UrbanGirl continues to highlight our fellow woman-owned businesses. Our Woman-Owned Wednesday subject today is Amy C. Lund, weaver of fine textiles. She combines “natural yarns and traditional weave structures to highlight form and function in classic fabrics for unique hand towels, table linens, scarves, blankets and rugs.” Lund is an entrepreneur who creates, markets, and sells her work. She believes that “art can be expressed in well-crafted everyday items, no matter how utilitarian. The materials and processes involved in making objects are just as important as the finished pieces. Many techniques have evolved through the history and traditions of each craft.”
Woman-Owned Wednesday: Amy C. Lund, Handweaver
Lund’s interest in textiles started at a young age. “I learned to spin after fixing up an old wheel that was in the family summer cottage. I first learned to knit with the yarn I made. Then, I was given an opportunity to help with an exhibit on historic weaving patterns and use an old barn loom set up by a weaver with some of my homespun yarn. I was hooked!” She took a class and continued to weave and pursue her interest in historical and cultural weaving. An internship at Hancock Shaker Village Museum after college made her realize that she wanted to pursue this interest further. She earned a master’s degree in Textiles and Related Art from the University of Rhode Island and worked in a museum. She “missed actually making things” with her own hands and decided to create her own business.
Earning a living as an artist can be difficult, especially in a field that is seen as traditionally female. When asked about this, Lund said, “I think many dismiss the traditional domestic textile arts and handcraft as women’s work, something that is done for free, or not necessarily for a living wage, that it has little value since modern technology has changed our understanding of consumer products and material goods. This makes it difficult to get the recognition the work deserves from others, and I must say I still see many women in the field who dismiss their efforts and don’t always think they can ask for the recognition they deserve for those talents and creativity.”
Amy winding warp
Furthermore, marketing and business often take up a greater percentage of an artist’s time. Lund says, “at least ¾ of my time is spent on promoting my work and running the business, or at least it seems that way! While it takes a lot of skill and time to handweave textiles, much of the value of making is also in the finish work, fine tuning the details, and getting it into the hands of customers. Sometimes a lot of work goes in to the planning of new projects, too.” Lund handles all aspects of the business herself, and says that someday she would love to have more help with office tasks, but for now, “It’s hard with a creative business to give up control, creative and otherwise, or find good help that operates the same way and is as committed to the core of the artistic vision.”
Lund’s proudest moments occur when her work “is recognized and understood by customers, designers, or promoters,” because she knows she has “connected on a special level.” She says, “the satisfaction that comes from those moments that can keep me going, whether it is from a note or a customer in my shop, to a blog mention or magazine feature. Every sale is a special moment to me, too.” Her biggest challenge is finding a “strong and consistent market that understands the traditional textile arts as fine craft, understanding the skill and labor involved in making handmade decorative and utilitarian items with aesthetic value, as well as their long-term value.” However, her perseverance and willingness to continually learn more about business and marketing strategies give her hope that “each new day will bring new sales and ideas.”
Red Striped Handwoven rug by Amy C. Lund. “Attention to detail and commitment to traditional artistry separate my hand woven textiles from many others. I work entirely with traditional hand and foot powered looms, not using computers to guide my patterns or mechanics to power the loom.”
For anyone interested in turning his or her skill and talent into a business, Lund offers the following advice, “I would suggest that while one is learning their skill and refining it, to spend time also developing other areas of business, such as branding, marketing, promotion, and presentation, which is so important. None of these has to be perfect at the beginning, but should show development that can be built upon as skills and knowledge increase. Everything starts in some stage of development and change continually happens over time and with new perspectives. It is also important to keep plugging away at something! Sometimes when I’m working on one product, another will sell, or while I have to do paperwork, I need items available for customers.”
To learn more about Amy C. Lund and her work, visit her website. To purchase her handmade items, visit her Etsy shop.
Autumn Zen Simplicity Scarf, Handwoven Sand and Stone Soothing Stripes for Mindful Moments by Amy C. Lund