When last year was still fermenting in its earliest season before blooming into summer, I had a fairly tight calendar of the shirts that I expected to launch over the coming lunar cycles, along with pictures already captured and ready for cropping into the site header. The design set even included an embroidered panty, so clearly the general outlook was one of excitement. At the beginning of this I had the milestone of acquiring, moving into, organizing, and falling in love with a new studio space. A studio I loved AND panties? The plan, I should not have to say, was to stay this course.
When I debuted the Large Initial Letter design, I honestly expected three orders. I received seventeen. This shirt with letters on it neared the popularity level of the previous batik that featured a remembrance of our shared filmic history. It got so close as to read battle station plans over his shoulder, and by doing so saved many Bothans.
There was no surprise party with multi-layered vanilla and chocolate cake when the shirt-design-debut schedule began to veer off course toward the shoulder of the road, not even a sleeve of chocolate sandwich creme cookies when the tires found soft dirt, and no exclamation of dread accompanied the lack of any chocolate what-so-ever when the schedule came to rest fully stopped in a ditch. At least, there was no surprise registered among those familiar with the site, or with my production capabilities, or with me. Four months or so after that design was featured on the site I fulfilled all seventeen orders of the Large Initial Letter shirt.
It took forever. Forever! And while my patient and amazing customers uttered nigh a grumble, many in fact saying that the delays were acceptable and just dandy, for those four months I was in a state of fairly constant disappointment and frustration.
So I devised a new plan. I devised lots of new things. I wanted to be able to produce batik shirts at a production level that nears screen printing turn around times. Bonus items if I managed this: production levels as such to allow me to participate in craft fairs (again), which would also by it’s sake of needing a ‘stock’ for shows, allow for an ‘always on’ online store where designs would be continuously available for purchase.
This goes directly in the face of many of the preambles of tinyrun, but I feel that off all the months I’ve tallied in labor toward hand made craft those four months were to be the last. Things do nothing if not change, and the amount of resources I have to devote to shirtery has been altered. Many close friends have since the days before tinyrun been confused with my steadfast hold to principles of a traditional method of batik production when it provided a chewy center of wonderful results coated in layer after layer of frustration.
This new plan cleverly took finished batiks and rendered them onto shirts via a discharge printing method, intended to replicate the original ‘hand’ of the shirt far better than an ink screen print could. This included photographing the finished batik, manipulating the artwork like soft dough in Photoshop to prep it for printing. The implications were enormous, if it worked. I would be able to take any photographed batik from my batik efforts that predate tinyrun by many years, and recreate them easily, quickly, and sell them far and wide for a much more market friendly price.
Fast forward to the actual product, a ‘revision’ of a batik from 2005 reborn as a discharge printed shirt. I saw flaws in the method, and I asked myself if i could live with them. And though feedback was forgiving, I am not.
TO BE CONTINUED…
BONUS: look at these thoughts of mine from 2008 to see how far things have gone…