Projects: 2 June – 8 June 2014

Well, the Summer is starting off with a blast.  Hopefully we’ll be able to keep up.  Here’s what’s going on so you can if you are interested:

Workroom:

  • Floors

Elliott Archives:

  • Finalize

Gallery:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday we are going to be shooting in the gallery with Alec.  We are almost ready to go, but there are always a few last-minute things to sort out.  Both days we will be working an overnight shoot to keep the ambient street noise to a minimum.

Getaway Farms:

  • Having finished the berm, we are moving on to the back roof of the farmhouse itself.  Thursday and Friday we will be removing the roof and laying what new underlayment needs to be laid.
  • Any other time at Getaway this week will be spent tending to anything left of the berm and checking on the lavender, sumac trees, lemon thyme, creeping thyme, persimmon trees, and hardy hibiscus we’ve started in the front beds and in the cold frames out back.

Just IMagine:

  • The kids are going to have to take a back seat to the roof on the farmhouse this week.  We’ll settle in for some help with the cleanup.  Farm life doesn’t have to be inelegant, but it may involve things that are less than pleasant from time to time.

General Tchad® stuff:

  • Email, email, email for folks asking about Summer classes

Tchad®

Projects: 26 May – 1 June 2014

A lot going on this week:

Workroom:

  • Spring session ends this week
  • General cleaning and straightening
  • Classes blog back up and running
  • Summer registrations for classes open to the general public on 27 May
  • All sewing machines serviced for the next session

Gallery:

  • We are going to be rehabbing the gallery for a film shoot.  Alec, one of our former students is going to be shooting a short and we have to temporarily change the configuration of the room for Sartre’s No Exit.  Luckily it will just take a little work to seal up the windows and doors.  We shoot on 3&4 June.

Getaway Farms:

  • The mulch order is coming in – about 21 cubic yards of wood mulch from Expedition Log Homes.  Our goal over Thursday and Friday is to have the berm on the front of the property set and ready by Saturday morning.

Just IMagine:

  • Geno is coming out to the farm on Thursday.  We’ll probably use our time with him to show him how to mulch and plant the remaining trees from last week.  He is getting really good at driving the tractor, so he will be our intra-farm transport and delivery for the afternoon.
  • Nicole and Alia are going to be working with the horses – grooming and round-pen.  Both of them are feeling much more confident; it is great to see them progress so far.

General Tchad® stuff:

  • All blogs back online and ready to go
  • About ten thousand emails about Summer classes

And that’s it!  Go!  Gogogo!

 

 

Projects: 22 August – 4 September

We will be spending the two weeks leading up to the Fall 2011 class session prepping the workroom and getting things together for the up-coming ten-week session.

On the agenda for the week:

  • Getting the rest of the estate settled.
  • Getting the workroom set up for classes.
  • We have started a new blog called Rural Pursuits to cull information about rural living. Stay tuned.
  • We will be working on the class schedule for the next two quarters (Winter and Spring 2012).
  • Email and general blog & Web stuff.
  • Tchad will be developing more with his personal blog and should be able to introduce the Wrought blog by the end of September.
  • There is a short video instructional series that we have been invited to work on.  It is a series that gives short creative video tips to working business women.  We will be able to tell you more about that in the coming weeks.

We will be putting our clothing business on hold for the next few months, so will not be taking consults or orders until at the very earliest late Spring 2012.  This is going to delay the roll out of the design blog, but we want it to be right, not just published.

So it is a fairly straightforward couple of weeks for us up here at Tchad.  Stay tuned for more.

In the meantime, you can always email us at:

tchad@tchad.biz or classes@tchad.biz

or you can text us at: 773.680.5914.

This should be an exciting Fall and Winter!  Let’s see what we can make happen!

 

It Isn’t All Silks & Sewing, You Know…

We have our hands in a bit of everything – especially when we aren’t actively designing or teaching.

This Summer we took the time to do a few things:

  • We are organizing a book drive for the Books for Women in Prison, a non-profit that helps women in prison with their rehabilitation.
  • We spent a few weeks at Getaway Farms in rural Wisconsin.  Cyndi is setting up a non-profit that helps troubled kids with responsibility through animal therapy – horses specifically.
  • We spent some time researching horse training in Southern Indiana.
  • We ended up baling about 1600 bales of hay.

So it was an eventful Summer!  Here are some out-takes of the most fun we have had working in a long time:

Nothing better than a nice shrimp dinner after baling hay and training.

Tchad as Oliver Mellors

You can bet Tchad is never this filthy at the workroom!

Spring Valley Farms in Southern Indiana

A view across the horse fields and pasture.

Part of the field restoration work at Tchad's farm in Southern Indiana.

Part of the field restoration work at Tchad's farm in Southern Indiana.

Bacchus Picking Grapes

Honestly, you can't name your son Bacchus and NOT have a picture of him picking grapes, now can you?

Extricating Railroad ties.

There were about 25 sunken railroad ties at Getaway that needed to be removed for both safety and æsthetic reasons.

Tchad Moving Railroad Ties.

Tchad Moving Railroad Ties. The most unforgiving, back-breaking work is prying up long, dense, wet railroad ties. We are surprised that Dante didn't include them in one of the rings!

Showing kids how water on a farm is stored and used.

Kids were amazed at the infrastructure of the farm - they had no idea how water was collected and used. This is looking into a large cistern.

Weeds overgrow everything after just two seasons.

Farm work is often a lesson in entropy - if you let up, then everything starts the process of falling apart and you have more work that you would have otherwise. It is a really good lesson for city kids to learn.

Schedule 27 June – 3 July

The week of the 27th through the first we will be focusing on getting the rest of the workroom clean and ready to go for classes in the fall before we shut down for a much needed sabbatical.

There are a lot of things Tchad is doing for an Estate he is working on that will need to be done first, so if you are in the market for religious antiques or memorabilia you may want to check out his Ebay profile.

Resurrection!

It has been since March.  We had to drop the blogs because of a death in the family.

The process hasn’t been fun.  If you want to read more about that you can do it on Tchad’s personal blog.

But as of now, the blogs are back up and running!

We are re-structuring the business to deal with classes entirely.  There will be no clothing or design projects for a while as we deal with the personal and professional fall-out of a life change like this.

So enjoy the blogs and let’s see where this takes us!

Projects: 7-15 December 2010

The Fall session ended last Sunday and we are in high gear to set the workrooms for the Winter quarter and get a number of other projects done.

So a week with a short list but a lot of activity!

  • Paint the floors so they can set properly by January.
  • Blinds up in the large workroom and gallery.
  • Office drapery finished.
  • Finish upholstering the ironing tables.

We will be at the workrooms morning until night for the next few days trying to get everything underway.  Give us a text or shoot us an email if you want to stop by.

Projects: 22-28 November 2010

Classes are out this week for the holiday, so we will be tearing the workrooms apart and setting things for the Winter session.

  • Clean up any residual email from the past two months.
  • Clean both workrooms top to bottom. Magic erasers, anyone?
  • Finish the floors and details in the offices and kitchenette.
  • Paint floors that have been damaged from various installations.
  • Build wall shelving for student machines.
  • Sort for Craigslist, Ebay, and thriftstore. Getting rid of a lot of stuff.
  • Planning on 4 blog posts a day for the next week.
  • A few furniture projects, including a set of Louis XVI-style mid-century interpretations and a set of bedside deco bookshelves.
  • Whatever else we can pack into the next five days

We will be at the workrooms 24/7 for the next few days to get everything done, so let us know what you need and we will try to get you situated. As always, texts are best – we are doing a bit of metalwork and the grinding/welding makes it too loud for us to hear the phone.

Email oops

We try to keep on things, but every now and then slip up.
In this case, a good number of emails have been shuffled into the wrong folder and went unanswered.

We will be working on these throughout Monday and Tuesday afternoons.

Sorry for the delay, guys.

This winter session registration is sailing along, we just lost the rudder for a bit.

Projects: 18-24 October

Week 18-24 October is going to be a rebound & recovery week after we (yes, all of us) spent the week only focused on classes and otherwise in bed sick. The only web work done was for the disambiguation page, and that was a little fuzzy-focused and needs some review.

So with that in mind, here is the agenda for the Workrooms at Tchad for the week of 18-24 October. We are recharged, though the list may be a bit rehashed:

  1. A number of new posts to the classes page, including part 2 of 3: Buying a Sewing Machine.
  2. Finalizing the Winter, Spring, and Fall 2011 session schedules, announcements for schedule changes.
  3. General cleanup.
  4. Two fittings Friday morning.
  5. Finalize the links for these blogs and get the website a little more functional.
  6. Drapery for the workroom’s offices.
  7. About 1,000 emails (actually 322 as of right now, but after you pass 60, it all seems like 1,000)

Workroom Schedule for the week:

  • Monday: 3-6 p.m,, classes 6-9 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 12-3 p.m., classes 3-9 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 12-6 p.m., classes 6-9 p.m.
  • Thursday: 2-6 p.m., classes 6-9 p.m.
  • Friday: 8 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
  • Saturday: 8 a.m. – 12 noon, classes 12-6 p.m.
  • Sunday: Classes 12-6 p.m.

Projects: 11-17 October 2010

Some of our projects at the workroom the week of 11-17 October:

  1. Our email inbox has become a mess. If you expect an email, look for it by 3 p.m. Tuesday the 12th.
  2. We should have the Design blog built out.
  3. The tchad.biz site will be updated with new links and filled out with some images.
  4. There are about five posts to write across the blogs:
    1. Sewing machines you should never buy.
    2. Sewing machines that are a great value.
    3. Reviewing the “Pattern Magic” book’s new English edition.
    4. How to build an ironing table from a large 4×8 foot piece of plywood
  5. Toward the end of the week, we will be at the fabric store to buy white fabric for the workroom’s office drapery.
  6. What seems like thousands of little business details – CPAs, attorneys, &c.
  7. Fittings Friday morning for two of the Berlin series (this is VERY exciting).
  8. Rescheduling and updating the class schedules for Winter & Spring 2011.

So that is what HAS to get done. If we can squeeze in a few hours to finish cleaning out the closet and install a new communications system in the workroom, well, great.

Everybody Needs a Little Effort.

There is a fine artist down the hall from our workrooms who was having a couple of problems. He needed something.
See, sometimes folks just need a little effort thrown their way. Unmentioned, un-asked-for effort. Too many times we forget that.

So we came up with this fabric sculpture-card that references what he does and how this is, for him, a new beginning for him and his work.

closed card-sculpture

When closed...

open sculpture-card

When set on table and opened...

The man rising from the center came from the promotional card for an afro-centric show in the early 2000s, the interior fabric was some leftover millennium fabric we have had tucked away since Y2K and the gold print is from a project we did for a customer before moving to Chicago.

We are fond of the leave-it-and-run method, so we attached the loops to his doorknob, knocked, and ran.

Remember that to make someone’s day a little brighter, to help someone see that they aren’t alone in the world and that someone is thinking of them and wishing them well/supporting them is one of the best things you can do in life. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, just do it.

Like Emerging From Purgatory…

When we took over the spaces at 4403 N Sheridan in 2003, we started small.

Really small.
Like 210 square feet kinda small.

View of original workroom

Original Workroom #203

Borris Powell in #203

Draughting!

This is the first space we had: #203. That’s right: 7×30 feet. We weren’t running full classes at the time – Tchad was still working for VSM International, the company that manufactures Viking brand sewing machines and couldn’t take the time to expand with his corporate job. The only students who have seen this space were our dedicated design students: Borris Powell (of
Borris Powell Designs) and Amanda Kezios (of Mojospa).

We were working with a number of private clients, but we were strictly using #203 as a factory in miniature. All of our fittings and deliveries were taken directly to the client so they didn’t have to deal with cramped quarters. Scores of dresses and interior projects came out of this little space.

Tchad Floor Stamp

Making one's mark.

All of that changed in the Spring of 2004 when #205, the space to the North opened up. Tchad had quit his job teaching for VSM and was ready for a challenge.

Skylight

OH! A skylight

Well, a challenge is certainly what we got.

After the drop ceilings came down, we got a real sense of what we were up against. Turns out the ceilings had been put up for a reason. We aren’t terribly fond of the “it’s good enough for government work” mentality that permeates the Ohio River Valley we grew up in, so we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

This had to be right.

Almost makes "The Rat Incident" worth it.

When you start a rehab project, you should anticipate surprises. Sometimes they are expected, like when you find out that some joker has cut the electric lines and there they sit – quite live. Sometimes they are unpleasant, like when you find a desiccated rat tangled in a pair of size 34-waist men’s briefs (sorry, no pic but: yes. Yes we did. Our first thought: “Fruit-of-Rat’s-Tomb” we aren’t terribly clever here). And sometimes you are very pleasantly surprised, like when you discover a large 2.5×6 foot functioning industrial skylight under your dropped ceilings.
Jackpot.

Now…

We had written a long, drawn-out spiel about what and how we grew from #203 to #201-209.

We were going to drone on and on about the first expansion when we took over #205 and added it to #203, then the second expansion when we took over #207, then the heartbreak of taking over #209 (it had been used as a hiding-place for feral cats). We were going to post and boast of the joy of laying lime plaster and our crazy skills with hanging 5/8″ drywall single-handed. Maybe some things about how we developed a method to eliminate basebaords and door trim. Some kind of celebratory look-at-us when we finally expanded to our physical limits and took over #201.

There was going to be something here about how we single-handedly rehabbed the building’s public restrooms with pictures that would make the world’s most jaded DCFS agent cringe.

We were going to write about the struggle of self-financing this much work and the pride we take in doing things for ourselves and how we feel that the creative community in general is held back not by a lack of spirit, but rather by a lack of functional knowledge of how to make things happen instead of relying on others or complaining/inventing excuses.

Throw in a few paragraphs about having had to scale back the client-side of the business since 2007 for lack of infrastructure, time, or energy and how that has held back our design work for three years.

All of it with pictures documenting our work, pain, and progress.

But no.

We are chomping at the bit to get everything underway.

Let’s let a couple of pictures speak for themselves.

Dust masks are trés fashionable!

How Tchad has looked for the past three years when not teaching classes.

After dropped ceilings came down

Bad. Really bad. Everything looked like this.

So here we are, writing about this in late September of 2010.

We have moved on, grown up, and:

Our space is set and we are ready to go.





NEW SPACE!

201-203

Gallery & Workroom...

209 Tchad Chicago Classroom

Classroom

New Classroom!

Classroom 209

Let’s do this!

We are working on it!

So the old general Tchad.biz blog just wasn’t cutting it and here we are.
The blogs have been divided up into separate sites for Projects, Classes, and Design. This is going to be the first post for each of them.
This has turned out to be the default image when we are working on stuff:

Coping Marble at the Sheridan-Montrose building in Chicago.

*chip*chip*chip* We are getting there! *chip*chip*chip*

That’s right. Coping Marble. This pic was from the 2007-8 bathroom restoration at the Sheridan-Montrose building where we have our workrooms. What you aren’t seeing is the aftermath…

After having coped out the perfect ridge in the base of the 2 inch marble slabs, we stood it up and walked over to another part of the hall… CRASH …and a 100 year old piece of marble crashed into hundreds of pieces.

Hopefully the build-outs of the blog will go better.