Category Archives: shop talk

indigo,vintage,and shibori shop update

OK- seems like the shop was desperate for a little restocking and reorganizing so here are some links to the recently requested items-

more indigo boro fabric collections-

 

indigo_packindigo boro packs

NEW! indigo dyed vintage fabric collections- all vintage fabrics…

indigo vintageindigo vintage collection

more of the vintage whites are in stock:

detail whitevintage whites 

vintage silk collections are available for pre-order.  these will be shipped mid June and will be limited so I am taking pre-orders. (add this to any order in the shop and it will ship free in June)

detail

detail

vintage kimono silk linings

and the ever popular silk shibori ribbon scrap bags. many of you have asked me to email you when they are available again but honestly- i just don’t have the time to hunt down you all.  i’ll give it my best though…

composition in C major borealis

composition in C major borealis

shibori ribbon scrap bags-$20

also added-

indigo sky fabric

shades of indigo

silk satin bias ribbon (white) for dyeing

phew!

and there will be more 3 way color shibori ribbon packs in a week or so.  start thinking color!

that’s it for this Monday- またね!

is it spring yet? それはまだ春です?

apricot blossoms' sweet promise...

apricot blossoms’ sweet promise…

there are days.  then there are THOSE days, yesterday being one of them.  i was reminded of the toll mental illness can take and where it leads to in a society with heels firmly dug in against the costs of creating solutions-or at the very least putting into place a safety net for people who are in no condition to make decisions for their own health, safety, and welfare without going to extremes.  but no, once again we must wait for the bottom to fall out before we can affect some sort of solution.   in that waiting period, we trust;  what else can we do?

on another front, i am reminded that even if you do your best work over many years,   you share that work far and wide,  you teach that work, that this does not assure education managers of trade shows won’t pass over your teaching proposal in favor of someone who signed up for your online class a year ago; someone who has no body of work on the subject at hand to back it up but has an “in” with the right crowd.  just know that to be true.  i am reminded to remember this when choosing shows and teaching venues.  sometimes i am naive and forget these things,  being in the bubble of my studio here.

then, as if that were not the end of a very, very long day, a late email arrives effusively deriding (even threatening!) me for a mistake on an order. crestfallen, i make haste in correcting the error, reshipping the order via express mail and emailing back all pertinent info and an even more effusive apology AND refunding the original order (although, admittedly, in the back of my mind thinking- ya know, i really don’t need this sort of treatment from a customer even if i did make a mistake). 

waking up this morning, i see an email from said customer. the order WAS correctly received.  oops.  sorry.  her mistake.

i had sent a small gift of a silk shibori ribbon scrap bag with the order and for some reason she thought it was all she had received. ahh…nice.  a gift turns into this?  perhaps we should not be so hasty next time…beauty takes time. even the buds on the apricot tree are slowly bringing us their beautiful sweet bounty.   

have a little sympathy for us who make for a living.  we are not robots, amazon.com,  walmart, or even craftsy.  we will make a mistake now and again.  we might get a little behind, trying to balance all the things we must do to keep the ship afloat. but the makers i know will go above and beyond for you, making each item by hand.  and we will often tuck a little something extra into your package just because we like to imagine your surprise when you receive the order.

all i can say is, i’m glad it is a new day… is it spring where you are yet?

maybe it’s just spring fever!

is it spring yet?

in the shop 

ad free…again

you may or may not know this.  but having a free WP blog comes with costs.  there are lots of upgrades one can purchase to keep your blog running the way YOU want it to.  one of those things is the “ad free” upgrade.  i will gladly keep paying the $30 a year to keep ads off my blog.  so today, I hereby devote the next $30 of income from selling my shibori and indigo work to WordPress to keep this blog ad free.

Yippee!!  ad free- it’s just so much nicer this way.

indigo silk scarf

this is the last of this roll of narrow width silk i brought back from Japan last time. it is so lightweight and loves the indigo.  i don’t get too fancy with it as it’s delicacy speaks for itself.  it will be in the shop.

and Richard will be here soon.  we still have 2 spots left so if you are feeling inclined to join us on a whim pop over to the shop and sign up.  we will be having a couple of trunk shows as well.  the first one being private for those in the workshop and the second one will be open (will announce this on the Facebook studio page too since many locals watch that daily and it’s bound to be quick and last minute.  make sure you *like* the page so it shows up in your stream…).   we will also be doing some of what we did last time- selling some of the collaborative pieces online in the shop so if you are not a local you can still join in on some of it.  he’s also bringing over some special vintage items.  can’t wait!

Online Silk Shibori Techniques workshop

I thought I would remind folks newly interested in learning shibori techniques that my original online shibori techniques workshop is still available in my online bigcartel shop.  It has been there for over a year now  since I originally posted it- many have taken it.  After the first initial run of the class I reworked it into a self-study class for a very fair price of $25 (that’s $5 per lesson!).

Here is the intro to my online shibori workshop:

The beauty of shibori is that it was created in a much simpler time, yet resulted in some stupendous fabric designs and possibilities. It was created out of ingenuity and a desire to have decorative fabrics for the masses. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to make yourself some basic shibori fabrics. In fact, most of what you need can probably be found in your kitchen, your garage or just hanging around the house.

As an anniversary of sorts, I am going to include a 20 minute skype call with the purchase of this class through the end of October.  You can use this call for a review of your work at the end of the class, for one-on-one help on a particular technique, or just to chat.

It’s always a pleasure to encourage creativity and wonder through shibori. Shibori is good for that. It encourages problem solving and original thought-I think that is what drew me to it in the first place and has continued my interest. I am also going to go on into the class and update a few things, perhaps add a little here and there as well.  It’s been a while since I checked in over there.

As always, the online class is always there for you regardless of timezone and time of day. No commuting necessary.  There for you when you are there and ready to check in.  No roll call needed, and you’re never late to class!

My other online classes include:

Let’s Dye with Indigo!

and

Indigo Mandala Workshop with Richard Carbin and Shibori Girl

I give you the techniques and you make it your own! You can be assured that the images I post here, on my flickr, and in my classes are of my own work (unless noted) and not of the work of others. Some examples include:

I like numbers

I always have. Numbers help me figure things out.

numbers, my pretties, numbers

(new in the shop) 

They help me make better decisions when I might be tempted to do something out of sheer emotion or desire (there is a time and place for that as well). Numbers are handy when measuring dye and silk or clay and glaze materials. Numbers help me be more efficient. Some of these things can be downright destructive if I weren’t paying attention to the numbers. The whole world is based on numbers. Business, governments, science, music and even art and nature can be looked at through a number filtered lens.

Daily, we have occasion to confront some pretty disturbing numbers. There are so many of those these days that I could drive myself crazy with them.  Most recently in the news JPMorgan  “mishandled” some numbers. Here, Candida Abraham says the numbers don’t lie when it comes to servicing the needs of the mentally ill in our society. The numbers Abraham speaks of have some pretty dire consequences if we don’t pay attention to them.

The numbers in my own small world are really tiny compared to such things. But, like most of us, I have to pay attention to them or the bills won’t get paid next month.  So in addition to being visually and technically creative I need to engage the other side of my brain and pay attention to the NUMBERS!  This post is just a little reminder to myself that one day, a year or so ago, I wasn’t paying close enough attention and allowed myself to agree to something I shouldn’t have.  At least not if I had been paying attention to the numbers.  I am actually pretty good at the numbers thing which is why I’m still around, independently creating daily for over 35 years.  But not that day.  I share it here so others may learn from my mistakes if you have any notion of making an honest living -of making.

This situation involves a teaching gig. I was honored to be asked and should have left it at that. Said thank you and made an excuse or some such thing. There had been something about it- like a little voice that said no,don’t-but I went against the instinct and signed the contract. Silly me.

I won’t go into all the details but as I later looked over all the n u m b e r s  I was less than happy. Not only did I feel that I had been misled in regards to scheduling and my ability to take a booth on the vendor floor I felt that the n u m b e r s  took financial advantage of my teaching in great favor of the organization who’s stated purpose is to inspire creativity and encourage excellence in the fiber arts. Hmmm.

So here are the numbers. See for yourself how it feels to you.

Class #1 (3 hour class)

35 person max. capacity for a fee of $75 per person-that’s a total of $2625 for a sold out class

My pay for the 3 hour class-$210 flat rate. (that’s $6 per student)

Now if my class doesn’t sell out, I still get paid the same.  Not very smart on their part if you ask me (they didn’t).

Class #2 (6 hour class)

24 person max. capacity for a class fee of $150 per person-that’s a total of $3600 for a sold out class

My pay for the 6 hour class-$425 if the class has a minimum of 12 people. If not, then I get paid $35 per student. (otherwise for a full class I am being paid $17.71 per student on a $150 class fee paid by the student) I think I’d be happier to take $385 for a class of 11 rather than $425 for a class of 24! Again, not a very smart move on their part.

Numbers people, numbers.

Now mind you, this is all in addition to fees that all students pay to even attend the convention itself- which runs about $200 each not including any hotel or travel.

This whole scenario created a situation for me that made me ask why would I even promote my own event? When their scheduling of my classes ended up being during prime vendor market time, I had to decline taking and paying for a booth where I might have been able to make up some of that. Feeling that I was “chosen” since I was a local to the event and they would not pay any travel expenses as with many of the other teachers,  didn’t help matters.

And as if that weren’t enough- the contract states that I am not allowed to teach the class (in this case shibori and ribbonwork-the only two things I do teach) for 7 MONTHS (6 months prior and  one month post) within the CONTINENTAL NORTH AMERICA.  SERIOUSLY?? Get a grip.

I really doubt that folks who take classes have any idea about these things.  I think they’d be surprised.

So, to sum it up- choose your events WISELY unless you are NOT in this to make a living. Not everyone is. But if you are, make sure that each event makes financial sense and pay attention to the numbers and the details. Each event should stand on it’s own merit and produce a profit.  And certainly not prevent you from making a living in your own field.

If you are a 501C3-then it’s a different story. For an organization that took in over $1,000,000 in 2010 (according to Guidestar) they give a whopping $4000 out in annual educational grants according to their website. They do a bit more when you include grants for students to attend the biannual conference($11,000-ish altogether). Many folks work as unpaid volunteers but with one exec salary at almost $100,000, additional employee compensation at $117,000 and travel expenses for the organization at over $62,000 (2010) among other things, the $4000 seems rather paltry when it’s stated purpose is to inspire creativity and encourage excellence in the fiber arts. This sort of thing starts making me, the lowly teacher/vendor feel a little like a stepchild-no nostalgia for that one. After looking at their tax returns available online, I realized I am not interested in  partnering with these sorts of organizations. Although they offer some benefits, often 501C3′s are organized around benefiting few rather than many.

I once attended a local Arts Council  roundtable where one of the discussion table talks encouraged artists to form  non profit corporations so that wealthy patrons, uncles and relatives could give them money and get tax write offs!  I kid you not. Tax-free trust-fund-ism. And in times where tax dollars are in short supply-all endorsed by the Arts Council.
No talk about how to run a successful and profitable business. Very disappointing.

Fortunately,the Long Beach Quilt Festival is just around the corner (July 26 at 5:00pm until July 29 at 4:00pm) where I will have a booth with all kinds of silk shibori and indigo. I won’t be teaching since it falls in the no-no zone but I will be demonstrating for free so come on by!

Here are the relevant NUMBERS-

Long Beach Quilt Festival 2012

July 27-29, 2012
Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center
Long Beach, California

Hours:
July 26: 5-9 p.m. (Preview Night)
July 27 & 28: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
July 29: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Ticket prices:
$10 daily adult
$8 seniors & students
Children 10 and under free.
$10 Preview Night (includes one free additional day)
$25 Full Show Pass (includes Preview Night)

indigo

while i can appreciate the unplanned or willy nilly aspects of many hand dyed fabrics, i have myself a desire to go beyond the happenstance. i like to set intention before making and work towards it. i like when people wonder…now how did she do that? then i feel the work succeeded on some level. often in the experimental stages i need to “just see what happens” when i try out some new idea or technique but after the initial plunge i try to refine, perfect, and replicate the things i consider successful. i’m sure part of this comes from the fact that i have made a living making now for (dare i say it?) 35 years. making for a living often requires making more than one of something and while each handmade item is unique in some way there is a usually a condition of mass making on some level that allows for the endeavor to become self supportive. i bring this up in reference to the above indigo on silk piece as it is a technique i created with indigo that is unique to me (as far as i know). my vat recently seemed in the mood to do some more of these pieces and while seeming rather unplanned and willy nilly, it really isn’t. some things i don’t have the desire to teach for various reasons and this is one of them. but i do love the results… i think i will pleat the ends only. i can’t bring myself to completely bury the mesmerizing pattern of the indigo in the pleats-but some will give it some shape. we will see…

silk shibori ribbon rolls


in between the wild colors of silk ribbon i’ve been dyeing and working on, i’ve managed to get some indigo into the mix. the 3 vats taunt me as i walk past them several times a day and the deep green of their reduction as i stir and adjust them each day really tempts me even when there are so many other things i *should* be and am doing. when i am dyeing, steaming and wrapping silk i usually manage to take some time to dye some yardage and that is what i did this past week. i’ve broken it up into prepacks like this and listed them in the shop:

it always amazes me how much time goes into dyeing with indigo to create the different shades. here i have been experimenting with several vats: my basic vat started over 3 years ago using natural indigo in a chemical reduction and added to as needed, and two newer vats both using indigo from aurora silk- the sky blue indigo and a super fine cosmetic grade indigo. at first, i wasn’t really noticing the difference with the sky blue indigo but with further practice i’m getting to know it better and see some differences in the colors i can obtain on different fabrics. the fine cosmetic grade seems to be able to produce some unique shadings along with some very dark darks. as usual, there is always some mystery to the results…

next to hit the shop will be some indigo moons, some dragonfly pins and kits to make your own…soon.

best intentions-clearing away distractions

ya know, some days just don’t go the way you expect. i actually have spent an inordinate amount of time writing, reading and responding to emails today. the blog post i was preparing is very disjointed and rambling due to numerous interruptions in my day (not complaining-too much) and simply not fit to post at the moment. thoughts are gathering and rearranging themselves in my mind hopefully to reach some clarity tomorrow which was actually supposed to be a studio day (and still is!). thankfully, stitching is beginning on some cloth for the indigo vat. not having enough studio/making time lately is making me a bit edgy. in fact, it occurs to me that despite the fact that the money is very welcome and needed i think i may close the etsy shop until after the first of the year-it’s a distraction at a time when i need to gather my energies and focus.
really, i need three full days in the studio uninterrupted in order to make a dent in things. a small dent. will post pics and fewer words (i think).
so there you have it, my blog post today with 12 minuted to spare!