Wooden Earrings made in Poland
Our world exists naturally without borders. I feel lucky to consider all earthlings neighbors, so while I support and uphold the value of shopping locally, I also believe in supporting sustainable and artistic enterprises around the world. Especially small ones!
These beautiful earrings are made by hand in Poland. They are just natural wood cut from sticks with and without bark. Very simple and elegant, reminding us of the epic and accessible beauty all around us.
They are made with surgical steel or sterling silver posts, and also come as a pendant.
I don’t listen to NPR any more. Unless it’s Garrison Keeler or This American Life.
There is such thing as “news” for sure, and we need that information. As large as this nation is, we need an objective account of what happens, so we can evaluate the status of our culture and find our place within it. I stopped listening to NPR the day the reporters personal feelings became part of the “report”.
Every news report is colored with the opinion of the writer, and that is not okay. The number one reason that’s not okay is that our papers and news outlets are all owned by massive corporations who have an interest in shaping public thought and opinion. A journalist with dissenting opinion is not going to be published, so what are we really reading? Hand chosen distractions meant to reach us emotionally in order to undermine our intelligence.
Unfortunately this morning I found myself reading our own syndicated paper, The Citizen Times. My business was mentioned in an article, along with the whereabouts of my home, which is infuriating to say the least.
Even that, though, didn’t get me writing. It was the article on the next page by Froma Harrop titled “Is Ferguson a social media victim?”. With her opportunity to speak, Froma chooses to “explain” the inner workings of twitter, criticizing the varied viewpoints and perhaps god forbid unrealistic broadcast of the events that were happening there.
Big Surprise! A newspaper owned and syndicated by USA Today published a story about keeping your mouth shut and letting only the established and pre-approved media chose what is “trending” and relaying the “truth” of the situation- as if there is one undeniable “capital T” truth.
Guess what, this concept of absolute truth is what allowed for the crusades, slavery, the holocaust and many many many more nameless tragedies not covered by USA Today or any other established media presence.
There is no truth absolutely. We are all alive to the same degree and are therefor entitled to our perspectives. Twitter and Instagram are great sources of news painting a much more realistic picture but still requiring discernment. Watching or listening to the news should ALWAYS include discernment! Trust each other, question everything, skip the “news” and find out what’s going on in your neighborhood and do something about it, because syndicated columns don’t apply to everyone.
I love you SO MUCH
"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"
And to say nothing. Like a muscle unflexed will lose strength and disappear, so our individual and collective voices will cease to be part of the conversation guiding the world if we don't speak up.
Questions, especially the rhetorical ones, are the one step we can take toward changing this world that doesn't put up a border between two sides. Asking a question is a neutral expression of one's own voice that also draws in the listener.
When used correctly, a question can make an otherwise defensive situation neutralized and open to change. Even when a question isn't second-guessing, just asking for information, it encourages a second thought on the matter it covers.
When answered defensively a spark will go off, suggesting there could be more under the surface that needs to be brought to light.
For every earth shattering idea there was first a question "What if we did this differently?"
In this world where we could really all take to the streets in protest for more than one dear cause, many of us chose to or must keep up with the day to day grind that in some way adds to the pain of the world, and hopefully in many cases also relieves it. Even though we are part of a system, we don't have to give it our personal power. We can continue to think for ourselves and ignore the media, and we can ALL, of all ages ask questions.
Question your friends- do they recycle? What do you think about protest? Is hand made worth more if it happens in America? Would you pay more for ethically made clothing if given the choice?
Question your superiors- Is your job what you thought it would be? What do like about delegating? What makes your job the toughest? Have you had to make any tough decisions lately? Have you ever had to put family or finances ahead of integrity?
Question business owners- Have you considered re-usable to go containers? Why did you start a business? Are there any changes your industry needs to make? Where do you get your inventory? Do you know how much all the people this business employs directly and indirectly gets paid? Are there any areas of your business where a higher price would afford more integrity?
Question Sales Clerks- Where are these made? How much do the people involved get paid? What is it made out of? It is safe for people to be working with these materials? Will this stand the test of time? Have you tried it? What do you think about the integrity of this company?
Question yourself- am I doing all I can to help, not hurt my immediate and distant community? Am I accepting answers I don't understand? Am I refusing to question something because I know the answer and fear it?
This is consciousness. Think for yourself and inspire the seizures of change toward a positive future by questioning everything.
Robin Williams is an ego that belongs to the human race. His career and the range of the characters he played impacted many areas of our culture and spanned generations. The way he died is out of line with how we see him- let us use this as an opportunity to learn, to question. Can we separate the human in his role in our world and the role itself?
Imagine a person as quick, talented and impressive as he. The potential of that personality is basically unlimited, and indeed he challenged himself and rose to the occasion again and again- testing that personality, developing characters within it and doing those characters justice. Using his talents to make people happy, but in a world that is so broken.
When an artist is a painter he can hide his most intimate work, and paint over any canvas that no longer represents his direction. When an artist is a writer he can create different characters for different aspects of himself and experiment to his heart’s content, confirming or denying whatever fiction suits him at the time. But when an artist is an actor, he himself is the canvas, his work irreversible. Characters developed inside his own heart but born from another’s brain.
The way we cling to our characters is our own. The way we interpret any art form is our own- and completely true extending to the limits of the universe we rule on our own. Being a conduit for these stories and works of art is a sacrifice Robin Williams made for us. As far out as his influence reached, that’s how far in his own realm of reality reached as well. That uncharted territory no one but himself can wander in is subject to all the harsh realities that every human faces.
I guess what I’m saying is that we can hold Robin Williams to our highest expectations as his body of work allows for, and let the person who carried that ego be a human with mysterious weaknesses. Those weaknesses only make the work that much more remarkable.
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.
I just love this picture because it encompasses the meaning of life to me.
& Question Everything backwards.
These two families are both made up of artists and hard workers, and their dedication to a rich and creative lifestyle is healing the world bit by bit.
Thank you to all you amazing families out there making children a loved and inspired priority!
I got your back!
This was the spark for our fashion show at the Mothlight last Thursday.
The artist and collaborator Phil Cheney and I have been adding extra art to clothing at Rhetorical Factory. It’s part of this next phase of recycling clothes that gets to spring out of our process here- there are many items that don’t make the cut to be straight cleaned and printed on and we file them away.
Scraps of clothes we’ve used for other things are also “filed away”
This has become a steep collection of textile scrap for the future art of Rhetorical Factory, something I’ve been preparing for since the beginning.
So, because of our zero-waste commitment we are thrilled to now be bringing you this line of intensely original garments embellished with shapes, colors, themes, and words. I’ve released several new art screen prints and Phil Cheney has pulled several of his own from the vaults and also made some new arts for the line.
“Tangential Asides” clothing pieces come in several Levels based on how much we do to any given piece. There is a constant stream of newly modified clothing flowing between the studio and the store, leveling up all the while. Each garment is documented making it a collectible work of art.
We encourage hand washing and cherishing of each item to maintain it’s value.
Level One pieces are $39.00 Level Two are $45 and Level Three are $59
This is the over arching structure, with exceptions for exceptional pieces.
Right now we have a special on Tanks with one of the New Prints for only $25...
Come see what we’ve been up to!
love from me to you-
Lately, I have been working on consistently perusing Instagram to find similar brands and like minded people who would be into what we do at Rhetorical Factory, and likewise inspire our perspective. What I've found is really amazing, there so many artists and entrepreneurs who care about making the world better through business. That's the dream!
The cool thing about facebook, instagram, twitter and all those modes of communication is that in the end it's real people on the other side. Sure- if you're only going for hype you can find thousands of shallow connections and fake profiles, but when you really want to be involved in a conversation it takes only a little time to get in touch with people on the same page.
So is the story with Bethany Tran from The Root Collective.
I've been looking for ethically made shoes ever since I found out how hard they are to find, and through the hashtag #ethicalfashion I landed on these awesome shoes made in Guatamala!
I had a good feeling even before talking to Bethany about selling these shoes at Rhetorical Factory, but once we started exchanging emails I was even more fired up. She cares about all the same things; bringing value to the work of artisans globally, allowing customers to connect to the difference that money can make as it changes hands.
Slowly but surely we are giving people the opportunity to invest in a better situation for people all over the world- a global economy that nourishes people with good intentions. It's better than putting money into salaries at a non profit- it puts money into the economy and makes the competition about Quality and Integrity not the Lowest Price.
and SO CUTE AND COMFORTABLE!
Try them on at Rhetorical Factory 444 Haywood Rd Asheville NC 28806
And look online too at www.therootcollective.com
Model Faye Foley is a dream- like her on Facebook
And check out our blog Next Friday about the new line for the Re Fashion Show... can't wait to show you the results of some creative work.
Rhetorical Factory went to Bonnaroo 2014
It was by far the worst festival we have ever participated in. Having paid $1450 to attend and earning less than half of that back. If we hadn’t made a dime but had meaningful conversations with people that would have been worth it, but the attendees just weren’t “there”. The reason is that 80,000 people having paid $300 to attend are herded through the sunny pastures and ripped off at every corner. The true vibe of this festival showed all the way through- they have but one priority- to make money. It showed in the quality of sound at the stages, the incredibly nasty facilities and the vendor coordinator we never met who overbooked vendors in favor of the fee which left the crowd oversold and disinterested in the art booths. We talked to our neighbors and they had the same experience.
But hey, at least we know how to have fun!