I started Pigeonroof Studios about eleven years ago, without ever having really set out to do so! I have a BFA in printmaking, and worked as a letterpress printer for several years after college, but got interested in knitting again and discovered the world of blogs. This was pre-Ravelry, and there weren't that many indie dyers on the scene, but I was seeing people experimenting with Kool-Aid and thought, that's cool, I want to try! I can't remember the exact trajectory, but it was a quick descent down the rabbit hole to starting to dye yarn and fiber and selling it. I was extraordinarily lucky that Etsy was still in its infancy, so you could put up product and be fairly sure it would be seen.
It just snowballed from there, and a couple years later I went full time, and was a full-time dyer until 5 years ago, when I started the training to become a Pilates instructor, which I really enjoy, and allows me to use a different part of my brain.
I started dyeing in my tiny apartment, in Oakland, California, in a kitchen that literally used to be a hallway. Pretty quickly my studio apartment devolved into being just a workspace; at the end of my stay there I didn't even have a real bed anymore! Moving in with my partner allowed me to have a studio in our small garage; the landlord was gracious enough to install a sink in the building's laundry room for my use. Still wasn't much space, but I loved being able to close shop for the night and to have a little separation of work and life. A year ago we moved to Portland so that my partner could buy a house, and the house he bought has a three car garage, the two car part having been turned into my studio, with the third car part being his leatherwork studio. It's so lovely to have space!
When it comes to dyeing, I never took any classes or watched any videos. I ended up developing my own idiosyncratic method that gave me demonstratively unique results. I'm a bit of an anomaly in that I don't use photographs as inspirations for colorways, nor do I enjoy trying to create colorways from them. I've always had an innately unique color sense, and I tend to work pretty intuitively to create new colorways.
My yarn and fiber has been used for projects in Twist Collective, Knitscene, Spin-off magazine, as well as special issues from Interweave.
A little over a month ago, I started my blog, From the Studio, which has become a project I'm really excited about. I am trying to make it a real resource for indie dyers, especially those in the beginning stages of their business, as well as information for those thinking about becoming an indie dyer. I realized there really wasn't anything out there that provided this information, and that the culture of secrecy (which I have totally embraced myself in the past) had made information difficult to get, and certainly there was no site that aggregated that information. I'm not an expert by any means, but I've been in this industry for so long that I've made so many mistakes-- as well as seeing countless others make mistakes that destroyed their business--that I want to help dyers avoid if I can! At the moment it's just me writing it, but the intention and plan is to bring in guest posters that can talk about things I'm not good at and they are, or even just their experiences. I've also become super interested in social media marketing, and study it quite a bit. I think that Facebook and Instagram are still way underutilized by dyers. I have a couple of interviews coming up, and I plan to do more...and there is going to be a podcast in the future, because it seems inevitable.
I realized fairly recently that contrary to what I had thought, I did not want to grow Pigeonroof Studios, and have actually scaled it back quite a bit. Although I still enjoy dyeing, I'm discovering that I enjoy giving knowledge even more, and I'm thrilled by the response I've been getting to my blog posts.