My first fibre art solo show

My first fibre art solo show

Hey, art enthusiasts! Frankie Meaden here, it's three weeks post show and I'm ready to spill the beans on what really went down behind the scenes of my 'FULL' exhibition. 

Let's kick things off with the heart of the operation: the design concept. Picture this – me, armed with nothing but a heap of colourful rope and an obsession with flowers, trying to wrangle my wild imagination into a cohesive theme. After much careful colour palette choosing and soul-searching, I sketched out a body of work that had artworks in varying sizes, connected by similar colours and floral shapes, with a closer to still-life element to the works rather than the more abstract pieces that I've made before. Oversized embroideries bursting with colour, texture, and unapologetic joy. And thus, 'FULL' was born.

Now, onto the more nitty-gritty logistics. Cue hours of planning, studio time, emails, spreadsheets. Organising the photographer? Check. Coordinating with the gallery staff? Check. Oh, and let's not forget the not-so-glamorous task of cleaning and cutting up the recycled banners and street pole flags (saving them dramatically from the brink of landfill oblivion). It was a labor of love, my friends.

For those of you who might be planning an art exhibition in the future, here's a list of some of the preparation that I was doing while I was working on this solo show:

  • Designing the overall theme and look of the gallery, as well as making each piece individual and special.
  • Documenting the process.
  • Marketing, letting everyone know what I'm up to. Posting on social media, sending out emails, inviting people, etc.
  • Budget, the main costs being materials and framing.
  • Framing deadline, any pieces that needed framing needed to be finished at least 5 weeks before the show.
  • Photographer to document opening night, and also a professional art photographer to capture the show case piece 'Plentiful'.
  • Create a catalogue and consignment note with details and copy for each artwork. (Including name, size, price.)
  • Looking at the gallery wall dimensions to map out where pieces can go and how full the space will be.
  • Making! Calculating how long each piece takes and working late nights to get as much done as possible.
  • Planning my outfit for opening night.

But hey, amidst the chaos, there were moments of pure magic. Like when I finally saw my artwork hanging proudly on the gallery walls, and got to share this moment with my three children. Each stitch a testament to hours of dedication and passion. It was a pinch-me-now kind of moment, and I'm so glad that I go to share it with my close friends and family, as well as some lovely members of the creative community.

(Note: My kids were disappointed. They said that they thought an 'art show' meant a performance, and not "just a room with art". They also said that there should have been snacks, perhaps a cheese board. Classic reaction. Wouldn't change it.)

And then, of course, there was the opening reception – the pièce de résistance. Picture twinkling lights, laughter, and a steady stream of admirers ooh-ing and aah-ing over my creations. It was a night to remember, filled heartfelt conversations, and enough positive vibes to power a small country.

Now, as I sit here trying to debrief from the whole experience, I can't help but feel a swell of gratitude. To everyone who supported me along the way – from friends and family to fellow artists and kindred spirits – thank you. Your enthusiasm and encouragement mean more to me than words can say.

I wanted to create from a place of overflow, displaying the vibrancy of creation. At my first group show in 2023, every piece of mine sold. This time I had the whole space filled with my work, roughly 3x what I showcased at the group show. It was a great achievement, but I am left feeling quite burnt out after the experience. From a financial point of view, I made three sales, which was enough to cover all my costs. I now have some lovely artwork in stock for the first time, click here to see some of the pieces from the FULL collection.

So, what's next for this embroidery extraordinaire? Well, let's just say, I've got a few things in the works. With a heap of recycled materials and a heart full of passion, I'll continue to create and spread joy. A large installation in the window of Parnell Jewellers Orsini Fine Jewellery is next, and then an Artist Residency in Australia. At the moment I'm going slowly, needing several weeks break to recover from all the late nights and general stress of the solo show. To focus on my children and husband, oh and moving house, for the next wee while. 

When it comes down to it, that's what art is all about – connecting, inspiring, and filling the world with a little more joy.

Thanks for being part of my journey, I hope that this blog post about preparing for a fibre art exhibition has been helpful or informative in some way!


Opening night photos by Deanna Hunter.

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