Job Title: Fiber Artist
Type of Company: Design and create wearable art.
Previous Experience: I was director of tax accounting at MTV, Warner Communications and Time Warner, Inc.
Job Tasks: I spend about 70% of every work day designing or creating wearable art. Primarily this involves felting or nuno-felting pieces of fabric, and sewing and embellishing them. The balance of the workday is spent selling and marketing the pieces or securing raw materials.
The process of felting is as old as civilization; early examples of the functionality and art of the process have been found in the caves of Central Asia as well as in Scandinavia. The process involves causing individual wool fibers to connect and mesh permanently with other wool fibers using moisture, changes in alkalinity and pressure. (Think what happens to your favorite wool sweater when it's inadvertently thrown into a hot wash.) More recently, fiber artists have begun to explore the marriage of wool and other textiles, creating pieces that celebrate the beauty of different materials.
I import wools from all over the world for my pieces, along with fabrics such as silk and cotton in the case of nuno-felted objects. Most often I use these wools and fabrics in their natural state; occasionally I will dye them as needed.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: By far the best part is the designing/creating aspect. By far the worst is the marketing.
Job Tips: Choose a career that will pay well and make you financially secure before pursuing an art-based career if you are interested in material goods and/or have family responsibilities that are costly. You will not get rich in fiber art, but it is great fun and very rewarding in non-financial ways.
Additional Thoughts: There is nothing I would change. If I had magical powers, I would turn myself into a better marketer. Fortunately, I was more goal-oriented earlier in life, and my jobs in the financial sector gave me the security I need to pursue my current career.
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