Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cal Patch of Hodge Podge Farm

I'm SO excited to have Cal of hodge podge farms here. She's basically an all around super {crafts}woman, I can't quite keep up with her. From writing her first book, teaching sewing classes all over the city to creating her wonderfully designed one of a kind clothing and accessories... I'm not really sure how this gal does it all!

Please give her a warm welcome... and I'm hoping that some of her energy and talent will rub off on all of us!

1. How do you come up with your creations? Can you walk us through your creative process when dreaming up new pieces?

My process is very S-L-O-W and often I will think about a style for several years before I actually make it. I do sketch ideas out and come back to them later, but I also often just take some fabric and see what happens. I like to layer techniques, like I might print on some fabric, then sew it into a garment, then crochet into it, then overdye the whole thing. I like to do things in a way that could never be mass-produced.

2) Imagine that you're in an elevator and an old friend from your past just walked in - you have about 15 seconds to answer ...

"Oh my god Cal, how are you?? You look great!... Yep the kids are fine. What are you doing these days? Where do you work?"

Well, after living in New York City for my entire adult life (the past 17 years), last New Year's Eve I packed up everything I owned to move upstate to the Catskills. Through the winter I was care-taking my friends' horse farm while looking for my own homestead, which I haven't found yet so I'm still here! In the city I was self-employed, making, selling, and teaching, and I'm figuring out places where I can teach up here. I'm still in transition but I know it's the right move; I want to have my own crafty farm! Wait, weren't you supposed to get off on the fifth floor?

3) Do you work with music playing in the background? If so, do you have a playlist that you'd like to share, please provide song titles/artists

My all-time favorites are: Peggy Honeywell, Joanna Newsom, Cibo Matto, Le Tigre, and the Cocteau Twins. I also love podcasts and my faves are Craft Lit, Cast On, and Geek Farm Life.

4) What inspires you?

5) What was it that made you want to start creating? Did something specific trigger it?

I think you are born a maker. I've always made things... I used to paint rocks and call them paperweights, and sell them door-to-door in my hand-painted wagon. That may have been a pivotal experience for me!

6) Artists, designers, bloggers who often work from home alone (all day long) develop some pretty unique and quirky habits. Can you share one of yours?

I guess the quirkiest is that since I am making clothes, I often work without anything on because I have to keep trying on what I'm making! It's just easier that way, and I'm very practical...

7) Congratulations on your latest book! How did it all happen? Could you give us some tips and advice on how to land a book deal and more importantly three things that you wish you would've known prior to starting the process yourself.

Thanks! I'm very proud of it and can't wait until it's in people's hands. I think the world needs a patternmaking book that addresses the kind of simple clothing we all wear today. When I learned to make patterns in college, it was all about darts and princess seams and leg o'mutton sleeves, and from what I hear it hasn't changed much! Making clean, modern clothes is really very straightforward and those who sew need to know how to go about it! I think the best way to get a book deal is to start by having a blog; this is how my editor found me. You can think of it like a sample of your writing, and you will be developing a following so that your book will have a fan base before it even comes out!

I already knew a bunch of people who had done craft books, so I was pretty aware of the reality of the glamorous world of writing books. But if I didn't, I would have been shocked to learn how much work it is, how little it pays, and that the entire process from proposal to publishing takes about 2 years!

8) What reminds you of home?

6 Random Things About Cal...

I stopped buying clothes from chain stores and corporations about five years ago.

My first job was mucking out horse stalls and that's exactly what I'm doing now as trade for my rent!

I once applied to be on one of those PBS historical reality shows; I think it was Colonial House. After watching it, I am so relieved they didn't pick me!

My chihuahua Gertie goes nearly everywhere with me. She's even been to the movies!

I can't wait to have my own chickens. And goats. And sheep...

My favorite breakfast at the moment is steel-cut oatmeal with a fried egg (over easy) and Bragg's Liquid Aminos drizzled on top. Sounds crazy but try it!

Thanks Cal!!



Melissa de la Fuente said...

Thanks for the introduction hun! I love it, every bit and I sure hope Cal finds her dream farm! I can't think of anyone who deserves it more! I am off to check out her shop and love, love her style!

mjb said...

Thanks for this interview! I love hearing about people who are making their creative dreams come true, especially when it comes to sewing clothes :)

Anonymous said...

Oh wow!
I almost feel like Im hearing myself there..Im in LOVE with her creations,totally totally full of love and life!
And I am so excited for her decision to transform her life!
Im in a similar transitional period and its not easy but she seems to be doing a great job!
I wish her all the luck in the world,making her dream come true!I cant wait to see her farm! Im sure it`ll be awesome! :)Mia

Hobocamp Crafts said...

what an inspiration, When you get you're little farm- I'd love to visit!