Thursday, February 28, 2008

Old Hobbies Die Hard

The last few months have been rather difficult financially. Sales on and off the internet had been slow, school started again and I am there 3 nights a week so I have a little less time to work and produce inventory. I'm working a "normal job" in the mornings, but only about 12-15 hours a week. Not enough to make ends meet and they don't need me there any more than that. All of this is not by any means helping the bills get paid.

Since we will be moving out of state at the end of this summer, what I've been doing lately is looking around the house and trying to figure out what I don't need to take with me, what I can sell now and what I can sell later. I'm currently trying to get rid of a few large musical instruments, to no avail, and I've been weeding through my cd collection and taking the not-often-listened-to albums, burning them to iTunes and selling the cds. That still left me with only $100 for March rent. I need $700.

Winter Garden - oil painting, finished about 4 years ago

So, two days ago I decided that I would try and sell off most of my art supplies. I'm keeping all the drawing stuff that I can use for fashion design, but I had a LOT of paints, oils and acrylics, and a bunch of canvas, etc. I used to really like to paint. I wasn't the world's greatest or anything, and I was slooooow at it, but I haven't touched any of those things in at least 3 years. Fashion has consumed all of my creating time. I declared to my boyfriend that I was going to get rid of all that stuff and he said it made him sad. I'm not entirely sure why, since he doesn't paint, but I think it's because he thought I was doing it ONLY because I needed money. That's a big part of the reason, but also because lots of awesome paints and supplies are going to waste and honestly I'll probably never ever have time to touch them again.

I sent a text to one of my friends who is in school for fine art and asked if she wanted to come check out what I was trying to sell. Her reply was simply "Throwing in the towel?" Um, noooo... I'm just trying to focus on ONE thing and get really good at it and eventually make it my career. I'm not really sure if she meant it snidely, but that's the joy of text messaging and it kind of made me mad.

Untitled acrylic painting, started about 7 years ago and finished about 5 years ago

So, I sent a message to another friend, who isn't in school and is actually painting and showing his work constantly. And who also is never rude to me. He came over right away, took everything I had and gave me a decent amount of money for it too. While I was unearthing all the boxes of paint to show to him I was a little sad about getting rid of it. I really liked painting, I just wasn't nearly as serious about it was I am about fashion. I knew deep in my heart that if I kept any of it, it would still be sitting around untouched this time next year and the year after, etc.

Only Fools Rush In - oil painting finished about 3.5 years ago, the last painting I've done

I told this friend, whose art you can see more of here, what my art-school friend had said. His reply was "What! Throwing in the towel? No, you are REINVENTING the towel, that's why you don't have extra time." Really funny and it cheered me up. I knew my paints were going to a good home where they would be used and loved. That was last night and I don't feel bad about it today. Plus, as a bonus, I've got a whole lot of extra closet space now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Persimmons Boutique

Starting this week my ties can now be purchased in another fantastic, locally owned and operated boutique. It's Persimmons, in Wisconsin!

Located at 314 N 8th Street Manitowoc Wisconsin 54220

I haven't been there personally, unfortunately, but it looks awesome from the photos! So I let the lovely owner, Kim Geiser, say a few words about her store for me:

"Persimmons is an eclectic oasis of inspiration and memories. Featuring over 100 local and national artists and designers you can find everything from fine art for your home to unique funky handmade clothing. Collage, crochet items, indie crafts, raku pottery, fused glass, and handcrafted jewelry are just a few of the one-of-a-kind offerings that make Persimmons the most unique shop in Northeastern Wisconsin.
For the artsy types we offer a fun little selection of supplies and would love to teach you to how to use them at the kitchen table! Join us Thursday nights for art night and create a project and hang out with friends. Often with a recycled art theme we are proud to teach people how to help the enviroment by re-using rather than filling the landfills.
Another great way to recycle is to buy vintage...we have that too. You can find a great selection of useable glassware, fantastic fabrics, old books, fun games, and beautiful hankies!
If you enjoy living an artful life you will enjoy your trip to Persimmons.
Oh and if you every find a store just like Persimmons...they copied us."

My printed silk ties on display in Persimmons

I'm totally excited to be working with this shop! If you're in Wisconsin or will be in the future, make sure you drop in and check it out!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Old News

Ok, so seeing as has this happened in November, it's not exactly the most exciting thing at this exact moment. However, since I didn't even start my blog until January, I think this is at least newsworthy enough to still mention.

In November the first ever Scottsdale Fashion Week was held in, where else, Scottsdale AZ. I was lucky enough to be part of this event as a participant in the SFA Designer of the Year contest. The contest was sponsored by a local TV channel and SMoCA. I submitted photos and descriptions of three designs and was chosen as one of 8 semi-finalists. The contestants where narrowed down to 4 finalists through internet voting and I made it to the final 4! You can watch a video from the news broadcast that was filmed once the final 4 were chosen. They had us get up at 5 in the morning to drive to the grand opening of some huge mall way on the edge of town. We thought they were going to actually interview the designers, but all that really happened was the models walked through the shot once or twice wearing our designs. My model is the one in the grey corduroy and velvet number with feathers. I think you can see me lurking, sleepily, in the background in some of the shots.

One of my designs on the runway at Scottsdale Fashion Week

So, after all that it was time for MORE internet voting to determine the winner of the competition. Don't even get me started about internet voting. Voting, voting, voting then waiting, waiting, waiting to see who wins. It's so agonizing! The morning the contest was over, I was just sitting around the house waiting for the phone call that would reveal the results. I was so anxious and nervous and excited that I literally couldn't do anything but sit there and wait. I had NO idea what the outcome would be and I could hardly keep still, much less focus and get some work done. When the call finally came, I could hardly believe what they were telling me, I had won! This was followed by a whirlwind of joyful tears and phone calls to friends and relatives to tell them the good news and say thanks for supporting me. I had to do one more crazy early news segment, but I couldn't find a video clip of that online. In addition, there was a small but cool article and photo in the local paper, and you can read that here.

One of my designs on the runway at Scottsdale Fashion Week

The show itself was really exciting. 6 designers showed, myself and the 3 other finalist and 2 of the original semifinalists. I showed last and as the winner was the only designer to walk down the runway. It was a huge runway! 60 feet or so, about 4 feet off the ground and lit from inside. In that moment I could definitely see how someone could want to be a model, it was so exhilarating being up there.

After the runway show I was supposed to have an arranged meeting with several owners of local boutiques, as part of the "prize" but for one reason or another, that unfortunately never happened. I guess that's ok really though because I don't have an actual line in production, not just yet. Currently all of my pieces are one-of-a-kind and more couture based. I would really love to start manufacturing small runs of limited edition pieces that are more retail-marketable, but getting started involves a reasonable chunk of money and I just don't have it right now. So, for the time I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and focusing on what I want to be doing in the future.

That's about it really. I'm hoping to get to come back to SFAand show at this year's event, but I'll have to get in touch with the coordinators sometime. Maybe I could have a small runway show to open and intro the contest for Designer of the Year 2008 and then announce the winner or something, if they have one. Better get off the computer and start sewing!!!

My models Alyssa, Chasity, Maritsa and I offstage after the show

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I just signed up for stylemob today. It looks pretty cool and I think that it will be a good promotional tool once I have more photos of my work ready for posting. I signed up initially to vote for tiinateaspoon, awesome fashion designer, photographer and Etsy friend. She entered the stylemob Made It Myself Contest. Click here to vote for her entry!

I checked out the site, found it to be neat, and decided to start a profile and put an entry into the contest myself. Below is a photo of the dress I entered, taken at Scottsdale Fashion Week 2007. The dress is worn here by my good friend and ever-devoted and dependable model Alyssa La Fortune Holt. Click here to vote on my entry in the contest. You can view my public profile on stylemob here.

This dress is made from lilac purple and black dupioni silk. The inside of the dress has 4 layers of interlining, two of which are hair canvas and two are black cotton broadcloth. The dress is boned with spiral steel and completely lined with black silk satin. The octopus detail on the outside was hand-embroidered by me with black laceweight silk yarn and took over 40 hours to complete. In the end it came out looking pretty fantastic and it's one of my favorite pieces that I have made. So that's all... now go vote!

Monday, February 4, 2008

New ties are ready!

After forever and ever of sitting on this design and trying to get it touched up just right and then just completely slacking about it, my new seahorse ties are finally ready!

The ties are completely handmade, by me, as always, from dupioni silk. They are available in all the colors shown here (sky blue, slate blue and turquoise), as well as dozens of other colors, upon request. To purchase or inquire about options, just visit my Etsy store.

Artwork for these ties was done by my good friend Matt Forcella, who also designed my Venus Fly Trap print. He and his lovely wife Pallas share a shop on Etsy also. Check it out! It's: