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February 24th, 2014 at 10:40 am

Process, Project, Overlap or “Oh My”

this has been kicking around in my brain as an introduction to a getting started topic in our new forum. It is still a draft, but I am hoping for some feedback to help clarify my thinking, The links won’t be added till the content is in the forum. Thanks in Advance for sharing your reaction to my perhaps inflammatory thoughts on this Daft version of getting started in Braiding as they evolve.

The following is a highly opinionated theory, and absolutely no disrespect is meant to any of the wonderful authors and teachers whose work may not fit into my vision.

Although focused on Braiding, much could apply to any of the fiber arts.

As I wrote in the article Getting Started: Disc & Plate, whether your braids are of Japanese or other ethnic origins – all share two commonalities. First, a Braid, unlike weaving, is a single set of elements, (in weaving, as you know, warp and weft are separate and generally worked at right angles) with each serving the functions of both warp and weft and in most cases, worked on the diagonal.

Second, is the need to focus on good information often found only in books and classes – and far too often not in a YouTube video where it is far too easy to miss nuances in the good ones and pick up bad habits in the “I learned this yesterday and so I am sharing”

As you may have already guessed, I have very low tolerance for books or videos that teach me nothing I cannot learn from Shirley Berlin’s Red Book “Kumihimo On A Card” There is nothing wrong with wanting, buying, using recipes – it is just not my thing.

So once the braider decides to use MaruDai or other braiding stand – there is no question that both devil and delight get equal time in the details. Fortunately for today’s beginning and advanced braiders – we have a much greater choice of books, educators, and venues for classes.

Equally of value is that for MaruDai, unlike when many of us in the USA started, you can learn MOST of what you need from some of the books available today (2014)

You just have to choose your most likely path. It is my opinion and YMMV may be different – that there is more than one path and that your choices should be guided by where you think you want to “go”.

Certainly there is a significant group of braiders who fall into either “category” still, at heart, you will find they are “mostly” Process or Project.

The Process people are more inclined to focus on structure – in the “English speaking” world (USA/Canada/UK etc) most have come from some other fiber discipline such as weaving and other small wares. Process people are more likely to move from MaruDai to other types of specialized Dai and other stands which have been developed for use in braids from other Cultures such as the Chinese and Peruvian structures. Process people are often, for lack a better explanation, more traditional in their approach, using traditional materials, and limiting their finishing to more traditional objects such obi-jime, the cord used to tie the Obi of Kimono. The Process person is mostly likely to look at a “finished sample and think, now what if I changed this step….. they are about changing the actual way the braid is made first and then considering artful variations later.

The Project People, are those building their skills and repertoire of techniques for the purpose of incorporating various structures into “useful” and “decorative” objects, often items intended for personal adornment (jewelry or trim on garments, etc) These are the people who first thought when looking at a finished braid might be some variation of
“That nice, now what can I make it into”. Many Project People have come to this path from other FiberArts – where an investment of time and discipline to master basics is the norm.

The Over Lap group is the one who is interested in how the braid was made, but their questions usually start with “well what if I put this color(or bead or chip) on that element and then repeated the structure. Speaking as an over lap person, It has been my observation that quite often we tend to choose one piece of equipment for the Process side of our personality and then use those unique structures within our projects.

Within the Project people there is a small but growing number arriving in the braiding community to have been exposed ot the basics, have been browsing the web seeing the work of and want to expand their skills – accepting the necessary discipline to buld those skills

And here is where I will likely get burned – this is an increasing influx from those who are not aware and mostly seem not interested in the rich history of the braider’s craft and are not really interested in growing their talent or those with a talent for choosing colors and using only the most basic of techniques and often without proper There is certainly a place for this segment in the bead & jewelry hobbyists population.

Putting my money where my mouth is – I recently stunned many customers who called asking me to special order certain books prefaced because they said something like “I am so excited to get this book to learn more about Kumihimo” with my reply “If you want to learn about Kumihimo, you should not be buying a beading/beadwork book” because no matter what is says in title, yes, it is braiding, but only at the most elementary level. There is nothing wrong with recipe books, but a Chocolate Chip Cookie is till just a Chocolate Chip cookie if the only variation is your choice of chocolate – Milk, Dark, etc – all good and delicious if you like that flavor. Just as the book you are requesting is offering you varaitions based on the bead ingredients (with some allowance occasionally for where to place the beads) If you want to learn about Kumihimo, let’s talk a bit before you choose.

So far, only one has gotten angry, and several have stuck to their original choice, but most have thought further and chosen a path that will keep them interested and innovative for years to come.

Now on to the, Getting Started Book Lists. (not to Wheat Wrote What readers, the forum does required you create an account to read most of the content – it is free, and you will not added to any email lists unless you choose to follow topics)

Click to Read: Books for Process People and why Wheat recommends each

Click to read: Books for Project and why Wheat recommends each

Click to read Books for Disk and Plate people and why Wheat Recommends each.

LINK To MATERAILS for Braiders

LINK TO EQUIPMENT SECTION WITH PICTURES AND DESCRIPTION OF EACH AND THEIR USES>
such as the
Maru-dai, Kara-dai, KaraKaku-dai, Omarudai, Taka-dai, Aya-Taka-dai, to name some of the Japanese – there are also Chinese and many other cultures with specialized equipment such as the recently released cord braiding stand that I have been told was developed to make Peruvian braids “easier”

January 1st, 2014 at 08:45 am

AllJustString.com – Forum For Fiber Folks

AllJustString.Com
click to visit

Sooner or later everything reaches a tipping point.

We are finally launching a “dream project” AllJustString is intended to provide a place for personal development of our skills and knowledge, keep the information accessible and organized in a manner that will allow those who follow to find and benefit in a way not currently possible in other venues.

It is also a founding principle that many of us don’t have craft-tunnel-vision – meaning that we enjoy many forms of craft and there is great diversity in how we each choose to bend our string. We can admire and respect those who practice a technique whether we choose to participate,

Our goal is help each other build on skills and knowledge and derivations – while giving our undying respect and support to those offering the opportunity to expand our knowledge and skill from the quick picture or video tutorials, to (at least in my home) a whole bookcase of others who have “done the research” and codified technique, and in many cases, the history of their chosen craft.

It is our obligation as an artisan (someone who works with their hands and their heart) to acknowledge as much as possible those who made our development possible. It is our ethical obligation to respect their copyrights and never feel we “need” to get attention by sharing that which is not ours to share.

At the end of the day, other than for marketing purposes, the only thing likely to be truly original is how you present it. And that work should be judged on your competence and vision.

Our goal is to help you find the knowledge and information you need, in a manner respectful to you, and to your sources of inspiration.

I hope you will join us and bring along some friends to show and share our love of our crafts and our fiber artistic adventures (remember, beads are lumps string so they count too)

Always Take Time To Enjoy The Making
Wheat
Wheat Carr, founder
The Forum for Fiber Folk:

Forum: http://alljuststring.invisionzone.com/
MailTo:wheat@itsalljuststring.com
Shop: http://www.ItsAllJustString.com
Like: http://www.FaceBook.com/ItsAllJustString

AllJustString.Com
click to visit

December 20th, 2013 at 06:38 am

View point suppression

phil

Some might remember this blog started because my views were deemed too controversial to be shared in “groups”

Sometimes it is difficult to keep to the Libertarian (not to be confused with Liberal ) principle that demands if you want a right for yourself, you may not deny that same right to another.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Phil Robertson is not the issue. Nor, technically is it a 1st Amendment issue unless you ascribe to the theory that the media is controlled by the government = It is really a business decision for both network and star.

For me, supporting Phil Robertson is NOT about the personal opinions he expressed, but rather my willingness to grant ALL the parties to the converstaion (Mr Robertson, NBC & GLAAD ) the right to express their views. And MY right to choose which of those is important to me and how I will choose to act.

To those carrying on about how could PR people “let” Phil Robertson take the Interview. It also means granting his detractors the right to hold and express their view

Phil Robertson is smart and likely knew that he was giving NBC a chance to get its way – it is an issue about supporting those who would suppress the right to hold and express a different view.

NBC may or may not be making a smart business decision, only time will tell. Once the new season starts and we can see if NBC takes advantage of the situation to “edit” out the content they have long wished to suppress, Well, I doubt it will kill me to cease to watch DD and Longmire the only two shows they offer of any interest to me. Certainly it will be easy to ignore all the others carefully designed to appeal the least desirable aspects of humanity.

What remains is whether all those upset will decide to do more than make short lived knee jerk reactions.

Will the majority of DD Viewers give up ALL the shows on that Network?

Are those professing support really willing to “boycott” the advertisers? Or just threaten to do so.

What if Wal-Mart or Cabella’s decides to drop the product line, will you stop shopping there? Seems to me much more effective to starve A&E of the ratings that drive the fees they can charge “sponsors”

It is interesting to see almost no comment from the family, and all things considered hard to believe they would consider staying with A&E without Phil and the freedom to express their professed family values.

It will be interesting to observe how many will allow themselves to be distracted from the real issues facing the country by a manufactured controversy and how many will take sustained action to support their beliefs.

No matter what any of us decide and what action we take – there are to many more important issues effecting our lives, our freedoms, and our country that need our attention.

November 24th, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Pricing – Pt 6 – COGS Individual Components

Although not the only element in COGS (Cost of Good Sold) relates to the cost of your components = the second most common mistake I have observed is not using Replacement Costs when planning your price.

Not unlike insurance, your costing needs to reflect NOT what you paid for each bit and piece, but what it will cost you to REPLACE that item in your inventory.

What does she mean?

Recently I read in a “business” group of someone basing their selling price on the “deal” they got for one of the major components in their work.

Well, what happens when they run out of that, OR someone says, I want 25 of that design but in different colors. Or, you are working a local craft, flea or farmer’s market and up walks the “been looking for weeks but not buying” and want to know why that piece cost $5 last week but this time its $6.

It is always easier to lower your price than it will ever be to raise it, suddenly with no explanation. Nor does it make “sense” to the consumer when something that looks the same has different pricing without obvious – to the consumer walking by your table – differences.

There is often, especially for those who choose to create in an over crowded marketplace stuffed with similar products produced in less than fair trade conditions – can you really afford the “customer satisfaction” issue?

If you must – for some reason of your choice – decide to lower your price, then at least clearly mark it as a “special price” if asked, it is okay to say “I got a really good deal on the threads, but when these are gone, I won’t be able to replace them for the same cost”

Still if you are in this for the long run, especially if you are in the building stage of your business, far better to take advantage of the deal, but price the finished work as if you had to replace it “at full price” next week.

November 24th, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Pricing – Pt 5 – More Intangible Costs

There is a sentiment that pops up fairly often on FaceBook about “When buying from an artisan (one who works with hands and heart)

While it seems geared to those who are buying our work, there is much in it to think about as you decide whether selling your work is really what you want to do. Anytime I accept a commission or am asked to sell a completed piece, here is what I think about as the Artisan/Maker.

    As an Artisan (one who works with hands and heart)

  • You are Selling MORE than just an object.
  • You are selling hours of skill building and experimentation.
  • You are selling days, weeks and months of frustration
  • You are selling moments of pure joy when concept meet reality.
  • You Are NOT JUST Selling a Thing.

  • You are selling a piece of your heart,
  • a part of your creative soul,
  • and a precious moment in your creative life
  • .

One of the hardest decisions any artisan has to make is deciding if it even makes sense to sell their work. Is what your are making unique and thus can compete. Or, it is a hobby you and other enthusiasts enjoy – but frankly there are just too many sources for the same product you are making.

Is what you are producing for sale able to command its fair market value. I should warn you I have little patience for “what the market will bear” because if the market cannot bear to pay you a fair premium then you should not be in the marketplace.

While of consuming interest to you, really just a passing fad that may or may not have a permanent place at any level in the crafts market place. For example, two years ago it was friendship bracelets, this past year Paracord knotted bracelets were hot, looks like the next few months we will be seeing lots of rubber band jewelry.

Thinking about Paracord, of the dozens making Knotted items, I can only think of maybe 4 who are really producing anything approaching unique enough to build a niche in the market place for themselves. Maybe another dozen who are producing products to be used either to make the bracelets (jigs, charms, etc) that may or may not earn them a place in supplying the needs of enthusiasts.

You also need to decide if you are comfortable setting your pricing in a way that undermines the good of the craft for short term gain. If you are just into selling for the pin money, admit that to yourself as you consider your path

These are questions only you can answer, but if your work “looks” like a Wal-Mart special then it is going to be a tough road to over come the financial challenges that can easily take the joy of creating from you.

If not, then maybe instead of trying to make it a business, you should focus on enjoying this, building your skills, knowledge of your chosen craft and expertise. You might have to find another way to fund your hobby, but it just might be well worth the effort so you can continue to

Enjoy The Making
Wheat

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    Wheat Wrote WHAT !?!Assumes ONLY YOU can properly and completely perform the necessary due diligence to determine your course of action in life or business - ALL article, like all on this blog, are a starting point, not the last word by any means. While I hope it is worth more, its value is exactly the same as what you paid for it – no dollars.
    Wheat Wrote WHAT !?! began as a place to express opinions strongly held or silly without everyone getting their panties in a twist assuming those opinions to be a personal attack because they lack the ability to discern between discussing the point and flaming a person.
    Wheat Wrote WHAT !?! is also where Wheat writes about products she uses and occasionally mentions ones best avoided. These may also but not always and not surprisingly are sold at ItsAllJustString,com
    Wheat Wrote WHAT !?! is also where she expresses sometimes controversial opinions about just about anthing so please expect the occastion rant.
    Wheat Wrote WHAT !?! welcome your comments - just remember - we want ot discuss the point not the person unless they are public usually political person.
    Wheat Wrote WHAT !?! is where Wheat writes primarily about things she uses and sells thru ItsAllJustString,com
    Wheat Wrote WHAT !?! blogamentries are based on personal experience and opinon. Your experience and opinion may differ. "what works for wheat may not work for you"
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