This month I am introducing you to Mary Roth and Elemental Fiberworks. Here you can find a connection between science and fiber, or just enjoy the fiber and the Lab Report!
These monthly features of other creative businesses are a way for all of us to get to know wonderful creators. It is a long-time interest of mine to explore how other creative people make their way as professionals.
Elemental Fireworks: Who?
Mary, welcome! I am so intrigued by your dyed fibers. I’m not a spinner, but I love how differently each dyer approaches color. I find your colors very appealing–maybe it is science!
Who: Tell us about a pivotal person in your journey to fiber person.
A: I’m going to have to go all the way back to high school for this answer. While there have been a handful of other people who have strongly influenced me as I’ve continued down this path, it was my high school drama teacher, Ms. Koger, who first gave me some real leadership and design opportunities.
As a teacher I truly love that you look backwards to a teacher! Please tell us how Ms. Koger influenced your work.
A: I spent a lot of hours in the scene shop working on our play sets and doing a lot of painting, and it was always amazing to watch everything about a theatre production come together. At the end of high school, I applied for a technical theater grant program at Bowling Green State University and got in, further cementing the importance of paint and color and creating things with my hands for other people to see and use.
Even though I switched programs halfway through college and finished with a degree in Interior Design instead of Theatre, the things I learned from Ms. Koger were reinforced by my professors in both disciplines. They are still highly applicable to the place life has taken me to now: running a small business and dyeing fiber. It’s not just about color theory, it’s about dedication, hard work, knowing your limits, and occasionally staying up all night to finish painting the set for the play that opens the next evening.
How nice to learn that so early!
Elemental Fireworks: What?
What: What is driving you to embark on this Elemental Fiberworks business?
A: This has been evolving as I work through the pangs of new business growth and try and get everything aligned towards my goals. The underlying thing that drives my life, and crafting, is the need to create, to make something new. I can’t tell you how many shawls I’ve made since I started knitting, and I only wear a few on a regular basis, but I keep making more anyway. Dyeing fiber is always an adventure, and an experiment in itself. I’m a big fan of one of a kind colorways where I try something new and let the dyes do their thing.
I love picking up new hobbies (most recently English Paper Piecing) and trying out different techniques in crafts I love, like spinning. This need to experiment and try something new is where the inspiration for my informational/educational newsletter, the Lab Report, came from. Lab Reports can range from spinning technique demonstrations, handspun pattern suggestions, answering questions that readers have asked, or sharing the results of fiber experiments that I’ve done. Even though Lab Reports aren’t physically made with my hands, they have been a fun way of sharing something other than fiber with the spinning community.
Sometimes words are the best way to share since we like to create our own things!
Elemental Fireworks: Where?
Where: Is there a place that is meaningful to your work or how you work?
A: Besides viewing the entirety of nature as a source of inspiration and color, the place that makes my work possible right now is the custom dye workbench that my husband and I built for my birthday last year. It was all his idea, and without the support and suggestion that I have a dedicated work space, I don’t think the past year would have been even half as successful. I also have to give a huge shout-out to the awesome guy at Lowes who took my multiple pages of drawings along with my somewhat complicated cut list in stride and turned a stack of lumber into something we could assemble in our kitchen with only a cordless drill.
While it is perpetually a mess, the workbench gives me a spot to leave things while I’m not working (if I put things away where I can’t see them, I totally forget about them) and gives my husband a spot to put my stuff that has migrated from where it should be.
Q: So what is new and exciting at Elemental Fiberworks?
The biggest excitement in my business right now is the launch of the first Elemental Fiberworks Fiber Club, Visions of Fiber, which is inspired by the Visions of the Future poster set designed by NASA! I had an absolutely fantastic response to it and am looking forward to designing and dyeing the club color ways. Hopefully I’ll be able to expand the number of memberships available when it opens again in mid-September.
The other super fun thing going on right now is the Tour de Fleece, an event for spinners that runs concurrent to the Tour de France and is essentially an excuse to spin as much as you can and challenge yourself as a spinner. The event is hosted on Ravelry and there’s an Elemental Fiberworks team this year, so if you spin, come say hi!
My Tour de France involvement is limited to watching on TV. It is kind of fun to keep track of, and I imagine the spinning makes it much better.
I’ve put links to all the Elemental Fiberworks online places so you can check this for yourself.
Elemental Fiberworks: Links
Website – Elemental Fiberworks
Facebook – Elemental Fiberworks
Instagram – Elemental Fiberworks
Etsy – Elemental Fiberworks
Ravelry – Elemental Fiberworks