Sarafina Fiber Art

Sarafina Fiber Art

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What Goes Into a Supply Pack

I am pulling from a position of overwhelmedness today so please forgive me if the post has a desperate slant, but we have been trying to launch our Basket Bunny Tutorial and Supply pack for weeks now with no sucsess and it made me realize all that goes into these Supply Packs and Tutorials.

First, comes the project and inspiration.  We have no shortage of suggestions for videos and are working through a long list of projects.  We try to space out tutorials according to season, difficulty, and variety.  So far we have mostly presented projects that are very familiar to me - sculptures that I have made many many times and therefore feel that I can teach clearly and completely.  As we have been filming for the past 1 1/2 years, Kyla and I have become more comfortable and learned a bit about what works and what doesn't.  I cringe a bit at our first tutorials! 

Second:  I make the sculpture one, two, maybe three times.  Each time I taking notes about what I do, in what order, and why so that I can deliver a fairly, hopefully, smooth instruction.  I am also trying to figure out how much and what colors we want to include in the supply pack.  I take notes on the colors and quantities.  My notes look like a drunk chicken tried to communicate. 

Third:  After I think I have it sorted out, I write down a packaging list.  This time around, it's Marsha who has put the packs together.  She made 3 to start.  One for me to use to make the bunnies, yet again, to make sure that everything in the pack is sufficient, one for me to photograph to create a website lisitng, and one for me to use in the filming of the tutorial.

We hit a snag in the process when I decided to change a bunny color.  I was not happy with the coloring of the brown bunny and decided to wait for our new custom color, Copper.  It was a good decision but slowed the works.  We had to do steps 2 and 3 again. 

Fourth:  I take a few of the already made sculptures, and have a photoshoot.  Even this step has its obstacles.  Since I like to use natural light, it has to be a sunny day.  I am not sure where you are, but it has been a down right gray Winter here in Maryland.  This photo will be put on the tag that goes into the supply pack.  I use the photo to make our tags in my Pages program and send it to Kyla as a PDF.  She magically presents back to me a stack of color printed tags on cards stock which are cut to size.  Kyla is magic.

Now we hopefully have the tags, the Supply Packs, and everything nailed down.  We try to cater the kits to roving that we know we can get.  Because once it goes into our shop, we want to be able to have it always.  We also want the fiber to be the easiest/best to work with for the best results.  Sometimes these parameters mean accumulating a certain fiber.  For example, we plan to do sheep next.  For months I have been buying, washing, and hoarding the white curls that we need in abundance for every kit.  Bunny Puffs, also are dependent upon precious angora fiber.   In the case of the Basket Bunny, we are using mainly mill roving, and Marsha once again has been weighing, bundling, and packing, many many kits. 

Marsha is blurry because she packs so fast!

Fifth:  We are ready to film!  We are ready to film!  We are ready to film!  Filming takes place usually on a Monday or Tuesday when our store is closed.  This time of year, our kids are off from school every other Monday for dead presidents and in-service days and randomly for inclement weather.  They were off yesterday and will be off Monday and Tuesday.  We love our children and do not blame them for this.  ; )  We can not film with 8 kids in the shop.  We are still ready to film!

When we make a tutorial, I try to impart the reasons and thoughts that go behind the mechanical movements of the project.  I have been creating my entire life.  I have 20 years of painting professionally under my belt.  I am only saying this to convey that it's not just about this project, it's about seeing, and creating, and pushing,  and learning in every capacity.  I want to share with you what I have learned.  In doing so, I learn more and can do more.  Hopefully you do too.  Little pieces of me go into these Tutorials.  I pick them up along the way and then put them back down where you can use them too.  In our shop, the entire team is contributing in this way.  Lending strengths, ideas, inspiration, and know-how to the process. 

Bunnies in painting form

We are usually able to film for about 2 hours before I run out of steam.  That is enough time for projects under 6" but larger pieces can take 2 -3 filming days.  Which means more scheduling difficulties and a lot more footage for Kyla to edit. 

Sixth:  Once we have the footage.  Kyla waves her wand (i.e. edits, compiles, loads, uploads, reloads, burns, labels, links, and all of sorts of other trickery.) and presents the completed package on Youtube, our website, in our shop,  on DVDs,  and in downloads.  I, pray for a sunny day, to now have a photo shoot with the Supply Packs and the critters to put the Supply Pack listing on our shop. 

We release the new Tutorial and Supply Pack with utter delight!  Months of work has gone into the moment we link.  Talbot waits for the onslaught of orders and then with the steady tenacity of a ox he packages and ships.  Out they go into the world.   We are once again rewarded with posts and pictures of what our customers have created. 

At this very moment we are 1/2 way through the Basket Bunny Tutorial and stopped filming because we have customers in the shop.   I am frozen by my very own doing.  It's all wonderful.