|The beginning of something new – Alice JM Banks OCAD University||| Print ||
I began my studies at NSCAD, took time off to travel and explore other aspects of life, and then returned to complete my studies at OCAD. In my final year at OCAD I focused my efforts on designing and producing a line of clothing. I felt it was important to create a final project that was functional but still paid homage to my craft roots.Now that I have graduated everything seems to be more complicated and busy then while I was in school. Once finals were finished I jumped into starting my own business. I took the catalogue that I had created for my final project and contacted several stores across Canada. It was scary to put myself out there, but thankfully their feedback was better than I expected. Six stores across Canada have since picked up my fall line.
Now stores expect to have products arriving in August it means my production time is extremely tight. Luckily tight timelines is something I had been dealing with throughout my education. In addition to the chaos of a tight production timeline I also have the business and administrative side that needs to be dealt with. Because my education background is in art and not business I find the administrative part the difficult part. I spent weeks at a desk writing a proper business plan. Projecting financials for five years is incredibly difficult without experience for reference.If there is something I wish I had been taught more of in school it’s how to prepare yourself for the real world of business and it’s relation to art and design. In a somewhat recent interview with previous OCAD graduates this question was asked “What advice would you give to someone interested in studying textiles or becoming a fibre artist or designer?”1* My response would be: major in business and minor in textiles. Understanding the business aspect of selling your products, whether they are fine art works or simple design pieces, is the most important part to having a successful career in textiles. We see it all the time crappy products making money because they have good marketing and great products going nowhere because the creator lacks the ability to run a successful business.
It’s important to understand there is a balance between making things for love of making them and making things for a living. I adore every aspect of textiles and will continue to practice them for as long as I can. I am a maker. People in OCAD were determined to separate students as either artists or designers. In my eyes they are really the same thing.To me it all comes down to making, preferably making what I enjoy. It’s hard to think of myself in any other way then just a girl making things.I love that I have landed in a position where I am designing and making textiles that I am also transforming into very wearable clothing. I hope that I can continue to do it successfully for a long time. Things change and the world of textiles is changing. All I want is to keep up doing what I love and manage to adapt while doing so. Preserve the old, embrace the new, and make what you want to.
1*Bradinsky, Monica “Q & A with a few of this years’ Fibre graduates from OCAD”Fibre QuarterlyCanada 2008
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