A New Studio Space Friday, Aug 7 2009 

As my interests have moved more toward textile painting/dyeing, I needed more space, and — more importantly — easier access to a sink. With that in mind, I decided to move from the Mellwood Center to a space that afforded such comforts. With the current economy, I was able to get more space (with a private restroom) within walking distance of my home.

Most importantly, I have a sink of my own. OK. Not really. But I share the utility sink with two other artists whose work schedule is definitely different than mine. Now I can put the dye vats right next to the sink, instead of lugging them about 40 feet to the communal sink when it’s time to rinse. Life is good, dyeing is easier, and less messy.

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New Site, New Challenges Saturday, Apr 4 2009 

I’ve officially done it: become a company. I’ve informed the government, I’ve given my company a name (Louisville Rag and Bone), and I am ready to start selling my art and my wearables.

This is a frightening venture. I have grown comfortable creating scarves, wall hangings and other pieces that I have given as gifts to friends and now have even sold some of my work. But now I need to be a business. Keep track of sales, inventory, supplies … It’s a whole new ballgame.

Two heads are better than one. Thursday, Mar 26 2009 

My birthday was this month. My husband agonized over what to get me (I am not an easy person to shop for.) Ultimately, he came up with some great gifts: a printing plate for an old root beer ad. The guys at Hound Dog Press are going to run a copy of it for me, so I can see how well it prints before I try using it on fabric.

He also located two very personable mannequin busts for me to display my scarves and jewelry. I haven’t gotten the girls decked out in my wares yet, but I had to show you guys my new scarf models. These photos are from 2023 Antiques, where he first laid eyes on them and decided he would help me get ahead. (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)

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Batik Part Deux Thursday, Mar 5 2009 

I have been smitten with the batik bug. I used soy wax as a resist on some silks I dyed and liked the results, but they were tone-on-tone — very subtle. In my second attempt, I used cotton muslin and was not subtle.

I first used a lemon yellow dye all over. Next, I melted soy wax and applied it with a foam stamp. (Since soy wax melts at a low temperature, I had no problems using the foam.)

I let the wax dry, crumpled the fabric and dipped the fabric in turquoise. (Note: since soy wax melts at very low temperatures, I did this in cold water with soda ash fixative and left the material overnight.)

Finally, on one panel, I added more wax and dipped it in a medium blue. I didn’t wait for the cloth to be completely dry before I applied the wax, so the resist was less than stellar; however, I love the mix of colors.

When all was done and rinsed, I simmered the fabric in hot water with a little synthrapol. And that was enough to remove the wax. (I didn’t even have to get the water to a boil!) It was a great adventure, and the next time I will dye several yards at a time.

Studio Opening Monday, Jul 28 2008 

I finally had my “coming out” party. My sisters were all in town this past week, and it seemed an ideal time to invite family and friends to see my studio space. Of course, that meant it was finally time to get the place ship-shape.

I got my space cleaned up. My husband, Kurt, painted the blue trim white. I hung up my work so others can actually see what I’ve been doing. I chose a good day — FAT Friday — so other shops and studios at the Mellwood Arts Center would be open. (More to see, more fun to have, than just seeing my shop.)

And I had a party. (Not one of my strong points, but sometimes a person’s gotta do what a person’s gotta do.) My friends and my family finally had an opportunity to take a look at the work I think about, talk about, dream about. And I was surprised. They liked it. 🙂

It was good to show those I care about my work. I’m keeping the projects displayed. It’s good for me. I need to be proud of the work I do.

My Shop Tuesday, Jun 17 2008 

I continue to move from my original shop (6 foot by 22 feet in size) to my new shop (13 feet by 24 feet in size). It is HUGE!!! I have moved nearly all my orginal equipment supplies and furniture, and the space is still empty. It is very exciting. I’ll have room for a bigger cutting board. I’ll have a dyeing station. I’ll have space for table and chairs to allow friends to stop by and paint/sew/collage with me. Even if I add all those work stations, I could still fit a long-arm quilting machine in there.

Anyone living in Louisville who needs/wants space to create, space to be messy, space just to be, will want to check out the Mellwood Arts and Entertainment Center. Although the number of empty studios is limited, spaces do become available, and prices/sizes range from 100 square-foot to over 400. The prices are good. The utilities are free, and the neighbors are fascinating!

Below are photos of the center. The first shot is my old shop. Next are a couple of my new space. (The orange walls were the choice of a previous tenant). Finally, I have shots of some of my neighbors’ spaces — to give you an idea of the lay of the land.

Growing Pains Friday, May 30 2008 

I’ve outgrown my studio. In February, 135 square feet seemed like such a luxury, but by the beginning of May, I realized I needed more room. Part of the problem is that the more time I have spent in the studio, the more aspects of fiber work I have tried and fallen in love with.

When I started, the space seemed perfect for a sewing machine, a cutting table, ironing space and storage for fabric. (OK – OK – from day one, I realized that I didn’t have room for all my fabric, but one can’t have everything.) Here it is, less than four months later, and I have added yarns, beads, dyes, paints, and all the tools that go with knitting, crocheting, beading, and fabric dyeing.

Suffice to say, my space is packed to the gills, and — unfortunately — in total disarray.

So I have taken the plunge and rented a larger space. A MUCH larger space. 400 square feet. It’s enough space for all I have and room to house a long-arm quilting machine (if I ever get the courage — and money — to try that). I’ve spent the last week cleaning the space, scrubbing walls, and trying to get enough primer on the walls to hide the electric blue, orange and red that the last artist used for the walls.

This decision has the full support of my family and friends. They’ve even supported my taking time off work to really focus on this thing called art. I am filled with excitement and terror. I hope I don’t let them down. I hope I don’t let me down.

The Fool Wednesday, May 14 2008 

Filled with opportunity and enthusiasm. Off I go to the studio.

Will I make for myself a life of wonder and joy in the studio, or will I fall, as always, the fool?

Hooray for Artist & Craftsman Supply Friday, Apr 11 2008 

A&C SupplyThe Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center is home to my studio. It is also home to Artist & Craftsman Supply, which has significantly increased the number of textile painting/dyeing supplies it offers. I’ve just begun to dye and pain some of my own fabrics. I determined for a fabric collage I am working on, I needed mottled and worn-looking fabric. A&C Supply is just a quick jaunt down the stairs and I was able to find ecru and brown jacquard fabric paints that did wonders for distressing my muslin.

A&C Supply is a larger organization, and you can also order plenty of great stuff online. However, if you are ever in Louisville and are interested in/need inks, paints, brushes, canvases, etc., stop by this A&C retail shop. The staff is helpful and friendly, and the journey through the store is great fun.

Oh! They also provide custom framing.

Visit the Mellwood Arts Center Thursday, Feb 28 2008 

My studio is housed in the Mellwood Arts Center. The center is a renovated meat packing company with 360,000 square feet of space being renovated into studios, shops, restaurants and meeting rooms.

A number of the studios are open to the public, and many of the artists are there to answer questions, demonstrate techniques and sell their wares every FAT Friday (last Friday of each month).

A list of the studios and offices at the center can be seen by going to the MAEC Directory.

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