Sunday, April 30, 2006


I am still so exhausted from last weekend that I haven't done much at all. However did receive my first order as a result of the Festival when someone rang up and asked me if I would paint a monarch butterfly on a paua pendant. Also sold the goldfish paua pendant on Tuesday.

Took five pendants into the Craftsman in Taradale on Wednesday. The owner suggested that I come along in September for the Spring Festival and sit in their shop painting. They will advertise the event and I might sell some work. Apparently there is alot of foot traffic on this particular day so it could be a good opportunity for me.

Began spinning again yesterday- finishing up the grey perendale I was given by Shane at the wool place. I returned there on Wednesday as he had some fine fleeces he thought I'd be interested in. He spent half an hour taking these out and then testing them for fineness and strength. Finished up with two fleeces (a fine Romney and Black Faced Suffolk) that he skirted and bagged up for me. He also gave me a quick lesson at how to test for soundness and micron level which was immensely helpful. I then went to the library and got a book on basic knitting so no excuse now.

I dropped off the tiger pendant I was working on at the Festival. Haven't heard if the guy liked it or not as I dropped it at his mother's place as per his request. I have felt painted out this week but have to get back down to it as the Original Art Sale is only a month away and I need to get more work finished. As we're in the middle of a bad rain storm at the moment and I'm stuck inside this is probably the right time to get onto it.

I have posted a couple of my paintings for sale on Ebay as well.
OOAK White Persian Kitten and Whimsical Folk Art Calico Cat Fingers crossed!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Creative Fibre Festival-Day Three 23 April 2006

I woke up at 3.30am and couldn't turn over so I could get up. Thank goodness for wrought iron beds with hand holds.

Day three was much slower for me with hours going by with no sales. Sold my last two brooches (bringing the total to 15) and was hoping that the pendants would move but although people were admiring them nothing went. I sat painting a tiger pendant when a man and his son came in and were admiring the wolf one so I said "Yes men like wolves....." and was about to say "and tigers" when he said the same thing. He had a look at what I was painting and then showed me a tiger tattoo on his arm. Came back half an hour later and asked to buy the pendant. Paid me and asked me to drop it at his mother's place in Napier when I next come into town. Turns out he's the gardener at Pettigrew Green Arena.

In the morning I'd only sold $30 worth but it slowly picked up in the afternoon and I sold $40 in the last hour including a calico cat pendant to Irene. I think I made $125 the whole day which would bring my total to $447 for the weekend. I could have made more if I had more brooches and also spun yarn and garments as these would have sold to the public. Winter project is to learn to knit again.

At about 2.30pm Jan (my rooster friend) came round and said she was getting me out of there so we went and looked at the fashion display for half an hour. Amazing work- real art in some of those dresses. The Supreme winner was an elegant red evening dress machine-knitted by Laurel Judd who also took out a couple of other awards.

Spent some more money- on alpaca at the Riverdale Alapacas stand. $12 for 100 gms washed and carded. I bought two packets of brown and grey and will ply it with my bunny wool. Then the lady came back with me and bought some angora for her to use in her felting. She took my details as she reckons she'll want more. She's based in Waitomo.

Irene says you're usually overwhelmed with orders once you get home. I know at least 30 angora cards went plus many sheets of spinning instructions with my details on the back. 42 art business cards were taken as well.

Two ladies who were interesting in my art on Friday came back. One said "Have you not painted a ginger tabby brooch like you said you would?" No I didn't have time plus I had left my two glued brooches home mistakenly. Then her friend who had a pendant in her hand said "Where's my St Bernard? I ordered one from you" On Friday she asked could I paint them so I said yes and told her to take a card. No way did she place an order. When I told her it takes a while to paint the pendants she threw the one she was looking at down on the wooden stand and she and her friend stalked off. That was the nastiest part of the whole weekend.

Creative Fibre Festival- Day Two April 22 2006

Day Two was a bit quieter for all of us. Even Irene only made $300! I made $122 but it was like pulling teeth.

Put a sign on my big basket of third grade angora saying what you can use it for and ended up selling four bags compared to none the days before.

The poodle lady from Napier came back with a photo. She wants a proper painting done so I have to think up a price. The alpaca lady came back and gave me a pad with an alpaca photo on it. Her husband also came round to look at my work as he has a say in what's stocked and fortunately he liked it.

The girl came back to pick up the alpaca pendant and to talk about her shop. It's going to be on her property in Otane (a few minutes down the road from me) but she's on a main road plus there is an olive farm next door that gets loads of customers so she'll be cashing in on that. She has bought a carding machine to run alongside the shop and it should be open in three months. Do I want to sell on consignment or would I like her to buy outright?

Sold three brooches and sat painting a calico one all day as I was so tired I couldn't work fast. Jan (lady who took my rooster) brought her friend round to look at my stuff and she bought the calico before it was finished and ordered a brooch of her shit szu.

A dyeing lady (as in dyeing wools) asked if I could paint a small Burmese rock for her to send to China.

I have got rid of 33 business cards (art) and 16 for the angora plus lots of spinning instruction sheets. People admire the pendants but they're not selling.

One lady looked at my cat painting and then said "$100 for that!" in a horrified voice. Then said "Oh Jen Longshaw- I've heard of her" and I said "Yes that's me". Boy she backpedalled about the price as she was so embarrassed. The painting she looked at took me 20 hours so she's begrudging me being paid $5 an hour. She said she would ask her husband if she could buy one of the smaller pictures for her daughter who is cat mad but I don't expect to see her back. She did buy some angora though for her weaving.

A lady came and said she used to paint rocks but they've had their day. She recently went to a fair but none of her work sold. I haven't had that problem but do think perhaps people associate some rock painting with novelty items.

The organiser of the next festival (in New Plymouth in 2007) asked if I would consider having a stand. I said if she could find me a trader who would be willing to sell my stuff on my behalf (and I would give them a percentage) I would send my work but I couldn't come along myself as it was too far. She thought this a good idea and took my details down.

I have covered my stall, petrol and costs and am in profit. So went and bought 900 grams of fine Gotland carded wool from Irene to celebrate.

Creative Fibre Festival- Day One 21 April 2006

Highlights of day one.

Woman passed out in front of my stall and got a blood nose

Freaked Dutch man out by the way I paint upside down. However he later returned with his wife and took my card as he wants a pendant of his daughter's horse

Angora selling slowly as spinners have had bad experiences with crap fibre in past but Irene says the alpaca breeders had the same problem a few years ago and had to re educate the public. A few ex rabbit owners stopped by to chat.

A lady says she used to have an angora farm and still has wire cages. Would I like them? She lives locally. Seemed serendipitous since I have been trying to replace a couple of banks of cages for the past year.

Only have two cat brooches left!

Painted a donkey pendant which sold before I finished (lady paid and is picking it up later). It's going to the US.

Painted a British blue cat brooch which has sold before spraying it so lady is picking it up tomorrow.

A girl fell in love with the alpaca pendant and put it aside. She lives in Otane and is opening a shop and wants to stock my stuff

The owner of the Alpaca Centre in Geraldine, Sth Island bought a cat brooch and a Burmese cat pendant. Asks would I design alpaca cards and they'll sell them in their business. Wants to stock my jewelry and any of my artwork that has alpacas on them. Gave me a photo and is bringing more today

Got several requests to paint people's pets- nearly all my business cards taken. One lady is local and wants me to do a larger painting of her pet poodles.

People kept coming back throughout the day to see how I was progressing with my painting and were even bringing their friends so felt a bit like a panda on display! It helped bring people in and passed the day for me.

Asked the convener if I could bring some of my small cat paintings from the exhibition and she said yes.

Had to go to the Craftsman (shop in Napier that stocks my cards and jewelry) and pick up the remaining three brooches and six pendants I had there to shore up my stock.

Richard and Diane (sister in law) picked me up at four (Irene was minding my stall for the last half hour). When we got home the mailman had left a big packet at the back door. Had a hell of a job opening it and Di and Rich had a giggle until I pulled out a framed certificate. I have graduated from my journalism course with distinction and now have a diploma (Level Four University). That was the highlight of my day!

Creative Fibre Festival- Setting Up 20 April 2006

Back from setting up at the show. Irene the lady I am sharing with (she breeds Gotland Sheep which are from Sweden) is really lovely and we have a stall right opposite the entrance door so people can't miss us.

In the one hour we were open I sold some of my blended fibre and some white angora to one lady and another came back three times before buying a cat brooch. I made $30 in one hour. One funny thing- people didn't seem as if they were going to leave at 5pm so the organisers turned the lights off! LOL

I am definitely taking my paints tomorrow as I need something to encourage people into my side of the stall. Also people are getting me mixed up with Irene so I am going to make a sign saying Angora Rabbit Fibre to put on my wall plus I have hung up a couple of angora blend scarves so people can see how incredibly soft the fibre knits up.

One lady who is running one of the six alpaca stalls (Riverdale Alpacas) came in and said she wants to buy some angora so she can try a blend. Also caught up with Jan from Jan Silks who took one of my bantam roosters a few weeks ago and she has made a killing with her silk scarves in just one hour. Tomorrow the public are allowed in so it will be interesting to see what happens.

Show Time- Preparation finished 19 April 2006

I was too busy and exhausted to update my blog while the festival was taking place but here is what happened.......

Finished bagging up all the angora yesterday afternoon (18th April). Shockingly have over $500 worth including third grade. When I rang the carding company yesterday morning they still hadn't finished my blending and said to come lunchtime. Drove out there at 10.30am just on the off chance and it was sitting there waiting for me. The white didn't bleed out the colour so it turned out a very pretty light grey. Lost some of the wool so combined with the angora so it came out to 950gms.

Didn't get time to paint yesterday at all. Didn't get my $500 worth of jewelry finished but achieved over $300. May be able to make up the rest over the weekend if I sit there painting. Last night made a A4 poster with examples of my better work and also ones with photos of all my different angora rabbit colours so I'll have something to decorate the wall of the stand with. My jewelry pouches I ordered didn't arrive despite the company saying they'd couriered them to me just before Easter weekend. The woman in charge said she'll send more today and is sending them to my brother Richard as he gets his deliveries in the morning being in town so I may get them before the first day of the show.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Latest Bling

Only one week until the Creative Fibre Festival and I'm working like a trojan. Completed my first alpaca pendant this week. Didn't take me as long as I thought it would and I really enjoyed painting something different. Alpace farming is a fast growing business here although you wonder if it will go the same way as mohair, angora, kiwi fruit and avacados which were all boom industries for lifestylers in the 1980s.

Cats are a big staple of mine but I have found they don't sell so well as pendants for some weird reason. The exception are ginger Persians which seem to appeal to buyers. I still have difficulty with the tabby version whereas the long haired ones are much easier. I always feel sorry for them with their squished faces as it must cause them a few breathing difficulties.

Two animals that are extremely popular are rabbits and wolves. The wolf seems to be a masculine subject that appeals to strong characters whereas bunnies are feminine with that whole fluffy cuddly vibe going on. The rabbit pendant is an inch in length and shows one of my first efforts in using pliers and silver wire.

Paua has had a bum rap in New Zealand due to being used in so many kitsch and downright nasty souvenirs such as ashtrays, tacky kiwis and cheap jewelry. However lately it has been enjoying a renaissance as artists begin to appreciate its unique beauty. Certainly it is much more colourful than Northern Hemisphere abalone. The wire bail here I have epoxyed onto the paua before painting a rabbit on the shell. I was worried the paua would break if I attempted to drill it.

I love Payne's Grey! It is a delicious colour that really pops. These two little brooches are meant to be British Blue cats. I had a friend who was owned by one of these felines. One Christmas as a joke she put her best pearls around his neck. He spent the day admiring himself in the mirror and artistically arranging himself about the house all the better so visitors could admire his finery. In desperation she bought him his own string of cheaper pearls but being the pedigree cat he was he knew when he was being short changed and lost all interest in his kitty bling.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Finally photos

Finally got my photos developed with shots of the Mystic Mermaids exhibition. I was having problems with my camera on setting up day but it just turned out that the batteries needed replacing. However it did mean I only got a couple of pictures. The first shows my end of the exhibition with the Patchwork cats (they look so tiny) and also the other animal paintings.

The second image is my friend Judy's wire and bead sculpture including her seashore lamp and nearly life size mermaids. I was unable to get a photo of the window area where her jewellery and a couple of other items were displayed.

This week I finished off four tiny cat brooches. I am meant to be doing the Creative Fibre Festival in Napier in two weeks but am having a slight panic as I feel I'm behind with preparation.