Started a clothing line, now what?

September 15, 2015
by Mary Hertert

Artistic Designer Apparel

I never dreamed that starting a new clothing line would be this much work nor be so exasperatingly rich and rewarding in new knowledge.

Even just opening my shop back then was one of those "snap up the opportunity" kind of deals. I can say that I knew absolutely nothing about dyework, opening a shop or artwork. I was in computers at the time and bored to tears with teaching meaningless and deadly dull subject matter. The idea for a dye shop came about because I was quilting and couldn't quilt what was in my head – so I started painting and dyeing fabric and inviting co-workers and friends to share the experience. One day when a bunch of guys were lying on their stomachs painting silk I looked at them and asked if they would pay for this experience. "Hell yes! It's that fun". Well, right-o then. 6 months later Color Creek-Fiber Art was born.

The focus for Color Creek-Fiber Art has always been on the creative process, teaching, demonstrating and "making things". Silk painting, batik, vat dyeing – essentially any project that involved changing the colors would grab priority. My first project back in 1997 when I first opened the shop was to tie-dye shirts for a rock band based in Anchorage, Alaska. The shirts were giveaways to the fans. Good thing – because I'm sure I didn't follow any of the "best practices" for dyeing shirts.

Projects came in the form of dyeing a wedding dress for the Bride of Frankenstein at Halloween; helping a gal pull together a prom dress that involved live fish in her platform shoes and bubble bra; painting fabric to cover doors of a house and teaching classes in all kinds of fiber art to a couple thousand customers who came through the door.

Clothing created from my hand dyed fabrics has been with me for several years but never as a main focus. My work for a time was dyeing other people's clothing and household items such as linen and drapes. That was my artwork for a time before adding my "unwearable wearable clothing". You can find some of those garments in my portfolio as show garments. It really has taken me many years and many "morphings" to finally learn that I can have both artwork AND functional product for sale. This is a huge step forward for me into a new world of artistic designer apparel.


History In The Making

It is pretty ironic that this process that began 18 years ago because I was bored with my job has put me on this roller coaster of learning that sustains me to this day. Color Creek Fiber Art has moved nine times and closed three times only to reopen as something slightly different. Doors opened allowing me opportunity to learn new skills only to close when it became clear that it was time for me to move on to a different perspective.

So – now I stand at this blog's opening statement: "I never dreamed that starting a new clothing line would be this much work nor be so exasperatingly rich and rewarding in new knowledge".  Each of the pieces to this new process deserves its own writing and reflection. Marketing to production to learning the language back to marketing to social media to website development to photography back to marketing.  Along the way I have had fabulous teachers – from Rachel Biel of the TAFA site to my friends who modeled and photographed my garments to the boutique owners of Main Paige in Grand Junction, CO to Origins in Santa Fe for their kindness and honest critique.

Please help welcome my new website by browsing through the portfolio and shop pages.  Your comments will be most appreciated as I continue to expand, fine tune and promote the site.  Above all else – thank you for being out there and supportive of the efforts of a new wannabe in the art-to-wear garment world.


Mary Hertert has owned and operated Color Creek Fiber Art since 1997 in Anchorage, Alaska before moving it to Grand Junction. She is an all-around outdoors gal hiking, boating, or just plain looking at everything from rocks to trees to water. Mary has traveled the world and lived in some pretty exotic places before coming back to the U.S.