bone to pick…

simply skip this post if you are not interested in hearing some critical thoughts on making and selling your work at trunk shows.

say what? did you say bone?


so, here’s the story-

I was recently invited to do a trunk show at the Huntington Library for the re-opening of their famous Japanese Garden which has been under restoration this past year. I was excited! A great match-up between my work and the event which doesn’t present itself very often. I was honored to be asked. I love the Huntington and was looking forward to visiting the newly renovated Japanese gardens anyway.

Of course there was a hitch…they want 50% of all sales. Now you might think that sounds good to you, but if you make a living this sort of thing you realize that you will likely loose money doing this. It’s one thing to sell your items outright at wholesale (50% off retail) to a shop or gallery for that price because they are committing to buying the merchandise (and likely meeting a minimum order), they are doing the display, the sales and everything else in regards to moving your merchandise (which is now theirs!).

But in this trunk show situation, you the maker, are creating a collection of work for the event. You pack it all up, create a beautiful display for it, and stand there all day with it selling, demonstrating, and answering questions- among other things (like packing up everything that didn’t sell at the end of the day, creating an invoice for them of what sold and submitting it so you can wait several weeks to get paid-oh and NOT working in your studio on other things for that day)). So in effect, the museum shop’s only commitment is a couple of fold up tables they set up outside their shop, the ringing up of the sale and some museum bags to put the merchandise into. There is no commitment to the merchandise, no inventory for them to manage, no extra staff to hire on for the event (i guess my time is free?).

After a number of emails back and forth with the staff there it was suggested that I just increase my prices 30% to cover the difference between what I wanted and what they were willing to give. Nice one. I pointed out to them that this would increase a $185 item to $240 and I didn’t think it would be salable at that price in addition to the fact that their customers could actually go online and see that they had been overcharged which would reflect poorly on us both. Their answer? Non- negotiable. Other artists do it. Hmmmm.

No deal. Too bad. Had to turn it down. Very disappointing. I was told that in the past that artists/makers received a better % but a year or so ago they changed it to 50%/50%. I suppose we are just to be thankful for the opportunity to support the museum. I guess I’ll support it the old fashioned way by just visiting every now and again. They do have a free day each month and you can access tickets by going here.

I write this here because I think it is of value to point out the fallacy of their thinking and what always feels to me like artists/makers being taken advantage of because there is always someone else down the list that is willing to settle for this sort of nonsense. Admittedly, it’s usually not full time professional artists/makers but I believe it brings us all down in the end.

But I will still enjoy visiting the renovations at the Japanese Garden when it re-opens in late March.

By the way, the upcoming workshop at the Japanese American National Museum is this Saturday Mar 3 from 1-4 PM. We will be working on silk in color and focusing on itajime.
You can call the museum to sign up at 213-625-0414.

Also, this is a last call for those who want to join in on the online indigo workshop which begins on Monday. Looks like we have over 15 countries and 25 states represented in the class so far. I’m excited about what we all be able to learn from this!

High Desert Silk Experience

With everything going on here it seems I neglected to do a quick write-up on the HDSEX (as we call it). It was a great drive out to Utah where we met up with friends new and old. Even old moon friends. Spotted this old friend when entering the canyons outside St. George on the way in.

canyon moon


The class set-up at Superior Threads was excellent and in the second session June Colburn, Katrina Walker and myself held our session in a round robin format with everyone rotating among the three of us. My focus was shibori dyeing and we even did a bit of indigo. Everyone was treated to a bit of history-we used the kanoko stencils and tools which are about 100 years old to transfer designs for stitched shibori.

old tools of the trade

we did some pole wrapping on silk…and discovered it takes more than two to tango-

it takes 3 to pole wrap!

or maybe it takes 4

really, it justs takes a little practice.

We had a great time with Noriko Endo who enjoyed some dyeing fun too! as many teachers know, you don’t get a chance to TAKE classes very often and Noriko took time after teaching in session one to take our session. I got to teach her some shibori!

noriko does shibori!

June treated everyone to a great presentation on kimono and had lots of kimono to illustrate her stories. I tried to take some video but the light in the room was too low but trust me, if you get a chance to hear her lecture on kimono you should do it. One day, she will write a book.

june spells out the history of kimono

and as in all things, there is an end and we said our goodbyes to Utah and will all meet again in Houston in October!

maggie, bob, me, katrina, noriko, & june

and a drive through zion ended the stay-

saying goodbye-

indigo mandala on silk organza

well, we are down to the last night. we have had a blast and shared a lot of things. our hands are blue and a few other colors to boot and most of what we made together is on its way to some of you to be stitched and wondered about. we thank those of you who came to the workshop, those of you who stopped in to meet Richard and sample his dye work. we also thank those of you who cheered us on here at the blog as well as from our facebook pages. it was an experiment, a longshot, an idea we had a year ago and now here we are at the end and thinking of some new beginnings. it’s been great working with another dyer this way- gonna have to do this again!

we have added the last of the fabric mandala sets to the big cartel shop and are covering up the indigo vats for now.

mandala 1

mandala 2

mandala 3

mandala 4

and one in silk…

mandala on old silk kimono lining

Richard’s wish for dinner tonight is pizza delivered so there you are! Gonna go look the take-out menu over and make a salad…
mata ne!

a quick mandala dyeing workshop post

Richard Carbin (aka AsiaDyer) is still here and we are still busy but I wanted to get a few photos up from the workshop before we get going here today. Also we have put a few things into the bigcartel shop just to get the day started.

This post will be photo heavy and text poor as we are both itching to get some work done- also there are orders to ship that have sat a bit longer than usual so must get them rolling too. We spent 2 days prior to the workshop practicing and working out further details in person…

so, without further ado…
we welcomed folks to the workshop with a little display out front- just to let them know they were in the right place and to entertain any passerbys.

welcome to the mandala workshop

under richard’s tutelage, i did a practice piece on silk kimono lining with colorhue dye. learned a lot!

my first mandala

here, richard is trying out the colorhue on silk noil- his expertise is procion MX dyes on cotton. playing around…

richard and colorhue and silk noil

richard does his thing on cotton lawn with procion

my silk organza mandala

me doin’ my thing with richard’s technique…you know me…can’t keep me away from the silk or the indigo. i think i’ve successfully infected richard with the indigo blue bug…

and here is the next thing we did with indigo…he was hooked!

obviously, a quick learner…

fast forwarding… we jump into the workshop

richard explains a bit

folding

tying

dyeing

karleen dyes

first day small mandalas get a review

and into day 2…

karleen’s big mandala

barry’s large mandala

linda’s big mandala

we ended the workshop by collecting up, ironing and looking over all that had been done. we worked large and small scale, with cotton and silk, with mx, colorhue, and indigo and sent more mandala energy out into the world!

looking things over

interestingly, this video on Carl Jung’s patient’s artwork appeared that same day.(link removed 2016 as it is no longer working) However, you can google the words Carl jung and mandala and see the connections. Here is one.

I will finish up here with a teaser of indigo we have just loaded into the big cartel shop. Richard is already deep into the indigo vat this morning and i am dyeing to join him!!

getting ready…

Yesterday the cold wind was howling through the outdoor studio and I worried what the weather might bring this weekend when Richard and I hold our joint workshop. But then I woke this morning to bright blue sun filled skies and no wind. Still, one never knows. We will be prepared for plan B and even plan C should it be needed.


Also, getting ready for the upcoming online indigo workshop. It always is a lot of work setting things up. Even though I have done this several times before there are always fresh challenges. Updated programs, a *new* used computer and new ideas to try out. So I have been working on it. I hope to have the new online workshop site up and running by tomorrow so those of you who are signed up can begin collecting your materials and deciding what type of indigo vat you would like to begin with. As always, an online class runs on YOUR schedule so you can never be late for class!

We will be talking about many things, one of which is sourcing materials. I found this today and really like it! You can read more about her project-Researching Sustainability here.

yay! no more ads…

so, i broke down again and spent the $30 to eliminate adds on my blog. i had this option before but in recent budget cuts i had to reduce expenses. i credit you my readers and customers of shibori and online classes with providing me with the funds to restore this much loved option.

i thank you.

with all the writing about shibori and indigo that goes on here i end up feeling a little taken advantage of when i see ads appear on my blog by those whose policies and intentions do not fit my own. such is the way of the internet. but thank you wordpress for offering this service even if i now have to pay for it (in the early days, it was free).

i feel freer and better now. onward. without ads.

here is a quick slideshow of the few photos i took at the JANM Workshop:

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