I was so fortunate to be invited to do a video for Annie's, a company based in Berne, IN that has catalogs with supplies for quilting, sewing, crochet, knitting, beading, crafts, and all sorts of fun pastimes! I had met VIP Michele Fortune at Houston Quilt Market in 2013 and she had seen some of my fiber art, I think my Nuno-felted Mosaic Shawl got her attention, and then I showed her some of my other work. After corresponding back and forth with their wonderful video producer Laura Scott, they invited me to do a video on Learning to Wet-felt Fanciful Flowers. I happily agreed, and began planning my colorways, designs, samples, and step-outs. It was so much fun...and also a lot of work! I wrote up an outline for my class, then the script with all the steps for each segment, and then practiced. The video teaches how to make lay out the fibers, make pre-felt, add texture and dimension, how to wet-felt wool beads to make the flower centers or jewelry, how to make the curly tendrils to accent the flowers, wet-felting a spiral leaf bracelet, and also some fun leafy napkin rings. I had taught all these classes for years, but it is very different doing it in front of a camera instead of a class! Still it was fun, I taped my script on my cell phone so I could listen to it when I was driving, felting, cooking, etc. (My hubby's idea, a good one!)
Finally after weeks of preparation it was time to fly to Berne, IN to film the video! I was so excited, I do travel quite a bit, but hadn't flown in a long time, so that was fun. And I had never been to IN, what beautiful country! Lots of cornfields, and the lakes were gorgeous. Once the plane landed, I rented a car and set about driving to Berne. I had no idea what to expect, the company is pretty big, but not the town! When I drove in, the first thing I noticed was a quaint horse and buggy going up the street, and being a country girl who grew up near a horse stable, I thought, oh how neat, they give carriage rides here in this historic town. Then I noticed another...and then another. I soon realized this was a Mennonite town, there were horses and buggies everywhere, and beautiful architecture. The town was settled years ago by a group of Mennonites from Switzerland, and there are lots of shops, restaurants and buildings in downtown Berne that have that Swiss chalet look, it is absolutely charming. The people there were so nice too. I met Laura for dinner, then we drove to the studio in the park so I could set up for filming the next day. I wish I'd had my camera handy, I was in shock to see about 20 horses and buggies in the park as their owners visited. As I arrived on a Sunday afternoon, the families all gather together in the park to socialize, as they don't use electricity and don't work on Sunday. At any rate, I got everything all set up for my shoot, then checked into my hotel, also owned by the company and was warmly welcomed by the hostess to my suite with a cozy couch complete with afghan and basket of goodies to munch on.
The next morning came early with make-up at 7:30 a.m. Then the filming: I was nervous at first, which is apparent in my free preview, the first segment they shot. (Now I understand they're shooting that last, thank you I offered that tip!) But the staff was great, Laura was just super nice and Scott the director, a Texas boy was just the best. Once we got going on the class it was easier, and by the next day I had things down pretty well. Despite the fact they wouldn't let us use "Whip it" as part of my background music lol.
Once we finished filming (a half-day early, yay!) I had lunch with some of the staff and then got the grand tour of the company, which was incredible! I love seeing how big companies work, all the different departments for ordering yarn, fibers, fabric, patterns, books, magazines, everything you can think of. I met some of the magazine staff and discovered I'd worked with one of them on a couple of magazine projects years ago. Then I had some free time in the afternoon, so I did a little shopping, there was a wonderful deli/antique shop there with all sorts of treasures, and also a great little quilt shop, as well as some nice gift shops. Couldn't do too much damage, though, as I had to fit everything in my suitcase for my flight home the next day. Here's a pic of the view from my hotel:
Soon it was time to head back to the airport, I stopped by one more store on my way out of town, Hilty's Drygoods, no electricity but some neat supplies for cooking, sewing and gardening, I found an Amish cookbook for my sis and some vintage hankies for Mom. After a magical trip, it was time to return home. And yes, after all that work, I'm ready to do it again!