And So It Goes…

I must lead one of the most boring lives of everyone I know. This last couple of weeks have proven it to me. I go to work, I come home, I watch TV, listen to my audiobooks, and then go to bed. Then I get up and do it all over again. Pretty repetitious.

But the end is in sight–my day job as overhire at La Jolla Playhouse is coming to a close very soon, and I will be returning my attention to my own business. I feel like I’ve neglected Relished Artistry a bit–but I’ve still had a couple sales, so that’s been exciting! I know that I could be spending some more time on it, however, and I’m actually looking forward to creating some new things. Fleshing out my “stock” is the first thing on my priority list, and I have a list of items that I am going to make.

I think my time at La Jolla has taught me a lot–I have a new understanding of knits now, so I’m excited about making some new knitwear. I had done a couple samples of some women’s tanks with a cute little rose in the center front by the neckline, and now that I know how to hem them and sew them better, I’m less hesitant to take the leap. We’ll see how it pans out, but I anticipate I’ll have some cute little black stretch velvet tops soon.

I’m also going to investigate some menswear in the form of smoking jackets… Higher quality, lined, with some masculine embellishment on the center back (maybe a silhouette of a bird? Skull? Tree? Scorpion?), but I need to find the right image first. I’m leaning toward using tribal tattoos as reference and inspiration. The challenge is painting crisp, sharp lines on a velvet pile…hehe… Not the easiest thing in the world…

And I’m going to put together a “fantasy” cape with a piped collar and leaf embellishment along the hem. We’ll see how a more overtly “costume-ish” item is received.

I have yet another coat to put together that I am working on, ready to put in the sleeves and the lining. It’ll be done very soon, but until then it rests on a dressform in my studio until I get the “gumption” to finish it off. Having energy to continue sewing at night after sewing all day can be a bit difficult… But I won’t have to worry about that soon.

Alrighty! Another post soon! Live Life with Relish!

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“Celebrate good times! C’mon!”

Finally! My first sale!

Oh, what a long time coming–3 months and 10 days!!! Goodness, now I’m legit! LOL! My partner gave me a Hershey’s chocolate kiss to celebrate, and it was the best damn chocolate I’ve ever tasted! LOL!

So some lovely lady in Florida is receiving my first ever wearable art creation, and I hope she feels fierce when she’s got it on!

This’ll be the first and last time I celebrate a sale on my blog (not wanting to bore anyone with the nitty-gritty comings-and-goings of the stock items), but I had to celebrate and share this personal victory and landmark occasion in my life.

(Breaking into a jig…)  “Happy Dance! Happy Dance!”

il_fullxfull.91277381

How I Sew, Part 2: A Vest Tutorial

I touched a little upon my sewing process in a previous post called “How I Sew, Part 1”. Well, now I’m going to get a bit more detailed, because it dawned on my that this new vest project could be perfect to use as a tutorial. Those of you who may not be incredibly interested in sewing may find this post a complete and utter bore. But for those who are curious, this might be useful to you (hopefully).

I’ve been snapping pictures along the way as I work through each step. This particular post has a lot of pictures, because as I discuss details, I need visuals. So it may seem a bit longer than most posts.

First off, I have to say this vest is modified from one found in a commercial pattern package: Simplicity #2566.  While I can make my own patterns, I don’t really want to unless I have to, so this was a lot easier. I traced the pattern size that I needed onto paper (leaving out the seam allowances inherent to each pattern piece–I prefer to add my own.  See Part 1 for more info on that…) and proceeded to lop it into pieces…

Choose What You Want

Choose What You Want

Below is a picture of what my finished pattern looked like when I was done. I added a collar, extended the shoulder seam, and cut many of the pieces into halves… I also created a facing piece for the lining along the center front button closure on the inside.

Adjust your Pattern

Adjust your Pattern

This process required me to make notches in the new pieces I made, just to make sure that I was lining all the curves up correctly.

I knew what I was wanting–a festive vest with vertical panels in Christmas colors. The pic below is a shot of the fabrics that I chose. Not that the gold fabric is sheer… I would need to mount this to another fabric in order to use it, otherwise my vest lining would show through (or, alternatively, this vest could be worn only at adult oriented Christmas Parties… hehe…). All of the fabrics were actually too flimsy to use on their own. I think they may have actually been drapery fabrics, and so they hang beautifully but have no body whatsoever. All of them would need to be supported somehow.

My Selected Fabrics

My Selected Fabrics

The solution to flimsy fabrics? Flatlining. I would essentially “marry” two different pieces of fabric into one. And that meant finding a fabric to meld onto my fancy outside fabrics that wouldn’t be seen but would bolster it up and make it a bit sturdier. I chose a cheap $1/yard cotton broadcloth. Akin to muslin, it would do the trick. The process is called flatlining, not lining. Lining is a separate piece of fabric that makes wearing easier and more comfortable. This is a structural method.

I took my pattern pieces, laid them out on the cotton (making sure the grain lines match), and traced around each paper guide with a sharp soft lead pencil. Making sure to make little pencil marks where I had cut out all the notches, I then traced around the edges of each pattern 1/2″ away. This was my cut line. I now would have a 1/2″ seam allowance. Finally, I cut each piece out.

I then used transfer paper and a pouncer to transfer the lines on one piece of fabric to the second piece of fabric underneath it. Voila! You have a left side and a right side! My transfer paper is red, and it’s mounted to a piece of poster board for easy use. My pouncer is flat, so it creates solid lines. I use paper weights and cups to hold down my patterns, or I simply pin the paper to the fabric.

Pouncing Lines

Pouncing Lines

The next step is the hard one, and you need good eyes. But it’s a REAL time saver. Instead of tracing each layer out separately, I simply take my newly marked flatlining and place it on the fancy fabric. The trick is to make sure the grain lines match up… What’s a grain line you ask? It’s the direction of the threads. If the flatlining and the fancy fabric don’t line up with the same direction, the two pieces won’t behave nicely, and they’ll sorta fight. (My analogy about marrying to the two pieces together isn’t so far off, but there isn’t an option for counseling in the fabric world…). The edge of the fabric is indicative of the direction of the grain.

The picture below is comparing the grain line of a flatlining piece with the grain of the fabric underneath it by using the edge to see if it’s laid down straight. The direction of the threads in the flatlining should match the directions of the fabric, and I measured out from the edge at the top of my flatlining piece and at the bottom, making sure they were the same distance from the edge. Otherwise, if they were off (even by a little bit) the pieces wouldn’t fit, and the next step would be a nightmare.

Grain Lines

Grain Lines

It’s important to make sure that your flatlining pieces were cut out following each pattern piece’s indicated guideline. If they weren’t you’re setting yourself up for trouble even before you get to laying them out on your fancy fabric.

Pinning is also important. I pin the two pieces together along the stitch line, crossing it. Some people pin their flatlining along the stitch lines. I find that problematic at this stage, cuz I just wanna get these two pieces together without having to care about taking the pins out as I sew… So I pin them together so I don’t have to take the pins out at all… Lazy? Maybe. Time saving? Definitely!

You’ll notice in the picture below that I use quilting pins. I like them. They have the plastic head that make them easy to pic up with my stubby “man-fingers”, and they’re long, thinner, and usually sharp. I find they work with a wider variety of fabrics than the traditional shorter pins used for sewing, because they’re simply easier to handle. I also have a specific pair of sheers for cutting delicate fabrics. While it would be nice to use one pair of sheers for all purposes, sometimes those big honkin’ 12″ cutters are too big to wield easily for floaty wafting fabrics that demand a softer touch.

Needles and Pins!

Needles and Pins!

Now I had to deal with that sheer metallic fabric I chose. Backing it with a second fabric, I cut out that piece, placed it on my sheer, and cut those out first before I pinned my flat lining to it. Seemed easier to me that way.

Notice the grid created by the red and green stripes. How weird would it look if they weren’t symmetrical on the body? Or if one panel ran in one direction and the other panel on the other side of the body ran in a different direction? Probably not so fashionably kosher. “Like, how homemade lookin’, dude!” So a little attention to lining up the grain line and making sure both pieces are exactly the same will save a lot of embarrassment later on.

Backing Sheer Fabrics

Backing Sheer Fabrics

Finally, the two pieces are cut out!

See how they shine together?

See how they shine together?

Now to have the marriage ceremony and sew all the layers together! Flat lining is stitched 1/4″ away from your stitch line, which is conveniently half a presser foot width on your machine! Look at the pic below to see the correct placement of the stitch line. This is a Vegas wedding, so your stitch length should be as long as you can get it so the whole thing is done as quickly as possible. Wham! Bam! We wanna get to the next step of actually assembling the garment!

Sew!  Sew like the Wind!!!

Sew! Sew like the Wind!!!

However, being in too much of a hurry isn’t good either. Check out what happened to me below: a shoddy needle I ignored too long. See what happens when you don’t put into your machine a fresh, clean, bur-free needle of an appropriate size for your delicate fabrics? Your threads revolt, and you get stripes. Icky, ugly pulled stripes from threads that got beat up by your crude, brutish needle. Usually, a sleek clean needle pushes the threads aside, but not this one. This particular needle was a real thug, and simply shoved his way through, and met with resistance! Viva la Resistance! Yeah, well, your seem ends up looking crappy. Best to avoid confrontation altogether, and keep your neighborhood watch active: change your needles!!!

Bad needle!  Bad, bad needle! Shame on you!

Bad needle! Bad, bad needle! Shame on you!

Okay, so finally, having married all these pieces (busy little Vegas sewing machine, eh?), I laid them out on the table to see how it would look eventually.

Whew!

Whew!

And then I thought of the lining I was gonna add.

And decided I’d do that tomorrow.

So. This one was LONGGGG! But I think it’s helpful to anyone who is curious about the sewing process I follow. And perhaps a little inspirational, too. I do all of this in my garage, on the top of an old door set on two shelving units. You don’t need a fancy schmancy sewing room to do it (although in my dreams, my studio is to DIE for, and someday I’ll have that…).

Alrighty, next entry, we move on to assembling the garment!

Live life with Relish!

The Last Theatre Show

The last theatre show I have on my docket closed tonight.  I went in for strike for Noises Off, and the finality of it has hit home.
This is an unusual point in my life.  Several chapters have come to a close in rapid succession, much like a series of epilogues at the end of a book.  As I move on from a relatively secure job at my former university, I am also finishing up my current employment in theatre, which is what I have my Master’s Degree in.  At this point, I am not doing anything in the field that I had spent my life preparing for.
And that’s a scary situation to find one’s self in.
It’s odd…  At this point in time, many a man has started to go through a sort of “mid-life crisis” for themselves…  And on the surface it seems to me like there are a lot of similarities…  Not only have I chosen to cut ties with one aspect of my career, another aspect has finished up naturally.  Working in theatre has been the driving force of my life thus far, and it’s terribly disconcerting not to be either teaching it or working in it.
I’ve also had several personal things in my life come to an end–organizations I used to belong to, even friendships that I had thought were more solid than they were…  I’m left with the feeling of being sort of adrift…
On the other hand, I am in an enviable position.  I am starting out with a new beginning.  I have opened a new book, and starting a new chapter.  I am investing my time and energy into a different direction.  A sequel, if you will.
And that is a good thing.  The trick is to stay diligent.  It is easy to flounder…  I’ve been feeling confident one day and despair the next…  To choose a path through the forest (and yet be open to watching for clearer pathways) is not always the easiest thing to do.  And sometimes it seems like a dark forest that I’m entering right now…
But I have to remember that there are wonders of nature that are waiting for me to see them.  Vistas of sunlight cascading through the forest, streams that turn into tiny waterfalls, and birds with songs that echo through the woods.  I’ve felt that feeling before, literally…  As a second grader, my family lived in a housing development called Oak Run, outside of Dahinda, Illinois.  There were forests and animal trails, and beautiful hidden valleys with creeks that dazzled the eyes and stirred the imagination.  That dark forest is only dark until you find your way and make your mental map of where you are.
Wow, I forced that analogy through the wringer, didn’t I? Haha!
Well.  I have to keep progressing forward, working diligently at what I enjoy.  This business is going to succeed, I feel it.  And relishing every single moment–even the unsure ones– is what this is all about.
Live life with Relish.  Because otherwise, what’s the point?

The last theatre show I have on my docket closed tonight.  I went in for strike for Noises Off, and the finality of it has hit home.

This is an unusual point in my life.  Several chapters have come to a close in rapid succession, much like a series of epilogues at the end of a book.  As I move on from a relatively secure job at my former university, I am also finishing up my current employment in theatre, which is what I have my Master’s Degree in.  At this point, I am not doing anything in the field that I had spent my life preparing for.

And that’s a scary situation to find one’s self in.

s_sunset23

It’s odd…  At this point in time, many a man has started to go through a sort of “mid-life crisis” for themselves…  And on the surface it seems to me like there are a lot of similarities…  Not only have I chosen to cut ties with one aspect of my career, another aspect has finished up naturally.  Working in theatre has been the driving force of my life thus far, and it’s terribly disconcerting not to be either teaching it or working in it.

I’ve also had several personal things in my life come to an end–organizations I used to belong to, even friendships that I had thought were more solid than they were…  I’m left with the feeling of being sort of adrift…

On the other hand, I am in an enviable position.  I am starting out with a new beginning.  I have opened a new book, and starting a new chapter.  I am investing my time and energy into a different direction.  A sequel, if you will.

And that is a good thing.  The trick is to stay diligent.  It is easy to flounder…  I’ve been feeling confident one day and despair the next…  To choose a path through the forest (and yet be open to watching for clearer pathways) is not always the easiest thing to do.  And sometimes it seems like a dark forest that I’m entering right now…

forest

But I have to remember that there are wonders of nature that are waiting for me to see them.  Vistas of sunlight cascading through the forest, streams that turn into tiny waterfalls, and birds with songs that echo through the woods.  I’ve felt that feeling before, literally…  As a second grader, my family lived in a housing development called Oak Run, outside of Dahinda, Illinois.  There were forests and animal trails, and beautiful hidden valleys with creeks that dazzled the eyes and stirred the imagination.  That dark forest is only dark until you find your way and make your mental map of where you are.

Wow, I forced that analogy through the wringer, didn’t I? Haha!

Well.  I have to keep progressing forward, working diligently at what I enjoy.  This business is going to succeed, I feel it.  And relishing every single moment–even the unsure ones– is what this is all about.

Live life with Relish.  Because otherwise, what’s the point?

The Strength of Heat

The strength of heat
Lately, it’s been really hot here in San Diego.  Abnormally hot.  And the humidity has been pretty high, so it’s felt a bit warmer than it actually is.  Yesterday, we set a heat record for 88º.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  “88º!?!?! What a wimp! That’s nothin’ compared to how hot it gets where I live!”
And you’re probably right.  The difference is not in the varying degrees of temperature, but in the varying degree of people.
I moved to California a little over 15 years ago, and it was a startling culture shock.  I had never seen palm trees that I could remember, or juniper trees, or bougainvillia.  I certainly had never experienced such a subtle change in the seasons–I was from the midwest and had just finished graduate school in Minnesota!  When it was winter, you knew it!  When it was summer, you carried shotguns to ward off the mosquitos!
But living in southern California all these years has somehow changed me.  I am not the same person that I used to be when it comes to my body’s reaction to climate change.  Cold seems colder.  Hot seems hotter.  And that’s because I simply don’t experience the radical changes in temperature that most of the other country experiences.  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.
And that’s the point.  Let me say it again:  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.
Right now, in my development of Relished Artistry, I am experiencing the equivalency to a lot of “heat”.  I’m not in my comfort zone, and I’m certainly not living a life that compares to anything that I have lived before.  Being an entrepreneur in the world today is not what being an entrepreneur was like many years ago (make that even 5 years ago when it comes to the internet)…  I realized that a lot of the books that I was reading were inapplicable to the economy as it exists today.  That was clear.  The references that worked in the past weren’t going to work for today.  But doing something about that is what’s really the challenge:  what exactly does one do?
One gets used to the heat, I guess.  One starts to become comfortable with inconsistency.  One doesn’t let is stand in one’s way.
So.  Screw the heat.  I’ve got work to do.  : )
Live life with Relish!

Lately, it’s been really hot here in San Diego.  Abnormally hot.  And the humidity has been pretty high, so it’s felt a bit warmer than it actually is.  Yesterday, we set a heat record for 88º.  And there I was, pluggin’ away at a new vest in my non-air conditioned garage studio, sewing under halogen lighting…

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  “88º!?!?! What a wimp! That’s nothin’ compared to how hot it gets where I live!”

And you’re probably right.  The difference is not in the varying degrees of temperature, but in the varying degree of people.

Heat Exhaustion 2I moved to California a little over 15 years ago, and it was a startling culture shock.  I had never seen palm trees that I could remember, or juniper trees, or bougainvillia.  I certainly had never experienced such a subtle change in the seasons–I was from the midwest and had just finished graduate school in Minnesota!  When it was winter, you knew it!  When it was summer, you carried shotguns to ward off the mosquitos!

But living in southern California all these years has somehow changed me.  I am not the same person that I used to be when it comes to my body’s reaction to climate change.  Cold seems colder.  Hot seems hotter.  And that’s because I simply don’t experience the radical changes in temperature that most of the other country experiences.  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.

And that’s the point.  Let me say it again:  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.

Right now, in my development of Relished Artistry, I am experiencing the equivalency to a lot of “heat”.  I’m not in my comfort zone, and I’m certainly not living a life that compares to anything that I have lived before.  Being an entrepreneur in the world today is not what being an entrepreneur was like many years ago (make that even 5 years ago when it comes to the internet)…  I realized that a lot of the books that I was reading were inapplicable to the economy as it exists today.  That was clear.  The references that worked in the past weren’t going to work for today.  But doing something about that is what’s really the challenge:  what exactly does one do?

One gets used to the heat, I guess.  One starts to become comfortable with inconsistency.  One doesn’t let is stand in one’s way.

So.  Screw the heat.  I’ve got work to do.  : )

Live life with Relish!

Artfire and Etsy and Facebook! OH MY!

Relished Artistry is well on it’s way!  Not only have I finally opened an Etsy storefront, but I also have an Artfire studio as well!  I’ve listed items on both, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.
Unofficially, it’s been calculated (by volunteer Etsyians) that the most common length of time between opening a storefront and making your first sale is actually 23 day, or approximately a month.  Since my Etsy store went live with items about 8 days ago, I’ve had over 230 visits to the store…  There are over 170,000 Etsy stores, so I guess I have a lot of promoting to do.  Considering that in July, according to web2list.com, Etsy had just under 5 Million visitors, it’s bound to pick up.  I hope.  But some work, obviously, is in my future.  (More on that below…)
My Artfire store, in contrast to Etsy, isn’t going to reach nearly the number of people but will probably touch a more handmade-centric audience base…  Artfire got just under 350,000 visits for July (according to web2list.com), but they’ve grown exponentially since being launched just this last November ’08.  They have approximately 25,000 sellers, but at the exponential growth rate they’ve demonstrated thus far, 2010 will be a force for Etsy to reckon with.  Already populated with disgruntled Etsyians, it’s growing by leaps and bounds, so we’ll see what happens.
Having a store in both places can’t be bad.
But what’s really interesting is that people can access my stores through my Facebook profile page.  Can you believe it??  I’m not talking about a link, I’m talking about full fledged “apps” that allow you to click directly to my Etsy storefront from pictures of my items on my Facebook page, or click on one of the tabs in my profile boxes to actually see my entire Artfire studio!  I’ve got both on there!  I’m really hoping they’re going to take off.
But there is a downside to all of this…  Putting my storefront on my Facebook profile seems…  somewhat “cheap” to me…  I’m not sure what I feel about that.  I have a Relished Artistry Facebook profile, but all of my friends are on my own personal one.  I feel very odd hitting them all up to make sales.  That seems somewhat callous to me.  I wouldn’t want them to use their personal Facebook stuff to blatantly blast-promote their business… It’s one thing to share what you’ve worked diligently on with your friends, quite another to use the system to advertise to them.  One is a bit more… I dunno, “personal” I guess.  The other reeks of cold self-aggrandizing.
I have historically had a problem with advertising, business, and unbridled capitalism in general…  Not good to feel if you’re trying to be a merchant artist, huh?  I just don’t want to fall into the predatorial trap I see so many others succumb to.  What I have is what I have–if you don’t want it, you certainly shouldn’t have to have the burden of toning out my incessantly droning advertising.  I’ll let them know I’m there, but once that’s done, I won’t be one to push myself.  Informative news is one thing, but parasitic publicizing makes me sick–how could I inflict that on someone else?
So I have to figure out where the line is, somehow.  And constantly releasing Tweets, email blasts, and Facebook wall announcements is not what’s in my future.  Tasteful is my mantra–what that actually means is something I’m gonna have to explore…
Live life with Relish!

Relished Artistry is well on it’s way!  Not only have I finally opened an Etsy storefront, but I also have an Artfire studio as well!  I’ve listed items on both, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.

Unofficially, it’s been calculated (by volunteer Etsyians) that the most common length of time between opening a storefront and making your first sale is actually 23 days, or approximately a month.  Since my Etsy store went live with items about 8 days ago, I’ve had over 230 visits to the store…  There are over 170,000 Etsy stores, so I guess I have a lot of promoting to do.  Considering that in July, according to web2list.com, Etsy had just under 5 Million visitors, it’s bound to pick up.  I hope.  But some work, obviously, is in my future.  (More on that below…)

My Artfire store, in contrast to Etsy, isn’t going to reach nearly the number of people but will probably touch a more handmade-centric audience base…  Artfire got just under 350,000 visits for July (according to web2list.com), but they’ve grown exponentially since being launched just this last November ’08.  They have approximately 25,000 sellers, but at the exponential growth rate they’ve demonstrated thus far, in 2010 they will be a force for Etsy to reckon with.  Already populated with disgruntled Etsyians, it’s growing by leaps and bounds, so we’ll see what happens.

Having a store in both places can’t be bad.

But what’s really interesting is that people can access my stores through my Facebook profile page.  Can you believe it??  I’m not talking about a link, I’m talking about full fledged “apps” that allow you to click directly to my Etsy storefront from pictures of my items on my Facebook page, or click on one of the tabs in my profile boxes to actually see my entire Artfire studio!  I’ve got both on there!  I’m really hoping they’re going to take off.

But there is a downside to all of this…  Putting my storefront on my Facebook profile seems…  somewhat “cheap” to me…  I’m not sure what I feel about that.  I have a Relished Artistry Facebook profile, but all of my friends are on my own personal one.  I feel very odd hitting them all up to make sales.  That seems somewhat callous to me somehow.  I wouldn’t want them to use their personal Facebook stuff to blatantly blast-promote their business… It’s one thing to share with your friends what you’ve worked on diligently, and quite another to use the system to advertise to them.  One is a bit more… I dunno, “personal and honest” I guess.  The other reeks of cold self-aggrandizing.

I have historically had a problem with advertising, business, and unbridled capitalism in general…  Not good to feel if you’re trying to be a merchant artist, huh?  I just don’t want to fall into the predatorial trap I see so many others succumb to.  What I have is what I have–if you don’t want it, you certainly shouldn’t have to have the burden of toning out my incessantly droning advertising.  I’ll let everyone know I’m there, but once that’s done, I won’t be one to push myself on them over and over.  Informative news is one thing, but parasitic publicizing makes me sick–how could I inflict that on someone else?

So I have to figure out where the line is, somehow.  Constantly releasing Tweets, email blasts, and Facebook wall announcements is not  in my future, I know that.  Tasteful is my mantra–what that actually means is something I’m gonna have to explore…

Live life with Relish!

Moving On from the Past

After having my discussion with my two friends on Sunday night, I realized I still have “unresolved issues” regarding moving on from my former job.  But then I saw this somewhere online, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I had to share it with you… I’ve since closed the window where I found this, so I can’t link to the original where I found it…
This is a traditional Buddhist tale:
Two Buddhist monks from the same monastery were traveling through a heavy forest. The older, more experienced monk walked in the front while his younger counterpart walked behind. As they traveled alongside a river, they came upon a beautiful young woman. She appeared troubled and concerned, standing at the river’s edge looking across.
As they approached, she called out to them for assistance. She needed to cross the river—but the river was far too wide, deep, and strong-moving. She wasn’t strong enough to fight her way across, nor was she tall enough to keep her head above water. She didn’t know what she was going to do to get across, but she defiantely had to cross.
The two monks were from a particularly strict, rules-driven sect. Their temple rules and regulations disallowed any contact with women; the monks weren’t even supposed to look at women, much less talk to them.
The experienced monk promptly walked over, picked up the young woman, and carried her in his arms safely across the fast-flowing river. He put her down on the opposite bank, where she graciously thanked him for his kindness and help.
The monk returned across the river and continued on his way—but the younger monk was astonished! How could his experienced elder even think about looking at the woman, much less actually carry her in his arms! How could he get close to her?
They continued walking through the forest, the older monk in front of the younger. They walked for a mile—with the less experienced monk’s frustration getting worse by the minute. When he could take it no more, he stopped in his tracks and shouted at the older monk.
“How could you do such a thing! How could you dare look at that woman, much less touch her and talk to her?! You know we’re not supposed to have contact with women. It’s strictly against the temple’s rules. How could you?!”
The older monk, having felt the younger monk’s building frustration, paused and turned around.
He smiled thoughtfully and said, “Are you still carrying that woman with you? I put her down a mile ago.”
Time for me to let go.  I will remember this.

After having my discussion with my two friends on Sunday night, I realized I still have “unresolved issues” regarding moving on from my former job.  But then I saw this somewhere online, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I had to share it with you… I’ve since closed the window where I found this, so I can’t link to the original where I found it…

This is a traditional Buddhist tale:

Two Buddhist monks from the same monastery were traveling through a heavy forest. The older, more experienced monk walked in the front while his younger counterpart walked behind. As they traveled alongside a river, they came upon a beautiful young woman. She appeared troubled and concerned, standing at the river’s edge looking across.

As they approached, she called out to them for assistance. She needed to cross the river—but the river was far too wide, deep, and strong-moving. She wasn’t strong enough to fight her way across, nor was she tall enough to keep her head above water. She didn’t know what she was going to do to get across, but she defiantely had to cross.

The two monks were from a particularly strict, rules-driven sect. Their temple rules and regulations disallowed any contact with women; the monks weren’t even supposed to look at women, much less talk to them.

The experienced monk promptly walked over, picked up the young woman, and carried her in his arms safely across the fast-flowing river. He put her down on the opposite bank, where she graciously thanked him for his kindness and help.

The monk returned across the river and continued on his way—but the younger monk was astonished! How could his experienced elder even think about looking at the woman, much less actually carry her in his arms! How could he get close to her?

They continued walking through the forest, the older monk in front of the younger. They walked for a mile—with the less experienced monk’s frustration getting worse by the minute. When he could take it no more, he stopped in his tracks and shouted at the older monk.

“How could you do such a thing! How could you dare look at that woman, much less touch her and talk to her?! You know we’re not supposed to have contact with women. It’s strictly against the temple’s rules. How could you?!”

The older monk, having felt the younger monk’s building frustration, paused and turned around.

He smiled thoughtfully and said, “Are you still carrying that woman with you? I put her down a mile ago.”

Time for me to let go.  I will remember this.

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!

The E-Myth Regurgitated

I’m in my studio working on my next project, and I’m listening to The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, and I had to rush in to my computer and write this blog post in response to it.
This man, Mr. Gerber, is advocating and promoting the very essence of what I feel is wrong with business.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  His statements are so infuriating to me, it’s going to take all my strength just to get through the rest of the book–I’m not even halfway.
One of his major tenets is that people who create their businesses are product focused instead of business focused.  The inner worker-bee in all of us simply wants to make the product, but we don’t realize that going into business demands that we develop and use other skills.  Makes sense to me–don’t like it, but it makes sense.
But then he goes on to say that most small businesses fail because the owner isn’t thinking about how to make the business run without him.  That good, growing businesses should be able to operate without you.  That a business is not an extension of yourself, it must be able to create without you needing to be present all the time.
And then he goes on to hold up McDonald’s as a good example of a small business that grew exactly because the owners were more interested in the methodology of the business and the process of creating the product, and not on the product itself.
<sigh>
I am so fundamentally entrenched in the opposing belief of this philosophy that to listen to this man makes me constipated.  Literally.  You wanna know why business is in trouble today?  Because people took this guy’s perspective to heart and simply exploited the consumer as a wallet, not a person.  If your product is only just a brand to you, if your product is simply a means to an end…  Yuck.
What’s the point?  Vacations?
People don’t want that anymore.  They know they are cogs in the wheel, and the last thing they want is to be reminded of that.  They are consumers, yes, but supporting business that is without heart and presenting a total disconnection between supplying and caring is what has got us into this problematic economy in the first place.
Good business is not continual growth anymore.  Today, good business is not consistently rising profit margins. It has to be deeper than that.  “Sorry, but that’s business,” has now come to signify morally bankrupt entrepreneurial sharks.  People want to patronize businesses that WANT to be there for them.  Business has to be deeper, it has to  matter, it has to actually care about the consumer and not just put up the pretense that they should as part of their process.  There are too many options out there to spend money.  People have a choice, and they’re wary of big business.
Business is people now, not consistent product en masse.  You can get product anywhere.  Why should anyone support that machine, especially when it’s given us the economy is has?
Okay, back to turning the other cheek and finishing up listening to his blather.  I have got good stuff out of it.  I just don’t like where he’s taking his ideas thus far…

I’m in my studio working on my next project, and I’m listening to The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, and I had to rush in to my computer and write this blog post in response to it.

This man, Mr. Gerber, is advocating and promoting the very essence of what I feel is wrong with business.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  His statements are so infuriating to me, it’s going to take all my strength just to get through the rest of the book–I’m not even halfway.

One of his major tenets is that people who create their businesses are product focused instead of business focused.  The inner worker-bee in all of us simply wants to make the product, but we don’t realize that going into business demands that we develop and use other skills.  Makes sense to me–don’t like it, but it makes sense.

But then he goes on to say that most small businesses fail because the owner isn’t thinking about how to make the business run without him.  That good, growing businesses should be able to operate without you.  That a business is not an extension of yourself, it must be able to create without you needing to be present all the time.

And then he goes on to hold up McDonald’s as a good example of a small business that grew exactly because the owners were more interested in the methodology of the business and the process of creating the product, and not on the product itself.

<sigh>

I am so fundamentally entrenched in the opposing belief of this philosophy that to listen to this man makes me constipated.  Literally.  You wanna know why business is in trouble today?  Because people took this guy’s perspective to heart and simply exploited the consumer as a wallet, not a person.  If your product is only just a brand to you, if your product is simply a means to an end…  Yuck.

What’s the point?  Vacations?

People don’t want that anymore.  They know they are cogs in the wheel, and the last thing they want is to be reminded of that.  They are consumers, yes, but supporting business that is without heart and presenting a total disconnection between supplying and caring is what has got us into this problematic economy in the first place.

Good business is not continual growth anymore.  Today, good business is not consistently rising profit margins. It has to be deeper than that.  “Sorry, but that’s business,” has now come to signify morally bankrupt entrepreneurial sharks.  People want to patronize businesses that WANT to be there for them.  Business has to be deeper, it has to  matter, it has to actually care about the consumer and not just put up the pretense that they should as part of their process.  There are too many options out there to spend money.  People have a choice, and they’re wary of big business.

Business is people now, not consistent product en masse.  You can get product anywhere.  Why should anyone support that machine, especially when it’s given us the economy is has?

Okay, back to turning the other cheek and finishing up listening to his blather.  I have got good stuff out of it.  I just don’t like where he’s taking his ideas thus far…

“Ya got talent, kid!” Part Two

Okay, I just finished listening to the audiobook I told you about yesterday, The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.
Coyle’s premise is that talent is actually well-practiced skill that develops over time, ignited by some inciting incident that inspires the drive to hone the talent, and encouraged by outside mentors.
In a nutshell, he says that neuroscience now understands that talent has a physiological base.  Our synapses fire faster when we execute our talent/skills, and those neural pathways are strengthened by biological insulation which allows the electrical impulses to fire and travel faster through our brain.  This results in our ability to do things more naturally, quicker, and seemingly pick up things faster.
Fist off, the reviews that I have read say that he forgets to address one particular aspect of “talent” that in some fields is absolutely required: creativity. The ability to think outside the box.  To develop new pathways and methods of thinking of things and perceiving things.  Most of Coyle’s examples involve sports and music–actions that rely upon muscle memory and repetitive learning to develop.
He says that great artists come from years and years and years of practice and contemplation: “deep learning”, or the act of breaking things down and isolating the components, addressing our errors, and then repeating.  Slowly.  For artists, that means doing your art over and over and over and over…  Building the insulation around those synapses and getting better at doing our art.  Moving to the next step constantly, without pause to celebrate the previous step’s accomplishment.  Driven by our own motivation and guided by others’ coaching.
Coyle, of course, isn’t so simplistic.  I’m mangling his idea by oversimplifying it and leaving out substantial parts of his perspective that explain his idea in more detail.
It’s an interesting thought.  Diligence is everything.  Mistakes are required, and should be sought not avoided by constantly overreaching bit by bit once each aspect is acquired.
I guess one shouldn’t ask how one creates a success, but why we don’t honor the process of analyzing our failures.  It’s not what we’re doing right, it’s what we’re doing wrong that needs our attention.  Success will come.  Practice makes perfect.  Literally.

Okay, I just finished listening to the audiobook I told you about yesterday, The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.

Coyle’s premise is that talent is actually well-practiced skill that develops over time, ignited by some inciting incident that inspires the drive to hone the talent, and encouraged by outside mentors.

In a nutshell, he says that neuroscience now understands that talent has a physiological base.  Our synapses fire faster when we execute our talent/skills, and those neural pathways are strengthened by biological insulation which allows the electrical impulses to fire and travel faster through our brain.  This results in our ability to do things more naturally, quicker, and seemingly pick up things faster.

Fist off, the reviews that I have read say that he forgets to address one particular aspect of “talent” that in some fields is absolutely required: creativity. The ability to think outside the box.  To develop new pathways and methods of thinking of things and perceiving things.  Most of Coyle’s examples involve sports and music–actions that rely upon muscle memory and repetitive learning to develop.

He says that great artists come from years and years and years of practice and contemplation: “deep learning”, or the act of breaking things down and isolating the components, addressing our errors, and then repeating.  Slowly.  For artists, that means doing your art over and over and over and over…  Building the insulation around those synapses and getting better at doing our art.  Moving to the next step constantly, without pause to celebrate the previous step’s accomplishment.  Driven by our own motivation and guided by others’ coaching.

Coyle, of course, isn’t so simplistic.  I’m mangling his idea by oversimplifying it and leaving out substantial parts of his perspective that explain his idea in more detail.

It’s an interesting thought.  Diligence is everything.  Mistakes are required, and should be sought not avoided by constantly overreaching bit by bit once each aspect is acquired.

I guess one shouldn’t ask how one creates a success, but why we don’t honor the process of analyzing our failures.  It’s not what we’re doing right, it’s what we’re doing wrong that needs our attention.  Success will come.  Practice makes perfect.  Literally.

A Day of Etsy-fying

Today was a full day.  All about Etsy.
I dove into setting up my Etsy shop today, and was reminded how little I know about working retail…
First, I have to say that Etsy is a lot bigger than I thought.  It seems like an intimate little place, but there are thousands and thousands of vendors on there.  A little bit of searching using their engine, and you realize that Etsy ain’t so small…  There are people on there that use it for their main source of income, just like Ebay.  (I suppose I’ll need to investigate that as well, but one storefront at a time…ugh…)
It’s one thing to go on quickly and establish an account, and post something to sell.  It’s quite another to think it all through and try to do it right…  I realized right away that my photos aren’t going to work.  That’s okay–I figured they wouldn’t.  I have some plans for that.  Getting live models and a photographer is high on my priority list, but in lieu of doing that today I decided to take care of the rest of my profile.
Good grief there’s a lot to say!  Not only did I need a profile, but I also had to think about shipping, returns, payment… I had to establish a Paypal account right off the bat so I could even begin to list anything.  That was part of the process.  In the process, I learned that Paypal allows users to use their credit cards and such even if they don’t have an account with them, which was fantastically convenient!  I don’t have to track down a shopping cart mechanism until I start on my own sight.  Right now, that’s not a wise idea unless I have the money to promote it, and that’s not going to happen right away.  Best to ride “piggy back” on venues that are set up to do it for me just yet.
After getting the monetary issues squared away, I had to figure out shipping.  This was a real conundrum–I had to research box sizes, figure out how much my garments weigh, and then research shipping services.  The bulk of the shops that I saw on Etsy used the US Postal Service, and their flat rate boxes.  Well, I couldn’t–the majority of my coats are not going to fit into those boxes, so it’s not going to work…  So I had to come up with different options.  Rather than figure out what the shipping was going to be for every zone, for every garment, I decided to simply include shipping in the price of the garment.  That simplifies things a great deal.  Of course, it’ll probably be a headache later on, but for right now it’ll work.
So I spent part of my day on the road purchasing a mailing scale and visiting a box supplier, and then wrapped it up with a quick trip to Michael’s Crafts…  I have heard that part of the charm of buying handmade is the anti-corporation feeling, so packing the garments in a manner that is unique, fun, and ultimately charming can make a big difference with customer loyalty.  So I bought some hemp and twine at Michael’s and experimented part of the day with wrapping the pieces with old fashioned craft paper and string, then inserting that into the final shipping box.  It looks authentically endearing and simple, I think, but it needs some more antiquing and personalization.  So I’m gonna consider some stamps, some personal hand-written notes, and some heartfelt creativity to wrap it all together.  I’m as excited about the potential fun in shipping stuff off as I am about actually making the garments!
So that’s what I did today.  That, and more research on the community that is Etsy.  We’ll see if I fit in…
Live life with Relish!

Today was a full day.  All about Etsy.

I dove into setting up my Etsy shop today, and was reminded how little I know about working retail…

First, I have to say that Etsy is a lot bigger than I thought.  It seems like an intimate little place, but there are thousands and thousands of vendors on there.  A little bit of searching using their engine, and you realize that Etsy ain’t so small…  There are people on there that use it for their main source of income, just like Ebay.  (I suppose I’ll need to investigate that as well, but one storefront at a time…ugh…)

It’s one thing to go on quickly and establish an account, and post something to sell.  It’s quite another to think it all through and try to do it right…  I realized right away that my photos aren’t going to work.  That’s okay–I figured they wouldn’t.  I have some plans for that.  Getting live models and a photographer is high on my priority list, but in lieu of doing that today I decided to take care of the rest of my profile.

Good grief there’s a lot to say!  Not only did I need a profile, but I also had to think about shipping, returns, payment… I had to establish a Paypal account right off the bat so I could even begin to list anything.  That was part of the process.  In the process, I learned that Paypal allows users to use their credit cards and such even if they don’t have an account with them, which was fantastically convenient!  I don’t have to track down a shopping cart mechanism until I start on my own sight.  Right now, that’s not a wise idea unless I have the money to promote it, and that’s not going to happen right away.  Best to ride “piggy back” on venues that are set up to do it for me just yet.

After getting the monetary issues squared away, I had to figure out shipping.  This was a real conundrum–I had to research box sizes, figure out how much my garments weigh, and then research shipping services.  The bulk of the shops that I saw on Etsy used the US Postal Service, and their flat rate boxes.  Well, I couldn’t–the majority of my coats are not going to fit into those boxes, so it’s not going to work…  So I had to come up with different options.  Rather than figure out what the shipping was going to be for every zone, for every garment, I decided to simply include shipping in the price of the garment.  That simplifies things a great deal.  Of course, it’ll probably be a headache later on, but for right now it’ll work.

So I spent part of my day on the road purchasing a mailing scale and visiting a box supplier, and then wrapped it up with a quick trip to Michael’s Crafts…  I have heard that part of the charm of buying handmade is the anti-corporation feeling, so packing the garments in a manner that is unique, fun, and ultimately charming can make a big difference with customer loyalty.  So I bought some hemp and twine at Michael’s and experimented part of the day with wrapping the pieces with old fashioned craft paper and string, then inserting that into the final shipping box.  It looks authentically endearing and simple, I think, but it needs some more antiquing and personalization.  So I’m gonna consider some stamps, some personal hand-written notes, and some heartfelt creativity to wrap it all together.  I’m as excited about the potential fun in shipping stuff off as I am about actually making the garments!

So that’s what I did today.  That, and more research on the community that is Etsy.  We’ll see if I fit in…

Live life with Relish!

Big News

Big News
Went to the museum yesterday with my good good friend Robin Roberts.  She’s a scene designer here in San Diego.  We saw two wonderful exhibits–one by the famous photographer Richard Avedon, and the other a jewelry exhibit by the sculptor, Alexander Calder.
I can’t tell you how inspired I was.  Going to the museum for me is like a kind of drug, I suppose…  It’s a high.  And then I get sensory overload and crash.  I can only take so much…  I can’t sort it out and my brain doesn’t know how to not simply go off on tangents.  I’m used to using art as inspiration–that’s primarily how I’ve developed as a costume designer.  I look at pictures and try to translate the same feelings and such to works that I can put on stage.
The Avedon pics were easier to distance myself from, but the jewelry…  Good grief, all I could think of was translating the line of it to velvet… Using metallic paint, even.  It could be so easily represented in brush strokes…  I just about popped.  I walked away thinking I’d have to try two of his ideas–a fish, and a butterfly–and somehow make them my own…  There is so much to say about how it stimulated me, I can’t even verbalize it…  I’ll have to just do it and show you.
And something else has happened, finally…
It’s finished.  Relished Artistry is finally, 100% legitimate.
I got my operating agreement done.  I got a business bank account today.  I got my Seller’s Permit today. I got my Tax information taken care of as well.  It’s all done.
I’m stoked!!  It’s happened!  I’m moving forward!
Now to move on to Etsy and and other sites, as well as establishing an online presence of my own.  I have to get some good photographs done, but I have a lead on that with my partner’s brother-in-law…  He’s volunteered to take them, and he’s gonna do a great job.  I think I’ll also be able to use Jonathan’s family as models…  We’ll see.  Now there is no excuse for me not to simply plow forward and be creative.
Oh, my goodness it’s here!!!  Ready set go!
Time for me to make sure others are living life with relish!!

Went to the museum yesterday with my good good friend Robin Roberts.  She’s a scene designer here in San Diego.  We saw two wonderful exhibits–one by the famous photographer Richard Avedon, and the other a jewelry exhibit by the sculptor, Alexander Calder.

I can’t tell you how inspired I was.  Going to the museum for me is like a kind of drug, I suppose…  It’s a high.  And then I get sensory overload and crash.  I can only take so much…  I can’t sort it out and my brain doesn’t know how to not simply go off on tangents.  I’m used to using art as inspiration–that’s primarily how I’ve developed as a costume designer.  I look at pictures and try to translate the same feelings and such to works that I can put on stage.

01_calder-jewelry_birthday-gift-pin_1958

The Avedon pics were easier to distance myself from, but the jewelry…  Good grief, all I could think of was translating the line of it to velvet… Using metallic paint, even.  It could be so easily represented in brush strokes…  I just about popped.  I walked away thinking I’d have to try two of his ideas–a fish, and a butterfly–and somehow make them my own…  There is so much to say about how it stimulated me, I can’t even verbalize it…  I’ll have to just do it and show you.  Google has some wonderful images–here’s a link.

And something else has happened, finally…

It’s finished.  Relished Artistry is finally, 100% legitimate.

I got my operating agreement done.  I got a business bank account today.  I got my Seller’s Permit today. I got my Tax information taken care of as well.  It’s all done.

I’m stoked!!  It’s happened!  I’m moving forward!

Now to move on to Etsy and and other sites, as well as establishing an online presence of my own.  I have to get some good photographs done, but I have a lead on that with my partner’s brother-in-law…  He’s volunteered to take them, and he’s gonna do a great job.  I think I’ll also be able to use Jonathan’s family as models…  We’ll see.  Now there is no excuse for me not to simply plow forward and be creative.

Oh, my goodness it’s here!!!  Ready set go!

Time for me to make sure others are living life with relish!!

Good News & Bad News

Well, the twisty-turvy road to the development of Relished Artistry has thrown me another curve.  Some good things have happened, and some bad things have happened.
First, the Good News.  The application for my Seller’s Permit requested my Bank information. Well, I don’t have a bank account for Relished Artistry yet, so this was a big clue that I should probably get one.  After another series of phone calls I was told I would need to turn in my Operating Agreement for my LLC for any business account anywhere.  Ugh.  I didn’t have that yet.  So I sat down to write it…
Okay, long story short, I realized all the examples I was finding were for LLC’s that had more than one member.  My LLC only has one: me.  So when it came to making one confidently, I was clueless.  I decided to have it done professionally, and found a local attorney online that I felt confident with that could do it.  Several email exchanges later, I’m sure that it’s gonna be better than what I could have come up with myself.  At least I’ll know his work is legally sound, whereas my own would have been a shot in the dark.  And while it sounds stupid to hire an attorney based on what you’ve seen online, our emails were quite disarming and endearingly “normal”.  His lack of pretense and legalese was heartening.  The fee is commensurate with what I expected.  He’ll be done with it by the end of the week since it’s a relatively simple document.  Then I can go to the bank.
So the notification I received (finally) from the State that my Articles of Organization were filed actually prompted a lurch forward in the legitimization of the company.  And that’s very very good news indeed!  Woohoo!
Now for the Bad News.  Recently, my partner was driving to pick up lunch for his workplace, and his car was hit by a truck from a company in the same complex where his office is.  After a wait of several days with a rental car, it turns out that the very frame of our car is messed up, and the insurance company has declared it a total loss–surprising since there appeared to be so little damage.  In a nutshell, we now have to buy a new car.  Not an expense that we had anticipated…  Our car was totally paid off–there was no monthly payment.  And now, because we don’t have enough money to buy a decent car outright (who does now days?), we will have a monthly car expense again, after many years.  And guess where that’s gonna come from?
My studio space.  Yep, that’s right, no studio space for me–the money I was gonna spend on it is now going to go into a car.  And for the foreseeable future, I will be stuck in my garage.  Jonathan and I are discussing options for shifting things around in the garage to give me some more room so I can have an ironing table.  I simply don’t have a choice.
I called my friend whom I was going to share the space with, and thankfully she understands.  Turns out she’s willing to wait for a while and see what happens. Bless her heart.  I guess all the signs are pointing toward this being the wrong time, huh?
It’s quite depressing, actually.  But it means that I must work harder to develop a sense of self-discipline to ensure this company works.  I cannot rely upon a Studio space to provide the professional atmosphere I need to concentrate, and that’s gonna be hard.  Very hard…
Guess I’m gonna have to buckle down and live my life with relish, huh?

Well, the twisty-turvy road to the development of Relished Artistry has thrown me another curve.  Some good things have happened, and some bad things have happened.

First, the Good News.  The application for my Seller’s Permit requested my Bank information. Well, I don’t have a bank account for Relished Artistry yet, so this was a big clue that I should probably get one.  After another series of phone calls I was told I would need to turn in my Operating Agreement for my LLC for any business account anywhere.  Ugh.  I didn’t have that yet.  So I sat down to write it…

Okay, long story short, I realized all the examples I was finding were for LLC’s that had more than one member.  My LLC only has one: me.  So when it came to making one confidently, I was clueless.  I decided to have it done professionally, and found a local attorney online that I felt confident with that could do it.  Several email exchanges later, I’m sure that it’s gonna be better than what I could have come up with myself.  At least I’ll know his work is legally sound, whereas my own would have been a shot in the dark.  And while it sounds stupid to hire an attorney based on what you’ve seen online, our emails were quite disarming and endearingly “normal”.  His lack of pretense and legalese was heartening.  The fee is commensurate with what I expected.  He’ll be done with it by the end of the week since it’s a relatively simple document.  Then I can go to the bank.

So the notification I received (finally) from the State that my Articles of Organization were filed actually prompted a lurch forward in the legitimization of the company.  And that’s very very good news indeed!  Woohoo!

Now for the Bad News.  Recently, my partner was driving to pick up lunch for his workplace, and his car was hit by a truck from a company in the same complex where his office is.  After a wait of several days with a rental car, it turns out that the very frame of our car is messed up, and the insurance company has declared it a total loss–surprising since there appeared to be so little damage.  In a nutshell, we now have to buy a new car.  Not an expense that we had anticipated…  Our car was totally paid off–there was no monthly payment.  And now, because we don’t have enough money to buy a decent car outright (who does now days?), we will have a monthly car expense again, after many years.  And guess where that’s gonna come from?

My studio space.  Yep, that’s right, no studio space for me–the money I was gonna spend on it is now going to go into a car.  And for the foreseeable future, I will be stuck in my garage.  Jonathan and I are discussing options for shifting things around in the garage to give me some more room so I can have an ironing table.  I simply don’t have a choice.

I called my friend whom I was going to share the space with, and thankfully she understands.  Turns out she’s willing to wait for a while and see what happens. Bless her heart.  I guess all the signs are pointing toward this being the wrong time, huh?

It’s quite depressing, actually.  But it means that I must work harder to develop a sense of self-discipline to ensure this company works.  I cannot rely upon a Studio space to provide the professional atmosphere I need to concentrate, and that’s gonna be hard.  Very hard…

Guess I’m gonna have to buckle down and live my life with relish, huh?

Finally, News from the State!

Well, it came today–my reply from the State of California.  I checked the mail early this morning, and opened it up excitedly!  Inside was another form to fill out…  Figures.  Apparently, once you file your Articles of Organization, you have to fill out a Statement of Information.  Essentially, it asks for the filing number of the Articles, and asks you to fill out who the contact people are, the members of your LLC, and the address.

It didn’t give me a business number, though, which is what I thought I was really waiting for…  I’m also trying to fill out an application for a Seller’s Permit, and it’s been a bit of a challenge!  I’m working my way through the form, and discover that it asks for a series of things I don’t have yet… First, I discovered I needed my “Business Number” from the state… Well, after a few phone calls, I learned that LLCs don’t actually have business numbers.  So I’m supposed to leave that part blank, according to the technicians at the Secretary of State’s office…  <sigh–so why does it ASK for one???>

Second, it’s asking for a bank account or a merchants account, of which I have neither.  So that’s something I need to get.  Upon consultation with a friend of mine, the bank account is all I’ll need unless I want to pursue Point-of-Purchase sales…  And that may come later, but not right yet…

I also got my very very first “tax” form…  FTB3522, which is the LLC Tax Voucher form that goes out to everyone who forms an LLC.    The tax form says I have to pay $800 for my annual LLC tax.  I expected that.  That’s actually what keeps a lot of people from forming LLC’s and instead create Sole Proprietorships.  Everything I read, however, suggested that when it comes to attire, it’s smarter to create an LLC.  Sadly, 99% of most clothing endeavors fail miserably the first time out, so creating one with your own name (if you actually want to be successful in the industry) probably isn’t a good idea…  So I created an LLC, and since I’m trying to do this on my own, I’m stumbling along figuring out what I’m supposed to do…  I know I have to pay taxes, so it’s pretty safe that paying the $800 is a given!  Haha!

So, in a nutshell, I’m moving up!!  It’s happening!  I have a lot to do, but I’m confident it’ll happen.

More later.  Until then, live life with relish!

Process Report #1

For this next project, I’m going to walk you through the steps that I use to create an original piece of wearable art.  As the 1950’s coat is created, I’m going to post photographs each step of the way.  That way, you all can see how I get these things created.

The first step is “Inspiration”.

People are inspired in lots of different ways by lots of different things.  For my previous projects, I was inspired by my great-grandmother’s china paintings of roses and such, and wanted to be able to replicate that feeling on a piece of fabric.  I’m still working on capturing her essence, but it will come with time.

This garment was inspired by the color of the velvet.  I had not worked on an obviously neutral background before, and I am realizing that I paint in a much more “free” manner when I am not burdened with representational realism in the subjects I paint.  So I was looking to create something that was a bit more abstract, and the grey velvet reminded me of rain and fog filled drab and dreary days.  What could spice up those kinds of days but something beautiful to look at?

I chose a 1950’s pattern because of the idea of using abstract painting.  And when I think of abstract art, I think of it really starting to come into it’s own in the 1950’s for some reason.

The type of abstraction… Hmmm…  Well, I had completed a project for a play a long while ago that had a velour robe inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”.  I really enjoyed creating the swirls on that robe, and I had received so many compliments regarding it, I thought I might try something like that.  (In actuality, the experience of the robe had inspired me to create a wearable art company and continue painting on fabric for Relished Artistry in general…)

ProcessStep1 msnd090a_171_big ProcessStep3

I took these two ideas, and tried a painting sample on the fabric.  I use Jacquard Fabric Paints–Neopaque, Lumier, Textile Traditionals, and Dye-na-Flow–all by the same company. After experimenting with these thoughts and trying to exploit the metallic nature of the Lumier Paints, I concluded that the colors and the application could come across as quite complimentary to the neutrality of the velvet.  The cut of the coat would simply enhance it’s “period painting” quality.

And so, I transfered the “medium” size to a 50# craft paper (so I wouldn’t need to cut up the pattern paper itself), selected a button closure and a lining, and now I am going to cut the fabric out and start painting.

ProcessStep2

And now, all there is left to do is dive in!  More soon!

Until then, live life with relish!

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