Artist vs Big Giant Company (with a happy ending)

If you follow a bunch of other artists and crafters on social media like I do, you will have seen stories about big giant companies (like Target and Anthropologie) using artists’ work without their permission. I have a friend who this happened to and it’s rotten. (I think hers had an ok resolution, but she isn’t allowed to talk about it.) My story is a little different and it starts with a video game.

You may or may not be a fan of video games. For the most part, I am not, although I love board games. Recently, a company called Niantic came out with a phone based game inspired by the Harry Potter Universe. It’s called Wizards Unite. In the game, you are a wizard helping to capture some magical creatures set loose in the real world and you find them by walking around and looking for them with your phone. If this sounds familiar, this game is based on the same platform as PokemonGo, which was all the rage just a few years ago. Like I said, I am not in to video games, but I am on board with anything Harry Potter inspired so I had to check it out. My husband and I have a fun time walking the dogs after dinner and exploring our local park for signs of magical beasts. There are lots of fire breathing chickens and baby hippogryphs there, in case you were wondering.

In the game there are “Greenhouses”, which are tied to geographic elements in the real world like a piece of public art, a neighborhood sign “Welcome to Northeast Park” or a sculpture or statue. They are spots to get a little spell energy or […]

2019-07-16T17:03:48-05:00Everything Else|1 Comment

Selling your Designs on Spoonflower at Craft Industry Alliance Journal

I wrote an article for the Craft Industry Alliance Journal about selling your designs on Spoonflower. The Journal is usually available only to members, but they decided to make this story available to the public. Yay! Read here about how you should think about TACOS when you are creating your designs, and let me know if you have questions! I’ll do a follow up post here on the blog to answer them.

2019-07-09T10:25:24-05:00Everything Else|0 Comments

Wiksten Shift: I thought it would be cute…

I don’t have a lot of time to sew purely for myself. A lot of my business is sewing for other reasons: making items to sell or creating pieces for exhibitions. A few weekends ago, I ended up with some free time and nothing pressing on my agenda. I wandered up to Knit & Bolt, my neighborhood fabric store, and I bought a copy of the Wiksten Shift Dress pattern.

I’d been seeing this one all over Instagram and the craft blogs. It’s a super simple shape and I could have probably drafted the pattern myself, but I like to support indie pattern designers and I honestly didn’t want to think that hard. I just wanted to spend an afternoon making a simple dress.

I had a perfect piece of fabric: a blue/green woven that I had bought to make a dress for my sister’s wedding. I ended up not having enough fabric for the dress I wanted to make for that event, so I used something else and this green went in the stash. It’s a cool weave that has blue threads in the warp and green threads in the weft so it changes color a little as it moves and it is super soft.

The pattern has a yoke on the back and I thought it would be fun to use a contrasting fabric for that and I found a scrap of this print that I designed and printed at Spoonflower on some cotton sateen. The colors were perfect together.

Since this was a new-to-me pattern designer, I remeasured myself and checked their size chart and decided based on […]

2019-07-08T19:10:33-05:00Everything Else|2 Comments

Intention and Expectation: Attending the Americans for the Arts Conference

The Americans for the Arts (AFTA) conference was held in Minneapolis this weekend. It is a national conference for art administrators primarily to get together and talk about funding, sustainability, data, evaluation, and innovation and do it in a room with other people who get it. I love being an artist, but I was really good at being an arts administrator. Art is something I have to do because it is part of who I am and I can’t not do it; being an arts admin was something I was called to do by whatever little voice in your head it is that tells you that you need to do this because you can make a difference.

I left my arts admin job about 5 years ago. It was an organization that I deeply loved, a mission I believed in and a community with a lot of untapped potential. I worked way too many hours and there were some parts of the approximately 1 million cobbled together parts of my job that I was less than wonderful at, but by and large it was a good fit. I did good work and proud of the projects and connections I got to be a part of.

But something changed. There was a transition in leadership. The board of directors decided to shift the values and culture of the organization to follow a different path. It wasn’t just “things change because of new leadership and people hate change” but a bigger organizational shift that included altering the mission statement. I’ve been on enough boards of directors to know that I don’t know the whole story about why and how that came to be, but I do know that suddenly […]

2019-06-18T09:21:25-05:00An Artist's Life, Everything Else|Comments Off on Intention and Expectation: Attending the Americans for the Arts Conference

Fabric Review Part 2: Spoonflower’s Petal Cotton vs Sateen

After I posted my initial comparison with Petal Cotton, Basic Cotton and Kona Cotton from Spoonflower, I had several people ask me about Cotton Sateen. Sateen is my favorite of the lightweight cotton fabrics and has been for a long time. Sateen has a different kind of weave structure. Instead of the warp and the weft threads being evenly distributed, a sateen weave lets the warp threads “float” across the surface of the fabric. I’ve always found Spoonflower’s sateen to be the best for printing fine details; designs always print very crisply. (It’s also 56″ inches wide, which means you get a lot more fabric when you order a yard of sateen.)

Holding the Sateen and the Petal cotton swatches in my hand, the Petal feels a little heavier/thicker, but when I weigh them on my postal scale, they show the same weight, so the difference is subtle.

As far as printing, Sateen still is the best for crisp sharp details. Petal is great (and a big step up), but Sateen is just a little sharper yet. On this design you can see it best in the grey-on-grey sections. The edges of the shapes are just a little more precise and sharp. The colors/saturation between the Petal Cotton and Sateen are very very similar. I can see a little difference in contrast. In this design, the greys have a little more contrast on the sateen – the darker shade is darker on the Sateen vs Petal and the yellows are a tiny bit brighter.

Overall, I think the Sateen and Petal are very similar print wise; the biggest difference is the fabric itself. I have used the Sateen to […]

2019-06-07T09:19:22-05:00Everything Else|4 Comments

Fabric Review: First Impressions of Spoonflower’s new Petal Cotton

This week Spoonflower replaced two of its standard fabrics, the Basic Cotton and Kona Cotton, with a brand new Petal Signature Cotton fabric. I am a Pro member of Spoonflower so I got a sample swatch a week or two ago and I wanted to write up some of my first impressions of the new fabric.

First, I want to talk a little about the retired fabrics. I hardly ever use Kona Cotton. It’s really a quilting fabric and I am not a quilter so I don’t have a lot of reasons to use it. I always thought it was a nice quality fabric, but I don’t have a lot more to say about it since I use it so rarely.

I have always felt that the Basic Cotton was exactly that: basic. I consider it to be something like dressmakers muslin; great for testing things but nothing special. It was relatively light weight and I always felt like the print quality was a little lackluster. The colors seemed a bit dull. All in all it was an absolutely fine craft fabric but I never felt like it was something I wanted to make a finished project out of. (Sateen was my go-to favorite cotton for that.) I have ordered a lot of Basic Cotton to test colors and print scale so I have a lot more experience with it than the Kona.

When I ordered my test swatch of Petal Cotton, I chose the same design I had just printed a few weeks before on the Basic Cotton. This Rainy Drizzle design was a design challenge entry of mine from the April Showers theme.

First Impressions

When I first […]

2019-05-15T12:18:56-05:00Everything Else|9 Comments
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