Monday, February 4, 2013

Pillow Talk


First of all, for anyone reading this and visiting or residing in or near the Rutland VT area, please come visit the indoor Farmers Market on West Street. I’ve been setting up my table full of alpaca accessories there for 14 Saturdays now, and whether sales have been swift or slow, I go home happy to be a part of such a wonderful community effort. The people are always warm even if the space is often not, the atmosphere feels more like a social gathering than a marketplace, and in general working has never felt so good, and coworkers have never been so much fun to be around.

One of the challenges of bringing items for sale at a local market is keeping inventory fresh. People may need to return every week to buy vegetables, soap, cider and wine, cheese and baked goods, but they do not necessarily need a new pair of wrist warmers or yet another winter scarf every 7 days. Craft vendors need to take the long view in terms of establishing a recognizable and reliable presence, keeping the faith that when a regular customer does need what they have to offer, they will remember your name, face, kindness, and having seen your product, and come to you, because they know where to find you, conveniently right where they buy their weekly lettuce. The holiday season was very busy and it takes some getting used to being here in February making only one sale in four hours as opposed to a dozen. Some vendors spirits drop as soon as sales do.

Then one faces a choice – back away and seek other ways of making sales, stick with your current situation and wait for a shift in fortune, or choice number three: rethink, reinvent, recommit.  This is a rather long introduction to the first of my new creations designed to bridge the gap between winter accessories that are well on their way to outlasting their desirability, and products suitable for sales in warm weather when the market once again takes its place outdoors in Depot Park.  Here they are: alpaca pillows!

They’re small and light and smushable, look good wherever they go, perfect for travel or the office when you need a little comfort away from home or as a part of your yoga or meditation routine, or just something to clutch while on your couch with no one watching.  They have the added appeal of being my first deviation from crocheting only in rectangular shapes and believe me, it wasn’t an easy transition.  The two pictured here had their debut at last Saturday’s market and received much attention, verbal and physical. “Oh – airplane pillows!” said one passing potential customer, without even reading the text on the tag that said so.  “MMM” said another, who had never experienced the luxurious softness of alpaca fiber and was happy to be granted permission to touch the merchandise.

Depending on demand, I may be crocheting literally in circles over the next few weeks before returning to more linear efforts in the form of lightweight versions of my scarves and wrist warmers for spring. This will involve stocking up on the beautiful colorful lace-weight fibers I have often admired whenever searching for “alpaca” on the website of my favorite yarn distributor but rejected because I am accustomed to using heavier weight materials for my creations. One more learning process to come: how to fabricate more openwork designs with thin fiber and not have the end product look like a pile of holes and tangles. One unexpected bonus: finally being able to use all the beads I’ve collected over the years through which a thicker yarn cannot be threaded, including an embarrassment of riches recently bestowed on me by my ridiculously generous and talented neighboring market vendor jeweler Patricia. Stay tuned.

If you haven’t been directed already by the links I’ve sprinkled everywhere I am present, in cyberspace and in person – I have a new samples portfolio that exists online in my Flickr photostream as well as in a physical binder I now take with me as a way of quickly demonstrating what I have done and can do in the alpaca accessories department.  Whenever an available item is sold, it gets added to the portfolio to create a collection of possibilities, past and future. No two creations are ever exactly alike, but I am happy to re-create existing designs with slight modifications, or do something entirely new. Did I mention I do custom orders? 

For those of you who have followed me since this whole Two Tigers Creations thing began, thanks again for your patience and kindness as I work my way through yet another transition. You may have noticed that my banner has now caught up with the reality that my work with fiber is worth equal ranking with my writing and photography, and in fact, may have jumped right past those two to the top of the list. One of these days, I will pick up my camera and use it for something a little more inspired than documenting product, but this is not that day. That said, as soon as the stars align themselves properly, I am sure my camera will send me a black and gleaming look across the room, and I will know it is time we made some beautiful images together. And you good people will be the second to know.