Staying Above the Fray
What does it mean to stay above the fray in the textile world?
Manufacturing locally is the biggest way that I stay above the fray while creating high-end, luxury fabrics. I embrace the highest level of quality from concept to production. My studio creates all printed yardage, displays, roadlines, memos, and many of our promotional materials in house and by hand. We also do tons of one-offs and experimental pieces. All this is accomplished while sustaining a minimal footprint on the environment. My linen grounds are eco-friendly and vegan. The custom formulated paints we use are non-toxic and water-based. Their formulas are manufactured locally by Jacquard, in Healdsburg. I am continually learning about new ways to manufacture a sustainable product for a very discerning client. I also want to feel expansive with new products as opposed to feeling like I am using a watered down version of the real thing. There is more to do here and I am excited about the future. This process is pretty expensive in terms of manufacturing costs - production.
Staying true to the Eco-friendly without losing sight of my creative vision.
I employ local artists and students that bring not only years of experience to the work but an eagerness to learn the esoteric processes that I have learned and developed for nearly 20 years. Its also pretty awesome to employ people that might have trouble finding a creative job or a job that utilizes/values their unique skill set as a fine arts painter and/or otherwise creative person in the arts.
Employing people locally supports the arts. This spurs creativity and the credence that creativity has in our lives.
Local employment reduces the need of fossil fuels and enhances the local economy. This helps build community and sustainability.
Although my formal background is in sculpture, my textile work is steeped in tradition that began for me with my apprenticeship with Mark Thomas, textile artist. I worked for "free" in exchange for after hours studio time. Here, I learned how to create woodblocks and woodblock prints, shibori, and the dying of fabrics. I wanted to be his eyes and ears and hands. Mark fascinated me (and still does). My role was to anticipate his next move and facilitate his needs whether by handing him a needed tool or shlepping a wet lump of fabric to a drying station. I did many routine and laborious tasks. I watched and listened and supported him. I allowed him more room to be the incredible genius he is. What I learned from him was a treasure and I am grateful for those early beginnings.
Traditional apprenticeship roles allow the craft to be passed down in a meaningful way.
My work is about spurring and establishing trends (*see publisher's note page 14), instead of following them. I have always had an intrinsic sense of color, pattern and motif that reflects and informs the needs of the market place. I am following an inner guide of hue and texture and content. So many things in life can influence that hunt for creative expression. Sometimes it is my natural surroundings , my children, an artist's work, a trip or interior journey, or a nostalgic feeling of the past or even the future. I am not chasing a trend; I am not concerned whether something will be the next best thing. I create what I love and hope you will too. My prints are somehow both fresh and classic and because they are all printed to order one yard at a time, each swath of cloth is unique and special in its own right.
I follow my creative vision and create fabrics that I can stand next to with adoration.
Above the fray requires creativity and time, resources, patience and dedication. This process has lasted years. I excitedly and whole-heartedly plan on further developing my textile collections for years to come.
It is the journey I am after...