Merrily we stitch along…

I’m still at La Jolla, working as overhire on their show, Bonnie and Clyde. It’s going very well for me–we are getting a lot done and I am learning a lot about working with materials that I haven’t had much of a chance to develop skills around.

We’ve been making women’s slips and period bras, dresses and tops, as well as working with china silk and silk georgette, stripes and plaids… I must admit, I sometimes feel like I’m all thumbs when I try to work with delicate materials that don’t have much body to them… I am used to working with wools and such, doing menswear. Those kinds of materials are much more sturdy, with a weight and feel that allows for a heavier “hand” when manipulating them.

But these soft, flimsy fabrics require a much gentler touch that’s almost excruciatingly mind-numbing… Even the smallest needle in my sewing machine irreparably damages the pieces I insert under my machine’s presser foot, and the feed dogs of my machine seem to simply chew up the materials regardless of how attentive I can be… I am learning to handle the gossamer fabrics with a graceful hand but it is not coming easily…

Im also learnin a bit about knits… I’m not sure, but I think that the refined knitting that we wear today (like jersey knit and t-shirt knit) is a relatively contemporary invention when it comes to clothing… Those kinds of small weaves simply weren’t possible in the past by hand. As a consequence, since most of my sewing is in historical reproduction, I don’t have much experience working with knits–most clothing throughout history has been done with weaves. So stretch fabrics, and the techniques required to sew them are all very “alien” to me. But with this show, I’ve been able to play with some knits and learned some new stuff that I can’t wait to try at home.

Ever heard of Wooly Nylon?  wooly_nylon_web Oh my goodness what an invention!!! I was able to sew with it on my regular Bernina home machine (a 930), and a regular straight stitch suddenly became a stretch stitch! I couldn’t believe it! No special settings or equipment–it hit me that now I can actually sew knits at home with my regular machine and not have to switch a bunch of settings and such. Can you say “ecstatic”?? This opens up a whole new world for me and what I can produce now.

On top of that, the home serger that was in the shop at La Jolla is the exact same model that I have at home: A Juki MO-735. So I was able to learn about chain stitches and cover stitches while getting paid for it! I was using what I was learning on the garments I was building, and storing that knowledge for use later at home. I am so excited for this new potential! What an awesome experience this has been!

Anyway, I go in to work today at 1:00pm to assemble some mockups for some menswear we are building (finally, some familiar territory), and finish up a 1930’s diner apron that we are slamming together. I am listening to Robert Jordan’s “Eye of the World” from his Wheel of Time Series, and (being the typical male geek that I am) I’m really enjoying it. Boys with swords. Yada yada yada! : )

Okay back to work!  More later!  Live life with Relish!

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Validating Community

Sunday night I got together with two good friends of mine, Robin Roberts and Ben Seibert.  A little sangria with vegan pizza (and too much tobacco) later, it was 2:15 in the morning!
Ben worked with me at my university job I held for the last 10 years. This is his third year, and he’s one of the best production managers I have ever met.  He’s fighting an uphill battle given the production parameters at that school, but he’s a real trooper.  He’s gonna win, come heck or highwater.
Robin was the set designer there.  She and Ben worked very closely.  I didn’t have a costume shop manager for my experience there, but my former position as designer became a costume shop management position, so I guess they have one now…
Anyway, we talked about all manner of things (mostly about our experiences at the university), but we also talked about art in general and our hopes for our individual creative futures.  And that’s what has been the most heartening…  While we can be pretty negative when the three of us get together (hey, we’re theatre people–we bitch) we also were very positive and interested in each other’s artistic endeavors.
I just want to say that’s incredibly important.  I can’t say how vital it is for a creative artist to have a group of friends.  Not only is it important career-wise for an artist to have a larger circle of interested parties for their livelihood, and a community that they participate in as an important contributor, but it’s really necessary for an artist to have a family.  Friends that not only show interest, but genuine concern for each other.  The sense of validation this provides is unmeasurable.  The self-worth that it engenders is irreplaceable.
I recently got some tickets for some friends of mine (in a different segment of my life) to attend a show I had worked on.  Rarely do my circles of friends overlap–when they do, it’s surreal for me–so it’s very uncommon for my friends to see any of my professional theatrical design work.  Well, this time, it happened.  And they were incredibly appreciative.  They loved it!  And it was an incredible ego boost for me to hear it!  It was inspiring not because I needed to hear I did a good job, but that they could be there for me in the future.
Community is important.  Friends are important.  Make sure you’re supporting their work.
So I finally have my Etsy store up, and today I started my Artfire store.  You can find links to both of them at the bottom of my main blog page.  Check’em out and let me know what you think.
Live life with Relish!

Sunday night I got together with two good friends of mine, Robin Roberts and Ben Seibert.  A little sangria with vegan pizza (and too much tobacco) later, it was 2:15 in the morning!

Ben worked with me at my university job I held for the last 10 years. This is his third year, and he’s one of the best production managers I have ever met.  He’s fighting an uphill battle given the production parameters at that school, but he’s a real trooper.  He’s gonna win, come heck or highwater.

Robin was the set designer there.  She and Ben worked very closely.  I didn’t have a costume shop manager for my experience there, but my former position as designer became a costume shop management position, so I guess they have one now…

Anyway, we talked about all manner of things (mostly about our experiences at the university), but we also talked about art in general and our hopes for our individual creative futures.  And that’s what has been the most heartening…  While we can be pretty negative when the three of us get together (hey, we’re theatre people–we bitch) we also were very positive and interested in each other’s artistic endeavors.

I just want to say that’s incredibly important.  I can’t say how vital it is for a creative artist to have a group of friends.  Not only is it important career-wise for an artist to have a larger circle of interested parties for their livelihood, and a community that they participate in as an important contributor, but it’s really necessary for an artist to have a family.  Friends that not only show interest, but genuine concern for each other.  The sense of validation this provides is unmeasurable.  The self-worth that it engenders is irreplaceable.

I recently got some tickets for some friends of mine (in a different segment of my life) to attend a show I had worked on.  Rarely do my circles of friends overlap–when they do, it’s surreal for me–so it’s very uncommon for my friends to see any of my professional theatrical design work.  Well, this time, it happened.  And they were incredibly appreciative.  They loved it!  And it was an incredible ego boost for me to hear it!  It was inspiring not because I needed to hear I did a good job, but that they could be there for me in the future.

Community is important.  Friends are important.  Make sure you’re supporting their work.

So I finally have my Etsy store up, and today I started my Artfire store.  Check’em out and let me know what you think.

Live life with Relish!

A Spoonful of Sugar…

A Spoonful of Sugar…
So Jonathan and I had to find a car by the end of the weekend.  We were surprised by how much the insurance company is giving us, and our bank pre-approved him for a loan.  So we went shopping…
We had owned a cute little 2000 Toyota Echo for 10 years.  We loved it.  It was a cheese wedge on wheels–really spacious interior and a good solid workhorse for us.  We were sad that the damage was proportionately too much for the insurance company to warrant repairs.  We’d paid it off, we were very happy.
And now, to have to find another car when the Echo simply isn’t on the market anymore…  Well.  We started with Toyota.  The Yaris was the next evolution of the Echo, rebranded.  It had been extensively remodeled as well, so that didn’t work.  Jonathan couldn’t get into it without contorting his body like a gymnast…  So we looked for something that he didn’t have to hire a chiropractor to be able to use.
This led us to the Toyota Scion, the Kia Soul, and the Nissan Cube.
And we chose the Cube.  The Scion was too expensive for what it was–a 2004.  The Soul was comparable, but it didn’t have any umph behind it when it accelerates.  And the Cube was our cheapest choice.  And that’s what we did.
And now we have a car payment, our insurance is gonna go up, and the pressure is REALLY on for Relished Artistry to be a success.
Today, I go to the Museum of Art with my dear friend Robin Roberts.  She has passes, and we’ve enjoyed our experiences there together in the past, so I’m gonna have a good, inspiring, art-filled day!  Sack lunch in Balboa Park–what more can a person ask for?  It’s gonna be sunny, breezy, and my heart will be stimulated and motivated!  I’m taking Baked Beans and Hotdogs, cuz that’s comfort food I haven’t had in years.  : )
Tonight, I dive into my next project–another coat made out of velveteen this time–a smaller size because I don’t have much fabric left.  Then back to the stretch-knit tops!  I’m considering pushing the medieval, illuminated manuscript look just to see what that does.  But I know that the Museum of Art has some wonderful examples of Hindu art that I’ve seen before, and that intrigues me as well.  We’ll see.
Live life with Relish!

So Jonathan and I had to find a car by the end of the weekend.  We were surprised by how much the insurance company is giving us, and our bank pre-approved him for a loan.  So we went shopping…

We had owned a cute little 2000 Toyota Echo for 10 years.  We loved it.  It was a cheese wedge on wheels–really spacious interior and a good solid workhorse for us.  We were sad that the damage was proportionately too much for the insurance company to warrant repairs.  We’d paid it off, we were very happy.

800px-Toyota-Echo-sedan

And now, to have to find another car when the Echo simply isn’t on the market anymore…  Well.  We started with Toyota.  The Yaris was the next evolution of the Echo, rebranded.  It had been extensively remodeled as well, so that didn’t work.  Jonathan couldn’t get into it without contorting his body like a gymnast…  So we looked for something that he didn’t have to hire a chiropractor to be able to use.

This led us to the Toyota Scion, the Kia Soul, and the Nissan Cube.

And we chose the Cube.  The Scion was too expensive for what it was–a 2004.  The Soul was comparable, but it didn’t have any umph behind it when it accelerates.  And the Cube was our cheapest choice.  And that’s what we did.

nissan.cube.3.2009

And now we have a car payment, our insurance is gonna go up, and the pressure is REALLY on for Relished Artistry to be a success.

Today, I go to the Museum of Art with my dear friend Robin Roberts.  She has passes, and we’ve enjoyed our experiences there together in the past, so I’m gonna have a good, inspiring, art-filled day!  Sack lunch in Balboa Park, time with friends–what more can a person ask for?  It’s gonna be sunny, breezy, and my heart will be stimulated and motivated!  I’m taking Baked Beans and Hotdogs, cuz that’s comfort food I haven’t had in years.  : )

Tonight, I dive into my next project–another coat made out of velveteen this time–a smaller size because I don’t have much fabric left.  Then back to the stretch-knit tops!  I’m considering pushing the medieval, illuminated manuscript look just to see what that does.  But I know that the Museum of Art has some wonderful examples of Hindu art that I’ve seen before, and that intrigues me as well.  We’ll see.

p3

Live life with Relish!

Lunch with Friends

Today I had lunch at the Big Kitchen with my friends, Ingrid Helton and Shirley Pierson.  Ingrid was my supervisor at the Old Globe Theatre for many years where I worked on her construction team.  She taught me everything I know about mens tailoring, and has since gone on to start her own line of children’s clothing and had a toy store for a while.  Shirley just graduated with her MFA in Costume Design from SDSU, and is now working as a professional costume designer.   I met her at the university I used to work at, where she was a non-traditional student as her husband taught there.

Ingrid and Shirley and I had a wonderful conversation about a lot of different things, and we’re working out a lot of different kinds of plans and ideas for the future.  But at one point in the conversation, I shared with them my fears regarding the development of this business and my first tenuous steps into this new industry.

I think I am one that likes to plan…  It is part of my theatrical training to know where I should be ending up, and working toward that goal/reality step by step by step.  Theatre is very much a process, and I spent a lot of money getting taught that process over several years, and earned two degrees as I learned it.  As a theatre person, it’s my instinct to need to plan things out–without a plan, one gets hurt.  The old adage goes, “Cheap.  On time.  Looks good.  Pick two.”  Well, the art of theatrical planning is to make sure that adage doesn’t apply, or at least work well within their parameters.

But this Relished Artistry endeavor is a bit different…  I realized I know where I want to go, but I’m taking this baby step by baby step because I am unsure of how to get there.  I feel very much like a toddler.  I know I want to go from point A to point B, but actually getting the muscles to obey my commands is another story… And knowing that my brain is just learning to send the right signals to the right pathways to get what I want is going to take practice…

It was an incredibly reassuring lunch being with these two ladies.  They both have experience in different ends of what I am doing.  And it’s heartening to hear their words of encouragement and validation that I am indeed on the right path.  I can’t do anything until I get a “line” or a “collection” established.  Worrying about the next steps that I don’t know is pointless.  It will come.  One thing at a time.  The end goal is clear, but like that toddler I need to concentrate on one leg moving at a time.  It is also good to know that they are there for whatever advice I may need.  First things first:  establish a body of work.

So.  To that end, I am sharing with you a “sneak preview” of one of my next projects.  Club wear.  I’m calling it the “Hot Relish” series.  : )    Here’s a pic!  Until next time, live life with relish!

HotRelishPreview1web

A Trip to Liberty Station

I’m not at all sure if many of you know what’s been happening with Liberty Station over in Point Loma… This si what happened to me on Sunday.
My friend Robin Sanford Roberts (a professional theatrical set designer whom I worked with for 6 years as a colleague at the university I used to be at) is now teaching with a brand new arts endeavor–the Bravo School of Art. She’s going to be four different classes for them in a variety of different subject all the way from Scene Design to nature creatures made from shells and rocks. Some of them are oriented toward kids and others toward adults. The entire project is really quite fascinating–the school is just getting started and will be offering a variety of different classes in techniques and styles.
Their open house was this Sunday, and Robin invited me to attend. I had never been to Liberty Station before. It’s an area that’s just getting redeveloped from being a former Naval Training Center to being a real hub of community in the Point Loma area. One of the former barracks has been renovated to be a series of really beautiful art studios and retail spaces, and that’s where the Bravo School of Art is.
So my partner, Jonathan, and I drove there, and I must say I am very very impressed. Wow. What an instant community with still more growth and expansion left to do!! First off, there’s a lot of retail stores and chains already moving in–the building opposite of “Barracks 19” (where the art studios are now) had an Ace Hardware in it already, with an Art Quilt Gallery diagonal from that… Quite an eclectic area, it’s being promoted as the new arts hub of San Diego, being a new sort of “Balboa Park” experience. It’s well manicured lawns and open spaces are certainly sunny, and it has a wonderful campus/collegiate feel to it that makes all the businesses there seem like wonderful amenities.
We got into the barracks, walked upstairs, and went into the studio. It’s charming. You really can’t tell this used to be a barracks at all–each studio has light pouring in from multiple windows, and even the hallways between the studios that line the outer walls have windows and big glass doors. It feels like quite an airy space, and you can look into the studios and watch the artists at work. The lower floor is for studio/retail space, and they have to be open to the public during the day as well as have a retail component. It’s an incredibly intriguing location!!
I got to meet Alan Ziter, the Executive Director of the NTC Foundation, who gave me and Robin and her husband and my partner a quick rundown of the facilities and showed us the last available studio on the second floor. 324 square feet, with wonderful windows on the east side, and a big glass door on the west. Flooring had been put in so the it wasn’t concrete, and all the walls were painted a clean white. Electricity wasn’t included (which he said would run about $250 a month), and it didn’t appear to have water which could be a real problem when you’re dealing with fabrics and dye and such… But we’ll see.
It was intriguing as a studio space, and I will be talking to my friends about it as we have lunch on Tuesday. Yeah, my “long story that I wasn’t gonna go into” that I mentioned in a previous blog post involves two of my friends and I going in on a studio space together. So we’re looking.
But regardless, the Bravo School of Art is on it’s way, and their course offering are quite eclectic. Robin had hoped I might figure out a class that I could teach, but my first instinct was to teach sewing, and the classroom/studio isn’t equipped to accommodate that… So there are other things I could teach that are outside of the box (for example, one of Robin’s classes is called “Poetry Box”, which has nothing to do with scene design but uses the skills she incorporates in her scenic design process and applies them to other ends), but I think I need to ponder that a bit more. I think I’ve got my hands full making a stock of clothing just yet, but sometime in the future, Watch Out!!! : )
Okay, this is a book!
Live life with relish!

Barracks19Ext

I’m not at all sure if many of you know what’s been happening with Liberty Station over in Point Loma… This is what happened to me on Sunday.

My friend Robin Sanford Roberts (a professional theatrical set designer whom I worked with for 6 years as a colleague at the university I used to be at) is now teaching with a brand new arts endeavor–the Bravo School of Art. She’s going to be teaching four different classes for them in a variety of different subject all the way from Scene Design to nature creatures made from shells and rocks. Some of them are oriented toward kids and others toward adults. The entire project is really quite fascinating–the school is just getting started and will be offering a variety of different classes in techniques and styles.

Their open house was this Sunday, and Robin invited me to attend. I had never been to Liberty Station before. It’s an area that’s just getting redeveloped from being a former Naval Training Center to being a real hub of community in the Point Loma area. One of the former barracks has been renovated to be a series of really beautiful art studios and retail spaces, and that’s where the Bravo School of Art is.

So my partner, Jonathan, and I drove there, and I must say I am very very impressed. Wow. What an instant community with still more growth and expansion left to do!! First off, there’s a lot of retail stores and chains already moving in–the building opposite of “Barracks 19” (where the art studios are now) had an Ace Hardware in it already, with an Art Quilt Gallery diagonal from that… Quite an eclectic area, it’s being promoted as the new arts hub of San Diego, being a new sort of “Balboa Park” experience. It’s well manicured lawns and open spaces are certainly sunny, and it has a wonderful campus/collegiate feel to it that makes all the businesses there seem like wonderful amenities.

We got into the barracks, walked upstairs, and went into the studio. It’s charming. You really can’t tell this used to be a barracks at all–each studio has light pouring in from multiple windows, and even the hallways between the studios that line the outer walls have windows and big glass doors. It feels like quite an airy space, and you can look into the studios and watch the artists at work. The lower floor is for studio/retail space, and they have to be open to the public during the day as well as have a retail component. It’s an incredibly intriguing location!!

I got to meet Alan Ziter, the Executive Director of the NTC Foundation, who gave me and Robin and her husband and my partner a quick rundown of the facilities and showed us the last available studio on the second floor. 324 square feet, with wonderful windows on the east side, and a big glass door on the west. Flooring had been put in so the it wasn’t concrete, and all the walls were painted a clean white. Electricity wasn’t included (which he said would run about $250 a month), and it didn’t appear to have water which could be a real problem when you’re dealing with fabrics and dye and such… But we’ll see.  [Edit: Alan Ziter emailed me and mentioned that the utilities and common area fees are actually 25¢ per square foot… Quite a difference from $250 a month! Much much more affordable…)

It was intriguing as a studio space, and I will be talking to my friends about it as we have lunch on Tuesday. Yeah, my “long story that I wasn’t gonna go into” that I mentioned in a previous blog post involves two of my friends and I going in on a studio space together. So we’re looking.

But regardless, the Bravo School of Art is on it’s way, and their course offering are quite eclectic. Robin had hoped I might figure out a class that I could teach, but my first instinct was to teach sewing, and the classroom/studio isn’t equipped to accommodate that… So there are other things I could teach that are outside of the box (for example, one of Robin’s classes is called “Poetry Box”, which has nothing to do with scene design but uses the skills she incorporates in her scenic design process and applies them to other ends), but I think I need to ponder that a bit more. I think I’ve got my hands full making a stock of clothing just yet, but sometime in the future, Watch Out!!! : )

Okay, this is a book!

Live life with relish!

The Newest Social Class: The Poorgeoisie

So I’m reading this fascinating article that I found by jumping from link to link starting from the newsfeed on my Yahoo email page…

[Tangent Alert: Interesting how one can simply become so distracted from things based on curiosity!  Lookout, all those kids being told to “read, read, read!”  I was one of those kids that, for example, curled up with Where the Red Fern Grows until 2:00 in the morning as a 5th-grader, and silently cried myself to sleep only to wake up at what seemed like an ungodly hour to start the next day…  Ouch…  In my day, scanning the internet wasn’t possible, so reading-distractions had to come from magazines and comic books and novels—easily to put down with some self control.  Somehow, the internet and self control don’t seem to go together, nowadays… Damn my curiosity in reading!!]

How Looking Poor Became the New Status Symbol by Steve Kandell for Men.style.com

Anyway, I’m reading this article about our newest social class to hit America: The Poorgeoisie, aka “those that spend a lot of money to look humble.”  This article talks about how flash and gaudiness are out, and the simple look is in.  But the ironic thing is that luxury is still very much in as well.  So we have a whole segment of society that spends a lot of money on organic foods & homemade toiletries, or what the author calls “virtuous consumption”.

And I’m looking at the craft movement, and feeling that there is a real link there somehow with this new social movement…  I’m not at all sure how to articulate it if I even can…  The drive that’s big right now is to feel that one is green, to feel that one doesn’t extravagantly indulge, that one cherishes the nostalgia of growing up when life was somehow simpler or less materialistic…  Big business is spending a lot of money to appear homey, intimately connected and personal, because we are seeking that in our own lives.  At some level a huge cultural shift is occurring, thrusting us toward a more basic & simplistic outlook on life, because the mechanism of civilization got too complicated, bit the hand that fed it, and then sorta broke.  Which resulted in an economic downturn.  “Creative Accounting” has given us not-so-creative consequences.  “What do you call 20 Bankers chained together at the bottom of the ocean?”  “Good company for the Lawyers already down there.”

So it’s no wonder people are looking to appear somehow more virtuous by buying, wearing, and eating simply.  And that includes wearing modified “trash-to-treasure” clothing with embellishments and redone finery.

The problem is that the Poorgeoisie are still paying $250 for distressed jeans that look like they’re 15 years old.  I recently went to Target, and for $39 one can buy a pair of Converse tennis shoes with frayed-edged stitching, which look very retro and very stylishly “lower class”.  And what’s further, it seems that the newest trend is the smaller, individual, non-mass-market items with backstory and personality that can’t be found in most stores.  Music is going that way–the era of big record producers is gone, to be replaced by word-of-mouth marketing that will never result in the massive profits of yesteryear.  Instead, we have individual tastes being catered to because there’s suddenly something for everyone, instead of everyone conforming to the mass marketed things that were the only things out there.

Right now, as I type this, I’m thinking this could be the advent of a new interest in Arts clothing.  I think consumers are looking for items that are beautifully rendered and reeking of simple artistic creativity.  I think people need to feel individually expressive as part of this new movement, because to appear part of the mass consumerism machine is to advocate the status quo that has put us where we are.  I think there is a danger of being overtly “crafty” (and therefore appearing to try too hard to seem simple) and being too artistically expressive to the point of nonsense.  I think it’s possible to give that homemade, earthy validation to customers who desire that virtuous feeling without relying upon blanket stitching and felt with wooden buttons and raffia, for example.

I’m not sure I know what I’m saying, but I’m somehow excited about the future.  And the potential for the arts in general.  We’ll see.

Books, Books, and More Books…

So this blog entry is about the books that I read getting ready for this leap into the wearable art business.  Now before you start saying that all the current information is actually on the internet, I have to say that I tried to find this stuff and couldn’t.  Maybe I’m a little “search-engine-disabled”, but wading through all the irrelevant crap to find what I really wanted was tiresome.  I’d rather pop out to Borders or jump over to Amazon and find exactly what I need right away.  And my guilty pleasure–the magazine racks–simply kept calling my name anyway…  Now I know you can spend just as much on periodicals as you do on books… hehe…  ouch.  My partner, Jonathan, was a bit worried by how much I was spending on these resources… But they were worth it.  And considering I don’t own a laptop and I like to read when and where I like, the expenditure was well spent.

Anyway, below is a list of the books that I dived into because I found them incredibly interesting.  I have a slew of books that I want to read in the future, but now I’m not at all sure when/if I’ll ever be able to actually get back to cracking a good book…

Art and Fear–Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland really was the best book to start with.  It was a fantastic ego boost and dunk in cold water at the same time.  Highly recommended for artists that are loosing faith in what they’re doing.  This book helped me start to accept the idea that I could indeed call myself an artist and actually believe it.

Start Your Own Arts and Crafts Business by Entrepreneur Press and J.S. McDougall was the next book I grabbed.  I had quite a selection of books to choose from on the Borders Books shelves, but this seemed to be the most practical and the most up to date.  Of course, finding books written after the advent of this horrible economic recession/depression/whatever has been hard.  Many of the books were written in the “great oblivious bubble” of soaring expectations and unfeasible profit margins.  Regardless, this book worked for me.

Design and Launch an Online Boutique in a Week by Entrepreneur Press and Melissa Campanelli was a bit outdated…  A lot of the information was, as previously mentioned, written in a time when things were a bit different…  Nowadays, it’s common knowledge that simply having an online presence and setting up a store isn’t enough to be a success, but most of the examples they use were about entrepreneurs that got in at the right time and grew with the internet’s growth.  So I’m not sure if they were actually “successful” on their own terms or not.  Still an interesting read, and I am indeed still “internet business inept”, so it was very useful information.

Fashion for Profit by Frances Harder is still way over my head.  Sorry, I guess I’m too “artistic” to figure out all the business mumbo jumbo that’s in this book (and the other materials that are available with it on Amazon), but I’m not going into this to mass produce a line of clothing…  I have no interest in the legitimate methodology of contemporary fashion business…  Not for me.  I want to create things that are a little more individual, a lot more artistically hands-on, and definitely not uber-mass produced.  That takes the sparkle out of it for me.  And I’m not in the position to do it the “right way” anyway.  So.  I’ve put this one on my shelf to peruse in the future.

The Fashion Designer Survival Guide by Mary Gehlhar was much more useful, but still oriented toward those interested in mainstream clothing production in the traditional scope set out by the fashion industry.  And their first piece of advice is to work for someone else in the industry for 10 years…  Eminently down-to-earth and real, this book simply solidified for me why I don’t wanna do “fashion apparel”.  Money, experience, and a strong business plan is what they suggest—none of which I had when I read this book.  But it was very useful, still.  This book convinced me to create an LLC insted of a sole proprietorship, which is the norm in the art field.  Not that I’m gonna need to worry about it.

Art/Work: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber was a GREAT book.  Not really applicable to me (yet again), but still useful.  Primarily focused on graphic designers, there was still info that I found helpful philosophically.  I’m glad I read it.  And it read quick.

The Creative Entrepreneur–A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real by Lisa Sonora Beam seemed to speak my language.  It made a big big deal of helping artists develop a “business mentality” to help us understand why business does what it does and some of the language it uses.  It was a relief to find this book.  I only made it through the first couple of chapters, because shortly after getting into it it seemed to change into an art project book and an excuse for the author to show off neat art journaling ideas.  Still, even though I’m not done with it, I can tell it will be invaluable for me.  Highly recommended.

Creating a Successful Craft Business by Rogene A. Robbins and Robert O. Robbins is another very very useful book.  A bit older (2003), it speaks to a world of potential crafters that were part of a different economic era.  So I’ve been taking everything it says with a grain of salt, as one can’t count on their examples to be relevant anymore.  Call me biased, I think the economics of 2009 are much different than they used to be, and people are much different as well.

And finally, Form Your Own Limited Liability Company from Nolo helped me immeasurably in setting up my business.  I simply followed their step by step plans.  And hopefully, they worked.  We’ll find out soon when/if I find out if my Articles of Organization are accepted by the Secretary of State of California…

Okay, this posting is a book in itself…  Next time I’m gonna talk about some of the periodicals that I’ve collected that made a big difference to me.

Until then–live life with relish!