Wednesday, December 3

Wash My Cloth



Tell us a little about yourself: name, where you grew up and where you live today, when you started your business and anything else interesting! My name is Carrie and I am addicted to fiber. I grew up in Western New York. Our family moved around a lot and by middle school, I had been to five different schools. I met my husband at Buffalo State College and we moved to Chicago to find jobs in 1998. As cost of living increased and we welcomed our first of two sons, we decided to move back to Buffalo to have the help of our families to raise our children. I was fortunate to be able to continue working for my employer from my home office, but saw myself feeling less than satisfied. I started a blog Weavergirlguz a year ago in hopes that I could narrow down all my art interests into a business. On June 1st of this year, my blogging helped me create Wash My Cloth.

Besides being an artist/designer or all of the above do you have a day job?I am very fortunate to have a full time day job and even more fortunate to be able to work from home. I’m an account manager for a Lease Administration company based out of Chicago. We work for Commercial clients worldwide. Although grateful for a job, I do miss the water cooler aspect of working in an office. Now, when I get on the phone, I tend to blabber to anyone who will listen.

Do you consider yourself an artist or designer and what drove you to the arts?
I had to google this. Definitely both. Designing the concept, shape, usage and application of the product and as an artist to develop that design into something unique, interesting and pleasant.
I was immersed in the arts as a kid. When I was young, my cousin and I would go to our great grandmothers house for lunch before half-day kindergarten. I remember her always doing needlework and being fascinated by the movement of her needle through the canvas.
My father is a wildlife watercolor artist, and our family vacations were always centered on his biggest show in Clayton, NY. My mom used to do craft shows with various creations, including Theorem painting. As I saw all these varied artists and their abilities, I knew that I too could compete with them at some point. At Buffalo State, I took a weaving class to fill one semester, and that really did it for me. It gave me fiber as my muse and my loom as my vehicle.

What's your creative process? How do you create your works of art, with what materials and where?
Procrastination is my creative process. I spend a lot of time thinking about the next project and when I have gone through multiple variations in my head, I get to it. A purse design can take a couple weeks, where a weaving project can take upwards of a month. Talking out loud about an idea helps, but results in accusations of procrastination.
All my weavings are done on my four harness Leclerc loom and are usually made with cotton and wool. My purses are all made with 100% wool. I crochet them first and then machine-felt and hand form them. Some purses get glass beads, some buttons, some are left just as they come. My Blanquilts are a mix of quilted cloth and a comfy blanket. The first blanquilt was inspired by the need for a large blanket that two people can share on a couch without someone being left with cold feet. My Wash Towels and Pocket Mitts are 100% cotton.

What is your favorite product you have made to date?
I am really excited about my Polka Purse Series, however my favorite product is my Weaver Bird Blanquilt. I had this blanquilt that was nice, but needed something extra, and I spent a major amount of time trying to decide what that was. I decided that it would be interesting to intertwine different aspects of my life into one piece. The bird represents my dad and my childhood, the nests for my home and my children, and the species of bird for my love of weaving. The embroidery itself reminds me of my great grandmother. What are your favorite artists, designers, writers, musicians and why?
I am really enjoying the writing of David Sedaris, especially when I listen to him speak his words. His humor is honest and believable. Music is tough for me, as I am a radio gal and tend to put on a station and leave it there. But I know I don’t like the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus.
Where are your favorite local places to shop?
I love to spend time at Clayton’s Toys, Ten Thousand Villages and Ed Youngs Hardware in Williamsville. Since joining Etsy, I have been doing most of my shopping there and have found many interesting artists locally.

What advice would you like to give other artists just starting out?
I’m not going to tell you to “go for it’, because I’m sure you’ve heard that before. My advice is to set a goal, however small, and write it down in a public place-whether on the refrigerator, or your blog. Or tell someone. Then make good on that goal. When you complete one goal, set another, but don’t swamp yourself with every part of owning a business: go forward one small step at a time, even if that step is ‘shower and get dressed by 9 am on Friday’.

How do you advertise your work?
I have set some goals for advertising. Right now, I market through Etsy forums, Twitter, Facebook and my blog. With two young boys and a full time job, I am not quite ready to advertise if I can’t back it up with a wide selection of product, or time to create custom orders.

Describe your weaving workshop scheduled for Sunday Dec. 14th from 1 to 3Pm ($5) during the Indie Market?
The weaving workshop will give you a chance to sit at a four-harness floor loom and weave four inches. Four inches may not seem like a lot, but once you sit there and see how long one inch takes, I hope you will appreciate a handwoven item even more. Once complete, you will have made four handwoven drink coasters. I will finish these off at my studio by stitching the sides secure. They will be ready for pickup before Christmas.

What is your favorite part of being a part of Buffalo Indie Market and how would you like it to further your creative career? Buffalo Indie Market helps me believe that Buffalo can become a viable city again. It is these small steps that can revitalize our city by getting people downtown and out of their mass retailers and mega malls every month. Supporting independent artists by purchasing a handmade work of art that was loved and nurtured, and not wrapped in plastic and strapped in with twenty-seven metal twist ties, can make that revitalization possible, one art lover at a time.

You can find a selection of Carrie’s work at her Online Shop and at the Buffalo Indie Market Holiday Celebration December 14th from 12 to 5.

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