We love our members, so every month we’ll be featuring one of them on the site and in the newsletter. This month, our featured member is Hamilton weaver Amanda Rataj (@amandarataj), who gamely answered all our questions about her work and her life.
(P.S., not a member yet? What are you waiting for?)
Workshop: Describe your business in 10 words or less.
Amanda Rataj: I am a weaver and artist.
W: What was the first product you sold?
AR: I started selling my work when two things happened at once: my skills had increased to where I was making more than I wanted (or needed) to keep, and a university classmate opened a shop, Likely General, underneath my apartment. At the beginning I made lots of kitchen towels — they were an excellent learning tool as I learned the material and technical aspects of weaving.
W: What’s your latest innovation?
AR: Good question! I like the knitter's term "unventing," coined by Elizabeth Zimmerman. "But unvented — ahh! One un-vents something; one unearths it; one digs it up, one runs it down in whatever recesses of the eternal consciousness it has gone to ground. I very much doubt if anything is really new."
W: What’s something you’ve done in the past year that you’re proud of?
AR: I have been slowly overcoming my (unreasonable) fear of dyeing!
W: What’s the most recent thing you’ve bought from another Canadian maker?
AR: I bought a tea cup from Candice Boese of CAND Ceramics. My excuse was that I needed a prop for my latest weaving pattern... I also purchased some things from my friend Megan Samms of Live Textiles. Beyond being an incredible weaver and natural dyer, Megan is a farmer and has a line of apothecary goods. She's also starting a weaving residency out in Newfoundland.
W: Describe your dream studio.
AR: My dream studio is simply time and space! It's not anywhere in particular, but, having studied photography in art school, I am partial to bright, light-filled rooms balanced with complex, moving shadows.
W: What’s one book, movie, TV show, magazine, podcast or album that you’re loving right now?
AR: I'm getting a friend the book How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell for Christmas. I read it a few years ago and it is wonderful. It's not really about doing nothing — it's about how to do real, meaningful things in a world defined by (often) superficial digital interaction.