Friday, November 16, 2012

Reflection, New Beginnings, and Possibilities

Close up of Triangular Shawl by Judy Connor Jones
Photographer - Mike Ritter, Ritterbin Photography
This year has been a year of reflection and new beginnings for me and my business.  It has been a year of growth and new directions.  The funny thing is, many times this happens as a result of struggle and disappointment.  Believe me, 2011 brought plenty of that!  But if it hadn't happened I would still be doing the "same old thing" and wondering why the business was struggling.  Taking this year, 2012, to rethink how I do things has been a blessing.  It hasn't all been easy as I tried new markets and shows  not knowing if they would be successful or not.  Financially I worried whether I would make enough to handle all the ongoing business expenses.  The economy didn't help as my costs rose and my buyers had their own financial concerns to worry about.

A friend reminded me that I have "Dwell in Possibilities" stenciled across my studio steps.  (Sometimes we need to be reminded of our own mantras!) So I returned to that mantra and realized, once again, that there are loads of possibilities out there.  I just have to grab on!

So 2012 has been a year of grabbing onto possibilities. Sometimes they work and other times they don't and may even fail miserably.  But think about it.  A failed possibility can be turned into a learning experience which then leads to another possibility. Hope abounds! I am the eternal optimist!

As a result of  my reflecting, rethinking, taking risks, and looking for the possibilities 2012 has turned out pretty good.  I took the financial risk to develop my website to be more than a "splash page".  I had new photography done. I designed new woven items.  I worked on my social media presence. And I approached a friend to produce some videos which I will be able to use on my website.  I began to think about other ways to sell my work and as a result I have representation in four galleries in different parts of the country.  As an artist I am learning how to partner with these galleries and new relationships are forming.  You can visit the websites of these galleries by going to my website,, and clicking on the  Shows and Events page. If you live in or visit any of those places please support these small businesses. They work very hard to display and sell artist's work. Many of them have Facebook pages so you can Like them and get news feeds about what's happen in their gallery.

Artist Exposure Gallery in Plymouth, MA
Next week is Thanksgiving and I have much to be thankful for.  As I look to 2013, I am full of possibilities for new designs and am thankful for the time I have had to rejuvenate my creative soul.  Most of all I am thankful that "Possibilities" always exist.  I ask for the wisdom to recognize them!

Wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and the gift of seeing the "Possibilities" around you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How to Tie a Scarf.......

How to tie a scarf.......or I could title this post, "A Star is Born"!  You see I've had this idea........... for a long time I've wanted to do a video on scarf tying.  I repeatedly hear from customers that they never know how to tie a scarf or what to do with it. Along with how to wear a shawl, it seems to be the biggest fashion challenge for many.  So I am always demonstrating ways to wear scarves and shawls.  After I do this the next comment is usually, "Oh can you come home with me?  I'll never remember how to do that!" (Does this sound familiar?)  So I've been on a quest to find someone who could film a video of me tying scarves.  I could then put it on my website and customers could watch it anytime and remember how to tie the scarf that they purchased.

So one day a funny thing happened. As I was in conversation with a friend who had just lost her job in publishing,  she was telling me how she was looking at new options and what she might do.  When I asked what she was exploring, she told me about a class she was taking at our local TV station.  Plymouth TV has this wonderful program where they teach classes on videography along with providing assistance to help students make their own films.  Can you hear the wheels starting to turn in my brain?  Excitedly, the next words out of my mouth were, if you need a project to work on, I've got one for you!  After explaining my idea to video me tying scarves she was intrigued.  (I have this added bonus that she likes my work and what I do!)

After thinking it over she e-mailed me to tell me that she had been thinking about the possibilities and much to my surprise was not only interested in what I proposed but expanded the project.  Seems that when she ran it past PACTV they were interested in doing a series of shoots and putting them on the TV. Oh my gosh!  "Moi" on TV!!!!!! Of course immediately I started thinking, they say you look 10 pounds heavier on TV. Yikes!!!!!!!!! How fast can I loose some weight!

So Robin and I began to plan the project, what we would film, when we would do it, and how we would go about it. We started filming in May and met on Tuesday's as often as our schedules allowed and by the end of summer the filming was complete.  Not only had we filmed tying of scarves but also the weaving process, studio set up, and an interview, all to be aired on our local TV station, PACTV.

After Robin did the editing, corrections, and adjustments (I'm sure these are not the technical terms), the video was ready to be aired.  The first showing was this past Sunday, October 21.  The reality of it being on TV didn't hit me until the first frame appeared with the title "Scarves in Motion" and there I was talking to viewers about how to tie a scarf!

I don't know how many people saw it.  It is a small TV station and viewing audience but I couldn't believe I had actually done it and I have to say it looked pretty good!  (And no I didn't loose any weight before it aired.)  My husband thinks I came across with the presence of an HGTV host!  I may be hard to live with after this!!!!!!!

In case you missed the show and live in the Plymouth, MA area, tune into Comcast 13 or Verizon 43
at 8pm on one of the following Sundays - 10/28, 11/4, and 11/11.  Let me know what you think.  I'll be waiting to hear from my adoring fans!!!!!!!!!! :-)


Thanks to Robin MacFarlane and PACTV for making this experience a possibility. You are awesome!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

National Spinning and Weaving Week

Did you know there is a National Spinning and Weaving Week?  There is and it is always the first week of October.  Many weaving and spinning guilds plan activities to get the word out that there is a thriving community which continues an ancient art to produce yarn and cloth.  It is a time to honor the importance of textiles in our lives and a time to educate the public, many of whom do not know how cloth and the clothes they wear are made.

The area I live in, New England, use to thrive on all the textile mills along it's many waterways. It was the industry that supported the economy for many towns.  Now many of these mills have become large old vacant buildings.  We are no longer a textile producing country. So when spinning and weaving week comes around, it is a great time to learn how textiles are made.  I encourage you to see if there are any guilds in your area and if they are having any special events this week. You can check the Handweaver's Guild of America site to find a guild, Or you can look up textile production on the internet and see what you discover.  You can also visit a textile museum.  If you live near the Washington, DC area, the Textile Museum of DC is wonderful.  It is located near Dupont Circle and well worth the trip,  If you live in MA, the American Textile History Museum in Lowell is not to be missed,  Lowell, MA was one of those towns whose existence and economy depended on the mills.  After decades of deterioration many of those buildings have been restored and they have become condos, offices, and artist's studios.

I will try to post some interesting facts or websites each day this week.  So check back and explore National Spinning and Weaving Week. It will be a great adventure into history along with contemporary artists who are working in this medium.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Off to Another Show

Looking forward to heading north to VT for one of my favorite shows, Mad River Valley Craft Fair,  Weather is looking good for this weekend.  Yeah! (Maybe I won't have to dry my canopy out in the back yard after I get back!)  The valley is beautiful this time of year.  VT has done a great job of recovering from Hurricane Irene which hit this time last year. Roads are in great shape and mud and debris has been removed.

The Craft Fair is the end event of Vermont's 2 week long Arts Festival. It is always well attended and a fun time for all ages - lots of food, good music, and of course, wonderful crafts made by talented artists.

So if you are looking for something to do over Labor Day Weekend, head north to VT and visit the show. Stop by my booth and tell me that you read my blog.  It's great to meet the people who follow me.

See you in Waitsfield at the Mad River Valley Craft Fair

New "Ruffled Scarf" design by Judy Connor Jones

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Off to a Show

I'm of to a show this weekend.  It's been a while since I've set up my canopy and sold at a show.  I've spent most of this year developing and working on new items along with developing a new website, getting new photography, working on my social media presence, and filming videos to use for instruction and advertising. The new website is up and running. (  Not all content is there yet. It's still a work in progress but my show schedule is there along with some pictures of my work. Check out the new design and let me know what you think.

For now I am concentrating on getting ready for this show. I am finishing up items, packing the car, and doing last minute preparations.  Hoping the weather will be kind this weekend! :)

If you are in Maine and near Bar Harbor, stop by the show, visit my booth (#3 on the grass), say hello and see all my new work.

See you in Bar Harbor!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Recycling in the Studio

I love re-purposing materials. Weavers use a lot of paper when putting warps on the beam.  The paper acts as a separator for the layers that are wound onto the beam.  This keeps the yarn from snuggling down into the previous layer which in turn causes tension problems.  Tension problems can cause an irregular cloth that will do strange things to the finished cloth.  Tension problems are the "bane of a weaver's existence"! It is to be avoided at all costs. Unless of course you do it on purpose! (There is always the exception for the sake of design!)

Since these papers don't last forever when they get used day in and day out, a weaver needs a fresh supply. Now it can't be just any paper.  The weight of the paper makes a difference.  Too thin and the yarns will still sink into the previous layer.  Too thick and it builds up on the beam and long warps will not fit. It also makes it difficult to keep each layer tight.

OK, so what is the right paper.  The answer --------- Packing paper!

Now you can buy it at a packing supply store which I have done but I am always delighted when packages come and they have this great packing paper in them which is filling up the empty space in the box.  Voila! Eureka! New supply of paper to use when beaming the warps! Maybe a little crinkled but no problem.  Just iron it, roll it, and put it in my stash of paper, sticks, raddles, and lease sticks bin waiting to be used.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Creme de la Creme Models

Scarves by Judy Connor Jones

When I was in college at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, I joined Tri Sigma sorority.  During those college years it was the women of this sorority that were my support system.  They nurtured me in all aspects of life as one knows it on a college campus.  They encouraged being philanthropic, gave advice when needed, and supported high academic achievements. But it wasn't all serious. Spending time in the suite on Friday nights for "Chef's Surprise" was always a great way to relieve the stress of the week.  Creativity abound as we took turns being the "Chef" of the week.  The menu was always hush, hush until you entered the suite.  Tuna noodle casserole (remember that?) was always a favorite!! Also on the lighter side was running back to the suite after classes to watch a "campy" little soap opera called  "Dark Shadows".  Oh how we loved watching together as we booed and hissed and felt sorry for Barnabas Collins.  Since this soap was broadcast live there were aways the inevitable "live bloopers".  Technicians would appear creeping slowly in a lowered position in front of the camera as if no one could see them. Or trees in the set would fall over when one of the actors would lean against it. We had such fun looking for these mistakes.

After college and we all went our separate ways, a group of us remained in touch.  We traveled together to The United Kingdom and through Europe. We were in each other's weddings. We celebrated and welcomed each others additions to our families. And now we grieve together as we deal with aging parents and the outcome it brings. Some of us moved farther away but we always stayed in touch.  We had a tradition of trying to get together at least once a year for a "sister" reunion. We named ourselves "Creme de la Creme" (tongue in cheek, of course!)

The last reunion of Creme was 2006. Our lives have taken directions that have prevented our getting together. When the movie "Dark Shadows"  came out, the e-mails started flying!  Remember when? Who went to the suite to watch the soap?  Wouldn't it be fun to see the movie together? One thought led to another and then Creme 2012 was in the works!

So last weekend I flew out to Ohio to be with my dear friends who I have not seen for a long time. Amazing how even though it has been 6 years, it was like the other day when we all were together. These women are the ones who, besides my family, know me better than anyone else! We have a lot of history together. So how did the weekend go?

The Inn at Dresden

For starters shortly after we arrived at The Inn at Dresden, Dresden, Ohio (former home of the Longaberger Basket founder) a terrific storm came up.  The sky got very dark, it started to rain heavily and tornado force winds blew furiously, over turning furniture, blowing shingles off the roof, and knocking down trees. A PVC pipe went flying from somewhere on the Inn and I expected to see Dorothy and Toto flying by with it!  And then it happened!  The lights went out! All electricity went out! The AC went out (90+ degree temps). The pump which ran the well went out!  You know what that means?  No water to flush a toilet or shower or anything! And champagne wasn't going to help this situation a whole lot!

So we lit candles and said, we can deal with this. It will only be a few hours (maybe........)!  OK it wasn't too long before we realized that it might be days! So our gracious Inn Keeper helped us find other lodging which wasn't an easy task as half a million people in central Ohio were without electricity.  Thank you Burke for finding 5 of the last 7 rooms left at the Hilton Inn Express - in - wait for it - ZANESVILLE, OHIO, home of the Y Bridge.

So we made a caravan down the road to Zanesville, with stop lights out and all manor of debris and destruction along the way.

We were sooooooooo thankful to have a place to stay and soooooooo thankful to Burke for finding it for us.  If you are ever in Dresden Ohio, stay at The Inn at Dresden and tell Burke I recommended it. I'm sure he will remember the group of women who were having the reunion that weekend!

So once we were settled into the Hilton, the weekend could begin. One thing about this group is we love to do something crazy and silly and just be girls again!  Knowing how much they love to "ham it up", I asked them if they would help me out and model some of my scarves while I took pictures.  I wanted to get photos of average ordinary people wearing my scarves so those interested in my work could see them worn by someone other than a model.  And believe me this group is not camera shy!!!! So ham it up they did! They were the perfect models. Thank you my dear Sigma sisters.  You did not disappoint!!!!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

More Vacation Inspiration

One of my favorite shops to go to when I am in FL is a bead shop called "Beads F.O.B.". Sometimes I try to stay away because just like in a yarn shop, I am lured by all the pretty and fascinating beads, definitely candy for the eye! But, I had a great excuse this time as I am running out of #6 seed bead. Oh my, too bad. I was forced to visit "Beads F.O.B."! Since this is the size bead I have been using on my Necklace Scarves and my local bead shop went out of business, what was I to do! I have to replenish my supply, right? The Necklace Scarves are attracting a lot of interest and I want to be prepared for my fall shows, right? Sooooooooo here is the result of my trip to the bead shop................

Who wouldn't be inspired by all these colors!

Where do you find inspiration on vacation?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Nature's Inspiration

The colors of sand, water, and the setting sun always inspire.
Siesta Key has some of the most beautiful sand in the world. It is made from white quartz which somehow year after year gets dumped in this spot. I am always awed by it's beauty. These are perfect colors to inspire me for my next round of work.

Vacation Inspirations

While on vacation, I try to include visiting local weaving shops, local fiber art galleries, and any thing art that might inspire me. I also am very observant of the colors around me and think about incorporating those colors in my weaving. After all, nature does color better than anyone! Visit my Facebook page,, to see the lovely yarns I bought while exploring a new yarn shop on vacation. I can't wait to use them with a new idea I have. Trouble with inspiration on vacation is I have to wait till I get home to do it! With new technology, I also spend time looking up inspiring links on the Internet. Having an I-Pad enables me to do this anywhere I go. Is that a blessing or a curse?! So in my perusing, I came across this video. I share it with you as a reminder of how women have played a significant role in the field of art throughout time. Hope it inspires all the women reading this to cherish the woman you are and all the men to love the women in their lives for all the contributions they make to a better world. May all your vacations be inspiring!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

More "Necklace Scarves"

Just finished another series of  "Necklace Scarves". I seem to be on a roll! These are in the general color way of greens and blues with some amethyst. It is interesting that the more you do in a series the faster and more efficient you get.  When I switch to doing another type of scarf or working on a shawl or top especially if it is a new item, it always takes a while to get into the rhythm of the weave structure and fiber being used.

I now have a full series of 12 of these "Necklace Scarves".  What is wonderful about the way I work is that all these scarves compliment each other.  You can mix and match and wear them together.  That also means that you have an expanded color palette with which you can wear these scarves. They pretty much go with everything. Guaranteed to give you many years of wear even if your wardrobe changes.

So here's the new group:


You can purchase one of these scarves by leaving me a message in the comment section, leave your e-mail and I will get back to you with purchase details.

Thanks for looking at my blog.  I hope you enjoy seeing what is happening in the studio and my work.                                               

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Dwell in Possibilities"

I have "Dwell in Possibilities" written on the stairs leading into my studio. It has been a theme of mine ever since we moved to Plymouth and the studio was built.  I've shone pictures of it before on my blog. Recently it has reminded me that  possibilities are always there.  We just have to be observant.

I am in a growing phase where possibilities are abounding.  I see them everywhere!  But as with all things I must choose to recognize and do something about them.  Some days I feel like I am drowning in possibilities and must then take a step back and sort out the ones that I am ready to explore. Many require a huge learning curve.  Some require finding people to help.  And some demand time to explore and implement.

One of the possibilities I've been working on is to create new work.  My ruffled scarves fall into this category.  I have been wanting to get away from working with chenille and move into using a fiber that will be able to be used during three seasons of the year and be lighter weight.  The possibility of playing with a new fiber, new designs, and new work, while maintaining what makes my work identifiable from other weavers is fun and challenging.  It can also be frustrating when ideas don't work out the way I plan or think they should.  But then sometimes that creates a "happy accident"!  I like looking for those "happy accidents" when designs happen where you don't expect them.  It's all in looking for the "possibilities"!

So my latest round of scarves are what I call the "Necklace Scarf".  I wanted to make a narrow scarf that could be worn either as a scarf or as a necklace.   I used the shrinkage technique to produce a gathered ruffled effect. These scarves are made of tencel which is an easy care fiber like cotton but feels and looks a lot like silk. The few strands of merino wool  woven into the scarf allow me to create a ruffled effect. After the scarves have been woven I add beads to the fringe to give them an elegant look.

These scarves can be worn easily to an evening event or as daytime wear.  They would dress up a plain black dress or look stunning with casual jeans.

Take a look...............................................................................................

I love how these scarves drape!  What do you think!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pastel Ruffled Scarves

Pastel scarves are done! I've completed the third group of scarves using the "Ruffle" technique or in weaver terms, differential shrinkage.  That is when you use two yarns that have different shrinkage capabilities like wool and tencel, which is what these scarves are made out of.  I also added some silk to the mix here which also does not shrink. The wool shrinks as in "oh no, I washed my wool sweater and it shrank"! But when you do it on purpose, add a non-shrinking yarn, you get a great effect.

I used a different type of wool yarn in these scarves and they did not shrink up as much as the blue/green scarves.  They have a softer look as in the first scarves I did (the pinkish/brown ones).  So here are the pictures. Do you have a favorite?

Lavender Detail
Orchid Detail

Coral Detail

Baby Blue Detail

Baby Blue

You can see all these scarves at my Trunk Show/Open House at my Plymouth Studio on Saturday, May 5 from 10am - 5pm.  I'm working on another series of ruffled scarf. I'm calling it a "Scarflace". Hmmmmmm - what could that be?  

Till next time ------ enjoy the bouquet of scarves!