Welcome to Spring 2014!
Festival Season is Back!
As a company, we've grown up on the festival scene and vow to continue even as we set down roots in West Asheville. It's always a blast to see people in that community arts environment, with music in the background, wind in the trees and the sun shining high in the sky! It's my personal favorite way to turn folks on to our mission at Rhetorical Factory, and I've witnessed many an inspiring conversation bubbling up at these events, where people are celebrating the joy of living, and are open to new points of view.
Here is the Line Up so far, Stay Tuned for more Official Updates....
We plan to have Eddie Cabbage of Asheville Poetry back this year, so start scheming your Poetry on Demand prompts! Instant Poems make a great gift.
It's that vibrant fun energy that I hope to infuse the store with- so remember to pop in and keep us bubbling with fun and philosophy!
Thanks for checking in!
Working on our first ever Flagship store is such an Adventure!
Right from the beginning we knew that we only wanted to support sustainable, small, local and near contractors and artists to work on our space. This way every dollar has a fighting chance of staying in our community, and supporting like minded pursuits. It has been very rewarding to get to know every individual putting their time and skill into making the store operational and beautiful.Our most recent arts addition came from the one Ralph A. Frank Jr. in the form of a hand painted sign and windows. Ralph has been hand painting signs (the old school way) for around 40 years. He is one of the most humble and positive souls I have had the pleasure of knowing, and I'm really glad Rhetorical Factory gets to benefit from his work.
Check out some pictures I took of the time he was here working....
Thanks for Checking In, can't wait to see you This Spring!
We recently had the honor of being a part of the Product of the 60s Fashion Show, which was a fundraiser for Asheville Affiliates. In addition to Rhetorical Factory, the show featured retro designs from Asheville fashion designers and stores Charles Josef, Kristina Benshoff, Royal Peasantry, Simone Bernhard, The Costume Shoppe, Aurora Moulin Designs, Hip Replacements and Honeypot. It was so fun seeing the throwback looks that everyone put together.
Before the show, we had a great time holding a "mods vs. rockers" shoot with photographer Morgan Ford, a long time friend of the Factory. Stay tuned for her photos!
We are thankful for the models who rocked the fun vintage outfits we put together for the show!
On Saturday I was one of the speakers at the TEDx UNCAsheville event. It was a great experience. Here's what I said, I'd love to hear what you think:
Rhetorical factory is a recycled clothing company here in Asheville.
The topic I chose to speak about today is huge and will lead to many more questions than answers, no matter what your position is in this world I encourage you to entertain these challenging ideas from a global perspective.
Rhetorical Factory re-invents used clothes from thrift stores and direct donation. We screen print original images and add our question mark logo to each piece with the intention to invite a second thought when it comes to buying new. I’d like to encourage a second thought, even a third fourth or fifth thought about every choice you make as a consumer in fact.
Because I believe our number one source of power as citizens of this nation is where we chose to spend our money.
Not having pursued a formal education left me with a lot to learn about business; these last four years have been full of the best training I never could have bought. Interestingly enough it’s a very good thing the perspective I began with was completely free from the influence of “Business as Usual”, because 13 million tons of clothing is thrown away every year and only 15% is recycled. I never thought that working with second hand clothing would take up every square inch of my life and every spare minute of my day, waking up to this fact and the realization that nothing is slowing down left me eager to develop a scalable alternative to our fast fashion world.
Taking on this challenge amounts to a lot more than just learning how to brand a clothing company in the competitive in fashion industry, because at Rhetorical Factory, we can’t sell anything more than once. Of 13 million tons of garments available as our resource, not one will be ordered and produced in the size and color combination that sells best for us. An investment is made in claiming, cleaning improving, marketing and finally selling each and every piece. Each second hand garment takes up space and is not guaranteed to sell again.
Industry doesn’t deal with this part of the risk at all, instead the risk falls on the the people who produce and source the materials. Clothing brands sell one design in mass quantities before production, spending as little as possible on the resources so they can keep prices low and get lots of orders. After production their work is done, and they continue depending on and therefore creating an unrealistic demand for clothing and goods. The whole goal is to sell sell sell, to make room for the new. Corporate Retailers can afford to sell for a fraction of what was invested because the last extra small tank top isn’t worth the room it takes up on the rack.
We need alternatives to this destructive cycle for the consumers, and we need to do something with all these clothes. I’m motivated every day by the opportunity that Business presents: to create value.
Business to me is what makes America great. It’s what makes America Free. Anyone who wants to can have an idea, and provide a good or service that their community needs. It doesn’t mean that the idea will work or that it will be profitable, but everyone in theory possesses that opportunity. A business is a vessel for ideas, an opportunity to solve problems through invention and creativity and teamwork. Owning a business is stimulating, challenging, and real. It’s exciting to succeed, failure means change is necessary. I believe in business. I was in college for one semester before moving to Asheville, I took a social problems class and a philosophy class. Most of you will probably be able to understand what frame of mind I was in when I moved here. I was disappointed, I was questioning everything about what I thought was working and not working. A group of anarchists opened my mind but I was never convinced that their way would work in practice. From a young age I’ve had creative ideas for business and I’ve always had lofty goals for changing the world. When I say I believe in business I mean to say that I believe in the power of business as a model for implementing solutions to the problems we face in society.
I believe that in fact we are all in Business. As individuals or in families. We develop ourselves, and sell our skills in order to survive! Similarly I would say that our nation is a business, taking in and spending money to create a foundation for the people and the market we live in.
Why hasn’t our surplus in clothing led to a decline in production?
Because there are companies that are treated differently, which don’t operate in an even playing field, some businesses don’t risk failure, they control consumer demand through the media, and when that doesn’t work they depend on government assistance. The economy needs to shift to a solution based model but the industries of the past century are involved in production, not creating solutions. Our leaders in government have a personal interest in keeping big businesses in operation because they benefit financially either through personal investments and businesses of their own or direct payments from lobbyists.
Not allowing businesses to fail is a dangerous waste of resources, but we don’t see the effects in the US because we are so focused on consuming.
In this day and age we have the time and technology to turn things around, to see where this cycle takes us and do something about it. ignoring failure should never work in business. I ask you to question whether our systems work, between what is privatized and what we can vote on - is change in this system possible?
Upcycling for instance, which is adding value to an abandoned resource, is a natural response to the industry’s failure to take responsibility for the waste created, is just one example of how innovation rises up and can be harnessed to provide sustainable alternatives. But I wonder if a company based in such a different paradigm would be allowed to succeed at the same level as the large competition. Between the giant businesses our economy depends on currently and the governing bodies that work with them, our small business alternatives don’t really stand a chance. Supporting the local economy nourishes sustainable business models but if that real playing field doesn’t stretch to big business our solutions will stay small every time.
Business should be allowed to operate on whatever scale the demand creates, and should be held to the same clearly defined standards for integrity all across the board. It’s easier to keep local business honest, it’s become almost impossible to hold corporations to any standards.
We are so close to creating a world that can solve it’s own problems. Investing in solutions means hiring and paying people, not mining our resources or exploiting other populations, we have a resource of waste and a surplus of people to take care of it.
Our democracy worked and created the American Dream, but business has developed to the point of control. Our leaders are in business because that is where the power is, that is fine as long as we have the opportunity to hold them accountable with each dollar we spend.
Avoidance of all of our issues will lead to collapse. In fact it almost has.
We have stagnant democracy because it doesn’t get enough of our attention.
We are continuing to produce waste also because we aren’t paying attention.
We have a choice to make.
In order to stay in business as a country and eventually global community, we need to know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em.
Taking full responsibility for ourselves and our system means allowing Business to be our Government actively demanding integrity and working toward sustainable solutions, admitting failure and striving every day.
“Response Ability” Who has the ability to respond has the responsibility.
A Little Word about the shift to Sustainable Business
Businesses are the communicators, the responders to the needs of the consumer, citizen.
When a person supports a business they are transferring their energy into the economy, and it is the duty of the business to honor that contribution with a valuable, sustainable exchange.
At every level businesses should be the tools of the consumers, giving their followers integrity in exchange for the hard work their dollars provide.
Everyone involved in business and society has the right to integrity.
Since we we work for money and use money to sustain ourselves, our energy of life is in the money we earn and spend. If this valuable life is earned or spent in a way not in harmony with the environment socially and physically, then it becomes a drain on everything around it leading to increased suffering on infinite levels.
You have a Voice. Use it.
People have risked it all that you may have a voice.
Love is a verb. Act on it.
This screen print was the forth one ever created by Rhetorical Factory
A tape cassette speaks perfectly to the theme of Simple Mechanics as well as our philosophy
This cassette, Electric Sixties is one of my favorites to listen to in my Subaru, which does not have a CD player. I love "Born to Be Wild" and all the other uplifting nostalgic tunes.
There are several bands I would never have grown to love if it weren't for them playing over and over in my neglect to simply change the tape. I sometimes think that listening to any album over and over again will result in a craving for and deep appreciation of the music, even if it's the most immature conglomeration of sounds.
I try to test this theory when I've got the patience, and have a lot of music left to explore!
The transformation of Cheney Graphics into the Samovar Arts Lounge was an inevitable and daunting feat. For 15 years the studio has been the home of artist Phil Cheney IV and Cheney Graphics run by and with Phil Cheney III. It was a long time dream to create a gallery within the shop, a place for events and to display and sell some of Asheville’s best art.
Of course items have a way of accumulating in a 4,000 square foot space, and the dark walls and ceilings left vast areas unseen, keeping the space occupied. Robert Seven, another for-runner for Asheville’s art scene, and close friend of the Phils, decided to clear some space and make his own workshop among some of the untouched areas. Robert’s involvement and eye for environment was the major catalyst to the transformation of the space in the Riverside Business Park. Phil Cheney and R7 set a date for the revealing of the new gallery to take place just before the holidays, and left themselves about 2 months to make it happen.
The items collected went into Illusionary walls built by Phil Cheney IV. He used recycled wood and screws to make thick walls with shelves that could be accessed when necessary and with art hung on them most of the time.
Rob 7 painted the floor gray and walls and ceiling white with help from the rest of the team (including of course Phil and myself and Justin Thompson of Watershed and Southern Raft Supply). I helped clean and organize a work area, and sorted the ink for the screen printing machines by color.
My clothes got completely covered with the paint, which I appreciated. I absolutely adore working with color, especially sorting it!The openings turned out to be so much more than I expected. The final transformation had taken place over night, and when I arrived to set up Rhetorical Factory clothes among 6 other artists, I knew it was a place I had never been before.
Twinkle lights were in place, Rob’s DJ Booth was in full swing, there were already guests in the lounge and art was all around! We had our very own area with dressing room accommodations, and amazing art back grounds by Phil Cheney. The rest of the walls were filled with art from many more artists, by Robert 7 featuring his spectacular “Rondelles” which are mostly recycled. By Phil who had a great range of paintings and drawings available, with some work dating back to 2000. Justyn Thompson had prints and paintings, Intergalactic Hobo had beautiful leather work, Beth Broccoliway brought Imports from her recent world tour, and there were retro lino cut prints and other spooky art by Jason Krekel.
French Broad River Baby! (sold)
The people who came out were close friends and supporters of the arts. There was a beautiful offering of snacks and warm cocktails, lots of interesting people to meet and lots of exchange. I was really glad they planned for two nights, and cannot wait for the next event on January 31st!
Check out this Article in the Citizen Times, the Samovar Arts Lounge Facebook Page, and email firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment to see the Arts!
The only thing constant is change. It's what makes life alive.
A few days and planes bring about this spirit of excitement and wonder and love. The new year puts into our minds the idea that we can change.
Try to hold on to this feeling.
1) Change the color scheme from red and green to rainbow, so it matches your spring and summer, and carry it with you through out the year!
2) Remember People are what matter most. Throughout the seasons. The bank teller, your mom, the homeless.
3) Reflection and resolutions can happen at the end of every day, not just every year.
4) Magic and spirit are all around us all the time, each moon rise and set is a miracle and should be celebrated.
5) There is much to be thankful for. Especially first-world problems.
Take advantage of this tiny crack in the whole nation’s attitude to make a change for the better. This could mean anything, from what’s for dinner to who’s up for promotion, what’s for sale and where it’s made and if we really need it. What is stagnant and needs to be shaken up?
If you’re not in a position to call the shots, then ask the questions.
My neighbor Betsy of Smiling Eye Studios and myself this December...
Rhetorical Factory is lucky to be a part of a great community of artists that we collaborate with and are inspired by. The festive month of December seemed like the perfect time to hold Art Parties in Asheville with these fine folks. Events that we hope will inspire you as well.
And who knows, you may find a treasure or two...
Print your own cards and clothes!
December 7, 2 - 7 pm
191 Lyman Street, Studios #210 & #218
The Smiling Eye
Samovar Arts Lounge
Wednesday and Thursday
December 18 & 19, 6-10 pm
2000 Riverside Drive, Unit #4
Phil Cheney, Gallerie Dynamique
Robert Seven, ArToREtuM 2.0
Jason Krekel, Krekel Art
December 20, 5-9 pm
Reed Street, behind Waechter's Fine Fabric
Michael Smith Shibori