4.02.2007

Spinning a Yarn.....


'Spinning a Yarn'.....Actually, that title is so right on the money, it's scary: My long-time friend Catherine is launching a new business venture - she raises & breeds goats, shears them, and processes the wool by dyeing and spinning it into yarn, and then uses it to create some of the most incredible textile art I have ever seen. And she can tell a heckufa' story, too, so you can take that 'Yarn-spinning' comment any way you want to!

Cath asked me to assist her in putting together a display that would perform two functions: Educate viewers in the art of her craft, and sell her finished products. (Tip One: ALWAYS have an objective for each display. Think of it as a 'Mini Mission Statement' that will help keep you on track.) After spending a few hours at her farm being privy to her process, she and I mapped out a plan for the space and then she began gathering and creating things to build the display with. A month later, we met at the location and assembled the display according to my design plan. Below is a shot of the display case...

Below is a shot of the center of the display: it features a photo of Cath's home studio, some textile fibers, and a card that says "The Transformation of Raw Wool Into Wearable Art" - just for those who need a little extra help. (Tip Two: Never assume that your objective is clear to others. State it plainly if it is applicable - as this is for educational purposes.) Placing this info and photo in the center made use of some 'spare' space, and also serves to capture the attention of the viewer right off - did you know people usually look at the CENTER of a piece of art or a display first? (Unlike looking at the upper left first, like when looking at a book or paper). Interesting, huh?

I patted my friend on the back for the stellar staging job she did in her studio space for this photo - she says she learned from me. Thanks!
The following photos are of the display area, from left to right:

Note that the background is neutral - fabric that matches the walls. In this case, it really makes the colorful textiles AND the sculptural props stand out. (Tip Three: if your product is colorful, use a neutral background. If your product is neutral in tone, use a colorful background. Opposites add energy.) We laid out the display chronologically, showing the steps of the process in order. Cath created numbered signs that correlate to actions & tools used for each process. And she has some stellar antique pieces that beautifully tell the story. (Tip Four: Props should relate to the merchandise being featured in order to help you illustrate your objective.)


This is a closer view - note the photos and small items placed to draw the eye upward: angled items, textiles and fabrics showing movement, as well as the numbered cards, keep the viewer's eye moving in the direction you WANT it to. (Tip Five: Placement is a science - study fine art, still lifes, even theatre stage design to see how it subtly but effectively directs your view.)

I love the photo here - it's of 'Daisy', Cath's 1955 Chambers stove that she uses for the dye process. 'Daisy' is the charming centerpiece of a very warm farmhouse kitchen. The fibers are shown in many of the unique, one-of-a-kind dyelots that are more magic than science. Those colors will never be repeated. The pot just makes the photo come to life. (Tip Six: Pull elements from packaging, art, signage, photos, logos, etc. in your displays and repeat them for effect.)

On the right side of the display, the process continues. Betcha' noticed that FAB.U.LOUS mannequin, didn't you?! Let me tell you about her - her name is....ahem....Paris. (NO, not THAT Paris.) You see, mademoiselle Paris is an original 1920's French lingerie mannequin (OOOOOOO La La!), and she was found languishing in a flea market in her native land. After an adventuresome trip to the New World (wherein she may or may not have lost her lower appendages - which have been replaced by an adjustable microphone stand), she finds herself restored to her former glory and now models only the very finest in handcrafted textiles. And check out that shawl she has on...... (Tip Seven: If it's fabulous, it will attact attention. If it's fabulous and cheap, terrific. If it's fabulous and expensive, BUY IT ANYWAY! You will never regret a purchase like this treasure.)

(I'm not allowed to tell you where the props were found and what she paid for them. Let's just say that she saved enough on every prop in this display to buy Miss Paris.)

Here is a shot of one of Cath's fabulous purses (one she was actually using and emptied out so I could put it in the display!). She chose this bowl for the finished yarn & 'started project' because of the great color. It was a bit small when we placed it here, so I added the bandanna to make the color impact larger in this white space. (Tip Eight: Make the most of scale - if an item is too small, duplicate it or add to it's 'visual weight' by increasing the space it takes up. Add a base, add a mirror behind it to reflect it's own image - thereby doubling it - or add something like this in a coordinating color under it.This will help to keep balance within the display.) I need to give a nod to Miss Sarah, a piano student and young friend of Cath's who joined us as our assistant for the day. She whipped up that 'in-process project' in a matter of minutes! Amazing job, Sarah!


Here is a close-up of several of Catherine's bags in various styles. Again, because the yarns are so unique in color and texture, every item created is a one-of-a-kind original. (Tip Nine: When showing a lot of products, color coordinate them to tell a definite story within a limited palette. These are all warm colors - while they do not match, they all have golden undertones to keep the eye flowing from one to another.)

So, you want to get your hands on a 'Foothills Farm Fiber' Catherine Lowell original? Here's how to find her:

(Tip Ten: ALWAYS, always include contact info, pricing, location, use, and other pertinent information in your displays. And stick a buncha biz cards outside a display case like this if you can, so it's easy for people to grab one. If you can't do that, place the info on a nice big sign in the display so those who are tech savvy can snap a shot of it with their phone cameras. ;o) )

1 comment:

  1. Great job on the display, Deb. Cathy's work really shows up well, as it deserves, with your professional touches

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