There are lots of dreams all the time. So many of mine have come true over the last 10 years since leaving my wild Nova Scotia and coming to the green PNW. I think, even the possibility of making Red Boots happen was a dream I didn’t even know I had. It has been amazing. I have worked very hard, 6 days a week for many years, with a little luck and a lot of love from my community, it has become a sustainable business. Everyday I get to plug in the flamingo lights, turn on the Woody Woodpecker lamp and get to work! It is a lot of work and it is hard work, but I love it.
There have been a lot of changes in my workspaces. Working with Jeff at Naked Clothing started it all, his generosity enabled me to begin this wild ride. The space, however was not the best. We moved and with a little help from the Craigslist Gods I acquired new equipment and moved above Ciao Thyme’s then new space on Unity St..
I think the questions is how to keep the dream going. Change is integral to the success of any business and constant change is required. The economy, competition, methods of production, designs, customers, the landscape of business changes constantly and it is important to change with it. Now after 10 years and celebrating my 40th birthday this year I think about what Red Boots will mean in the next 10 years.
At the moment I have an opportunity to be considered for a grant from Chase Bank, it is their Mission Main St. program and they will be donating 20 grants of $100,000 to 20 small American businesses. Winning would be huge for me and Red Boots and not only because I will be able to continue supporting local businesses and running a socially responsible print shop and hire employees. $100K is a lot of money and I don’t need all of that money to run a print shop. So here is the next big dream, a community screen print shop!
You can’t “just screen print”, some people can, but most can’t. I have many many people who see me print for the first time and declare that they have never seen the process. Tools, equipment, chemicals and know how are involved. At first it would be a mobile shop. I would be able to set up and teach at schools, youth groups, retirement homes and for individuals needing job training and returning to work. Then as it grew I would love to have a permanent home for The Project. A place to teach classes and to rent out. There is a successful space in Seattle called The Vera Project that began as a co op and is now a gallery, all ages music venue and screen print studio. I am not looking to make something so grand, we have Make.Shift for that, but a real community printshop.
So, if you want to know what I would do with all that money, I would keep the Red Boots dream going and I would try and help others create their own dream making art a success for them, art as a career, art everyday. Because even though sometimes it feel like work, it is actually art sometimes.
If you like the sound of this please vote for me!