EPISODE FIFTY-THREE: in conversation with Mira Blackman

Mira Blackman is a clothing designer and maker, she cuts and sews her own line of sacred textiles in Oakland, California, using handwoven fabric from Uganda. Mira has a background in healing arts and teaching yoga, and moved to Oakland from her hometown of Marin, California. She grew up sewing, then a few years ago she made the decision to study apparel design and merchandising at College of Alameda to learn more about pattern design, drafting, and construction, and go into business for herself. Mira tells the story of how she first discovered the indigo dyed 100% cotton fabric that she works with on her trip to Senegal. She and Marlee discuss the details of starting and running a business as one person with many tasks, and talk about how to find your people after moving to a new place. Mira’s approach was to go dancing enough times until she found a scene that felt like her home, and going to a church that vibed with her beliefs that serendipitously intersected with the community she found House dancing.

The blog post by Stacy Feyer Solo I mentioned about the benefits of a church community is here 

Words of wisdom:

“It’s fulfilling [the fabric]’s purpose, to make it into something… The fabric is all hand-woven and hand-dyed, so I wanted to make stuff that I felt like really respected the fabric and showcased the fabric… I felt like it already had so much life in it, it’s just about making it something that can be worn and something you can move in.”

“The people who were speaking there were speaking my truth and my heart… and it was just a really sweet community that connected me with so many people.”

Current Projects:

Mira is just following the path and seeing what the next step is. It has been a process, from deciding to move her studio out of her home, to meeting new stockists through instagram and selling at markets, to balancing spiritual and romantic life while being her own boss. Life and projects unfold as they come.

Things to be excited about:

Podcasts! Mira listens to podcasts while she is working in the studio, namely storytelling platforms like Risk and The Moth, but she has also recently rediscovered KPFA station programming. KPFA hosts awesome shows, and Mira’s favorites are Your Own Health and Fitness, and The Visionary Activist- an astrologer’s point of view on activism.

Continuing to learn! Mira loves the benefits of taking a class. She is excited to take an upcoming Boro textiles workshop with Jody Alexander of Wishi Washi Studio.

EPISODE FIFTY-TWO: in conversation with Solee Darrell

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Solee Darrell was born in Bermuda, grew up in the United States, and has recently moved to Canada. She works as a jewelry designer, running her own business, Solee Darrell Jewelry. Solee tells her story of how she first went to fashion school, but skeptical of her prospects after graduation, she decided to start a new path and study Silversmithing in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico under Billy King. Back in the Bay Area, she applied to work at Crown Nine, where she learned so much about production and how to run a business as a woman, as well as had access to the tools she needed to develop her own line. All of her work is one of a kind, she grew her business through instagram, responding to what people order and request; she sells in her shop online and at a list of stockists on the west coast. Solee describes her “female-centric brand” as an opportunity for her to make tangible items of love. With each custom order, she asks the client what they are working on, and follows her intuition and knowledge of stones’ vibrational properties to pick stones and forms that are specific to the person who will wear it. Marlee and Solee discuss our current political situation, what happens when you move, the inherent self-care in having a creative practice, and the struggles of when your creative practice becomes your job.

 

Words of wisdom:

“In my own life, it’s so important to me to be a woman, and to have that energy around me at all times. So, I’m bringing that energy out into the world and manifesting it into an actual piece of something.”

“I’m not leaving this magical arena of the world, just because some people don’t understand it.”

“I think if every single person was taught how to make something with their hands, we would be way less upset… It’s a form of meditation”

 

Current Projects:

Solee is getting to know her new home better- she moved to Vancouver from Oakland last summer and is still working to find her community there. This is also her first year working entirely for herself, and she is producing new work and learning how to envision each day, then follow through.

 

Things to be excited about:

Being informed! Solee is currently obsessed with an app called Think Dirty, that you can use to scan products and it will tell you on a scale of one to ten how bad it is for your body and the environment.

The women’s march! The amazing world-wide gathering of women was the day before this podcast recording and she was still in a daze, but Solee wants to make a book of text messages between her and female friends, so people can see that women are having the same tough conversations and are not alone.

Reducing scroll time! Marlee and Solee related on their struggle around checking instagram way too often, and ON AIR they made a pact to reduce their use together. Try a book or a conversation instead….

EPISODE FIFTY-ONE: in conversation with Texas Isaiah

Texas Isaiah exists and breathes in this world as a visual narrator. He takes pictures and gets to know the world and other people through photography, building his narrative and reflecting it back into the world through his work. Texas is a magic being inside of a skin suit. Through documentation and portraiture, he is working to rebuild the problematic relationship between POC and photographic representation, and creating a new archive of these unique narratives. His self-portraiture focuses on showing the complexity of being a non-binary trans person, and visually capturing this narrative in a beautiful way.

Marlee and Texas talk about taking a break from posting work on instagram while making work in peaceful silence, how gender doesn’t exist, finding inspiration across creative genres, finding the small things that make one at ease while living on the road, and communicating with ancestors in dream spaces. Texas shares how he sustains as a professional photographer- selecting those corporations to capitalize on and get a paycheck, which enables his ability to work within the community on a sliding scale.

 

Words of wisdom:

“I think that a lot of the work that I’ve received within the past two years, and I can see it’s really growing, has been because I’ve been doing a lot more personal work. I think that people, especially within the commercial industry, they’re finding this huge importance within narratives. And I think that’s really awesome.”

“In those self portraits that I took, that was the beginning of trying to insert myself in my work in a way that was very abstract, in a way that embodies my spirit more than the physical attributes that I have.”

“I think we have this prototype for what a powerful person should look like, and I think that’s just total bullshit- we are all powerful in our own ways.”

 

Current Projects:

Texas has work in the group show, Torrent Tea: Queer Space and Photographic Futures, at Newspace Center for Photography in Portland. The show is on view January 13th through February 25th. He is also working on an upcoming book of his photography and thinking about the places and spaces where his work is shown. Thanks to a friend naming a topic he has always explored, Texas is doing research around topophilia- the relationship between people and places, and reading a bunch of books on the subject.

 

Things to be excited about:

Frank Ocean! The visual album Blond has been a huge inspiration to Texas, informing much of his own work, and Frank Ocean’ sounds and choices in self-management have been an ongoing inspiration.

Decluttering your life! There’s the Minimalism documentary on Netflix that might help us all cleanse a little… 

Being an informed artist! Texas is reading a book called ART/WORK, it offers advice for artists on gallery relationships and how to be prepared for dealing professionally and protecting yourself.

Making music! Texas is headed back into music-making and reading song lyrics from many sources as research to writing his own lyrics.

The future! Texas is on a path to living in LA, finding a new West Coast home base, while keeping a transient lifestyle.

Gilmore girls is also cool!

EPISODE FIFTY: in conversation with Rebekah Erev

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Rebekah Erev is an earth-humping Hebrew Priestess, clergy person, artist, and small business owner who created the Moon Angel / Malakh Halevanah deck and book. While Rebekah was in her religious training, she began designing a set of oracle cards as her own tool for divination, and now distributes them for everyone's benefit. Rebekah has a background in teaching, with an masters degree from Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington, and has co-founded the projects bfamfaphd.com and DIY Art School as a response to privilege and cost making higher education inaccessible to many. She also collaborated with Elsa Asher to publish Moon Tools workbook to extend the concept of the Moon Angel cards into classes and an online support system, encouraging people to use the cycle of the moon to work though life processes and creative projects. 

Marlee and Rebekah talk about the humanity of asking others for help, sweeping as a zen activity, not taking things personally in business when people say no, living in radical queer therapy cult, reading through the entirety of the artists way, and leaving her teaching job to pursue her career as an artist. 

 

words of wisdom:

“I love teaching. I love seeing people’s potential, and seeing them for who they really are, and helping to bring that out. Yeah, I love being a cheerleader, essentially. And, loving people and seeing them, and helping them find ways to express who they are more authentically and share that with the world- it’s really satisfying.”

“I started to think about my actions and how they make my prayer in the world.”

“Being in touch with our sexuality, as sexual beings, that helps us get more in touch with our intuition.”

 

current projects:

Rebekah is working on having feelings about having feelings, or having the capacity to feel more of the good and bad feelings / Exploring obscurity and the unknown though art and sex / Making a list of hopes and intentions moving into a new year / Cultivating a rebel heart, and finding the good in the current growth of activism and public expression of feelings.

 

things to be excited about:

Her awesome TV channel! Rebekah has made series of videos, one for each oracle card, and is posting them on Hebrew Priestess TV with more videos to come...

Boobs poster campaign! Rebekah is selling printed posters celebrating breasts, and giving half of all proceeds to the Birth Justice Project and Planned Parenthood. She is also donating 50% of her workbook sales to support the Standing Rock water protectors.

Teaching workshops! Rebekah will be offering classes at the new Have Company studio in West Oakland.

EPISODE FORTY-NINE: in conversation with wax and wane fiber

Wax & Wane Fiber is a collaboration between Baltimore fiber artists, Claire Fredrick and Ashton J. Page. The two met at the MFA in Community Arts program at the Maryland Institue of Art in Baltimore, after Claire came from Chicago, Illinois and Ashton came from Omaha, Nebraska. They collaborated at MICA on The Quilt Story Exchange, where they worked with Baltimore women in recovery from trauma, to make therapeutic storytelling quilts. After graudating, they were inspired by their mutual interest in the magical range of natural plant dyes to start their own company, Wax & Wane Fiber. The company has a two-fold mission: to play in the studio researching dye science and surface design, and to travel and teach natural dying with an undercurrent of ecological stewardship. They also make a line of textiles for the body and home, including custom vagina scarves and pride flags. They talk with Marlee about teaching workshops in their own studio and on the road, how to promote events and new developments, and the challenge of ramping up studio production amongst part time jobs and domestic partners.

 

words of wisdom:

“This is a partnership, so we are using ‘we’, and it’s been a challenge for me to get away from using ‘I’ statements… this is both of our’s thing, and having to be cognizant of the “we”, and also when it is okay to be my thing in a two-part company, and when it is okay to be your thing in a two-person company.”

“I think when that happens, you are just forced to figure it out.”

 

current projects:

Claire and Ashton were hosted at have company in the last few days that the physical shop in Grand Rapids existed, and they offered a natural dye workshop that turned into a space to share feelings and talk about transition. They are working on developing a longer-term course in their craft, hoping to offer a four-day workshop for public schools. In the studio they are gearing up for holiday season sales- they are excited to be selling at Renegade Brooklyn for the first time this year.

 

things to be excited about:

Finishing a knitting project! Claire is finishing her first knitting project, a shawl that she has been working on for months and will wear this winter.

The Broken Circle: Yarns of The Knitting Witches! This new young adult fantasy fiction by Cheryl Potter, that Ashton and Claire are SO in love with. It’s about fiber arts and witchery and it is a series, so get ready to be hooked.

EPISODE FOURTY-EIGHT: in conversation with Jordan Knecht

buy Jordan's book DETOX : reflections on taking a break from social media HERE

Jordan Knecht made a quick stop in Grand Rapids traveling through Michigan on his way to the Detroit Art Book Fair, and fell in deep with Marlee for one day. Originally from St Luis, Missouri, Jordan studied the symbiotic relationship of printmaking and sound in Western Mass before moving to Denver, Colorado. Jordan makes installation art, books, prints, and bands. Marlee and Jordan review their greatest hits day- jumping into the October-cold Lake Michigan and narrowly avoiding an ice cream crisis- and Jordan's book that originally connected the two. Detox (reflections on taking a break from social media), is a reminder that there is something out there besides the internet. Marlee and Jordan relate on feeling empty after looking for validation on instagram, and keeping moments sacred by resisting the urge to document and post their experiences. Jordan shares stories of turning around negative self-talk, moving after being worn down by a lack of support in the community, maintaining a studio outside of his home, jumping from one art medium to another, and working weird random jobs that don’t hold him to a schedule so he can do the things he is driven to do.

 

Words of wisdom:

“I got really sick of the way that I was wasting time through using social media, where instead of having my own thoughts I was automatically going to a screen. And so decided to quilt cold turkey, and overtime I had the urge to get on social media, I would take that as an opportunity to write to myself- some kind of reflection.”

“No one should ever be shamed for doing things for the first time.”

“Just say yes. Being good to my body, putting good things in my body- YES.”

 

Current Projects:

Jordan is busy publishing books for other people on his risograph press, following up on a grant, and working on an art installation for 2018. He is also almost finished with a new book; Records is coming soon so keep an eye out.

 

Things to be excited about:

Cooking all the time! Jordan is a die-hard David Chang fan, who makes incredible Korean food. Another Jordan favorite is the Indian food recipe videos on Vah-Reh-Vah.

Sewing! Jordan is experimenting with making women’s clothing into collared tank tops for himself.

Gossimer’s new album! Marlee and Jordan’s mutual friend Jenny Williams is making new music.

Being in the greatest hits of life! Jordan is stoked on how all of the exciting and creative aspects are coming together in his life right now.

EPISODE FORTY-SEVEN: in conversation with Shara Crosby

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Shara Crosby lives in Greenville, South Carolina, is originally from Asheville, North Carolina, and gives hand poke tattoos of her own design. After being inspired by the work of Tea Leigh, Shara taught herself the ancient craft by giving herself and her friends tattoos, and the practice quickly became her catharsis. Her intention is to hold space for others; setting up a tattoo experience where she is fully present and the recipient is safe to have their own process as she permanently marks their body. Marlee and Shara discuss the different feelings of tattoos from men and women tattoo artists, self-taught and apprenticed tattoo artists, totally unique designs for individuals and repeat images, and relent on a few less-than-magical tattoo experiences. Shara also has a full time job and is grateful to have it, while she simmers plans to eventually open a studio that will be a safe and sacred space for tattoos, massage, herbal consultation, rest, and healing. She knowingly talks about learning your boundaries (i.e. how much time you commit) in a day job versus the craft you practice after hours.

Words of wisdom:

“The biggest thing for me is knowing what my boundaries are. And that’s something that I had a big epiphany about, about a year ago. I realized that other people’s boundaries were so important to me, and I also wasn’t naming what my own boundaries were, and so I was overstepping my own boundaries to meet them at theirs, and was just constantly drained by that… It is a practice to vocalize what your boundaries are with someone else- it’s hard and the more I practice it, the easier it gets.”

Projects at have company:

Shara took the first two days in residence to not do anything, she took the time to face herself and the things facing her at home. Then she was ready to start meeting people and hand-poking tattoos. She was booked up with appointments right away, and spent the tattoo sessions getting to know the person she sat with. After a week of being in a space where her only obligation is to take care of herself and tattoo people, Shara realized that this is something that she wants to do with her life, and will take that intention home with her. Sleeping in and getting rest has taught her so much. 

Things Marlee is excited about:

Love! Marlee wows at the ease-fulness of falling in and out of love this year.

Fiction Books! She is getting back into fiction and is reading The Good Girl- reading fiction is a great way to not always be working.

Things to be excited about:

Love! Receiving a package from a sweetheart while you are at an artist residency is the bomb.

Season two of Stranger Things! Marlee and Shara have big love for Winona Ryder.

Finding your path! Shara is gonna go home and poke everyone, and sleep and self-love in between.

Becoming a birth doula! Share is taking her Dona workshop when she gets home.

Have Company! Being in this shop space while it is still here is magic- Marlee leaves GR and her storefront in 16 days at the date of this posting…

EPISODE FORTY-SIX: in conversation with Eliza Fernand

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Eliza Fernand is a project-based artist working in sculpture, installation, video and sound. She works as a teaching artist and makes functional quilts and pots under the names Bright Shroud and e.f. ceramics. Marlee and Eliza tell their origin story about Marlee attending her first residency at Eliza’s program, Shared Space Studio in 2012, and Eliza being the first Have Company resident artist in 2013. They met through mutual friends that run the Cabin Time roaming residency and Eliza admits that Have Company and Cabin Time inspired her move from Oakland, California two years ago to Grand Rapids, where she is now a proud home owner.

Marlee and Eliza had way too many things to talk about- they hit on having a million projects, shifting identities, the struggle of calling oneself an artist, the sadness of not making, unfinished rugs, organization through deadlines and exhibitions, making spaces for work and rest, letting go of expectations, being anti-routine, the magic of slowing down and tending to plants, and the therapy of making. Eliza tells the story of how she started Shared Space Studio with her mother in 2011 after finishing her touring project, Quilt Stories. She ran the visiting artist program there for five years, with the help of collaborator Mary Rothlisberger, and the two curated a group retrospective at The Fed Galleries of KCAD this past summer. Having attended over a dozen artist residencies, Eliza reflects on her first residency experience as an art teacher at a summer camp, and gives some advice on how to research and choose which residencies to apply to. She discusses solitary residencies versus communal ones, and the DIY spirit of domestic residencies.

Words of wisdom:

"When you do a lot of things, you can’t do everything you want to do."

"I have to put my work somewhere, because I can’t stop making it."

"Everything takes longer than you think it will. So don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t get something finished."

Things to be excited about:

Making things! For yourself and for the world. Eliza says, “My practice is therapeutic. And if I can open up other people to having a creative practice that can be therapeutic to them, then I am doing good work.”

The Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park! They have an amazing library of art books and so so many great sculptures and plants.

Making pots as a business! Eliza is working on finding more outlets to sell her ceramics, and finding more joy in making what she is excited about, rather than what might sell.

Maria Bamford! A genius comic who has a new Netflix show, Lady Dynamite.

Pop-Up Shop! Eliza sells regularly at Have Company, and will be collaborating with terrarium maker Bird and Feather on a special pop-up shop here, open only during the three weeks of ArtPrize (September 21st - October 9th).

Bird sounds in the morning! Eliza likes what she hears when she is sleeping late in her comfy bed.

 

p.s. - Eliza writes the notes for this podcast, and had to write about herself in third person for this post. As an end note, if you are looking into artist residencies, she recommends res artis, the Alliance of Artists Communities, and WOOLOO as helpful databases to search on.

 

EPISODE FORTY-FIVE: in conversation with Rebecca Bruno

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Rebecca Bruno makes, facilitates, and performs dance. She is a working artist and also holds a cranial-sacral therapy practice that resonates with her rhythmic approach to dance, and a part-time freelance writing job that she can do from anywhere. For the last three years Rebecca has curated under the name Home LA, organizing a series of performances that brings dance artists into private residential spaces, and opens them to the public. Inspired by the house concerts her jazz-loving parents hosted in her youth, she connects homes and dancers and asks the artists to respond to the space. Marlee and Rebecca talk about the fluid roles and titles of dancers, how to navigate what you say yes to, and how to be paid for the cultural contribution of making movement work.

 

Words of wisdom:

“I guess there has to be a degree of personal creative interest, and then what I’m receiving back in terms of support. Sometimes that’s monetary, sometimes that’s relationships, sometimes it’s travel, sometimes it’s exposure- in both ways -being exposed to other parts of the world… With each project I’m trying to get better at having a more wholistic perspective on what I’m giving, and what’s coming back”

“Right now I’m on this thread of wanting to allow my body to lead, more than my mind, and give my body as much attention as I give the thoughts that so want to pervade every moment of my life.”

 

Projects at have company:

Taking intentional time away from a busy life in LA, Rebecca set out to keep a daily practice of drawing, reading, and moving. She spent time with stillness and listening practices- writing, sitting in meditation, listening to her body, coming back to the breath, allowing herself to feel what she’s feeling and draw what she’s feeling to move through it. Being here allowed her to observe herself in a way she doesn't usually have a chance to, and that will lead to future works. 

Rebecca also visited one of our local Grand Rapids treasures, the Meyer May House by Frank Lloyd Wright, and was incredibly inspired by the home and the film that documents the meticulous restoration of the house by Steelcase. The film concludes with the concept that the many detailed parts of the home come together to create a cohesive whole, and this is what Rebecca aims to do with Home LA. She is brainstorming a project that could take place in this house, and Frank Lloyd Wright houses across the country.

 

Things to be excited about:

Collaborations and performances! This summer Rebecca had the chance to work with other movement artists and visual artists on a durational piece, We are Inseperable There is No Time and a piece for REDCAT's 2016 NOW Festival, titled Forest, and her solo performance, Unfinished. She notes that working in community is a kind of wealth, as she has the chance to collaborate with the creators of music, costumes, sculptures, and spaces.

Stoked on Have Company! In particular the Many Moons workbook by Sarah Gottesdiener, and ceramic plate by The Object Enthusiast AKA Emily Reinhardt (both past resident artists).

Writer heroes! Rebecca is reading the poems of John O'Donahue, and the book Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett, who also puts out the amazing podcast On Being.

EPISODE FORTY-FOUR: in conversation with Liz Migliorelli

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Liz Migliorelli is a medicine-maker, an herbal educator who also teaches folk magic classes, and a clinician who helps people with physical, spiritual, and mental ailments. She lives in Mendocino, California where she produces a product line of her floral and gem essence potions under the name Sister Spinster. Marlee and Liz talk about how she got into her relationship with plants; from reading Sappho’s poetry, to living with a healer while she studied at Evergreen State College in Olympia, to moving to the Bay Area for a 3-year clinical training at Ohlone Herbal Center in Berkley where her Sister Spinster brand was born. Liz’s desire to teach came from wanting to connect folks with the plants that are outside of their door and it opens her up to share her never-ending excitement about plants, making room for the plants to speak in different ways.

Marlee and Liz discuss how to exist within capitalism as radical people and the day to day practice of running a small business- from the joys of being outside with the plants and making medicine in ceremony, to the strain of spending hours writing emails and wrapping bottles in bubble wrap. Liz is hungry for knowledge, and she shares her perspective on the healing possibilities of ancestral research and dream work, and her favorite books for herbal research.

 

Words of wisdom:

About her non-monogamous love of plants: “They're like friends, in that way, and when they're all so beautiful and unique and they can show up for you in so many diverse and different ways, it’s hard to have a favorite person.”

“If I wasn’t teaching I think I would feel really bad about having a product line. The thing that’s really great about teaching is that I can make people feel empowered enough that they can make their own medicines.”

 

At Have Company:

Liz hosted a lunchtime tea party with discussion about herbs, taught a two-part workshop, The Elemental Cauldron, and offered one-on-one flower essence consultations. Along with sharing her valuable knowledge with our community, Liz also made time for herself and took a journey up North. She visited a cousin she had never met before to research her Polish ancestry, where she had the chance to look at her great-grandmother’s cookbook and learn stories about her family’s culture, dynamics, and diseases. She then went on a solo trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to use dream work to expand on her new knowledge and spend time with birch trees. While in residence she also prepared for things ahead- offering a year long herbal apprenticeship, a summer trip to Europe for more ancestral research, and the possibility of writing a spell book.

 

Things to be excited about:

Humpback whales migrating North- visible from Liz’s home in the Northern California coast!

Outdoor farmers markets and the abundance of summer! This is a great time to connect with people growing food.

Red Lipstick! Liz learned how to make her own really red lipstick without chemicals and she is stoked to wear it all of the time. 

Books! For research on herbalism, Liz recommends the classic A Modern Herbal by Margaret Grieve, all Rosemary Gladstar books, and Healing Magic: A Green Witch Guidebook to Conscious Living by Robin Rose Bennett. In her research Liz often looks at folktales and lore to see where plants are used.

Drink your nettles! It is the first healing herb that Liz was introduced to and she is still in relationship with nettle every day.

 

EPISODE FORTY-THREE: in conversation with Taylor McVay

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Taylor McVay makes clothes and she teaches people how to make clothes. She also has her own line of patterns called Blueprints for Sewing, and lives in Southeastern Massachusetts with her partner outside of the big city, in a house they own, with trees and bugs and animals and an awesome studio. Originally from Topanga Canyon in Southern California, she first made clothes around age thirteen; she remembers making a dress out of vintage silk scarves and has been sewing full blast ever since. After art school, Taylor wanted to create clothing, but the waste of the fashion industry was a big turn off so she started making patterns for people to make their own clothes. She is energized and rewarded by teaching her craft, believes that everyone is creative, and loves empowering her students to make their own thing. Marlee and Taylor talk about the challenges of running your own business, facing self-doubt, and creating in a bubble. Taylor believes that an art degree actually is helpful in running a business because it’s the creative problem solving that keeps your business running despite all odds.

 

Words of wisdom:

“It always makes me really happy when people come to these clothing swaps and recycling workshops, and they’re so pumped about other people’s clothes… I think there’s something palpable about the history in the clothing that people connect to.”

 

Projects at Have Company: 

Taylor hosted a clothing swap and alteration party where she helped new friends make their new clothes fit perfectly, and everyone had a potluck and shared food too. She took this time as a specific opportunity to dive deep into a project, and impressively began and completed a zine version of her new clothing design, the Prairie Skirt. Each of her patterns are based on architectural styles, and this site-specific design is based on the Meyer May house in Grand Rapids designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Prairie Skirt is name after the Wright’s Prairie School Architecture that the house was designed in, and the patchwork pockets are based on the stained glass windows. Taylor’s patterns are usually sold as polished products, so this zine was a fun departure with a DIY aesthetic. With hand-drawn diagrams, Taylor describes the accessible zine as “gateway sewing project” that anyone could understand.

 

Things to be excited about:

Exercise! Taylor finds it is great self-care and one should never underestimate the value of taking a run through your city (or town).

Business Babes! With two other creative entrepreneurs, Taylor formed an accountability business group where members meet monthly to talk about projects, get feedback, set a goal, and also do a weekly check-in email to keep each other on task.

NCAA! New Craft Artists in Action is a collaborative group that enacts public art projects, usually using fiber arts, that often center around sports (check out their Net Works book). As part of the collective, Taylor is in a show at the Fuller Craft Museum called Counter Craft: Voices of the Indie Craft Community.

Quilting! Taylor says quilting is awesome, because you use up all of the little scraps form other projects and you can really go crazy with it- it's kinda her new thing. (Taylor is also a drummer and founding member of the band Quilt.)

 

ps- This podcast shifted Marlee’s life into IDEA LAND.

EPISODE FORTY-TWO: in conversation with Brandi Harper

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Brandi is very happy. She runs her own business, designing knitwear for men and women, and loves using natural fiber. Her brand called purlBknit, is based in her native city of Brooklyn, where she works from home in her own little studio. Brandi started knitting as a teenager, inspired by the crocheted blankets that her grandmother sent to her family from Florida every year. When she was fifteen she started working at a yarn shop to support her fine yarns habit, and went on to teach knitting and help draft patterns at yarn shops in the city. After college, Brandi launched purlBknit on etsy in 2012, and she still thinks etsy is a great platform to run a business (her tips are make a lot and post often). She also teaches NYC Craft Entrepreneurship, a 5-part class created by etsy that covers setting expectations, branding and marketing, photographing product, pricing for profits, and taxes. We are hoping she will come back and teach what she knows here in Grand Rapids…

Marlee and Brandi talk sales and promotions, taking innovative product photographs, selling wool knitwear in the summer, and being a badass businesswoman. Brandi makes most of her sales in person, working two to three craft fairs per month in New York and Brooklyn. Her favorites are the ps321 Holiday Shop (a school fundraiser in Park Slope), and Renegade Craft Fair. Like most creatives, Brandi experiences bouts of self-doubt, and she recommends sweeping the floor to break a creative block- letting your mind wander and end up somewhere new.

 

Words of wisdom:

“I think it was being here and being around such amazing people, that I’m like: Wow- this is my life? This is the life I get to live?! I feel like we all look for problems, and there’s going to be problems if we look for them. But there’s so much love and goodness surrounding us, and I feel like I have that- and sometimes I forget.”

 

Projects at Have Company:

In residence, Brandi spent ten days being an artist and pulling out all the stops. As soon as she arrived she re-organized the entire shop with her savvy styling know-how. She worked on photographing items in the shop to promote other Have Company makers. Her event in the space, “A Day in the Life of an Artist” was an entire day of conversation and visitors. Brandi taught participants how to hand-knit her Spring Fishnet Scarf, cooked everyone an amazing dinner, and performed a series of songs she wrote about being an artist. Her energy continued at the weekly knit night, and she was so happy to meet Lake Michigan on her beach day. Brandi also spent time proofing her Shawl Collar pattern, as part of her new pursuit of releasing her patterns for sale and download in a tutorial format.

 

Things to be excited about:

Artist Residencies! This being her first residency experience, Brandi is excited to research and apply to more artist residencies, to bring her work elsewhere.

Hot Yoga! Brandi lives in a city that never stops and she is always hustling, but she recharges with Bikram Yoga, practicing at her local studio with a community of creative entrepreneurs

Zines! Inspired by the many health and apothecary zines in the shop, Brandi wants to incorporate more herbs and healing tinctures into life. She was moved in particular by The Kitchen Witch zine, Creating and Herbal Pharmacy, and Our Stories in Other Voices by Atiya Jones- a powerful workbook to look at who you are and how you see yourself in the world through writing prompts.

Making a Zine! A knitting book felt like Brandi’s next step, and being at Have Company she realized that she can take the DIY route and put out her own zine.

EPISODE FORTY-ONE: in conversation with Danielle Freiman

Marlee interviews Danielle Freiman, our resident artist visiting from Somerville, Massachusetts. Danielle went to school at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and her current practice includes making arrangements (organizing sentimental objects neatly to create a new narrative), making jewelry, and collaborating on improvisational dance pieces in Boston. She also makes zines and has a series titled Good Habits. Danielle and Marlee talk about creating accountability structures, which Danielle does by writing manifestos. First inspired by the Muff Tuff Manifesto by her friend Sarah, she wrote The Radiant Friendships Manifesto as an attempt to hang out with her friends more often. Manifestos layout intentions of a big idea, solidify it, and put it on paper to start a conversation about. Hopefully putting things on paper, and making a list, helps us approach these big intentions.

Words of wisdom:

“Sometimes, even if you want to stay home, if you’re feeling well, and you’re feeling like you could stay out for a few more hours, you might actually benefit from being around these people.”

Projects at Have Company:

Danielle prioritized sleeping and eating and moving at a comfortable pace without expectation. She taught workshop on manifesto writing, the group talked about circumstances that would lead to writing a manifesto, as well as what it means to check-in and give yourself time, and give yourself permission to take up space. 

Danielle also wrote a manifesto for being at Have Company and put it on the wall:

1. sleep as much as you want (can)

2. make arrangements in the space

3. communicate about what you need

4. take some times and space to reflect and heal

5. talk to as many people as you can

6. don’t be afraid of going outside and being lost

7. process inward and outward

8. find some treasures

9. move slowly

 

Things to be excited about:

Meeting new people and being in love!

Starting a new job and figuring it out! Danielle is just weeks into a new position as office manager at Fathom Information Design after working for two years at the awesome shop, Magpie.

More Zines! Good Habits Zine Vol. 3 is on it’s way soon…

Reading! Danielle picked up a copy of The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Mother Fucking Sad at Have Company, and is stoked to read the perspective of someone who knows that sometimes things are very hard. She says “Things might not be fine… for weeks, and you might not be able to do a lot of things. Or you might not talk to anyone, for a long time, but know that you can always return.”

PS- Danielle offers listeners the chance to get in touch to talk more about anything- she promises she will get back to you: danielle.freiman@gmail.com

EPISODE FORTY: in conversation with Atiya Jones

Marlee interviews Atiya Jones, a traveler, a super-nice person, and newly claimed artist. She is actively taking ownership of the title of Visual Artist, and her artwork in any medium focuses on human connections, why we seek them, and how we make them. Atiya was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and speaks to the disconnection she feels from her hometown after gentrification; how she can’t afford to be there and be happy, and is planning a move to Pittsburgh. Atiya and Marlee have some real talk about break-ups and being your own sweetheart, practicing yoga to step out of depression, self-care rituals, and how Atiya makes art and where it is going.

Words of wisdom:

“I've been waiting for some unicorn to come in, and rescue me, and make moves with me. Those unicorns aren't real. I am the unicorn.”

“A lot of people have trouble being soft, and trouble telling their secrets. And secrets are so useless.”

Projects at Have Company:

Atiya spent time exploring Grand Rapids and making in the studio. She worked on her series of amorphous line drawings, and making hand-bound copies of her workbook, "Our Stories in Other Voices.” The workbook features 15 writing prompts to assist the writer in taking time to examine their present state of being. With the workbook, she intends to have an open conversation about taking ownership over who you want to be. After hearing an episode of the the podcast Creative Pep Talk- about being your own client, Atiya wanted to make a zine that she wanted to participate in. She wanted to know if other people were having the same experiences as her, and the book directly questions your experiences and encourages you to reflect on them.

Things to be excited about:

Finding your tribe! Atiya is leaving New York, is looking forward to all of the people she is going to meet, and how they will change her life. She would like to travel with her art- leaving a mark, spreading beauty. 

Actively practicing surrender!  Let the universe take care of you.

Embracing solitude! Atiya is excited about her life, and the parts that she gets to control- which is all of it!

EPISODE THIRTY-NINE: in conversation with Molly Schaeffer

Marlee interviews Molly Schaeffer, a special quiet person who works in illustration, writing, sewing, and she also reads a lot. Molly studied poetry and literature and she works as a nanny and freelance copyeditor. Molly talks about her non-linear approach to making art, zines, and books, and her new experience in the self-publishing world. She co-edits the literary and arts journal, Big Big Wednesday, which she started in 2013 with two friends. Big Big Wednesday is an annual journal, compiled from open-call submissions based on a theme. Submissions for Issue 4 “Partial” are still open through May 30th- email bigbigwed@gmail.com! Marlee and Molly also chat about instagram, putting yourself out there, and when you make stuff where you put it.

Words of wisdom:

“I have this weird compulsion to feel like I shouldn't need to make things for anyone else's approval, or even for them to see. But then I think that if everyone felt that way, I wouldn't have anything. Like, all the books I love, all the music I listen to, movies… I think that sharing what you make with the world is valuable. And I just want to find a way to do that where I don’t feel like it’s infiltrating my brain and my habits.”

Projects at Have Company:

Molly worked on her ongoing poetry embroidery project, one table cloth embroidered with an Emily Dickinson poem and another embroidered with a Rilke quote from The Poetics of Space. She likes the process of sewing out the quotes, taking a lot of time with them, to reach a new awareness. She is really interested in joining language, texture and fabric, and gives props to the artist Ann Hamilton. Molly took some long walks in Grand Rapids, went thrifting, and visited homes of new friends.

Things to be excited about:

Reading! Molly sees reading fiction as a form of self-help- learning through story, relating to characters and learning about herself. She recommends My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, and I Love Dick by Chris Kraus.

Lake Michigan and the Ocean! (Always amazing)

Poiro and all British Murder Mysteries!

Ashwaganda milk! Molly had trouble sleeping, and Ariel made her this treat: Ashwaganda powder, milk, honey, and cinnamon.

Upcoming projects! Molly is having an art show in Portland, doing album art for gossimer, and collaborating with her musician friend from the band Little Star, translating poems to songs and songs to drawings.

EPISODE THIRTY-EIGHT: in conversation with Whit Forrester

This podcast opens with Whit’s amazing singing voice, and continues into an equally amazing interview with Marlee where they discuss making art, queerness as a restoration of life, Whit’s longstanding relationship with witch craft and the tarot, mental health practices, and even grant writing. Whit Forrester is a photographic artist who also likes to use performance, and as we discover they are also an ordained minister. Whit is a native of Louisville, Kentucky; toured with Rainbow in the Dark, a queer and trans performance project; and is now an MFA photography candidate at Columbia College in Chicago, photographically looking at nature and our relationship to it. Their current work is on view at Have Company, a series of photographs of house plants “sainted” with gold leaf halos.

 

Words of wisdom:

“I feel it is best for me to make decisions with my body.”

 

Projects at Have Company:

Whit spent time on their photographs, and invited guests to visit the space and give feedback. They gave Marlee and the other resident artist Sarah stick and poke tattoos, and offered tarot readings to friends in town. Whit ended the week with an experimental performance at Have Company, part of a series of performances about love, and they also held space for a discussion on queer art and life.

 

Things to be excited about:

Gold! finding the place that gold gets it’s light.

Books! Whit recommends Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham and everything written by bell hooks.

Traveling! Whit is going to Zürich, to put on an art show, writing a grant to look at how AIDS legalized weed in California, and writing another grant to visit Ireland. 

Queering our relationship to landscape, taking borders + boundaries and realizing they are fluid and flexible. Listening instead of demanding.

EPISODE THIRTY-SEVEN: in conversation with Sarah Williams

Marlee interviews Sarah Williams, born and raised in LA, and the managing director + co-founder at Womens Center for Creative Work. She also works at For Your Art, another arts organization that provides a guide for art listings and sales and puts out a weekly newsletter. Sarah talks about grad school, feminist business school, work and money, the Feminist Library on Wheels, and why WCCW is needed. She and her community are looking at where the intersection of creative practice and feminism exist at the present moment, and how can they tap into that. She wants to support the arts with a community center vibe.

 

Words of wisdom:

“One of Our core values is that we hold We hold women in a place of privilege, unapologetically, and without having to explain it”

 

Projects at Have Company:

Sarah found herself making stuff this past week- she crocheted a found-fabric rug that Yoko the cat is in love with. She took the chance to see how people in Grand Rapids live, and experience the wonder of a snow day. She also spent time with the other resident, Whit, who gave her her first arm tatt and an amazing tarot reading. Sarah is working on making more Sarah-specific plans, to avoid the burn-out.

 

Things to be excited about:

Books and book groups! Sarah is in two book groups, and is reading Fear of Flying and My Struggle. She recommends Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici, from which she learned that ‘witchy things’ are women organizing and sharing knowledge.

Podcasts! Sarah listens to Call Your Girlfriend + Another Round 

Growth! Sarah is excited to see the next phase of WCCW come to fruition…

EPISODE THIRTY-SIX : in conversation with Courtney Knight

Marlee interviews Courtney Knight, an illustrator and maker based in Portland, Oregon. Courtney spent her residency at Marlee’s home while Erica Recto was in residence at the shop, and she and Marlee recap a week of breaking it down and digging in deep on everything from repetitive thoughts, being guided by guilt, lacking a filter, being invited, the power of instagram, and even a little astrological analysis. Courtney works part time as a freelance illustrator, part time on her own art practice, and full time at Tanner Goods, making leather wallets. She talks about the balance a day job brings- the perks of financial stability and the social aspect of going to work. 

*You can also hear the voice of Yoko Ono the cat, walking in on the interview.

 

Words of wisdom:

“Make more. Just fuckin’ make more”

 

Projects at Have Company:

Courtney taught a workshop on her process of memory mapping, drawing word webs and visually archiving moments to not forget. She encouraged participants to make lists to take stock of what is going on in your head, and realize how you are spending time internally. She also held a drink + draw event at Marlee’s house, where she relived her childhood antics of getting everyone to hang out and draw with her. 

The house residency was a good fit for Courtney because she is obsessed with homes. She was able to sleep in, and even more amazing, she was able to cry. After a year of not crying, Erica Recto’s heart chackra workshop opened her to tears, and Marlee wants everyone to feel okay with crying.

 

Things to be excited about:

Drawing everyday! And making lists in a nice hardcover, blank page, Moleskine sketchbook.

Daily meditations! She recently restarted a meditation practice, spending ten minutes each day, and the people around her noticed a shift in her outlook. She meditates alone in quiet, with guided recordings, and with her friend who helps keep her accountable.

Collaborative projects and new friends! Courtney is still new to Portland, where she will go to friends’ houses and demand that they show her everything they are working on.

EPISODE THIRTY-FIVE : in conversation with Erica Recto

Marlee interviews Erica Recto, a self-identified maker and doer who has found a way to make and do whatever she puts her mind to. Check out her online shop, Amelia BK to see her ever-changing range of handmade products, all based on her practice of slowing down and embracing daily rituals. These goods include incense, ceramics, soaps, candles, accessories, and herbal medicines. Erica talks about how she went from 17 years in a full-time job in the New York fashion industry, to making her living working for herself. She talks about nostalgia, good triggers, being woo-woo, and staying grounded while traveling with her daily practices of clearing the space and drawing tarot and oracle cards.

 

Words of wisdom:

“When you find what you are supposed to be doing, things kind of fall into place.”

 

Projects at Have Company:

Erica made progress on her latch hooked rug that combines her joy in 70’s kitsch nostalgia with imagery of metaphysical wonders. Her rugs will be in her very first art show at The Habitat Bar in Brooklyn

She also offered reike treatments and chackra meditations in the shop, where she learned a little about boundary settings and psychic protection.

 

Things to be excited about:

Belief in card reading! Reading intuitively, dissecting + interpreting cards with Erica’s own card chart or The Sacred Tarot.

Pending business remodel- putting out fewer pieces, only the things she feels really proud of.

Making incense! Erica’s favorite selections are patchouli + paul santo + copal in first place, and sandalwood + rose in second place.

Teaching shoe-making at Spirit Weavers Gathering in June.

Dream work! Erica hopes to access ancestral patterns and lost histories in Filipino indigenous culture, with the help of a book on shamanism and dream work that she picked up at Mother Moon in Saugatuck.