I may have figured out a rough plan for keeping hand-printed shirts part of my active art life. In my June Newsletter, I said that I was going to try to figure out a way to phase out the shirts. I said I might not be doing shows that featured the shirts after 2015. But I’ve heard from a lot of you that I should not stop, because you would have to go without shirts on your backs, and that could land you in the slammer, I understand.
But, here is my predicament: I am writing a book on Designing and Making an Off-Loom Rya Rug… I am currently the sole supplier of quality rya supplies in this country–that I know of. (Tell me if you know of others, please!) Many people want these supplies and want to know how to use them NOW. And I have a burning desire to keep creating art in the little art world I have built around my life in the form of floorcloth creations, oil and acrylics paintings and, of course, woodcut and linocut carving. I don’t know how to do all that without letting go of something.
So since the shirts have a following, I have decided to keep making them and selling them, but to do it in a smarter way which will make my life easier and maybe easier for you too.
Here is what I have come up with. (Feel free to add your ideas and comments below.)
1. Instead of filling a shirt basket with a rainbow of various colors where each size is a different color (just because it was pretty) I will start filling the basket with one or two colors of that particular design and try to have one of every size in that color. This would prevent major decision-making for you at shows where you have 30 designs to choose from and 20 different colors. It makes your eyes glaze over. I will continue to take orders for the designs in your choice of any color made by Comfort Colors. The result of this action will be that I can answer, “Yes I have that design in your size.” Rather than “No-but-I-could-print-one-for- you.”
2. I’ll print shirts on a schedule about every other month and definitely right after my shows. I will take orders whenever people place an order, but rather than planning an impromptu printing day just to get one shirt done, I will schedule the printing for the next print day even if it is a month away. That’s just logical really. Most of you are so kind when you place an order, saying, “No rush, Take your time.” And I appreciate that.
3. I will probably gradually phase out most of my silkscreened shirts. (Raven in Flight, Fireflies, Great Blue Heron, Brookie, dare I say Hops?) The storage bins are big and I need the room for yarn. And besides, admit it, you all want the hand-done shirts anyway.
I love Art in the Park, and I can’t see selling rya rugs there…so I fully intend to be there again next year with shirts. Hot August Blues at Oregon Ridge Park–Yes I’ll be there with full shirt baskets on August 15th (Counting Crows will be there!), and I will be at the Mistletoe Mart for three full days of shirts on November 12-14.
And if you still need shirts, come to Byrdcall Studio during the Carroll County Artists Studio Tour first weekend in December with your holiday lists in hand. During the Studio Tour you’ll have a chance to see my rya supplies as well…but THAT is another story.
Thanks for talking me off the cliff. I’ll still be your shirt person, but maybe a little smarter.