Saturday, January 8, 2011

What I Did With My Year In The Weaving Studio

When I started blogging, I had a couple of reasons: to provide inspiration and information for others who might like to try becoming an independent crafter, and to keep a diary of the progress toward my life goals. For the second goal, I'm receiving an unexpected benefit.

It's easy to take the stages of development for granted and forget how tough a goal was to achieve. By blogging about it, I've captured a little of the excitement and the feeling of triumph at reaching those goals.

In February, I became Artist In Residence at the sanctuary, giving the following list of achievements as the milestones by which to measure my progress. I met or exceeded them all.
- Weave a batch of cloth - February
- Design some merchandise - February
- Produce sample quantities - March
- Exhibit and refine the designs - April-May
- Learn to manage craft shows - April-May
- Acquire production thread quantities - June
- Produce sustainable show quantities - June-August
- Design and build a booth - June-August

Along with these achievements, I did some other big work. First, I did all of my residency work while maintaining my bread-and-butter job as a weaving contractor. Remember that most of this year was spent "working toward" the eventual takeover of the two California Renaissance Faires? The act that sorted out the reality from the fantasy (and ultimately ended a relationship that was going nowhere) was a week of work writing thorough contracts to cover every aspect of a complex weaving business relationship. I now have these contracts to modify and use in the future to solidify and clarify my business relationships much faster.

I learned a lot about how important written contracts are when engaging in a business relationship, even if it all seems clear.

And then there were the material acquisitions. I carefully managed the money to increase my weaving opportunities by having the right tools.
- a camper van
- waterproof utility trailer for winter storage and hauling to big shows
- durable wooden bobbin winder
- beautiful commercial sewing machine
- hand-made matching sewing table
- production rug cutter
- booth materials- real production quantities of yarn (400 lbs and counting)
- commercial cone winder and plying stand

So, I may not have two dimes to rub together right now, but I have the skill, materials and tools to make it all happen.

2011 is going to be incredible!

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