This week, Sunday Shift made its first debut in a shop, and in store window, at Visual Art Exchange in downtown Raleigh, NC.
January was the first meeting of the fellows for the 2015 Launch program sponsored by VAE, which includes me and the talented individuals behind six other creative entrepreneurial efforts. We were asked to bring 15-30 new items for the shop, so most of my free time of the five weeks prior were spent dyeing fabric and sewing and sewing and making necklaces and designing tags. I couldn’t have done it without help from my wonderful mom, who holds the position of Official Sunday Shift Vassal (a name she picked, in case you were wondering).
The window and shop display were arranged by the lovely people who run the program for VAE, and they did a fantastic job. I like in particular how the Sunday Shift mohair/silk knitted necklaces look placed with Liz Kelly’s pottery.
It was challenging, but in those five weeks of working, I made nine new garments: shift dresses, tunics, and sleeveless tops. And that feels like a significant accomplishment. Nine garments! In the past, I’d have been thrilled if I made that many items in year. Of course, now it’s time to make more. I just ordered about 20 more yards of fabric – hemp/silk, linen, and organic cotton sateen – and I’m working on a sundress design for the warm weather that’s just around the corner down here:
Remember back when I said I wanted to have an Etsy store set up by September? Yeah, well, that didn’t happen. That’s okay. One thing I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is that product development takes a lot longer than I thought. And I’ve still made good progress with Sunday Shift, even with the full-time job.
Dyeing fabric in the garage. This is what progress looks like.
One of the biggest accomplishments of the fall is that I was accepted for the 2015 cycle of a program called Launch, a year-long retail incubator sponsored by Raleigh’s Visual Art Exchange (VAE). In addition to the professional skills I’ll be learning, I’m thrilled to have camaraderie of other creative entrepreneurs.
VAE has a shop in the front of their gallery selling the products of current Launch Program fellows, and the 2015 fellows were asked to bring in a few items as a sort of sneak preview of the year to come. I dropped off two shift dresses, one in the smoky hemp/silk blend I described in a recent post and another in a cobalt blue with silk shibori-dyed pockets, plus a few knit necklaces. If you’re in the Raleigh area and want to see or purchase Sunday Shift items in person, stop by VAE during their open hours or during their holiday market on December 14, which will feature work by many of their member artists.
But wait! There’s more. For the second year I’ll have mohair and copper necklaces at the MassArt Made Holiday Sale at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston (where I got my MFA). They are lovely and fuzzy and come in a few different colors.
So, I’m not on Etsy for the holiday shopping spree, but I am at a couple holiday markets, and I’m inclined to count my successes. For the next few weeks my plan is to experiment a bit with fabrics, construction variations on the patterns I’ve developed so far, and surface design. Fun times ahead.