|Bunny bison bliss natural blend beside a grey hill handwoven Navajo rug|
Apparently there is a WAR going on.. I know!…as if the current political climate and heatwaves were not enough!
I have been made aware that there is a war in the craft community..a price war no less !
Okay, here we go! Get your popcorn out and for those of you in Australia, sit down in an air conditioned room or one with a fan so you don’t overheat and self ignite readimg this AND the 46C degree temperatures we are having at the moment ! For those of you in the States, Canada and Europe: this will get your hot blood flowing. No need to thank me for warming you up ...
I have been in this craft “business” for over 15 years now and I have seen people come and go, I have seen people thinking they were the absolute best thing since sliced bread,who have since left the scene to reinvent themselves and I have seen people who did the most amazing work thinking they were worthless but are still here!
I have seen people dish dirt about others behind peoples back. I have seen cheap quips being made. I have experienced the silent treatment and the exclusion treatment.
I do not say this happens a lot or by a majority of people in the craft business, but it does happen and it hurts. Not only does it hurt the people who get gossiped about but as I have seen a lot: Karma is a B*tch and acts more or less like a boomerang and hits them right back sooner or later.
There is also a lot of ….warning: profanity coming…total bullshit, as I suppose there is in the rest of the world. In a community brought together because of a love of something, something that unites us all, that is in my view a total NO NO. We are dealing with heart and souls here. Not with share port folios or investment bankers.
I have heard some doodles in the past, but just in this last week has my BS thermometer , just like the temperature gauge, exponentially hit record highs.
I know it is hard to stay alive in the craft business as an indiedyer or a farmer (or both) or a designer, or doing fibre research trying to create new blends, or get new fibres and blends produced. It is a tough gig and not at all the unicorn happiness with sparkles it looks like from the outside. I guess that is what being self employed means. Doing a bit of everything and making choices. See? Choosing wisely….
Nowadays it is hard to stay in business period! You always have to be one step ahead it seems OR, most importantly, BE YOURSELF! Ask yourself what you think is important in your crafting or where you get your supplies from or what you do? Do you realise how many steps have been taken to get the top or the yarn that has been handdyed ready to spin or ready to knit or crochet with to you?
I have always advocated the importance of taking care of our farmers, because they take care of the quality of the fibre by taking care of the animals. I have always stated that “happy animals, happy fibres”. And, although, in some fibre cases more than others, as an industry, as a small farm, as a small business, the most impportant thing is that you have to be sustainable. One cannot survive on air, unless of course you have a huge profitable share and property port folio and do not rely on what you createmto buy feed for the animals, pay the rates for your farm, take care of the infrastructure, etc etc oh and buy food for yourself...I almost forgot that !
If you are overseas you may have missed the whole drama of super cheap milk prices taking out dairy farmers completely. Some have lost their livelihood because the prices they got for their product was so little they could not take care of their animals or let alone their families. The suicide rate amongst farmers is huge. And, if you look at what stress they are under, from getting hardly anything for their product because the market cannot pay them what it is worth ( they are told ), to being shamed and blamed on animal rights pages by name and address, where activists are enticed to abduct animals from their farms.
As a very very very small angora Bunny rescue/fibre farm and having been at markets where I sold my angora yarns snd blends at, I know how absolutely toxic it can get. I was accused of murdering bunnies for their fibre (again: I comb and give the bunnies a haircut, I do not kill them). I was told that shearing alpacas and sheep was hurting the animals and we should stop. And then, when I persisted and tried to help other farmers all over the world get a better price for their rare breed fibres from me, by blending their fibres with mine and become something unique and special , it got great reception. For about 4 years now I have been doing the rare breed adventures ...but….well..there’s apparently a war….a “price war”????? If anything, we do not need a war in the craft community. We are not big cut throat businesses. We are families, we are farmers, we are almost always small and care for having a small foot print. We are not Bunnings! Or Spotlight. We are crafts and/or farm people in love with what we do and care for our animals. We care...full stop ! That's how we keep going, even when times are tough.
We are trying to offer uniqueness, something with character, something different. With everything we create, there is a little piece of our heart and soul that you get as well. At least that’s how I see it. We are not a piece of meat to be offered to the lowest bidder… or be the cheapest. Craft and Art is about heart. I have heard some total BS statements this week that was so absurd it made me HAVE to write this down. If you have read to this point and are still with me: Thank you. If you are offended by what I have said up to now…well, so be it, but I am not the silent type and if last week was a tough blog to write then this week is even tougher for me. I am not trying to stir the pot; I am speaking my mind. All the ideas you read here are my own and you can dismiss them or agree or not, but i felt it was something that needed to be said. I cannot stay silent.
So, to explain the situation (this is the almost exact prose someone sent me): If you go to a shop and say I want to buy this and the shopkeeper tells you “ great ! you know what? It’s not exactly good for me, but I will sell it to you under cost if I have to, just to get rid of it.“ what does that make you think of the product ? I think it totally devalues the product and all the people and animals that made that product possible. Isn’t it? Nor is it possible to be sustainable, for anybody. When I was told this little titbit of information by some people who shall not be named, I was totally flabbergasted. I was blown away by the illogical, almost Trumpian dystopia, I had found myself in.
I have been advised by others that their "mission statement" has been taken down from this person's website but since nothing really disappears from the interwebs, I can show you the facts here and you can make up your own mind:
So yeah, apart from that happening ( and some other illogical behaviour which I shall not dwell on here or ever will), we had rather a terrifying event last night: a driver had a seizure behind the wheel and her son could not keep the car on the road, crashing into the front fence, hitting the neighbours huge gas tank, which catapulted 50meters away and started spurting gas all over the place, while I was performing first aid and keeping the driver conscious. Fire trucks and ambulance arrived. Crisis averted , because who wants a gas tank to explode close to their house in 40C + degree temperatures? In short: it was another fun week at the farm.
Coming back to the Price War thing: last week's discussion is a good one to have and keep acting on; this week’s discussion is also one not to sweep under the carpet. Whatever we do in our lives has consequences: whether you choose to go left or right or stay put; whether to try to do the right thing for you and others, whether to speak up or stay silent. Choices have consequences. When in the past China lured the Australian fibre industry to their production facilities because we could not compete price wise, ours got demolished. Now we finally see a resurgence of Australian mini mills, production facilities and scouring facilities opening up again, but at what costs? It would have been much better to keep the mills going and not submit ourselves to the cheap lure of production elsewhere.
I have seen too much,been through too much and I’m getting too old, to take any kind of BS anymore, and you shouldn’t either. Choose wisely. Think logically but with heart and compassion. Think about your actions and talk about it if you have questions. “If something is too good to be true, it probably isn’t”, a fraud investigator once said…lol
For those of you who know me: I love to enable, I am always here for you, I love explaining things and getting information out there (knowledge is power) but ….. I will never be cheap! I will be Fair to everybody. I will however give things away when I feel the need or I want to spread the love for fibre every now and again as a surprise or as a token of appreciation; I will share; I will motivate and be there if you have any problems with your spinning or have other problems to deal with; I will take care of my fellow farmers and I will fly the flag high for a sustainable, low footprint and fibre filled future for all of us.
Please keep talking ! We ALL have to keep talking to each other and not be afraid to take your time and again,choose wisely. It is not all about number one; it is about community and sharing. I have always advocated that. If you are humble as an artist and down to earth? Stay that way! Have fun with what you do. As an artist once said “ It doesn’t matter what you create, if you have no fun, it shows”. So my message to you can easily be explained by the following photo:
End of this pretty personal rant…again.. Let’s hope February is more logical and compassionate to all.
So, in the heatwave I have been blending up a special mix of the IxCHeL Bunny Bison Bliss tops ( at 41C degrees I looked like an abominable yeti at times LOL) : Australian Superfine merino, Baby camel, Tencel, Cashmere, Angora Bunny and yes, American Bison. Bison holds a special place in my heart.
The blend spins up beautifully and you will be thrilled to hear that the bison is roaming free on a huge farm in the States where every now and again they get herded to this gate where people on either side comb the fluff out they have, they are inspected and let out again to have fun with their mates on the plains.
Please enjoy today’s update and relax, sit back and enjoy summer with some Bunny Bison Bliss tops AND a test run I have on offer for you of superfine Australian Merino and a huge amount of Australian Cashmere! I am offering it to you natural but if you want me to dye it for you I will happily do so. Just let me know what colour(s).
Have fun, be you, be unique !!! Peace not War ! and don't forget to Be Awesome.
IxCHeL Australian Superfine Merino (appr 16micron) and Australian Cashmere tops (75/25)
100g tops AU$33
No extra charge for custom dyeing (only a limited amount available)
IxCHeL Bunny Bison Bliss Tops
Dyed with home grown woad plants
IxCHeL Club Sign ups for 2019 are closed but here is the overview of all the clubs shipped out to all the members in 2018 ! The teasers of the January clubs will be shared on Facebook and Instagram tomorrow. Please go check it out !
If you would like to join for the next round just PM me.
2. Message me on facebook or
3. Message me on www.ravelry.com where I am ixchelbunny.
4. message me on Instagram where I am @ixchelbunny
I will email you right back with all your order details and payment methods.
Any questions? Any custom orders for yarn or dyeing fibre? : Please don’t hesitate to ask! Always happy to enable.