Why make outfits for exhibition?

11 September 2006

I received this email:

I am fascinated with your blog entries about your development of the sting ray ensemble. It is interesting to see some of your creative processes at work.
I am a weaver-dyer trying to market my own work. I see that you spend much time and energy and resources on your exhibition pieces. Do you do this to increase your market visibility, and is it effective, or do you it for fun and to push yourself creatively? I have always wondered if I should be working toward exhibition pieces, but I am so overwhelmed just putting out the bread and butter pieces, I don’t know how to proceed.
I have your book, which I love, and I appreciate your knowledgable posts on DyeList.

(Actually it is called the DyersList, in case you go looking for it.)
My philosophy has always been for these micro-businesses (which will never make you rich like Bill Gates) that you need to produce something that meets some unsatisfied part in your customer (I do not produce something that any one NEEDS), and it must meet some of MY needs. So this is the part that meets some of my needs.
I don’t know that it has any impact on sales. It does help to create a reputation a with my collegues, who are the people who judge, jury and invite— so it may impact the opportunities I have to sell. It allows me to do things that that are not part of my line and to stretch and grow. Collaboration allows one to see thru’ new eyes and to learn new things and put things together in new ways.
You may have all the growth you can handle right now, learning how to market, produce in a cost effective manner, and satisfy some thing in your customer. Later you may need to stretch different muscles.
Let me tell you a story about trying something new. Last year I was contacted by Mike Fowler of tie-dye.com (now defunct) to be a visiting artist on the tie-dye forum. I said yes, then after I was into it I asked myself why on earth did you want to do this? While still sitting on this forum, last summer we raised a small crop of silk worms and I started posting some pictures everyday. Peoples loved it!
This is a picture from the silk raising that produced many comments. This is the reel that I made from readily available parts ( yes, it is Tinker Toys) to pull the thread from the cocoons– you can just see the fine thread coming in from the right at the top— in a process called reeling. Reeling produces the top quality silk threads, yarns and fabrics.
Not too many steps from posting daily on a forum to blogging.


2 Responses to “Why make outfits for exhibition?”

  1. Thanks, Karren! I have the inspiration for exhibition pieces, but not the time or resources right now.


  2. Karren Says:

    Yes, Kathy we all have times in our lives when we are learning enough. The early stages of making/selling are like that. Just don’t let the routine of making and sell consume all of your life. Grow into something more.


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