in that way the seller is certain that the buyer got it's purchase, and the buyer can be certain that the seller did indeed send the item by checking it with the tracking number. But with no certification, no signature at arrival, no insurance one is a bit at the mercy of the good will of the other person... and the postal service.

Before Christmas I sold an item and I waited 2 weeks until the bank transfer got in. I know it always takes some time, so I didn't worry. As soon as the money was in, the package was out. Since it was under 2kg, it went uninsured (no signature) and with no track and trace number. Those are the postal service conditions which I wrote in my Terms and conditions in the shop. If you want track and trace then you have to pay the extra it costs.

Now, after a week of being shipped, the buyer hasn't received the package yet. And she is wondering where it is. It's to a neighboring country and it usually doesn't take more than a day or two.
I can see how she might think I scammed her... but on the other hand, how can I know that she did indeed received the package and she is now telling me she didn't?
I tend to think that people are good and won't do these kind of things... so it is hard for me to think that the other one is scamming me.This responsibility as an artist and seller sort of weights on me. I feel bad, I can't take it off my mind. I feel troubled. Sounds silly, but I do.
How do I fix it... should I? The policy in my shop is clear on this... I'm not responsable. Yet I feel I should do something, but I don't want to be taken for a fool either.

On a more practical side, if no package appears (thanks to the postal service) this could mean bad feedback... and we all work so hard for good feedback. Not because of the number itself but because we all know that people don't read the Terms and conditions in a shop before purchasing something... but they do look at your feedback.

I will go down to the post office tomorrow and ask about it. However, with no number, they can't do anything. I will ask nonetheless. Maybe with this very bad weather and frozen roads, everything is delayed.
Otherwise, how does one come to an agreement with -what will be- a very unhappy customer?

Have you been through this? How have you dealt with the situation?
Any feedback, very much apreaciated.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Vacaciones de invierno- mosaico

Vacaciones de invierno- mosaico
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

Well, as promised... some of the stuff I did during the holidays...
Remember I'm teaching myself how to sew (with various degrees of success)? well, I finally found a shop that carries that stuff -no idea about the name- to fill soft toys with... and bought a bag. Also bought a couple of meters of the stuff you put between two layers of fabric when you want that quilted effect... Sorry about the lack of names but I do know them in spanish, but not in english. The woman that sold them to me didn't even know the name in dutch... we agreed on "vulling" which is something like "filling or stuffing". If anybody knows...enlighten me.
So, I made some gifts for my son's kindergarden teachers. I didn't want to just buy a box of chocolates or flowers.Instead I made some flowers... (this was a bit before the holidays... the ones in the pic I made later).
Then, I made my first hand felted soft toy. No seams, just felted with the bunny shape and then "stuffed" with that material I was talking about before. I thought it was going to be more difficult, but, for a first attempt, not that bad. The pics here are small, but on my photostream on Flickr you can see that the bunny has veeeeery long ears, it's green and it has little needle felted spots here and there.

Last row in the mosaic:
I wanted to use one of those ceramic flowers I made a few months ago, so I knitted a very simple neck warmer and added it more as an embellishment than anything else. It's super warm!
I made a huuuuuge wrap on organza onto which I felted some flower (ish) shapes which later I embellished by hand sewing a million seed beads. The technique of felting onto fabric is called nuno felting. I used merino and silk and basically you don't have to sew anything, as you felt, the fibers of the wool pass through the weaving of the fabric and they "attach" themselves. The edges of the wrap were finished with a technique which is called "scorching"..which basically means you...burn them. :) Yes, with fire.

Last but not least, a little handbag. The white is a piece of handfelted "fabric¨ which has a really nice bumpy texture . Basically I handfelted a long strip which later I sew and it became a handbag. The top rim and handles as well as the lining, are fabrics from Amy Butler's collection (don't ask me which because I don't know!). The leaves are buttons that my mom sent me from Argentina a while back. They are hardened leather in 3 different tones. This bag I didn't make now on the vacations... I just re-lined it (now that I know how it is done, at least the theory) and finished it.

We also changed the curtains in the living room and the dining room, bought a new bookcase which takes up a whole wall from floor to roof and filled it with books.
Took long walks in the snow, took lots of pictures, ate like piggies, suffered a lot with our kid and his operation, watched lots of movies, listened to music and spent time together.
The husband is going back to work tomorrow which officially finishes the vacationing time. Back to regular life. And that is just fine with me...

Monday, 5 January 2009


Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

We woke up to a completely white world. It snowed a lot last night and it is still there. It's -6C at the moment and the forecast said it will get to -15C tonight.
This pic of a frozen spiderweb is from yesterday when it hadn't snowed yet but everything was frozen just the same. I love when the world is still and frozen (not if I'm driving though...).
I spent my day indoors felting today, with my son recovered enough to be watching "Bob the Builder" over and over and over... "nog een keertje" one more time, one more time...
I will take some pics tomorrow because nothing was finished yet and not much light was left by the time I was done.
A spider though, did her weaving and it looks mighty beautiful!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Back again

I hope you' ve all started the year with the right foot having fun doing whatever you wanted with whomever you wanted.
On the 30th of December my son had an operation -horribly scheduled really- and even though it wasn't a huge deal, it was painful...and the recovery is even more painful. And for a 2yr old all of this pain all of a sudden is unexplainable. For us parents it has been a test of patience and strength really. Emotional and physical strength because this little one seems to be quite a strong kid. Putting on a diaper, changing bandages, bathing him, etc... it's a task for 2 adults and still takes us 3 times longer than before.
We -parents- feel very guilty. Even though we know he had to have the operation (circumcision for medical reasons), seeing your kid cry all the time, yell when he has to pee, the pain in his eyes... really awful. And one can not do a thing. Just hold him and kiss him.
The one thing that has changed in my life since I' m a mother, is the fact that there is now a whole new vulnerable dimension to our lives. I can deal with my own pain, but your kid in pain is something difficult to swallow.
Anyway, after a difficult first week, things are looking up. So, as soon as I can load pics, I will show you what' s been going on here... craft wise :) Not a whole lot but I am determined to make this year one of learning. Not so much focused on selling but more on learning new things, skills, techniques...meeting new people and ...just being all around happy. I succedded pretty well last year in that last account so I guess I'll keep doing what brought me that happinness: creating and speding time with my two men.