Textile and block-print designer Yetunde Rodriguez has been creating work that celebrates her Nigerian heritage since 2013. She’s a full-time artist, an educator and fan favorite at Outlaw events. Her work can also be found promoting our 2021 marketplaces.
We chatted with Yetunde to learn more about her home life during the pandemic and her studio practices. Make sure to visit her in-person at our Holiday Marketplace.
What is one form of creativity that you embraced during the pandemic?
That’s tough to say because I do all those things anyway: I cook almost daily, I work on home projects regularly, etc. I will say I became a better plant owner. I don’t kill plants as much as I used to. I tried to get more into crocheting, but I never completed a project. I did bake some bread, and I got really interested in punch needle, though I have not really devoted a lot of time to it. My 20 year old daughter took the fall semester off college so she was here with us. I taught her to drive during that time, so she just now got her license. I feel like I accomplished something 🙂
What have you missed most about selling in-person?
I have missed getting the real-time feedback of my ideas. I have tons of product ideas. Left to myself I’d probably try to execute them all. When I sell at a show, I get to see instantly which idea was viable. A lot of times I think one thing will be a hit, but find out I’m completely wrong.
I truly appreciate the community that the Craftin’ Outlaws team has built. I love how much effort you go to to promote your artists. Craftin’ Outlaws has been consistently good due to that effort, and I appreciate it!
Also, look for more interesting ideas and products as I am branching out into wood!
What was the first experience you recall that informed you of wanting to go into business for yourself?
It seems I’ve always wanted to work for myself. I never enjoyed the idea of giving multiple hours of my day to another organization.
That said, I also have had many jobs. I just didn’t enjoy them. I made and sold soaps and other body products.
What is your best selling product and why do you think it’s popular with your customers?
My fabric plant pot covers are very popular, much to my surprise! It was something I developed one day when I had some scraps of fabric laying around. It’s completely baffling to me that they are so popular, but also, I get it a little. It’s a good way to get some pattern + color in your home without making a big commitment.
You’ve recently moved from a home workspace to an out of house Studio. What are your Studio practices?
There’s been a bit of an adjustment with having an outside studio. I don’t think I anticipated how much adjustment there would be. For one thing, having everything off-site from my home has forced me to have clear boundaries between work time and home time. I have also had to have firm boundaries with friends/acquaintances who want to come hang out in my studio. I have also gotten more serious about my work practices. I leave my desktop computer at home (for now). That is my preferred computer for designing, and sometimes I need to work on a design at home. I dedicate one day a week to staying home for anything that needs to happen on that computer. I keep a laptop at the studio for things that need immediate action. Of course I have my phone everywhere. The actual business of making happens at the studio.