How to Be in Two Places at One Time

21 12 2009

This is the dilemma: I have set a timetable of 10:30 to 4:00 Monday through Saturday as the times for the incubator, with having the sales area open important on Saturday, but not so much the other days. It doesn’t sound that demanding, does it? However, there is not yet the womanpower to give me much time away from the incubator during these hours, and there are any number of things I cannot presently do at the incubator.

For example, it may seem antequated but I have a mobile deal that gives me just 60 minutes per month, so I try very hard not to use it for anything I can use the home phone for. I can’t afford more, and my mobile is a cheapy that does not make it easy to text. And, no. putting in a phone line to the incubator is not an option, either.

The same goes for the internet and e-mailing. I do it at home or at the library, about 30 minutes away by bus or on foot. No car. When I say this is a shoestring operation, I mean it.

I took today off partly because there is an accumulation of snow and ice that I wanted to avoid traveling in, but also because there was an accumulation of side things I ought to be doing for the sake of the incubator and because I needed time with my home (8-harness floor) loom.

Nothing takes me away from whatever problems I am working on and at the same time stimulates my creativity in response to them like working with a multi-harness loom. Before that long, I expect, the incubator will have a four-harness table loom, and that will help tremendously. After this three weeks away from the loom, I threaded my latest warp and had 5 errors. It took forever to catch and fix the problems and get it ready for weaving, much much longer than it would have if I had been working on it as regularly as I have for the last few months.

Using the rigid heddle loom and working out card weaving at the incubator just does not maintain the same skills. But the floor loom would be difficult to move to the incubator, and anyhow, I intend for the incubator to have its own as soon as possible. (Not to mention that if I tell the truth, I like having it to myself and there would be no other good use of the home studio room.)

Working on the knitting machine at the incubator is challenging. There is endless potential for developing my own patterns and fabrics, particularly with the non-bulky and double-bed machines to come.

Sewing also has great creative potential.

But my being able to continue that development, and Ruth’s, and Marion’s, and the other designers I want to have the chance to develop full-time businesses is dependent on my making the incubator work.

But does that mean getting in the more advanced equipment, whatever the cost, or doing whatever marketing it takes to get people to actually buy our goods, or concentrating on developing one at a time? Barbara Winter talks of multiple income streams in terms of a plate-balancing act. You get one firmly started, then move onto the next, step back to keep the first spinning, back to the second, start the third and so on until you’ve reached the limit of your capacity or you’ve got enough spinning to support yourself.

My first plate was the setting up of the incubator minimally, the second its sales room, minimally. Then Marion came, which could be seen as my going back to the second. I’d like to go back to the first, but without money to buy additional equipment, all I can do for now is bring in my ancient sewing machine, my embroidery box, and the fabric painting equipment I have. (Which isn’t such a minimal advancement after all when I think of it.) There, that’s decided.

So now, I go on to getting the third plate spinning. Shall I do some further development of the salesroom? (Which could mean trying to get other vendors to bring in things or trying to get in fleeces and roving and handspun and hand-dyed from as local sources as possible.) (the latter of which might require money I don’t have untill things start selling) (if and when they start selling). Or I could be try developing the teaching aspect of the incubator (which really isn’t going to happen until after New Years, I’ll bet.) 

Well, another thing Barbara Winters says is that businesses that are going somewhere have interesting problems. I guess Pocktorian Textiles qualifies.


Interview with Hark Jeung

7 12 2009

I was sitting in the sales room of the incubator this morning, trying to get certain areas of the detail ribbon on the plain white wedding shoesI have redone to lie flat. The shoes are now an red/pink/purple with mottled gold gilded heels and patches of mottled gold scattered on each shoe. Nothing plain about them now.

Anyhow, I was working on the parts where the ribbon has to do curves it doesn’t want to do, when a woman entered and introduced herself as a Hong Kong journalist and photographer named Hark Jeung. She has been spending some time in Norwich and more or less fallen in love with its textile history and decided to write a book on that and on what kinds of textile creations were being made in Norwich now.

We ended up sitting down and talking for almost three hours. And then, having spotted Rebecca Spragge’s corset, Hark Jeung had me contact her for an interview,too.

Obviously that has to be the highlight of the day, though there were several other good things as well, including being offered a legacy fabric stash. Someone up there knows I want to do a line like Desigual’s for those of us who are older and curvier and can’t fit into theirs. By the way, I’m going to call my own line Intreped Threads. Now to come up with a good logo.

What type of thing would an intreped thread do, do you think?

Day 2

2 12 2009

What a huge difference heat and a place to sit make!

Since there is still stray old furniture in one of our two rooms, I arranged it like a little lounge area in the back of the sales room, the sofa with its back to the entry and the two chairs facing the sofa from the corners.

Then I pulled out the most rickety of the tables from the studio room and put it against the back of the sofa and displayed my work on it. Nothing sold, so far, but its was a sales room in at least a small way.

I put one page “posters” telling about the incubator on the entry door of the Looses building, on the entries to the stairways up to the first floor, on the edge of the sales counter on the ground floor, on the doors to both our rooms.

I also took a sheet of newsprint and did a large announcement of what the incubator needs. It never hurts to ask, and it gave me a chance to ask for students of our various arts.

Then I sat down and did a bunch of work. I finally began work on those shoe transformations I promised such a very long time ago. I worked on the hem stitching and the fringes of the newest chenille scarf.

And I even got in one of Barbara Winters $100 (£100?) hours, the idea of which is to generate as many different ways as possible that you could earn $100 (£100 for me), and then take some actions on it, or at least list some actions you could take later, which is what I did, because I was determined to be there for the time I had specifed to various people who said they would be stopping by that I would be there. Never mind that not a one of them did come by yet. Who was it that said that 80% of success was just turning up. I hope they’re right.

I must not be impatient. It is only day 2.  And if I can ever get one of the people looking for space to come and look at what we have and realize that the incubator really does offer all those things other studio spaces are lacking, they’ll join.

What Will It Look Like

26 11 2009

I’ve been imagining what I want people to see when they come into Pocktorian Textiles, now that I can include some furnishings in that imagining. Before I could include furnishings in my imaginings, I was imagining a single dress rack, a hat rack for the wall, a mirror, and a tiny picnic table with clotheslines strung all about otherwise.

I already know that we’ll have an A-frame chalkboard announcing our existence and whatever events are going on outside the Looses entrance. That will direct them to the stairs in the back, where there will be a poster urging people onward. And then we have to get them inside the first of the two rooms, the sales room, probably with another A-frame.

Inside, on the wall, will be posted what we’re looking for. That will be resident designer / makers if we still have room for some, and if we don’t there will be a waiting list designer / makers can get onto. Also we’ll be posting items that we want to offer: hats, if we don’t have any hats; bags, if we don’t have any bags; pillows, if we don’t have any pillows, as well as things like handspun yarn, if we don’t have any of that, or hand-dyed yarn, if we don’t have any. And also what we want to have but don’t have for the studio, whether we can afford it yet or not, like a spinning wheel, for example. Maybe someone will loan it to us. Or, dare we hope, donate it?

Also on the walls will be the latest sketches from our designers, what they expect to be making in the next week. That will be next to a special area containing all the new stuff made in the incubator or received from designer /makers outside the incubator in the last week.

I got a camera for Christmas already, and I know just what I will use it for. Look out, Norwich, there’s going to be a part of the wall where we’ll be posting pictures I’ve taken of Norwich street style, and you can bet that anyone who buys something in the shop and puts it on will get the chance to have their picture added to the wall.

I got a great phone call today from an excellent Norwich designer who will be having some of her work in the sales room. I think I want to wait to tell people who it is, though, because I want to get some picture files from her and do a whole post about her. There, you have a hint. It’s a she. (Big fat hint, huh?)

More and more and more later.

Pocktorian Textiles: The Flyer

22 11 2009

Since we don’t really want to be all alone at the incubator, since we want people to come each week to find out what we’re creating or to come on Saturdays to grab the latest of our creations and see our sketches for the week to come, I’ve been working on a starting flyer to place at the tourist centre and to hand out to prospective visitors in town. I won’t include the picture because I’m using an uncropped version of the one at the top of our blog, but I would be interested in comments on the text of it. So here it is:

Pocktorian Textiles

a textile incubator

1st Floor, Looses building, Magdalene St., Norwich


Reviving Norwich’s textile heritage and putting it in your hands

 Pocktorian Textiles is a consortium of Norwich’s aspiring designers. We share space and equipment, advice and inspirations.We make things and sell them. We teach the skills we use, and we sell locally produced materials, wool, roving, yarn, and dyes, for your own creations. Something new each week.

Everything sold at Pocktorian textiles is locally raised, grown, designed, and made. You won’t find anything like it on the high street.

Come catch us in the act of creation and take some of our work, or something of  your own, home with you.

What do you think?