April 6, 2015

Creatives in the spotlight - Angie Knowles


Today I'm introducing a new creative in the blog series Creatives in the spotlight. Her name is Angie Knowles from Art Quilt Textiles and I met her a couple of months ago when she contacted me to do her business branding. I immediately fell in love with her beautiful dyed fabrics and was eager to find out more about them and the story behind the business and product. So let's meet Angie!


1. Angie, please tell us a little bit about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and do you have other jobs or things you do next to your business?

I'm Angie Knowles, and I am a Florida, USA native. I've lived on both the Atlantic and Gulf coast of Florida. I first started sewing at the age of 9 and it has been the one constant in my life. Several years after high school in 1978 I ran off to join the US Air Force. This was a great experience, having exposed me to many different cultures here in the US and Europe. After retiring in 1995 my husband (also a retired veteran) returned to the US, first in Seattle, WA and then later back to my home town in Florida. Shortly after returning I opened a custom slipcover business which I operated for 13 years.

2. What got you into textile dying? And when did you think: wow, I can start a business with this?

In 2006, I attended a big regional quilt show and saw a booth with all types of hand crafted textiles. It took a few years, but in 2008 I attended a meeting of a local group and took my first textile related class in screen printing. Through this group, I've learned all about various textile related techniques; dyeing is just one of them. I really didn't get into this to start a business, but when you keep creating hand crafted fabrics and they threaten to take over, it seemed like the next logical thing to do.

One of Angie's beautiful dyed fabrics
 
3. Can you tell something about your production process. What kinds of fabric do you use? And with what materials do you dye them? I noticed you actually use real metal rust, that sounds pretty interesting to me.

I usually start with a plain white fabric, mostly cotton but sometimes silk and linen. I then treat the fabric with a mordant, which allows the dye or rust to become permanent on the fabric. For dyed fabrics I mix the powdered dyes according to the strength of color I desire. I mostly use the three primary colors of dye - red, yellow, and blue. There are several different colors of each primary, some leaning more toward the cool colors, others more warm. To get different colors I then mix the primary colors in different proportions. I never expected to learn so much chemistry when I started dyeing fabrics. The rusted fabrics also start out plain white and after treating them with a solution of vinegar and water I wrap them around various rusted metal objects. The vinegar solution facilitates the transfer of the rust from the metal to the fabric. And yes! It is permanent. The fabric is then washed and rinsed in a baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) solution to help neutralize  the rusting action.

4. For what purposes can your fabrics be used?

My fabrics can be used for many purposes. They can be use for quilts, clothing and home furnishings; and any other purposes one can think of.

Example of a rust dyed fabric

5. When people order fabric from you, what can they expect? Do you ship outside the USA for example?

My customers can expect to receive a truly unique, one of a kind item. Due to my process, it is impossible to duplicate the results. So they can be assured, no one else will have the same item. The fabrics I use are a high quality cotton muslin and broadcloth. They can also expect to receive excellent, fast service. I try and ship with 24-48 hours after receiving an order. Usually I can ship the same day. At this point, I don't ship outside the USA. That is something I do plan on offering in the future, as soon as I can figure out a way to estimate the shipping costs as accurately as possible.

6. Starting a small business is fun, but also a lot of hard work, especially the marketing part of it. I personally learn from my own experiences and mistakes. Is there something you have learned in the process so far that you would like to share with other people starting up a small business?

Marketing is my worst nightmare! I am very introverted and could spend all my time in the studio making products. But I'm slowly coming out of my shell in that regard. Getting more involved in social media is helping and trying to be consistent in posting on my blog is also helping. And connecting with others via their blogs is a great marketing strategy. Lastly, creating a consistent look across all my online platforms has been a big boost! And I can't thank you enough, Daphne for helping me to achieve that. I could not have accomplished it on my own.


Thanks so much for sharing your creative story with us Angie! It's stories like yours that will hopefully inspire people to do something with their creativity and show us that it's totally possible to start generating some income from the beautiful things we all create!

If you have been inspired by Angie's story and you would like to find out more about her beautiful hand dyed fabrics, you can find her over here:




***NOTE - while Angie and I worked on a complete business branding package for her business, I no longer offer this service. Recently I've decided to narrow down my services and to specialize in blog & blog related design only.


Share if you like:

3 comments

  1. I love the idea of putting Creative in the spotlight! Great idea and great post, Daphne!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might want to join this series when your online course is released. I think it's very creative of you to put something together like that! Would love to have you on board!

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much, Daphne! I would love to hop on board!

      Delete

© The Dutch Lady Designs | All rights reserved.
Blogger Theme Created by pipdig