Monday, March 22, 2010

new venues

It’s so great to get MAD back out into the world. I haven’t done a vending event for over three months. It’s all been planning, executing some of those plans, production, design, computer and desk work for me the second half of winter. I’m thinking very big for 2010. It’s going to be a real growth year for MAD. But when I’m plugging away in a mostly isolated way as artists do, I have those moments of wondering, “How is it all going to turn out? Am I really going to have the success I’m planning for?”

And then I have my first vending event of the year, which happened to be the benefit beCAUSE Show this past Saturday. It was not terribly well attended, and I didn’t expect it to be, but I received so many strong affirmations from people who were just seeing my work for the first time live, sales were much stronger than I expected for the crowd, and my feelings of impending success are stronger than ever. Of course now my to-do list is longer than ever also!

One thing at the top of my list is to meet with a contract sewer in VT to explore the possibility of helping with my production. If anyone else out there knows of sewers doing professional quality work who would like to partner with me, please let me know!

It’s always good to try new things. This was my first year doing the beCAUSE Show. What a sweet scene: hula hoops, chocolate popsicles, antique button jewelry, creative people young and old selling a wide variety of goods to raise money for a slew of worthy causes. I was able to send a nice big check to the Vermont Food Bank after figuring out exactly what 50% of my profits were by day’s end. I had a large space because the vendor who was supposed to be next to me cancelled.

The next new thing I will try, in terms of venues, is the Vermont Women’s Expo at the Sheraton in Burlington, VT April 10th. More details to follow as the day draws near.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

the next level

In this post we announce that prices on many Mountain Ash Design products will be going up in 2010. We are ready to move beyond the early product-development and market-testing phase of this home grown enterprise and into the offering-our-popular-products-to-stores and making-a-reasonable-profit stage. We are excited to move into a growth stage and offer employment opportunities to skilled local stitchers.

We are proud to offer one-of-a-kind sustainably handmade apparel and accessories to increase your domestic bliss and personal style. All production happens right here in the USA, and currently exclusively in Vermont.

We are seeking relationships with galleries and boutiques who are committed to offering unique items of impeccable quality to their customers and supporting independent artists with high standards of craftsmanship and individual design.
We invite interested retailers to get in touch by emailing

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

from a green planet

Here are some skirts I've been making, photographed by my illustrious live-in child protegee. The fabric I used for the skirts is new but the sashes are all made from vintage or recycled materials and I've trimmed each one in front with a button-down shirt collar or pair of cuffs.

As the text for this post I've decided to share the copy I just sent to Crafty Planet in my own home state of Minnesota.
I've been working on my contribution to the upcoming book Crafty Planet Goes Green. In it I have a project for a Virtuous Baby Quilt. I recently sent my updated bio and artist statement, plus answers to the editor's questions, for a possible artist bio section in the book. I thought it would make a nice way to get acquainted/reacquainted with any of you infrequent visitors to this here blog.

"Sarah O. Green has been honing her craft for 30 years. She was taught by her mother to sew clothes with a sewing machine at age 10 and started creating her own wardrobe at age 12 when she stole her dad’s t-shirts to make a mini-dress.

"As an art major in college Sarah began to see the expressive potential of home furnishings, though her professors thought she should stick to painting and photography. In 2006 she founded Mountain Ash Design, under which she sustainably creates a variety of one-of-a-kind wearable and functional art objects.

"Since her adolescence Sarah has secretly harbored a desire to be a fashion designer. The enthusiastic response to her current line of retro-style aprons and apron-inspired wrap skirts has been encouraging. When composing her work, Sarah tries to channel her Victorian grandmother, who was a master of many textile arts and made wonderful quilts from her store of diverse scraps.

Artist statement:
"I am inspired by quilters from the 19th and early 20th centuries who produced beautiful and dynamic work from the limited fabric choices they had. Like quilters of my grandmother’s generation who reused materials that were readily available to them, it is important to me to find and use beautiful quality materials that might otherwise be wasted.

"While I do use some new designer fabrics that I find particularly appealing, I try to use recycled materials as much as possible. I especially like to use woven cotton button-down shirts and older fabrics resurrected from the cast off fabric collections of others. I enjoy the nuances that the history and uniqueness of these fabrics add to my finished work.

"I strive for simplicity in composition; to marry fabrics in unexpected, humorous and beautifully harmonious ways, with attention to colors and associations evoked by prints. The fabrics I use often depict scenes or characters that take the viewer to another time and place.

"I enjoy including an obviously recycled decorative element in my work when I can. I want people to experience the realization, 'Hey, this used to be a shirt!'"

This is honestly the best picture I have of the project I sent to Crafty Planet. I sent my finished quilt for the publishers to photograph and take to publicity events, without photographing the finished piece. What was I thinking? Well, I am getting the quilt back, so I'll have a chance eventually, and I hope to have access to the pics they take of it for the book. This picture is of the components of the quilt: four button-down shirts I got at local thrift stores, a pair of vintage gingham shorts and a vintage dish towel. At least two shirt pockets ended up on the front of the quilt.

Now, for your viewing pleasure, back to skirts...
(feel free to click on any picture to get a closer look at the details, or get a really good look at the prints towards the end of this post.)

Q & A time with Crafty Planet Goes Green:

When did you decide to “Go Green”? Why?
"I come from a long line of frugal Yankees who I believe inspired my tendency to make creative and resourceful use of whatever materials happen to be available. My parents have been environmental activists since the 1960s so I’ve had a conscious awareness of “green issues” my whole life. There are so many useful textiles languishing around out there that can be given new life and kept out of the waste stream."

What is the best / most satisfying thing about working with recycled materials?
"I have always been intrigued by the mysterious history that a pre-loved bit of textile has, whether it’s a garment or a piece of vintage yardage. Just the look of vintage prints evokes certain associations that are fun to play with."

What has been your favorite project design or material to work with? Why?
"I love to make quilts and aprons because I have a lot of freedom in terms of the unusual fabric combinations I can get away with. "