Going into April with a SPLASH!

My Mothly Newsletter on Surface Design

Puddle Jumping!

Each month I like to show some of my new artwork.  This month will not be an exception, but like most of my work it is inspired by something from my childhood.

Growing up in Michigan I realize that it’s the small things that really matter. Sometimes the simpler the better too!  The memories of “puddle jumping” came flooding back (oh gee pardon the pun, it really was an accident).  Like those times my sister and I were allowed to go outside and jump in the puddles.  My mom would give us the freedom to run around in the rain, if 3 conditions were met.  First of all it had to be a warm day.  Second, it had to be during the day.  And thirdly, under no circumstances could there be lightning or thunder.  Thank goodness for a cautious mother, or I might not be here!  Or, maybe I would have that curly hair I always wanted?  Hmmmmm… Anyway continuing on with my little story.  Puddle jumping out in the country was more like MUD puddle jumping.  Our driveway was dirt, and the many streams of rainwater would merge perfectly, creating the deepest darkest nooks and crannys for mud puddles, and a haven for kids to splash into.  Oh those were the days.  If only I still liked to get dirty! Darn, I hate being a grown up sometimes!

How about some raincoat artwork to go with that memory?

We were so “old school” back then that we didn’t even wear raincoats or boots!  WE would run around bare footed and let the mud squish between our toes! They build ’em tough in Michigan!

Moving onto some other news

I released another colorway (red) for my “A Happy Household” fabric collection on Spoonflower.  It seems to have created some kind of a “stir”.  Oh no, I made another pun, really, I cannot help it!!! These designs are getting a lot of love on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest and for me it’s been a real kick!

The 3 patterns are Top: “Fluff, Fold, Stir and Bake”,  Bottom Left: “Joy of Baking” and Bottom Right: “A Happy Household”.  These are wonderfully whimsical designs inspired by “womens work of the 50s” and are a pun themselves…

Because I don’t really believe that this is the way of the modern household.  NO SIREE! I mean just ask my husband – he does way more laundry than me!  In my opinion “A Happy Household” is a household where all those tasks are shared.  So this is meant to be fun, no judgement here! There is a link on my website for Spoonflower at the top menu where you can access my Spoonflower shop.  In addition to these designs, there are many more to be discovered!

What can I make out of “A Happy Household” fabric designs?

Well, so funny you should ask.  I have a few mock-ups to share!

How about sewing up an oven mit in the “Joy of Baking” print!

OR….

What if you were to create a snazzy apron for a Father’s Day or Mother’s Day gift?  See there is no judging here! I told you! Both may be used by any gender.

SURTEX News

My creative juices have been flowing, and I have been preparing all sorts of designs for all surfaces, which will only be revealed at SURTEX, which takes place May 21st-23rd at the Javitz Center in New York City.  Those of you that recieve this newsletter AND are in fact looking for new designs that will be available for all kinds of surfaces should certainly stop by Booth 2823.  My agent Sue, from Vivid Art Agency will be there representing me, and I would love to meet you as well. If you don’t see what you need, let’s talk about it and I’ll create something you really love.  All my contact information is at the bottom my newsletter and I would love to hear from you!!

#The100DayProject

I’ve joined an instagram movement, The 100 Day Project. This project is meant for creatives to spend up to 10 minutes a day creating something you wouldn’t normally make time for.  I have decided on painting with watercolors.  My theme will be flowers and with a goal of 100 consecutive days, hopefully this creative journey will result in some great artwork and a refreshed confidence in this medium.  Join me on this journey.  It starts today and I will be posting to instagram once each day for this challenge under my unique hashtag #the100DayProjectTraceywirthdesigns.

As always, thank you so much for reading my newsletter.  It’s a real honor to interrupt your morning routine with a little light, fun, and sometimes humorous artwork. Thanks for allowing me to be part of your day!

Have a great month, and I’ll see you in May!

Tracey Wirth Designs

Tracey Wirth Designs

 Tracey Wirth

 415 407 0609

 www.Traceywirth.com

Just When you Need It!

Sometimes something happens right when you REALLY need it!  I often talk about how being in the business of surface design is like a rollercoaster ride.  Many times this rollercoaster ride seems to have more nosedives than blastoffs!  Those nosedives?  They are usually provoked by that “evil little inner voice” that likes to compare my work to others and tell me “you’ll never amount to anything”.  Most days I can push this “voice” aside, not listen and not buy into it, but some days it gets hold of me and pulls me down that rabbit hole.  Ugh, if any of you have this issue, you know the place I am talking about. It’s a dark, ugly space where creative juices dry up and optimism is unheard of.  You know that song by Sam Phillips, “Where the Colors Don’t Go”? well, her lyrics explain it all.  Nothing grows there, especially color!

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So getting on with my story, and it’s a very good one!  Two weeks ago I did a little four question “e-mail interview” with a lovely woman named Rose that works with the “On The Surface” (SURTEX) E- Newsletter. You probably remember I exhibited at SURTEX 2016, last May.  This e-mail popped into my inbox (which usually I tend to delete even before reading because I think it may be junk from an on-line marketer trying to sell their services), but this time I opened and read it. Thank goodness I did.  This was JUST WHAT I NEEDED, JUST WHEN I NEEDED IT!

This e-mail was from a lovely person by the name of Rose Gilbert.  She had questions as to what I did last summer, how my summer inspired my creativity and about life after SURTEX.  At the time, I answered the questions attached some artwork, as they requested and sent it immediately back, thinking “this may end up being nothing, but who knows” and I totally forgot about it!!!!

A few days ago, to my surprise, and in a slump, a newsletter popped into my inbox from “On The Surface”, the e-newsletter from SURTEX.   I scanned through it, completely forgetting about the interview I did and all of a sudden I saw my face!  OMG!  I didn’t even read it, I handed my phone over to my husband and he started to read it to me!  To say that I was shocked, was an understatement.  I really did forget about it.  Rose made me sound so much more like an artist (and a grown-up) than I view myself to be!  Below you can read part of the SURTEX e-newsletter!

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When you head over to the SURTEX website, there doesn’t seem to be a place to access this particular newsletter.  You will find older newsletters there, but not this one for some reason.  I am not sure why, but I am sure many, many attendees and exhibitors received this e-newsletter edition in their mailbox, just as I did.

So I guess you can say I am on the upswing of the rollercoaster ride.  I know it won’t last forever, but I am going to enjoy this feeling for a little while before it’s time to experience the next dip.

Have a great week everyone!

Create Something!

 

SURTEX, before and after…

It’s all I had been talking about.  “I’m getting ready for SURTEX”, “I’ll do that after SURTEX”, “When I go to SURTEX, this could happen”.  SURTEX, SURTEX, SURTEX!  MARCIA, MARCIA, MARCIA! This 6 letter word had consumed my life, by dictating sewing projects, both at home and at out of town workshops, and by creating a stress that until now I had avoided most of my life.  Yep that’s right, I am an AVOIDER!  If you ignore it, it will go away, right?  NOPE!  Don’t even try.

So as this blog’s title states, this is about before and after SURTEX, so let’s talk about before, shall we?  Many, many errands and projects (not sewing or design related) were put on hold until after this event.  You know, like house cleaning, laundry, folding and putting laundry away- let’s just say that my house was in desperate need of some TLC and so was my entire family.  Almost every waking moment was spent on preparation for this event.  Luckily SURTEX had some great webinars. These were key for us first timers that opted for the “telephone booth sized” booth.

They talked about banners, lighting, trash cans, backdrops (heights and widths), podium sizes (which was impossible to actually get the correct measurements) and last, and my favorite, PRESS KITS! These weren’t really my favorite, especially since we came home with over 100 press kits that nobody wanted.  I say my “favorite” because Jim, Will and I put 200 of those little devils together, which we were told to do in one of those informative webinars. I even asked if we were new to the industry and haven’t any clients yet, will we also will need 200 press kits? Yes- we were told.

Well, I am here to tell you now- DON’T DO IT!! 75 would have been a very nice number. WE were told to make and bring way too many.  WE spent countless hours assembling these kits, not too mention, Aaack I hate to even think of it, but the money that was spent on these- I haven’t done the math- and I don’t think I am going to.

This was how the kits were assembled

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200 Kraft paper folders were purchased.   Dum Dum lollipops were used as a closure for each folder. I think this is a genius idea, clever, and if you would like to borrow this idea I would be flattered.  All folders needed to be punched twice (through both front and back of the folder) for the lollipop insertion.

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I created a special coloring booklet just for SURTEX 

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I printed 300 Coloring Booklets and each was packaged in a vellum envelope with a box of 12 colored pencils, (not 8 as it stated in the photo above this photo).  The extra 100 booklets and pencils were to give out at my booth.

It’s The Little Things That Make a Difference

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In the photos above you see a bunch of embroidery hoops and a custom stamp I had made in my logo from Tailormadestamps on etsy.  I highly recommend them, the quality is awesome and they are quick! I used the stamp to put my logo on the embroidery hoop backside and the backside of the swatches.

On to the “Phone Booth Sized” booth.  The Floor space, was a mere 5 feet x 5 feet.  I couldn’t get exact measurements of the shelving that was offered through GES at the Javits Center, so I opted for these shelves…. Actually- they are shoe racks, but they were light weight and they fit the space nicely!

IMG_9575These were purchased from The Container Store, they were cheap, they came flat in a box and they didn’t need any special tools to set up! This photo was taken in the container store- this was not them set up in my booth.

The Booth

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This is my by booth before!  I know! RIGHT?!  It is SO roomy and spaceous!  I wish I would have opted for the next size up- It would have cost more, but this space was so small that I couldn’t even change my mind in it!!! Also, there was no privacy, those on either side of you could get in on your conversations, and dare I say it??? I’m going to- steal your potential client!  Yep- it happens, and did!

That tiny space to the left of my booth is where I put those stackable shoe shelves. They fit perfectly!! You can see them in the photo below.

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Here is the booth during set-up.  My banners were AWESOME.  They were done by Production Resources of Boston.  I put mostly characters on my banners and with the black background they popped!  People came around the corner and saw my pig on a vespa and couldn’t help but laugh!  That made my day!

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A shot of my amazing and handsome husband (my BUMBLE) Jim, hanging my banners with care, he also helped many others hang theirs!

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Setting up in progress! I am holding a spring-loaded curtain rod- this was put on the backside of my podium and was where I would hide my handbag and other things that I didn’t want to be seen.

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I had these items I sewed with my fabric printed from Spoonflower represented in my shelving unit. You can see them in the photo above in the shoe rack    shelving unit.

The Sewn Items

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This wallet, pattern is by LR Stitched-THE PERFECT WALLET, fabric by me, Granny’s Rock Garden Collection.  It is the perfect wallet! I love this wallet, and I have made scads of them!

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This little clutch made from Noodleheads Rainbow Clutch-(pattern from her book), The fabric is from my Lily Pond Collection.IMG_9784

This skirt I also sewed from my Lily Pond Collection, the pattern is from Colette Patterns The Ginger Skirt.  It is super easy to sew, but I feel like it never feels right when it is on- like it rides up or something- I wore it to SURTEX anyway.

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This is also a pattern from Noodlehead.  The divided basket, sewn from my Lily Pond Collection

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The blouse above is the Biscayne Pattern from Hey June Patterns – the fabric is from  my Splendor In The Grass Collection and the large pouch and small change purse  were sewing projects from Sew South. The fabric is from my Granny’s Rock Garden Collection.

You all know that I really want a fabric gig, so I really put that medium to the test to show what my collections can do for a plethera of patterns!  I really think they work well with clothing and bags- and quilts of course.

Since my characters were mostly represented on my banners, I put my design repeats into a portfolio I had printed through Shutterfly.  It measures 11″ x 14″.

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Over 100 of my design repeats were represented in this lovely tidy book.  It made for a great display on my podium.  I purchased a book holder to keep it upright to catch peoples eyes.

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Here I am on my second day.  Wow, look at that, I am having a good hair day!

What I learned and what I would/would not do again

  1. If it is your first time doing SURTEX- don’t do the smaller booth. This was only a one time deal for new exhibitors to get their foot in the door, at a lower price which was great, but you give up privacy, space, room for others to help you and I think status.  Attendees just weren’t educated enough on what the Designer District was all about. If you can afford to spend more for your first time- do it.
  2. Advertise in some of the special directories.  There is a SURTEX directory and there are a couple others, and apparently the cost is minimal.
  3. Make sure you have some holiday designs.  People came to my booth asking for Christmas designs.  This was a big “I dropped the ball moment” for me.  I should have had a whole portfolio book dedicated to Holidays! All holidays should be represented.
  4. 75 Press Kits- Tops.  Make them a special representation of you, but downsize and economize.
  5. Listen to the SURTEX webinars but don’t be afraid to reach out to some of your exhibitor friends before the convention.  If you are inexperienced at exhibiting (like me), don’t be shy about asking those who have been before advice on certain things you may be questioning.
  6. Be friendly and chat with everyone you can, you never know where it may lead. DON’T be glued to your phone.  It doesn’t look professional and you are missing so much!
  7. Have FUN

I may do SURTEX again.  Now that I got that all out of my system, I feel like I am ready to start planning for next year.  I did make many contacts, I learned from others and I got some really great feedback from folks.  I am also working on a contract with a company, and this happened because of SURTEX.  Things are moving ahead- I’m pushing forward and it feels great.

Thanks for reading and visiting.

Stay Well and Stay Crafty