stories from my red thread life

The nuts and bolts of preparing for a big craft show

by Adrian Lancashire A quick note from Devorah at Red Thread: For my first guest post, introductions are in order. Just over a year ago, my partner-in-crime / boyfriend moved here from France to live with me. He’d heard my crazy craft show stories from afar, and once he was here he plunged right into the stress and excitement of an artisan life. Here’s his take on what it’s like behind the scenes at our busiest time of the year… Now!  I’m not a maker, but I live with one. Our living room is filled with clothing racks at the time of writing this. We built a new shed, the size of a small cabin, to manage overflow. I’m the helper. Luckily, I also do stage work. I feel at home around people who physically produce something, and I like that they dream it up and run everything themselves. Hands on “In war, no matter how much you plan and prepare and practice, when the big day actually arrives, you still can’t find your ass with both hands.” People who earn their living making things themselves prove that you actually can get organized and bring things to market. But that [...]

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What’s it really like to run a handmade business? Five things makers want you to know

Three years ago this week, as I was preparing for Toronto’s One of a Kind Show, I wrote my most popular article ever: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Craftspeople (but were afraid to ask). I received dozens of emails from artisans I didn’t know, telling me that they felt I had expressed what they wanted to say to their customers. So even though I can only share my own perspective, I hope that this article will also represent my fellow makers. We’re a diverse group, but we share a lot. And this time of year is an intense time for us. As we dive into the winter craft show season, meeting the public and sharing our work, here are a few more things that we’d like you to know: Yasmine Louis hard at work in her silkscreen printing studio in Toronto (shared with permission of the artist) 1. We put a lot of thought and work into designing and making our products. This may seem obvious, but when you ask us “How long does it take you to make one bowl/ dress/ guitar/ bracelet?” the answer (if we answered the way we would like to) might be something [...]

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A Studio Tour

I’ve been running Red Thread for 11 years now, and am very excited to announce that I have finally moved it out of my house! The endless bolts and rolls and bins of fabric? Gone. The piles of paper patterns? Gone. All those racks of clothes in the living room? Gone. (okay, there’s still one, but I’m working on it) My new studio is a bright second-floor space on the Danforth that is bursting with colour. My studio mate Catherine of Sailorgirl Jewelry has been there on her own for years. I am ecstatic that she decided to share with me. Wanna see? Come on in! At the studio entrance there is a small lounge area for hanging out or enjoying a refreshing snack.   This is the left half of the studio (my half) as seen from the lounge area at the front. The cutting table is where the work begins! That’s Catherine hard at work assembling jewelry on the right.   The fabric is all in one corner. I am still bringing fabric (and clothing) in and figuring out how best to organize it, but it’s shaping up nicely. This photo was taken from Catherine’s workspace, behind her bead/assembly [...]

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