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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A model story


In the dark ages, when I was a novice weaver, I thought I was a fiber purist, but I was a fiber snob.

Acceptance to an art show, especially the first time, is dependent wholly on pictures submitted. After the first time the jury looks for work that is new, fresh, growing, but, it’s still all about the slides.

Fiber can be a challenge to photograph, and I looked for a photographer who could do this kind of jury slide. At the studio I found the job was well done; rugs photographed from a height, bags in nice little groupings, and shirts laid on a good background and photographed with attention to weave structure and colors.

We were accepted to some decent local and regional shows, and, of course, next I tried for the big time. My first round of applications to national shows included an application to the Smithsonian Craft Show, and the rejection letter included jury remarks the clothes would have presented better on a model.

I took that letter straight to town and slapped it on the counter at the store of my friend Chris, who kept two artist galleries in town. Chris heard out my rant about judging a bird by its feathers and other such analogies. When I got done he said, “Joanne, get a model.”

My new photographer, in upstate New York, put my clothes on the same woman who modeled all the garments he photographed, and Jerry photographed for a lot of fiber artists. His model lived down the road from him, in Woodstock. When he had a job for her she left her garden, walked up the road, put her hair up on her head and modeled, dirt under her fingernails and all.




One day Jerry said he wasn't photographing garments anymore; his model quit. Someone had complained about her wrinkles, and she quit. What to do? I got by on the old slides for another year, but pushing the old slides to three years is so risky.

I thought of my friend Gail. I took her and a stack of clothes to a new photographer not far away.  I told her all she had to do was put her hair on top of her head. She came out of the dressing room with her hair up, the natural skirt and jacket, wearing black heels and carrying another pair which she had brought. The other requirement for modeling for me turned out to be bare feet. And so we carried the last several years of weaving.




Weaving again, I really feel the Smithsonian jury’s remark to put the clothes on a model. Helen, my quiet studio lady form does not complain and does not come to meals, but she just isn’t enough. Fortunately, I still have friends.



The girl in the hat and the periwinkle shirt. She's modeling the denim shirt at the top of the right column, in the Etsy button.

And no, I never applied again to the Smithsonian show. They really were out of our league, but that letter taught me a lot.



31 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Half our customers were men. All our stuff was uni-sex. At one show a woman totally wiped out my inventory of that first shirt pictured, to replace all her husband's shirts just like it that his brothers had "borrowed."

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  2. First of all, I love the idea of a model with garden dirt still under her fingernails.
    Secondly, you're on to something with the hat. No distractions of a person's face, and even the most reluctant model might now be willing to pose.

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  3. Some people just can't 'see' the clothes unless they are on a model. I'm one of them. I see something on a hanger in a store and think it doesn't look so nice, then I'll see the same shirt or dress on a real person outside and think how wonderful it looks.
    I like the white clothes modelled for your photos there.

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  4. Oh poor me, no wonder I've never made it big no professional photographer and no barefoot model

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  5. The model does present the clothes better; she really does.

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  6. I alway feel clothes I like softness but also texture and thats hard to get .
    Seeing them on a model always helps and I like a few wrinkles and maybe a bit extra weight as it gets me a idea what it will look like on me.
    Merle..............

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  7. Great post, Joanne, love this!

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  8. (Someone complained about her wrinkles?!! And what Merlesworld said ^^^
    Great models all, Joanne!

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  9. I love the periwinkle shirt. I'll be glad to model for you. I can walk without shoes.

    Love,
    Janie

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  10. Makes sense to get a model to model your creations. I do like the model you have now; a little mysterious with the hat :)

    betty

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  11. I love your clothes! And they look wonderful on the model.

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  12. I love your clothing, and the way it's presented; whether by Helen, or by Gail.

    Thank you for your caring words Joanne, they were much appreciated.

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  13. Hari OM
    ahh.... so hint's from blogpals in emails woulda pricked a bit.... (ahem).... IT LOOKS FAB!!! Smithsonian? pshaw! - YAM xx

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  14. I think all the models in this post really show off the clothing beautifully!

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  15. And wrinkles are OK, for goodness sakes!

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  16. Love the big floppy hat photos ! Hard to take suggestions sometimes. Some of the volunteers at the shop suggest this & that - things not always possible x

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  17. Loved the post, and the photos!

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  18. Clothes do look better on a model, but preferably not a stick insect one.

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  19. Your garments are gorgeous -- and they are modelled and photographed beautifully.

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  20. The clothes come alive when they are on a model!
    Jane x

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  21. Good photographs are essential for any kind of jurying process. Any not just good photographs. When I was promoting etched glass to designers, pictures of just the glass panels were received well enough but it was the pictures of the glass installed in its environment that made the sale.

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  22. Presentation is everything in the "arts" field. I thought your photographs in your post were top notch. -- barbara

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  23. I love the comment by Merlesworld - this would work for me, too!!

    Your model in the hat is doing a great job. Are you going to re-shoot the scarves as well? I've been wondering what they'd look like on a petite frame with a short neck ... Emily is petite, is she not? Would she model one?

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  24. I enjoyed learning a bit about presenting your weaving for consideration. Very informative.

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  25. "Someone had complained about her wrinkles, and she quit" - modeling what an unrealistic industry! That wrinkle complaining customer should have just gotten a mannequin instead.

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  26. I need some fiber...
    Your clothes are lovely.

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