A mother of six, grandmother of 23, great-grandmother of 2, and recently widowed, Diane Ricks is an artist extraordinaire. Diane’s journey into wearable art began when she turned forty-one. Her youngest was starting kindergarten, so Diane decided to go back to school. Already trained in advertising, Diane decided to try something new and follow her passion: fashion design. She studied at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles. Upon graduation, she was asked to stay on as an assistant teacher for one of the big name designer/teachers at FIDM. This experience taught her two things: she loved to design fashion and she loved to teach others. Diane went on to develop her own company specializing in custom couture and costumes and to teach at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, California. As the years progressed, Diane learned to combine art and fabric by discovering different ways to dye and paint her own fabrics and then use those fabrics in creating clothing and later quilts. Today, she is sought after around the country to lecture and teach, sharing her gift as an innovator in the field of wearable art.
Describe Your Venture: Wearable Art is making a garment that is unique and artful; wearable and challenging.
What skills and talents do you have that compliment your venture? I am an artist and I sew. I love to figure our how to do things in an easier or better way. I like to share what I learn.
What fears did you have getting started? That I wouldn’t be able to do it after raising six kids. My big question: Could I make the transition from mother to designer?
What was involved in getting started? First, education: taking classes, making patterns, learning how to design. Second, experience: sewing six hours a day, every day, for five years.
What was your start up costs? What are your ongoing costs? Buying an industrial sewing machine was my first big cost. Then there was the cost of paints, fabric, and dyes, which wasn’t all that much. Later, clients paid for those things.
How do you get the word out about your venture? Strictly by word of mouth. Teaching classes introduces me to lots of people.
How much time a week do you spend on your venture? So much time!!! I am always developing ideas, experimenting, working through a process.
What have you learned along the way? How exactly to create something. Having an idea become reality. “I can do it.” Not afraid to try new things. And give others a safe place to try.
What do you like best about your venture? Just doing it. I like being involved in the process.
What do you see for you and your venture in the future? My designing keeps me alive and gives me purpose. It keeps my mind active and I am able to be involved with other people. Definitely keep teaching and keep learning new techniques.
You can see more of Diane’s original designs on her blog: www.dianericks.com