Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Who Wants Candy?

Eye candy that is.......the non-fattening, visually enticing kind loaded with rich vibrant colour that makes your heart skip a beat and doesn't melt in your hands.  Meet Rhichard Devrieze, (a.k.a) 'The Candyman', a master dyer with a finely honed creative vision and the ability to razzle dazzle knitters with his imaginative colour combinations that transform skeins of wool into visual artistry.

Drop by and meet Rhichard in Muskoka as he unveils his Trunk Show on Saturday September 7th from 10 to 3 pm.

A Chat With Rhichard-

MM:  Hi Rhichard, thanks for stopping by to chat today.  Your yarns have quite literally exploded onto the North American knitting scene.  What was the creative path in life that led you to the art of dyeing?

RD:  Decades ago, I got a couple of 'pet sheep' and that got me into hand-spinning, and that led me to setting up a small company that imported foreign fleeces and fibres.  That led me to getting interested in handweaving, and from there I got into producing one-of-a-kind handwoven coats, jackets, vests, scarves, and twice-woven rugs, plus attending arts and crafts shows and participating in studio tours.  That led me to working for a number of years for a well-known yarn company, where I became the principal dyer and that led my partner, Robert, to persuading me to set up The Yarns of Rhichard Devrieze.

MM:  Where is your home base and do you have a separate work space set up?

RD:  Currently, 'home base' is exactly that!  TYORD operates out of our home and several outbuildings on our property near Markdale, Ontario.  Though, as the business grows and takes over more and more space...we are looking for another property, or to build on our existing property.  Pretty much all of the ground floor of our three-storey home is dedicated to business.  There's a separate building for my dye studio and my much-loved weaving studio is now pretty much our stock and shipping room. 

MM:  Is your dyeing schedule like a regular 9 to 5 work day or do you work as the orders come in?

RD:  As most people who start up their own business know, there's no such thing as a regular 9 to 5 day, but for me, I've never been a 9 to 5 person.  I raise and show French Bulldogs, so there are times when I want to be away for shows, and I'm keen on getting into 'trunk shows' at stores that carry our yarns.

MM:  Have you ever jumped out of bed in the middle of the night totally inspired and just had to try out a new colour recipe?

RD:  What?  Are you driving by in the middle of the night and seeing the lights on in the dye studio?  Of course this happens!  It wouldn't be and it couldn't be 'art' if it was just a matter of process at a given time.  There would be no passion in that.  Not for me anyway.

Rhichard in the dye studio

MM:  Knitters love to know the story behind a yarn and you have such wonderful descriptive monikers for each of your colourways?  They really seem like old friends.  Can you tell us-which comes it the colour combination or the name?

RD:  Our colourways are all very important to us.  Just like our friends, the individuals who represent our wholesale accounts and the always awesome knitters.  It's our way of engaging with them, and it's a reflection of the passion for the process- whether it is the dyeing or the knitting.  What's always so fascinating is how the colourway in the dyed hank changes when the hank is reeled into skeins and then when the skeins are knitted into...whatever.  For the most part the colour and the name happen together, because I'm thinking of a person, place or thing and I am wanting to capture the essence of that, and then the appropriate name just presents itself.  I'm delighted the lyrical descriptions we have delight people.

Peppino- a fingering weight merino

MM:  If you could pick only one of your colourways, which would be a good description of your frame of mind right now?

RD:  If you were asked to pick your favorite child and describe why, would you?  Each colourway is special and each 'speaks' to some aspect  of my life experience, positively.  My frame of mind right now colourways!  Though some people have suggested that I stop.  Not sure that would be possible.

MM:  I have heard that knitters as far away as Tasmania are discovering the beauty of your yarns and placing orders.  That's fourteen time zones away from us!  What sort of feedback fuels your inspiration process the most in this business?

RD:  The stimulus and the passion comes from the people with whom I have the pleasure to engage.  For those who follow Ravelry, you'll see that.  And if you could monitor all of the communications we have with our clients, you'd see that. 

MM:  If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you bring with you?

RD:  I've got four French Bulldogs!

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