Growing, Friends, and Inspiration

I got two more garments done today, as I sewed the buttons on two vests that I will be posting in the next couple of days to my two online vending sights.  Here’s a couple pics as a preview:
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Interestingly, the way to make sure that more people see your stuff is to not post all of it at once.  A wise online entrepreneur using Etsy and Artfire and other handmade-centric merchant sites won’t post all their inventory in the beginning.  One trickles it in, because the merchant sites all have “recently posted” features.  The more you spread out the posting of your items the better it is, because then you show up more often in that mechanism and more people see your post.  If you post everything all at once, you’ve sort of wasted a lot of opportunity to be seen over an extended period of time.  So I’ll be posting these new vests over the next week, but not both together.

I managed to put together a new “Page” to my Facebook profile, which is centered on Relished Artistry, and sent out a mass email to all the people on my friends list (regardless of how I knew them) so they could join as “fans”, and not have to be constantly peppered with business-related posts through my own personal profile.  I’m gonna try really hard to keep the two separate and distinct, as I don’t like the idea of using my friends to promote my business.  My ethic is this:  I do what I do and I have what I have.  I don’t need to push it to within an inch of it’s life on all of my friends who don’t really care.  That’s not cool in my book.  I’ll share new stuff once in a while, but I want to keep my friends not lose them to capitalism.  I’m excited about the Page–we’ll see what happens.

I was told through my partner that my greenery looks like grape leaves.  I think I’m gonna run with that… I am gonna start practicing bunches of grapes and see how they look on velvet.  We’ll see what happens.  I’m also exploring pushing the “medieval” feel of things, and considering using “illustrated manuscripts” as inspiration for artistic expression.  We’ll see.  I’d like to figure out something to actually say with that style, not simply decorate stuff.  I’d like to incorporate some kind of statement that’s fun and interesting, as well as artistically expressive to wear, but we’ll see.  I have some thinking to do about that.

Okay, more later!

Live life with Relish!

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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…)

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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.

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

Until then, live life with relish!

And So It Begins…

So this is the first in a series of blogs that will record my beginning steps toward the success of my business, Relished Artistry!  In the interests of helping others learn a bit more about how to set up a business (or learn from my mistakes) I’m publishing posts on this blog as I go along the different steps.

To begin, let’s discuss where I am in the process of building the business right now.

To summarize quickly, this business is a Wearable Art/Clothing Design venture.  My name is Corey Johnston.  I’ve recently left a job at a private university that I held for 10 years, and striking out on my own.  I’ve got a background in theatrical costume design, and have years of experience designing attire for characters in plays.  I’ve developed in-depth skills in clothing construction and crafts, specifically in mens tailoring but certainly not limited to the sartorial arts!  My years of teaching have opened up my eyes to new ways of looking at things, and now I’m ready to turn the skills I’ve developed into something that will serve me and not just fake people in imaginary staged stories!

So I’ve filed my Fictitious Business Name statement for my LLC, got an EIN, registered several domain names, and sent off my Articles of Organization to the Secretary of State of California.  Until I get my business number, I can’t register for a resale license, nor a tax license, so I will have to wait on those.  My immediate plans include setting up an Etsy shop, establishing an online storefront of my own, and possibly developing a podcast.  This blog is a big step toward establishing a web-presence.

After much gnashing of teeth and shifting around of knicknaks, I finally have a work space set up in my garage that consists of a table for my new Bernina sewing machine and Juki serger, as well as a cutting table.  I’ve invested in lighting fixtures that help brighten the place up, and commandeered the shelves so I could store the art supplies and notions that I would need to progress forward.  Here’s a pic:

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The west end of my garage, wedged in around the fitness equipment...

I’m designing costumes for a local theatrical production called “Noises Off” at Cygnet Theatre, and that was a good opportunity to practice using the space, which has been quite functional.  Eventually, as I aquire more of the equipment that I need (like an industrial iron) it will become even more useful.

Today, I am setting up this WordPress blog and moving forward, hoping this becomes what I wish I had found previous to this point of my development:  an account of how a business gets started from an Art/Apparel combo perspective.  I want to record how this goes so others can refer to it.    There’s a lot to say and share, but my schedule for today also includes working on the samples I need to develop a stock to actually sell!  So this will be it until something new comes along.  (Update:  Here’s a beginning shot at what I’m tryin’.  Playing with roses…)

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The first of many, many, many roses on velvet...

Live life with Relish!