At Lughnasadh I launched Circles and Symbols : an organic clothing + accessories line.
Art. Merchandise. Fashion. Pretty controversial topics, especially when you combine them …
So many thoughts I could share. So many points upon which to disagree with folk. So many points upon which to be disagreed with.
Instead, I’ll introduce this with brevity and turn the comments off. That’s how it goes in today’s world. I get to choose.
I chose a manufacturer who is working with a circular economy model, so they take old t-shirts and turn them into new. The t-shirts, baseball shirts, t-shirt dresses, sweatshirts, hoodies and tote bags are all fully traceable, from farm to field.
They’re made from 100% organic cotton (except those in the circular model, which are 50% organic cotton and 50% post consumer material) and printed on-demand with no animal derived ingredients.
The factory runs on renewable technology and they ship goods entirely plastic-free.
It’s not perfect, I know – but it’s pretty good. I’m very interest in supporting a company working with the circular economy model. Don’t buy one if you’ve pledged to buy no new clothing ever again. I completely support and respect your choice.
I can be a real snob when it comes to art. I complain readily about all of the Frida Kahlo merchandise in the gift shops.
So why would I create merch with my art?
I also have a Frida Kahlo mirror that I use on my altar from time to time : I’m a living paradox.
Creating merchandise is one way for me to make tangible that which I create. Ideally, I’d be small-scale printing/making/weaving/building my own and I hope that might yet happen, but meantime, this is a great option for me.
Another reason is that when you live in a capitalist system you need to generate cash to pay bills : making merchandise adds very welcome cash to my income stream.
I’m a Scottish working-class middle-aged white woman who exists in a paradox of disadvantage and privilege, creative curiosity and pragmatism. Again, with the paradox.
Do you know about Nick Cave’s The Red Hand Files? If not, go check them out now and forget all about this…. If you already know, you might enjoy this take…
From Nick Cave’s The Red Hand Files #54
In answer to the question, posed by Nick’s fan, Piers, “I wonder what your thoughts are on the merchandising of art, and whether or not you’d wear tube socks with the name of an artist you greatly admired on?”
Nick ruminates, “However, banal and as exploitative as these things may be, I value some of them hugely, and if there were a fire in my house they could quite possibly be the first things I would grab after the dogs. They have immense sentimental value, they are attached to certain times, people, places and things I love, and are enormously meaningful. I have a feeling that, similarly, many other music lovers have a T-shirt, a pair of socks or a hoodie that they value, and wear with a kind of reverence, not just for the artist, but for their own past – a past that, like their T-shirt, is old, faded, full of holes and beloved memories.
So, Piers, to answer your question would I wear a pair of merch socks myself? The answer is well, yeah, I do – when I do Jane Fonda’s Workout with my wife, I wear a pair of Radiohead compression socks, RiRi sweatpants, a Leather Nun T-shirt and a Dire Straits headband. I am a star jumping, butt clenching dervish of banality and exploitation. Look at me now!”
In my shop each month, I’ll make available a different range of items and designs.
During August, I’ve made available Ancient Wisdom/Transmission – the symbol Heather designed for me as my logo. It’s based on an image of my hand resting on a cup and rings carving at Cairnbaan near Kilmartin.
There’s also one of my key symbols, the spiral and a digital version of one of my mandala canvas paintings, Solar Power Sunrise. Each is available on a variety of items.
Badges, stickers, temporary tattoos and more? Well, for now that’s all reserved for my Patron fam. You’re always welcome to join … All August Patrons receive a glorious sunrise art print, completely free 🙂