Friday, August 19, 2011
Craftaluma Vendor: Rayne Today
We're counting down the hours now until Craftaluma "How the Craft Was Won." I am having so much fun meeting my fellow crafters, that I don't wanna go back to real life after Craftaluma. One of my favorite things to do to prepare besides thinking up wacky themes for Craftaluma, is getting to meet some of our ridiculously talented friends. These folks forever inspire and humble me. I'm always learning from our crafty friends, and I'm grateful to be in a place where this is possible.
Rayne Wolfe of Rayne Today is one of the most wickedly funny gals you will ever meet. This lady has got so much on the ball that she IS the ball, and you'd better pull your boots on early in the morning to keep up with her. She's insightful, compassionate, and one heckuva a vintage vixen with a discerning eye turned to the possibilities of the next find. Potential can be found in everything after all, and nothing is safe, a discarded monopoly game piece is fashioned into a one-of a kind cocktail necklace you'd better believe you will need to have!
She's also a hungry reader, which makes me love her even more. Well, that, and the fact we are both huge Myrna Loy fans.
Rayne recently brought me a stash of her newest baubbles; gorgeous and slightly cheeky vintage liquor decanter tags that had been cleverly designed into the most fab necklaces and bracelets. Vintage tags, medals, and ephemera find their way into Rayne's world and have me coveting anything she makes. Her work is unique with a hint of mischief and mystery.
She also makes saucy stitched Mexican peasant blouses that have me dreaming of a getaway to either sunny Aculpulco or at least to the nearest El Torito. Seriously cool blouses. With a blouse like that, I could churn out handmade tortillas like a mad woman.
I'm wanting her to help me with up-cycling some vintage stitched pillowcases my mother and I bought in Shasta, into a blouse. I've worn the pillow cases until the fabric is as soft as butter, and the amazing stitching with deer, forests and flowers is in danger of falling out of the fragile fabric. In Rayne's world, these kinds of dreams are possible; I see an embroidered Mexican Peasant blouse in my near future, and a necklace that spells out my favorite libation of choice:
C R U S H or possibly... V O D K A .
Petaluma Craft Mafia interview with Rayne Wolfe
of Rayne Today.
Name of business and how you got your name:
Obviously you assume I’m running a business! Actually, the upcoming Craftaluma Show will be the first time I show my vintage assemblage necklaces in my adopted hometown. I do try to put new necklaces up on etsy.com at my shop entitled Rayne Today. On day of show I’ll be off-line on etsy.com to avoid those embarrassing oversells.
I’m a third generation San Franciscan, now at home in Petaluma and the Wine Country.
How long have you lived in Petaluma?
Since Bikram Yoga was Mexican restaurant. Since Cinco de Mayo 1998. That’s where we went to dinner that first night in our first house.
How did you get started in your particular craft?
Remember the opening montage in To Kill a Mockingbird? The dinged-up cigar box with soap figures, marbles, crayons, and a spelling medal? Not only is that my favorite book and movie, but that cigar box is my ideal platform of creativity. That’s where it all starts: junk soup.
I grew up with a deep and wide kitchen drawer full of stuff like that and I was always cobbling stuff together. These bits and pieces that may have meant something to me or once meant something to someone else… No two people would make the same thing from the same items. It’s play for me.
Your favorite project you've created and why?
I fell in love with a vintage silver RCA watch fob. It was heavy and detailed with Nipper listening to the phonograph horn in bas relief. But what do you do with it? It’s beautiful but it’s the kind of thing that ends up in the drawer. I asked Petaluma jeweler Rick Rocklin to solder on a necklace and I added bright red vintage German faceted glass beads. I think I wore that necklace nearly every day for a couple of years. It’s a keeper and it’s inspired all the necklaces that followed.
How to you find your necklace centerpieces?
I haunt thrift stores and Etsy.com, of course. I’ve been to the 600-MILE yard sale in Tennessee and Kentucky, two years with friends and you find loads there. Any thrift store supported by a church or frequented by senior citizens, you find all this junk drawer stuff that’s just fabulous. I believe in re-purposing, cannibalizing broken jewelry to make new wearable art. It took nerve at first because I can always see the beauty in tarnish.
Where would you like to be with your business in 5 years?
It sounds silly, but I ’d really like to see one of my necklaces in a big movie. It could happen.
Favorite spice in your cupboard:
Chosen music to craft to:
I also clean the house listening to To Kill a Mockingbird loop over and over. It’s pretty much my favorite thing to listen to, besides James Brown.
How do you start your day?
As soon as I open my eyes I give thanks for another glorious day – even if it’s raining gumdrops. I check that my toes, my ankles, my knees, hips and arms still work, then I hop out of bed and try to live an honest life.
How does your crafty self reconcile with the bottom line business side?
How do you unwind at the end of a stressful week?
Best thing about living in Petaluma?
Oh gosh, everything. I tell people I cried nearly the entire day we moved here but now you couldn’t get me out of Petaluma with a stick of dynamite. I love the way there’s room for everyone’s passions. I love all the art and music venues and the creativity that is encouraged at every turn.
Favorite book and why?
You already know it’s To Kill a Mockingbird. I love the rythyms in Harper Lee’s storytelling. The courage in addressing race, sex, drug use and mental illness, head on… I just admire her SO MUCH. Some stories are hard to tell and she tackled every hard thing in a small Southern town.
Other crafts you would like to explore:
I’ve been known to assemble Joseph Cornell style boxes when I’m under writing stress. The pressure of people trusting you with their stories is enough to make your head explode sometimes. You need a creative diversion. Sometimes I promise myself art time when I finish writing. I also sew Mexican blouses and embroider them using vintage Vogue Art patterns of roosters and toasters and crazy stuff.
How has the craft boom influenced your own craft?
It made me braver about what I really enjoy doing. I was crafty before “the boom” and I’ll be crafty afterwards – for sure.
Amen to that! Your favorite comfort nosh is?
Lay’s barbeque potato chips and my beloved Diet Coke, which I gave up six weeks ago. “Hi, my name is Rayne and it’s been six weeks since my last soda.”
What's in your handbag?
Tiny versions of everything. A round fold-up hairbrush, a tiny lipgloss, and a dwarf-sized notebook and golf tally pencil. All my doll-sized stuff makes my iPhone look gigantic. I have to keep the volume down because I use vintage wood box purses by Enid Collins. They’re usually pretty small. Or rather, I prefer the smaller styles.
Who and what inspires and influences you?
I am genuinely, utterly, fascinated by passionate people. I don’t have to share your passion. That you are passionate is my drug. I’m also eternally inspired by my late father, Al Rembold, a commercial printer. He was so creative in every way and encouraged my brother and I to always joyfully try stuff out without worrying too much about the end result.
What is always in your fridge?
A big pitcher of decaf mango iced tea from Petaluma Coffee & Tea Company.
I'm inspired by:
What still holds wonder for you in this world?
That people are kind and generous.
I couldn't go a day without...
My husband or laughing. Which works out well, since my husband and I laugh every day.
What really ticks you off?
"Dim bar lighting in supermarkets" really ticks me off. If I have to take my sunglasses off to shop, you need to ADD a bar, right next to the donuts case.
I dream of traveling to:
Having travelled a bit, I find myself dreaming of time travel.
George, John, Paul or Ringo?
At the time, Paul. Now? The Reverend Bill Talen of the Church of Stop Shopping. He’s the Thinking Girl’s rock star.
How do you feel American craftypreneurs have shaped craft and the craft industry?
Shortly after etsy.com originally hung out their online shingle I interviewed the founders and had a nice long chat on the state of craftiness. Was it a technology backlash? Had crafters suddenly given each other permission to go further and further? I came away thinking that modern life just demands craftiness. It’s required for sanity. That people are looking for ways to monetize that effort is exciting and proper. Do we need a magazine for every genre? Button jewelry? Lint trap hats? Amateur taxidermy? Well, why not?
What empowers you?
What advice would you give to crafters wanting to get into supporting themselves through their craft?
My advice is pretty simple. Put price tags on things.
My writing teacher, Adair Lara, used to say, “Editors are not going to break into your apartment to read your stuff, Rayne!” When I finally did start my career as a writer I learned to put stamps on things and mail them out. As a crafter you have to put price tags on things and find a marketplace. With etsy.com and (free) wordpress.com pages and Facebook, there’s no reason not to create your own virtual shop. If that thought makes you want to lie down until it goes away, try a crafts show or flea market. Try a garage sale! Just try!
I really love:
"Clinique Black Honey lip stain.”
You're throwing a dinner party, who would be your favorite 7 guests?
I like to laugh, so Dean Martin, Truman Capote, Steven Barclay and Garth Bixler, Myrna Loy, night club proprietor, Tex Guinan (“Hello, Suckers!”) and legendary Wine County restauranteur, Juanita Musson. It wouldn’t be dull.
Name a movie, one poem and one song that particularly moves you and why:
There are three movies of which I never tire: It’s a Wonderful Life, The Wizard of Oz and Platoon.
What puts that special hop in your giddy-up?
A creative challenge with a frightening deadline.
Any Pets? (names and occupation please) :)
Our hounds include Bullet The Wonder Dog, 15, Whiskey, (we didn’t drink till we got that dog plus he’s a licker) 14 and Carmen the Newshound, 10 months.
For more of Rayne Today, check out her website right here.
Photos courtesty of Rayne Wolfe ©Copyright Rayne Wolfe.)
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