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Okay, okay, okay…I do realise I haven’t written in a couple of months…actually since the end of 2009.  I could offer several rather brilliantly concocted excuses, but the reality is that I have just been plain focused on other things.  So…my apologies.

If you know me, and I do mean really know me, then you are pretty much in tune with the fact that I do love my projects.  For me, it almost doesn’t matter what the project is.  I just like to be focussed on doing one or more projects at the same time.  Truth be told, usually, more than one.  One of the projects that has been occupying my time of late began in autumn.  I had developed (an incredibly powerful client curriculum – but I would say that, wouldn’t I?) and have been flitting between client sites delivering it.  This project will come to an end in March, which should enable me to put more time into the other projects that I have had my head buried in lately. 

The first project I focussed on was fixing the Sol y Mar web-cam.  Late last year, we had one seriously windy storm, and apparently, there was so much salt spray from the sea in front of my house that some of it landed on the tiny web-cam lens.  The picture was still there, but it was looking like an old movie that starred Doris Day…nice and soft, almost impressionistic, but pretty much devoid of any detail.  I tried to clean the lens several times, but to no avail.  Finally, I took the camera down and brought it inside so I could do a proper cleaning of the almost miniscule lens aperture.  I used hot water, serious window cleaner, tiny scraps of soft cloths…everything I could think of.  Sadly, this has resulted in an even worse picture.  I could just get a new camera, but fixing this one does seem like a project worth pursuing.  Note: if you are one of the people who do click in to see what I see from my windows, trust me…your eyes have not gone wonky.  The vista is still incredibly beautiful, even in our crap winter weather.  What I see is not what you see online.  I will let you know when I get this bugger sorted out.

In the past, I have talked a little bit about one of my projects.  I first made one of the Cuadros Doblados several years ago when I actually was living in the village of Puigpunyent.  A ‘cuadro doblado’ is a ‘folded picture,’ and the first one I did was a portrait of my brother.  Then I progressed a bit and made a very large one that hung in my sitting room at La Antigua.  This was done in water-colour and was part of the entire Galatxo series of water-colours I had done whilst living there. Every so often, I would crank out another one, but in January, I became mesmerised with how I could use the concept to make an entire series of them.  Part of this was due to the fact that several friends here on the island had been encouraging me to do an exhibition of some of my art outputs.  They had found a location for the exhibition, but the wall space wasn’t conducive to many of the pictures I had painted, so I didn’t press forward too hard.  But then the whole Cuadro Doblado idea came to life and my work began. 

Whilst during a visit to one of the larger markets here, I had taken a series of photos of some of the various food-stuffs that were for sale in stalls.  Whilst these pictures were taken with my phone, resulting in less-than-optimal quality, I could already ‘see’ how I could use them as part of this new series of works. After uploading them into my computer (is it ‘uploading’ or ‘downloading?’  Who cares…) I started to make small pruebas (tests) of how the finished cuadros would look.  After seeing these, I became even more committed to the project and after figuring out how to do them with a minimal hassle (actually, my daughter-in-law who lives in Los Angeles and is a brilliant illustrator talked me through a process that would eliminate lots of pain), I began to work on full-size Cuadros Doblados.  After completing seventeen of them, I then realised that they would all need marcos (frames), so this became yet another project. 

And if that little project wasn’t enough, the Cuadros Doblados project led to yet another one.  This one may be a little harder to explain.  Many (many many) years ago, whilst living in America, I had toyed with the idea of making women’s outerwear.  Formal and ‘sporty’ jackets to be specific.  Even though I didn’t own a sewing machine, I made the first three jackets myself – very long nights with a needle and thread.  It was a great project, and I was convinced I could make them.  After all, I was able to read a blue print, and a clothing pattern is just like a blue print, only full size.  By the time I sorted out the design problems, I figured that I would need to hire a full-time seamstress (which I did) and set up a little jacket factory in some spare space at my company.  At the time, every jacket that we made would sell within a day or two (good news and validation that I wasn’t totally crazy), and because of it, I realised that there would be no way we could ever keep up with production needs (bad news for a start-up company idea).  I subscribed to Women’s Wear Daily to better understand the clothing business, and then began to investigate the options of producing these jackets off-shore.  After a while, it became apparent that the whole thing about dealing off-shore seemed terribly complicated, so I chucked the whole jacket idea.  But as I began to make sketches of the products for this new project, I also began to look for sources off-shore to produce them.  Right about now, you might be thinking, ‘okay, so what is the flippin’ project, James?’ 

It is scarves.  Large (90cm square) women’s silk scarves.  I whipped out several designs, and then contacted a silk scarf producer in China and after trading messages, finally did authorise them to produce a sample.  They did, and sent me a photo of the completed sample just before it was sent out.  The photo blew me away, and I commissioned samples of five other designs, which I am waiting for as I type this letter.

All but two of the designs for the scarves come from other pieces of art I have produced, which is fun because it is like having multiple outlets for previously produced designs.  The big issue, which of course is a project in itself, is how to market the scarves.  I do have options for this: market them myself through a web-site; market them through word of mouth (too slow); find distributors, and/or align myself and the designs with a recognised brand in the marketplace.  I am working on this, and will let you know when I have it sorted (just in case you want to begin buying them soon). 

Better watch out Hermes and Chanel....

 

the first Cuadro Doblado

             

view from the left side                         view from the right side

the head-on view of one of the new Cuadros Doblados

            

view from the left side                       view from the right side

Sta Catalina

     

view from the left side                       view from the right side

one of the new scarf designs

and another design

still another

Pacha wearing another design

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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, James B. Rieley

jbrieley@rieley.com