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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New Arrivals!

Whee! I had a good day today! Not only did I slam an entire project together that I am tickled pink about, but my black velveteen fabric arrived from UPS. Finally! And on top of that, I got a Folkwear pattern in the mail for a Poiret Opera cloak, which I will be using as inspiration for my own…

I am so excited!! Now I have a whole slew of projects to get done, and that makes me feel really good.

I still haven’t sold anything yet (and that really bums me out, but I can’t wallow in those thoughts for long), but I am confident that these new items will be different and fun. I look forward to doing some velvet painting on those opera cloaks, and seeing if they attract much attention. I’m also going to dive into a new series of coats that aren’t made out of velour, so they’ll be infinitely lighter and more wearable.

But tonight, just as a preview, I’m posting pics of the project I slammed together last night and today. A really nice piece that’s deceptively warm… A vest that my partner named “Gay Apparel”, so I think that’ll be this particular festive holiday-wear series of clothes… Kinda Christmas/Mardi Gras/Circus, I think! I really dig the standing collar. It’ll be up on Etsy and Artfire soon!

Until next time–Live life with Relish!

The Side Front.  Note the standing collar...

The Side Front. Note the standing collar...

The alternating panels seem quite "carnival-esque" to me...

The alternating panels seem quite "carnival-esque" to me...

The Collar can go up, down, or mid-way like this...

The Collar can go up, down, or mid-way like this...

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!

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!

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!

La Tour de San Diego

So my two colleagues and I went on a trip of different studio spaces in San Diego that we might be able to share.  I think it’s safe to say that I have officially seen parts of the San Diego are that I didn’t know existed!  We saw some truly wonderful spaces that are out of our league, and some that just weren’t going to work.  It was unfortunate the one that was within walking distance of my home wasn’t what we were looking for…  Just not right for us.

Our biggest challenge has been finding places within our budget that actually have water.  Not just “access to” water, but with the capability of hooking up a washer and dryer and possibly a sink.  Most of the places we have seen don’t have that.  So we’re keeping our eyes peeled for more places that are within our range ($500-600 per month) that are around 600-1000 square feet.  It’s not been easy, and we’re asking for the moon, but we’ll see what happens.

The actual process of doing the search, and looking at each space was incredibly enlightening.  The three of us are getting to know what our needs are much more, and we’ve assigned ourselves the task of making lists of needs and thinking of what resources we can offer regarding shared equipment and such.  I am excited about the potential of this working–I think it will be a very very good fit for all of us.  But I also know that monetarily it’s a challenge as we all three can/cannot afford different price ranges, so we’re trying to accommodate a lot of different factors…  I am confident that this is a very very smart idea, and that the three of us will indeed find something.  It’s encouraging that we’re moving forward.  It actually feels like it’s gonna happen.

Regarding the business… Still no word back from the state, but I’m not surprised–it’s been less than a week.  I am diving into a new project–an earthy brown velvet coat that I am decorating with falling autumnal leaves cascading down and collecting around the hem of the sleeves and the coat.  I’m trying really hard to make sure the bulk of the fabric paint actually stays on the pile so as to create a pseudo-shadowy look from the front, but from the sides the actual color pops.  It should be very interesting to see what happens.  I will get pics uploaded to share soon.

Until then–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!

A Visit to an Art Studio

I’ve been on a quest to find a studio space to move my stuff out of my garage.  There’s something about a studio–it focuses a person into keeping their art part of their job, their livelihood.  If I go away to work, I somehow focus my attention better…  It’s the “work-at-home” syndrome that worries me–I don’t want to not get things done because I’m working at home.  Instead, going somewhere else to work might be a better option for me.  But I’m still at home right now, and with no income as of yet, my possibilities of moving out are pretty slim… hehe…  I have some colleagues that are thinking about going in on a space, and working together might help us expand our possibilities and job prospects…  There’s a whole ‘nother story to that, and I won’t go into it yet, but suffice to say a studio space would work for me on a number of levels.

So I went downtown today to visit my friend Joan Mathison.  Joan and I worked together at the Old Globe Theatre for a number of years in the costume shop, and she has always been working on her paintings in bits and pieces since I’ve known her.  Now she works for a company that does… well…  architecture/interior design stuff…  I’m not really sure, but it’s sort of artistic.  She has her own studio space that she does painting in, and her skills have developed rapidly in beautiful directions–her landscapes are quite stunning.

She’s one of the few “studio artists” that I know.  When she answered my email she felt she didn’t know much about the San Diego art scene.  I can only suppose it’s because she paints when she can–it’s never been her sole vocation that I can remember.  But when I got to her studio to talk about her space, she could have fooled me.  Not only was she on the Board for the building, she knew practically everyone that had a space there.  I was walked through many of the spaces, and she introduced me to some of her fellow tenants!

When I got there, I realized I’d been in the building once before many years ago.  It had been hot and crowded as it used to be on a walking tour of art studios in the downtown area of San Diego–a once per year event called ArtWalk that has since moved out of downtown.

But it was under different management now–folks that care about making sure artists have affordable studio space, and that there remain artists in the downtown area (San Diego’s downtown urban renovations ala a new baseball park have out priced many of the artists that used/lived in that area…).  One of the last holdouts.  And now it was a lot nicer.  Still no air conditioning, and most of the spaces have lower walls on the communal second floor, but it was intriguing. The third floor, where Joan shared a very large 600 square foot studio with another artist, had more private spaces all off a central gallery area where they would have shows.  Hers was one of the very very few that actually had water.

My conversation with Joan brought up a lot of topics to think about.  What direction I was gonna take this, why wasn’t I at my university job anymore, were there similar folk like myself in the building…  Most of the artists used their studios for painting, but there were a couple that had sewing machines there, and even an actual tailor.

It was food for thought.  Just under $150 a month for the much smaller spaces (Joan shared one of the biggest studio spaces in the building), all utilities included.  Many artists brought in refrigerators, extra lighting, etc.  One artist who didn’t have windows in his studio arranged to have his portable AC unit there for an extra $50 a month. I’m not sure how many spaces were there–35 maybe?

I’m not sure what to think about it.  I’m not sure I’m in a position to afford something until I get my feet on the ground, and yet “going in” with my colleagues could make it affordable.  Hm.  Food for thought.  More on this later.

The pic is of the building.  Yeah.  It’s above a Hooters Restaurant.  Ha!!     : )6_best_brokers_pic

A Body of Work

So I’m sitting in my Garage/Studio sewing some satin lining into the velour wrap I’m working on.  I’m listening to a podcast that’s talking about how many pieces is appropriate for an exhibition/show.  The host of the podcast is very smart, and says it depends.  But she mentions that regardless, when we feel we have accumulated enough pieces around a theme or technique, we will know when that body of work is ready to show.

And that got me thinking about bodies of work.  And samples.  And just exactly what it is that I need to have prepared.

I was wasting time late last night wandering through Etsy and Artfire, and looking for other sites that were similar (which I found: Winkelf and Shophandmade) and started to discover just how many pieces each vendor had for sale on these sights…  They range from single pieces to sometimes hundreds.  There were some that I thought didn’t qualify for “hand made” items (like this one company in China with over 100 employees that posted it’s stuff on Etsy) and thus had more than a hundred completely different garments for sale.  None of the items came across to me as particularly reflective of individual creativity, and certainly none of them looked like they had been “manufactured” with an artistic sensibility.  It was yet another clothing line, and the company was just using Etsy as a storefront.

But that got me to thinking–my “body of work” will have certain pieces that will be individual, unable to completely reproduce ever again.  I like that.  That’s what makes them unique.  I can not mass produce these items in any large scale any more than an oil painter can reproduce hundreds of the same still life.  Yes, it’s possible, but none of them will be exactly alike.  And I’m thinking they shouldn’t be, frankly…

So today I finished my first piece–a heavy velour winter cape with black satin lining, embellished with hand-painted garlands of roses along the hem.  A black satin band running around the neck and center front provides an oriental feel, but the overall feel is rather Spanish.  I’m quite proud of it.  It’s the first in my “body of work.”  I’m calling it “Rosey Warmth No.1”, I think.  : )  Here’s pics!

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Until later, live life with relish!