It is in the Th’red Head Designs studio that Marci knits and weaves all of her pieces. Each piece is an original, and many are one-of-a-kind items. She says, “I design all my own patterns, or probably more accurately, I design all my own work. A few make themselves into patterns, and I sell a few patterns and have had some published, but for the most part, I make it as I go and hope I remember what I did if I like it when I am done!”
Even though weaving is now a part of her repertoire, Marci began with knitting. Taught to her by her third grade teacher, knitting was part of her craftperson’s vocabulary from youth. But after seeing some rather overpriced knit tops at a prestigious art fair, she had an “aha” moment: “[she] could do that!!” Her first efforts were very well-received, too:
I was teaching self-contained special ed in a grade school at the time. I made a bunch of shawls and took them to the teachers’ lounge, and at the end of the day when I could leave my class, the basket of shawls was empty and there were checks in the bottom of it.
And as it turns out, the start of a family was also the start of Marci’s business:
When I became pregnant with my first child, I knew I could not teach needy kids and give the attention I wanted to my own, so I quit teaching. I turned to the knitting as an income/business that I could do and work at home. When I would have art fairs, my husband was available over the weekends to take on the child care, so it worked really well for us. That first son is now 22. The business has been successful from the start. I still love it because there are so many facets to the fiber arts and designing that I never get bored.
Marci’s invovlement in creating her wearable art is not limited to the manipulation of yarn–she also actually creates some of the yarn she uses. Though Marci did not, at first, seek out spinning, it did manage to find its way to her:
One day when my son was about 2, we took him to a shearing day that someone from the local guild was having. It was a lot of fun looking at the sheep and watching the dogs, etc . When we were set to leave, my husband asked me if I was going to take a fleece home with me. I said no…since I couldn’t spin. He said he was surprised that stopped me, and I went ahead a bought a lovely brown fleece. I took it home and called a friend and said, “NOW WHAT??” She walked me thru some of the details, and I rented a wheel from the Fiber Guild in KC. I knew what yarn should look like, so I just plunged in and hoped for the best. I have since taken a few workshops, but mostly, in the spinning department, I am self-taught.
This editor can personally vouch for the almost magical qualities of spinning fiber…to watch someone do this is immensely fascinating! Because of this, spinning lends itself well to demonstrations, and Marci takes advantage of this every year at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival where she has a platform set up in front of her booth.
Dying is also an important and fun part of Marci’s creation process. She especially likes it because she says:
[...] your end result is immediate, especially compared to the knitting which takes so long and is a drawn out process. You put the yarn in the dyepot, and ta-da! it is a color, and I hope I like it! Same with dyeing silk scarves. You apply the color and you get your feedback right away!
Th’red Head Designs are sold at shops in Taos, NM; Estes Park, CO; throughout Missouri, and, of course, Kansas. Marci also travels to various art festivals throughout the year. Check out the calendar on her official website, thredhead.com, and visit her facebook fan page, too!