On Labels

I started to sell my work, to send them to exhibitions, and to receive commissions in a matter of two months in 2005. I was happy, but a bit overwhelmed, and needed help.

Early in 2006, ceramicist Rose Griffin gave me sage advice, from how to approach galleries and shops, to product presentation, to the miscellany of owning and running an art/craft business. On woven labels, though, she was adamant; I must have them made to show I'm serious. I don't particularly like labels, as they create an A-side and a B-side, and I was going to make individual, hand-written tags to attach by a thread, but she recommended I look around carefully.

One scarf I liked so much I begged it off of my mother has this label, and for years I wondered what Kathy Williams' studio in Wales looks like, and what she's weaving now.

So I took Rose's advice and had one made, and I still have about 250 years' supply. Back then, I was only weaving large shawls, so my labels are big. I had a great time discussing colors, fonts, wording and placements with Glenda Philipps of Peterson Labels in Auckland, and she was unbelievably patient and as committed to making exactly what I wanted as I was. And I like my label.

The tag is usually attached with the yarn used in the warp, but I used ribbons for Twilight Market. Care instructions and yarn contents are either handwritten or printed on a computer-generated business card; a small plastic bag containing yarn sample is also attached. This is my maximum set; some don't get sample yarns, and exhibition pieces may come with none of these, depending on exhibition rules.

For about a year I've been weaving a lot of tiny 6-inch cashmere scarves, mostly for the Red Gallery, and naturally I don't attach my giant labels; Jay Farnsworth is not worried, because she, too, is not a fan of labels. But I've been thinking of a small label ever since I saw this:.

Randy's is a small label, used even on, I believe, his larger shawls, and I was stunned by the simplicity and the beauty of it, as well as where they are attached (not at the end where it might be overly visible but on the side), and how (not sewn on, but with a type of soft glue.)

I've been flirting with the idea of small label, especially since I've experimented with other narrower scarves; I'm particularly fond of my cotton ones.

In a moment of madness, I contacted Glenda again, and after weeks of discussion, she sent me two samples. The problem was, I love the subtle Sample B, but the subtlety defeats the point of having a label made; besides Sample A uses the same color scheme as my big label, so theoretically I should stick to it. Well, I did what I do when I'm unsure about colors; I put them all over the house and looked at them in different lights all hours of the day. For about a month.

In the end, I couldn't decide, so Glenda let me order half and half; I'm getting both color ways. Because my fiber is mostly cashmere, merino or the possum mix, I didn't ask for the adhesive backing, so I will still sew them on, but I can't wait to see my gems.

Oh, the business card. Martin Rodgers always insisted I get some printed professionally, but he didn't like the weaving draft logo, so we were at a stalemate, and then he left town...


Peg in South Carolina said...

I liked your post. I had not realized that Darwall even had labels in his scarves. I have been too fascinated with his hangtags to notice the labels.

Meg said...

My label is hanging in there by the skin of its teeth, so it's possible yours have fallen off, Peg. I noticed the hangtag for the first time while checking back my workshop notes and photos on Sunday.

Taueret said...

Meg, check out moo.com. I got 100 mini business cards with images of my weaving on the front and text on the back, and 100 with my images on the front and care instructions/made by etc info on the back to use as swing tags. They're really beautiful and the price was right.

Meg said...

Well, Taueret, I did get a tiny pack of free Moo cards and they are spectacular quality, but I'm not sure fancy photos on my business card is my style. I'll give a thought, though, and for those of you who don't know moo.com, it IS a fun place to check out.

Me, I think I'm a bit duller and conservative, as seen in my labels, but maybe this is a change to break out of it, too.

I'll think about it!! Promise.