Diversifying Your Work, Income and "Free" Time with Luke Haynes

Within the handmade community there are a million ways to make a buck. Today, co-founder KC talks with #ahasmember Luke Haynes-- whose work is part artist, part quilter, part creative entrepreneur. When I think of hustle, I definitely think of this guy. He's blazing unconventional paths left and right. Luke shares with us about his latest (very ambitious project), when he's OK with not getting paid and how he does it all.

Q: Can you introduce yourself, tell us about your work and how you got started?
A: I am LUKE Haynes. I am an architect turned quilter. I started studying fine art, then studied architecture and eventually found my way into quilting as my chosen medium. 

Q: The work you are doing as an artist, a quilter, a business owner, and collaborator is phenomenal. I am always so impressed by your ability to juggle huge personal exhibition shows (50 - wowzas!) commission work both for brands and individuals, working with artists for piece work, being active in the community (like with us at AHAS, your spot on the board of the Quilt Alliance for 6 years, and so much more!), teaching, project(s) with the city of Los Angeles, launching a fabric line, and being extremely active on social media! [deep breath]

First, did I miss anything for this list? And second, are you a superhuman?? In all seriousness, what have you found that works for you to keep everything on track? 

A: Thanks very much! It does feel like a lot some days. I will also say that I have an amazing team that helps me accomplish all these things. I get my inbox to zero at least once a week. I get enough sleep. AND I ask for help from people that are better than me at the tasks at hand. The latter is the most important. 

Q: You have started sharing some of the behind the scenes of your upcoming exhibition on your social media @entropies -The Log Cabins of Donald Judd A Show of 50 Quilts. #LCoDJ opens on February 18th. Can you tell us a bit about what people will be experiencing at your show, why you chose Log Cabins as a theme, and what Donald Judd has to do with this project?

A: The show is called: "The Log Cabins of Donald Judd." The "Log Cabin" is arguably the first known repeatable quilt block, hence the show title.  The method is: start with a center square and then sew pieces around that square as many times as you'd like until the block is as big as you want. Do that as many times as you need blocks, then sew it together into a quilt top. 

I am making 50 iterations of ways of using variations of this block in quilts. 

I set myself a few rules:

  • Red centers

  • Only White and Black fabric

  • 90" each side

  • All used fabric [sourced locally]

    From there I worked on ways of changing the elements to create different visuals. The tops read like a study in graphic design. I am referring to the sculptor Donald Judd because I want to call attention to the ideas in his practice and the fact that my work is intended to exist inside the conversation arc of fine art sculpture. 

Judd's work is about materials existing in a location, and this series is made entirely of reclaimed and recycled textiles that will be hung in the center of the space. This setup suggests that the show is made of objects in space and sculpture. It strips away preconceptions of quilt as related to bed and being privately owned and valueless. 

The Log Cabins of Donald Judd opens February 18. Tickets and show information here.

I want to construct a show whose focus is understanding the medium and materials and contextualizing the work as object/sculpture. So, instead of being on the walls, the quilts will be displayed hanging away from the walls in a forest of pieces for viewers to walk through. 

Q: I know another first for you is your new fabric line Dapper by Moda (the half prints, half woven collection is available in April 2016). Can you tell us a little bit about when you started this project, how it came about and why you thought it would be good for "your brand" even though you largely work with recycled fabrics?

I work with recycled materials because they have an implicit story. That story has to start somewhere. Why not create amazing fabrics that I can use to communicate with the industry of quilters? I have been working on the designs for about 18 months. It's not easy to create a fabric line. There are a lot of things to consider and to work with. 

Q: Was there anything surprising or unexpected you learned now that your fabric line has launched?
A: [laughing]  The most obvious one: I should have created a pattern for the fabric line to help explain ways of working with it. Didn't even cross my mind till I got to market to launch the line. 

Q: Your business has "multiple streams of income" as we mentioned above. That can feel chaotic and overwhelming for some. How do you balance where to put your creative energies and your business energies? And when are you OK jumping into a project even if it's not a money maker? 

A: I think about non-money projects as my hobby. a business person needs to arrange their schedule around hobbies and work. It's challenging to see from the outside if those are both similar, like in my case both are quilts, but I know which are for learning and fun and experience and which are going directly into the business. 

Q: Where can people find you online and how can they see #LCoDJshow?
The show info is at: http://www.lukehaynes.com/exhibitions/

The space I am using is at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles
112 E 22nd st #10 Los Angeles CA 90731

February 18, 2016
VIP opening 4-6pm
IP opening 6-10

$130 a ticket for the VIP Includes a swag bag that makes the price well worth it. Trust me. 
Admission is free after 6

Q: Where can people find you online?
Website: LUKEHaynes.com
Instagram: instagram.com/Entropies