Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Close Up with Artist & Crafter-Trish Goodfield fromTrishAlan Designs

Trish Goodfield

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
My name is Trish Goodfield and together with my husband, Alan Jackson we are TrishAlan Designs. We have a retail outlet at Old Petrie Town, just north of Brisbane. I consider myself very lucky that there is enough room at the back for my studio space. It is here that I dye our fabric and threads. Alan has a small shed that he uses for making the kumihimo supplies. I usually design the needlework charts & kits in my studio at home. 

Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?
That has and will continue to change. Initially we were inspired to create a lifestyle for ourselves. While that is still prevalent in everything we create other challenges often inspire new directions. For example hand dyeing fabric and threads has always been an important part of the business. Even the low water immersion dyeing method uses a lot of water. Just as we were gearing up to expand into the wholesale arena Qld introduced severe water restrictions. 140 litres a day wasn’t going to be enough for our existing retail customers let alone allow our planned expansion. I experimented until I significantly reduced our water consumption while still maintaining depth of colour, colour and light fastness. Our ECO DYEING method has opened up a whole new marketing and promotion strategy and our wholesale venture went ahead as planned.

Where do you get your inspiration from when you design/paint?
I am drawn to the combination of colour and texture, I see it everywhere. I think that is why I love Kumihimo. I will often use colours that don’t go together so that the texture and structure of the braid become the focus.   

Trish in touch with her creativity
TrishAlan Designs copyright

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?
Organised, energetic, focussed, creative, funny

Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
While still at school my first job was working in a fish & chip shop where they made their own chips. One of my jobs was to clean the teeny tiny bits of potato skin out of the peeling machine. Not Fun! When I left school I had no idea what to study so I went to work in health food store before getting a job  working with people with severe intellectually disability. I loved this job but also knew that I wouldn’t be doing it when I was 40. This job allowed me to indulge in my love of all things crafty and creative. Didn’t take me long to know this is what I wanted to do. I worked fulltime, had a part time job and studied part time. This job provided lots of opportunities to learn skills such as budgeting, training, submission writing, & general business skills that I still use today. 16 years later I was still there. We had a formal goal of starting our own business but the job was using a so much emotional energy that I didn’t have anything left to develop our idea. I knew I had to leave this job for one where I could clock on and off and the end of the day. During my interview for this job I stated that I would only be there for 3 years. I left just short of that and in 2002 we started TrishAlan Designs. Alan worked fulltime in the business with me continuing with contract work until 2007.

Describe a typical day in your studio space?
First up I always check emails. Next up I plan wholesale dyeing orders. Any restocking for our retail gets done at the same time. The size of the studio allows for ironing and packaging to be done at the same time. There is no risk of splattering. The YMCA has 2 camps within walking distance. They are frequented by school groups. I do a lot of dyeing and Kumihimo classes with these students. These can take up to 2 days per week.

Studio Space

TrishAlan Designs copyright

As a solo artist/designer, what is your biggest frustration?
My biggest frustration is not being taken seriously either as an artist or business woman. There are still, after 8 years, many people who think we just dabble and that it is a hobby.

Tell us about how you prioritise your studio work.
I would be lost without my diary. I don’t believe in to do lists. These just get filled up with lots of stuff that doesn’t move you toward your goals. Everything goes in my diary. When I check emails in the morning I answer what I can immediately. If there are some that require some thought or planning they go in my diary with a time allocated. The same with dyeing and packaging. If I’m working on new needlework designs I put the date I want them ready for sale into my diary then I plan backwards from there. I know that lots of people like to fly by the seat of their pants and find that invigorating but I just get plain tired and stressed. If something comes up with a short deadline I can better make a decision about how it fits in within my existing priorities and goals.

Since you are working at home/stusio, can you please tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?
I’ve struggled with this. When we first started I didn’t feel the need to network. Having always worked in an industry that was very people focussed I actually enjoyed the solitude. After a couple of years I realised that I needed to reach out to other Creatives for my own sanity. Working with your partner can lead to your whole life revolving around one person and interest.  I joined BrisStyle, a group of emerging and established Creatives who sell on etsy. We network via an online forum, monthly get togethers and markets. I learn a lot from the other members and we always enjoy a good laugh.  I also find that I connect with lots of artists through writing my weekly art/ craft column.
Because we have a retail outlet at the front of the studio we get immediate feedback from our retail customers. Alan liaises with our wholesale customers. Their needs are often very different to our retail customers.

 Eco Dyed Fabrics
TrishAlan Designs copyright

Tell me how do you manage Study and working on your business?
The business side can be so time consuming. Alan and I share this. Alan takes care of the financial side of things while I do most of the promotion and proposal stuff. Alan likes to discuss things while we work but I just hate that. I get quite one tracked and cut everything else out if it’s not what I’m working on at the time. We try to have a weekly meeting where we discuss this stuff, then I can put any actions in my diary to be worked on. One thing we do well together is future planning, we both enjoy this side.

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?
  1. Remembering that following your passion doesn’t mean that you have to be doing it for a living. Just making a little time every day to do what inspires you can lead to a passionate life.
  2. If you do choose to earn a living from your passion keep in mind that it is a lifestyle choice not a career decision. Working for yourself is hard. Can you cope with uncertain financial times? Do you need a yearly overseas holiday? Eating out 3 times per week? 
  3. Stop dreaming and start doing right now. Work out what you can do now with what you currently have.

What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?
I don’t do dreams. I have goals. The one I’m currently putting a lot of energy into is getting my book on How to Teach Your Craft published. I’m also developing a training course on the subject. This is one I know I will achieve. Some of my other goals may not get up but every little step still moves me forward.

What is your proudest moment so far?
Opening the doors to the shop and studio. For years I was told by people that it will never happen. Being able to share that day with the supportive members of family and friends was wonderful.

Who do you most want to meet and why?
It’s not necessarily to meet him but I would love to do one of Anthony Robbins Courses that he is actually running.

What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
Don’t take the first or even the second No. Asking ‘What will it take for this to happen”. You might not like what you hear but you will learn something.

 Eco Dyed Threads
TrishAlan Designs copyright

What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?
This is a book I regularly re- read, Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins. Not so much for the goal setting info but the sections on values, focus, and power of words.

Where do we find you and your product?

Cottage Treasures: Marshall St, Goondiwindi
Pine Rivers Art Gallery: Gympie Rd, Strathpine
The Patchwork Tree: Denman St, Alderley
Apatchy Quilting: London St, Clayfield
Suncoast Sewing Centre: Currie St, Nambour
Shelly's Curtain & Craft: Grafton St, Warwick
Northside Sewing Centre: Redcliffe Gardens Dr, Redcliffe
Stumers Sewing Centre: cnr Gympie Rd & Bells Pocket Rd. Strathpine.
Bayside Stitch Craft: Ross Court, Cleveland.
Country Quilt Co: Pine Mountain Rd. North Ipswich
Caboolture Sewing Machines & Patchwork: Morayfield Rd, Morayfield.
Cooroy Drapery: Maple St. Cooroy
Gympie Patchwork Factory: Ray St, Gympie
Make-it Fabrics: Ruthven St, Toowoomba
The Oz Material Girls:
Sew Creative: North St, Gatton
Sewco Sewing Centres: Logan Rd, Mt Gravatt
Nature Play: Main St, Samford.
Cathron Country Designs:
Twilight Crafts: Ipswich St, Esk 

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