Notions-Drye Goods Studio Diary

Thanks for checking in. I am a fiber artist. My current emphasis is on eco printing and other wildcraft with a touch of up-cycling thrown in. You can also catch up with me on Facebook at Drye Goods Studio.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ready for My Close Up!

I turned on my photo lights this morning to let them warm up and when I came back from breakfast Gladys was ready for a photo shoot. I publish this not just because it is cute (and an opportunity to get her photo, usually I would have to glue her in place, so I want witnesses-she is there of her own free will) but to also point out that there is more to making art than one would imagine. I guess this has come up because sometimes when I am out at shows, or talking to people that don't do what I do, that they think I picked this life because some how it isn't like working. Or it is easier than getting a job or something. Or it is a hobby and I don't really "need" the money. Normally this doesn't get me worked up but lately I have been a bit touchy about it.
In this particular image you can see about half the equipment necessary to take pictures of my work. It is probably a given that there is fairly expensive camera there as well as more lights, mannequins and other necessary items. With out pictures I can not show others (clients, galleries, shows, organizations) what I do. It is essentially how I apply for a job. So I can either take them myself or pay some one else to do it. Since I must have images to put on Etsy which is a weekly sometimes daily project it would be cost prohibitive for me to pay some one every time I needed and image done. Then there has to be a computer for processing the images. I do between 15 to 20 shows a year and the various organizations that run these events have about that many different requirements for image formats and other application requirements. Most of the time one has to pay an application or jury fee to even apply. Imagine walking into Macy's to apply for a job and they said "Sure-just give us $35 and you can fill out an application that we may or may not accept".
Then you get to the studio itself. After the sewing machine if you take your mom's sewing basket and multiply that by about 1000 you might have enough stuff to make clothing for sale in volume.
To go to the show requires a reliable vehicle, items for displaying and marketing the work and a tent to protect it all outside in any kind of weather. You have to drive to the shows, set up, sell, take it all down, pack it away and drive home.
This makes it sounds like yards of no fun, when really that is not the case. I just read Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, which yes is kind of a dweeby topic for a book but never the less she does have some interesting points to make. One being that there is such a thing as "fog happiness" meaning, I guess, that some activities while on the surface don't sound fun, they actually add up to make you happy overall. Sometimes people say "Oh you must work all the time" and I say that no, really I only actually "work" the weekends when it is time to  sell my "work". Making it is the fun part, selling it is the work part. That being said, while this is probably the most satisfying thing I could do to make money, I am doing it to earn my living. I come home from the show and pay my bills, allowing the people that work for those companies to collect their paychecks. In addition to manufacturing a product that then generates sales tax for the local government I also pay taxes into the system just like anybody else that works.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday Night Collage

I am working on shawls right now, lots and lots of them. So I needed to do something different last night. I called it Evening Meditation.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Printing on Silk with Leaves, Leftovers and Such

Last fall I went to a workshop with a bunch of paper makers that were working with India Flint's steam technique and was it fun! I couldn't wait to start in on it again in the spring-but that was so far away! Then I read in some magazine (that I can't find now-sorry no link!) about doing the same thing with vegetables from the frig-WOW-Nan's science project can now be turned into Nan's art project! Perfect!
1. Do you ever walk by a plastic bag for months and wonder what is in it-but never take the time to look? Well, I finally took a peek in just such a bag and lo and behold there were silk scarves left over from a sun printing demo I did so I ran them into the house and started digging through the veggie drawer. Cabbage? Great! Huckleberries turning slightly scary in a bag? Wonderful! And then of course, yellow and red onion skins too. Wet the silk and then lay it all out.
2. Then you fold the scarf in on itself and you may want to put more veggie matter in some of the folds to make sure you have even coverage. Then roll it up and tie with string-at the workshop the home owner had a great ball of rotted twine which made some really cool marks of its own. See, you should never throw anything out! (Not only do you have a never ending supply of "art supplies" but if your collection gets big enough your family and friends will try to get you on a TV show!) Anyway, here is what it looks like all tied up;
3. Then pop it into a steamer pot, same thing you use to cook your dinner will work just great!
4. As to how long, that is kind of up to you. In this case since my materials were trying to dye the fabric before I ever got started, I went with about 20 minutes and then let them sit in the pot for an hour or two.
5. I took them out and put them on to the heat vents to dry. Now at this point India Flint evidently lets them sit around for months. Since I was already being informed that the combined scent of cabbage, onion skins, moss and rotten huckleberries was less than appealing I opted for over night and then unbundled them.After rinsing,  ironing and hemming, this is what I ended up with; the one pictured is my favorite combo of huckleberries and onion skins.