Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mermaid Tour Update

Wooohoo! It's officially a GO! 

Back in Feb I had a brainstorm to do an extended craft show trip this summer. I have talked about doing this for years. Although, my fantasy is more like a year long trip... but this is a good start! Somehow I managed to find 4 shows in a row, both by time and geography, that are juried and look quite good. AND happen to lead up to the big craft show in Bismarck, ND where I have family. Then I waited to see if I would be accepted to at least 3 out of the 5 to make the trip for sure. I mean, the gas alone will cost about $1000. If I'm going to do it, I need it to be worthwhile money-wise. ND is far away!

As of yesterday, I have been confirmed in 4 of the 5 shows. I've yet to hear from the last one, but my fingers are crossed! 

Now that I'm talking about it as a reality (rather than a possibility), I'm getting more and more excited. You can see the individual show details on my Facebook page over there>>>  I'll see if I can embed the map again... basically, I am in Eureka, CA. I will head up to Eugene for the 4th of July, then one more OR show, 2 in WA and that leaves me 2 wks to get over to ND and visit my peeps before the Bismarck show. That's 5 shows in 6 weeks and 2000 miles one way.

Here's the map, if you go to the link below it, you will see the shows and dates.

View Mermaid Tour 2010 in a larger map

What happens next is still up in the air. I may head over to Washington DC for a visit with my bff and wedding dress maker for a final fitting and last single hoorah. I would fly, then drive home afterward. Or, there is a good possibility that I can coerce my boyfriend into going with me on his new motorcycle... just so happens that Sturgis is only 5 hrs from Bismarck and the timing is right.

Actually, convincing Stu to go with me is getting easier. That would be great! The man needs a vacation... and he's been itching to travel more and more. Could be a very memorable pre-wedding time for us.

Anyway, now I'm looking at campgrounds and battery powered fans and how to fit 5 shows worth of clothes into my little cargo van. heehee. I smell an adventure...

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Process

I was reading an article the other night about selling crafts wholesale. It assumed you would have plenty of orders, and asked basically 'Are you ready to do your craft constantly day in and day out to fill orders?' The production end of things can be tedious and possibly ware on a person over time... makes sense. For many crafts, the creative art part is a small percentage of time compared to the crafting of the item itself. You choose media and materials, sketch, design, maybe draw or paint elements of the final piece... the rest is molding, firing, sewing, beading, dyeing, (insert your craft here) and then finishing, packaging and the like.

So I started thinking about the past week, up to my elbows in dye every day for hours. I'm doing 10 batches which is about 100 pieces. Oh it's repetitive alright... but not only don't I get bored, I actively enjoy it. I find the routine soothing, almost meditative. I listen to music, often dancing and singing. Or I listen to stories from This American Life or The Moth. I have fun. I also love touching the fabrics, looking at each piece as it comes out of the dryer... I really enjoy what I do. Add to this the depth of gratitude I feel for being able to do this day in and day out and get paid, well it all makes me one happy artgirl.

Since I don't talk much about my dye and prep process, I thought I'd share. Here's how it goes: 

- Prep Dye Batches - I go through my inventory and figure out which color each item will be. I try to make sure that each size of each item is balanced between purples, greens and earth tones. This can take me a few days to figure out.

- Separate - I separate the clothes into their dye color piles and bag them

- Dye Stuff - My method of dyeing is a lot like cooking. Lots of mixing and measuring and timing. I dye 2-3 batches in tandem, which takes 5-6 hrs. Each batch is rinsed, dyed, rinsed, dyed again, rinsed, washed and dried.

- Labels - I sew a Bohemian Mermaid label onto each item and put on a hanger.

- Iron - Well I just got a steamer, so change this one to steam. Only the rayon gets a little steaming on the seams. Oh and I do have to iron the child hats and bandanas too.

- Print - I use my print blocks and fabric paints to print designs on some of the clothes, then heat set with an iron. This can take a day or two, depending on how much I'm making.

- Price - Each new item needs a hang tag and price tag, which has the item code, size and price. I usually run late and have to scramble to do this part at the show.

I call this a dye session. Usually I do 6-8 batches per session, which takes about 2 weeks from start to finish. I know some would find this boring. Call me a fabric nerd, but still dig it.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

New Mossy Prints

I've been having fun playing with some new print designs. In the past, I've had some color issues with printing on the Moss colored fabric. These prints I think look perfect on this background. I'm also combining these with my other designs for different effects...  I'll take more pics after I do some printing next week. 

Currently, I'm preparing to head up to Gold Beach, OR for the Art, Wine & Music Festival next weekend. This will be my third year and I am really looking forward to it. Beach camping, nice people, high quality crafts... and I'll get to see my friends at Moose Creek Bath & Body, who have been carrying my clothing for the past year.  Super nice ladies! My man is considering joining me on his new motorcycle. Huh. If I knew it'd make him want to travel with me more, I'd have been on board long ago. Ha.

For now, back to the dye tubs.