Folks have been asking recently about the name “Rhetorical Factory” and how it came about. So let me tell you!
I used a swirly question mark to label everything I made when I first started making things to sell- around 4th grade. The ultimate dream was that I would one day see someone with something I had made and be able to look for the question mark and be sure it was from my hands.
In middle school my brother wrote an essay on leadership or something and the word rhetorical was an important part of it. Maybe it just stood out to me because I was so fascinated by what it meant. It seemed scholarly but mysterious- not the kind of term that leaves some people behind when used, instead a rhetorical question sort of takes away the pretension that goes along with knowing anything. It leaves the wisdom in the question and demands unending consciousness from the people receiving the question who know there is no particular answer.
I think I was thirteen or fourteen when I started using tags when selling necklaces I made and the word Rhetorical appeared on one side with the swirly question mark on the other. I never had a time when I thought of making that the name, it had just settled in my heart somewhere and surprised even me when I realized I had picked the word for the label.
“Rhetorical” became the term I used for my own art. When I was 16 I started taking pictures and around 17 started feeling good about them and made a water mark for “Rhetorical Photography”. I operated that as a business for awhile shooting for the Orange Peel, and musicians and some events and portraits.
A few years later I apprenticed for Danielle at Royal Peasantry. She showed me her method for making peasant skirts and I started making a bunch for little girls. They sold pretty well and Danielle wanted me to make more, so I set up an area in my little tiny apartment and called it “Being a Factory”. After some time developing different areas of my clothing-art I was asked to make it more officially branded, that’s when I decided to get a studio and since I wasn’t sure I’d only be making clothes, and didn’t want to rule out all the other art forms I really would like to get into, I called the studio “Rhetorical Factory” and have been honing that brand ever since!
We narrowed it down to screen printed clothes but the truth of the matter is that it’s art cranked out in an atmosphere of wonder and shear respect for the process. I’ve taken my own personality out and sprinkled it back in, sort of dis-associating from the factory. It has the effect of putting me in awe of Art Itself and allows it to adapt through the interpretation of every soul it comes in contact with. I am a faithful vessel for Rhetorical Factory but I couldn’t claim all that it has become or all it will be because it’s been there on it’s own looming right at the top of my gaze.