May 31, 2011

Kudos to our TAFA Market

Real joy comes not from ease or riches 
or from the praise of men, 
but from doing something worthwhile.

-- Wilfred Grenfell

And what could be more worthwhile than providing a venue for others to display the labors of their love?  The whole world is indebted not only to those that make, but those that share and appreciate what has been made.

It keeps us connected. 

That's what Rachel at Rayela Art has done 
in putting together the TAFA Market. 

Few people understand the beauty of the handmade better than she, and few people would have what it takes to put something like this together while simultaneously balancing all the other responsibilities inherent in inventing and running TAFA (not to mention her numerous creative pursuits!).

(Well done, Rachel.)

Susan M. Hinckley
Small Works in Wool

May 29, 2011

Creativity, Freeing That Angel from the Marble

A Few Thoughts On Creativity

posted by Barbara Harms

[kree-ey-tiv-i-tee, kree-uh-]
1. the state or quality of being creative
2. the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination: the need for creativity in modern industry; creativity in the performing arts.

Some synonyms include imagination, inspiration, vision and originality.

Inspiration? Vision? Progressiveness? No wonder we put a high value on this quality. As a society we certainly view creativity as a key element to achieving successful work. Therefore, I found all these little tid bits about this trait interesting.  I hope you do as well.

According to this headline from Newsweek we have a creativity crisis here in the United States:
“The Creativity Crisis: For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong?—and how we can fix it.?”

We can take zillions of creativity tests online [Hint-if it takes a test to determine, you're probably not].

Multitudes of articles, books and seminars are out there, all designed to help increase your creativity; “19 steps to increase your creativity” [like this one?]. Hummm, what does that say about us?

Interesting Quotes:Some interesting quotations on the subject
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. ~Michelangelo

Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try! ~Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

The Possible's slow fuse is lit By the Imagination. ~Emily Dickinson

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. ~George Smith Patton, War as I Knew It, 1947

Don't expect anything original from an echo. ~Author Unknown

Here’s some suggestions I found to boost creativity, [come to think about it, several of these apply to life in general, not just creativity].

1-Schedule time regularly to concentrate on some type of creative project. It takes time to develop your creative talents.
2- Build Your Confidence
Insecurity in your abilities can suppress creativity, which is why it is important to build confidence.
3- Fight Your Fear of Failure
Let's face it, many of us are afraid of failure and that stifles creativity. If this is a problem for you, remember that mistakes are simply part of the process, we learn something. Behind every "master piece" there are plenty of there"learning experiences"..
3-Part 2-Be Willing to Take Risks
This goes back to #3. Creativity requires taking some risks. True sometimes things don’t turn out as you planned, but playing it safe rarely produces a masterpiece. Occasionally, try a new direction in your work or a new technique. Climb out on that limb!

Free That Angel from the Marble! 

Go Forth and Create!!

posted by Barbara Harms


May 28, 2011

My Welcome to TAFA

Well, it’s been over three months since I joined the TAFA list. I’m not sure where the time has flown by, as usual. But, I’ve really enjoyed being part of such a like minded support group!

Seeing the blog posts and projects continues to inspire me and make me realize I’m not alone in my endeavours. I tend to be a fiber artist that is all over the place with the techniques and materials that I am using. As I call myself a “jack of all trades…master of none”. So, this group is a wonderful place that all methods of madness are welcome!

My first fun experience with the TAFA group evolved immediately upon my joining. Early in March I was planning a family trip to Paris, France with my family. I decided to contact TAFA felting artist, Ariane Sroka through an Etsy conversation. I just asked if there were art related things going on the week we would be there, that she was aware of. Well, she happened to be doing an exhibit and demonstration event in the city that weekend at l’Atelier Bastille in the Viaduc des Arts. I was so excited to put this into our travel agenda.

Ariane had her exquisite hand felted garments artfully displayed along with artist, Evelyne Alice Bridier, in an architecturally beautiful space. When I arrived she was demonstrating the wet felting of a small felted flower to a couple of women. Even though I was not able to understand the words she spoke, the fiber art language is universal. She soon had these women amazed at her beautiful creation.  

Ariane then spent quite awhile chatting with me (in English!) and sharing her enthusiasm for her artwork. We found that we both started our professions in the field of architecture and now love the process of nuno- felting! The Italian merino wools that Ariane uses as well as her whimsy and creative joy are even more beautiful in person, although they are wonderful in photographs as well (please visit her Flickr gallery!). I soon realized I had to take one of her garments home with me. After a slight challenge getting me logged into a French computer so that I could access my PayPal account, I purchased a lovely nuno-felted reversible vest with dusty mauve orchids.

Pamela Penney Textile Arts

TAFA is a great way to reach out and make new contacts, new friends and new inspiration. I’m looking forward to more travels and hope to meet in person many of the TAFA members along the way. And please, if anyone is traveling to the Chicago area, look me up. My studio is just 9 miles west of the city on a major train line, very easy to get to and I would love to share what I do with you!

Submitted by Pamela Penney

May 26, 2011

TAFA Team Etsy Pick of the Week: Felted Wool Coaster and Bowl Set

This week's TAFA Team Etsy pick of the week is Patty Benson of Papaver Vert from Alameda, California.  I have to admit, I've been loving her work for quite awhile, and actually own some pieces of it (lucky me!), so the hardest part for me this week was choosing which one of her felted pieces to feature.  I chose her coaster and bowl sets as they showcase a range of her beautiful colors and her great design sense. Head over to her Etsy shop to see more!

Felted Wool Coaster and Bowl Set from Papaver Vert

You can learn more about Patty and Papaver Vert products by visiting her on the TAFA List, her website, her blog, or on her Etsy site

*Etsy Pick of the Week feature by Stacey Sharman from Peppermint Pinwheels.  Every Thursday, we will post one item from a TAFA Team affiliated Etsy store. In choosing a Team member photo, we will be looking for beautiful, Etsy Front Page worthy photos.

May 25, 2011

Which came first . . . the Art or the Idea?

If you ask me, it's as tricky a question as the oldie involving the chicken and its egg, because although the idea starts the ball rolling, it's the expression of the idea through a specific medium that truly fleshes it out, explores it, confirms its direction or chooses another altogether, and then AT LAST creates a tangible and lasting representation or expression.  And without that, the IDEA is just a tiny impulse in the brain cells of a single individual.


Okay, that's not exactly the way that verse goes, but it makes perfect sense.

The ideas come afterwards, 
when the picture is finished.

-- Pierre-Auguste Renoir

An idea is not art.

-- Robert Levers

Ideas are useless unless used.  
The proof of their value is in their implementation.

-- Theodore Levitt

To give a body and a perfect form 
to one's thought, 
this -- and only this -- is to be an artist.

-- Jacques-Louis David

The creative process does not 
end with an idea -- 
it only starts with an idea.

-- John Arnold

Come on!  
I will race you to the corner . . .

Susan M. Hinckley
Small Works in Wool 


May 19, 2011

TAFA Team Etsy Pick of the Week: Embroidered Spring Cuff by Madrigal Embroidery

Sometimes, picking the Etsy Pick of the Week can be tough.  There are so many wonderful items from which to choose!  But this week, choosing this embroidered cuff made by Carla Madrigal of Madrigal Embroidery from San Francisco, CA, was an easy choice.  Just as the sun streaming through my window reminding me that it's spring makes me happy, this aptly named, "Wonderful Spring Cuff" also makes me smile.

Embroidered Cuff by Madrigal Embroidery
You can learn more about Carla by visiting her on the TAFA List, or on her Etsy site

*Etsy Pick of the Week feature by Stacey Sharman from Peppermint Pinwheels.  Every Thursday, we will post one item from a TAFA Team affiliated Etsy store. In choosing a Team member photo, we will be looking for beautiful, Etsy Front Page worthy photos.

May 12, 2011

TAFA Team Etsy Pick of the Week: Linen Pillow Cover with Stitched Houses

I love the look of drawing with thread.  For today's Etsy pick of the week, I chose this cute linen pillow cover by Jane LeBlanc of JML Studios in Deering, New Hampshire.  It's decorated with free motion stitched houses that illustrate her whimsical style. 
Thread Drawn Houses on Linen Pillow Cover by Jane LeBlanc of JML Studios
 Jane is a painter, illustrator and makes collages which can be seen by visiting her on her blog, or on her Etsy site

*Etsy Pick of the Week feature by Stacey Sharman from Peppermint Pinwheels.  Every Thursday, we will post one item from a TAFA Team affiliated Etsy store. In choosing a Team member photo, we will be looking for beautiful, Etsy Front Page worthy photos.

TAFA Market Video

Afghan Tribal Arts participates in the TAFA Market.

We have been featuring TAFA Team members on this blog who participated in our TAFA Market, TAFA's first public event held during the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah, Kentucky.  Afghan Tribal Arts ( was one of several TAFA (The Textile and Fiber Art List) members who participated who also have Etsy shops.

Watch our video for the TAFA Market story:

You can look up members with Etsy shops on this page or explore the tabs at the top of this blog for all of our member products.  We aim to be the best place for textiles and fiber art on Etsy and hope that you will support all of this wonderful talent.  Visitors to our TAFA Market commented on the high quality and fair pricing of what they saw.

Together TAFA Members do great things!