The Story of Black Sheep Goods

We've all heard the term. Some of us might have even been called it before. Traditionally the black sheep wasn't valued because it's wool wasn't able to be dyed. Now a days it's a term for someone who goes against social norms. Bur here at Black Sheep Goods we believe being the black sheep should be celebrated.

Hi! I'm Ashley Owens, wife, mother of 2 boys, and founder/designer of Black Sheep Goods. Born and raised in Nashville, TN but you won't dare see me wear cowboy hats or boots.. All of my life I have been called the black sheep. Always one to go against tradition and live life to the beat of my own drum. Since I was young I was always involved in any craft I could get my hands on. Carol Duvall was my crafting idol and I religiously watched Crafters Coast To Coast. Self diagnosed with crafting ADD I began learning how to make all sorts of things. I had a woodworking phase, upcycled magazine paper bead making phase, collage phase, jewelry making. You name it, I probably tried to make it. I even started doing a few craft shows back before craft shows were even a thing. I couldn't be stopped. But I still hadn't found THE craft.

My first love was with jewelry design and I was so lucky to work as a co-designer and maker for an amazing high end jewelry designer for 7 years until my husband and I started our family. When I was pregnant, Pinterest was just getting good and boy did I fall into that rabbit hole. While on bedrest I decided to try my hand at knitting. And boy was that a disaster. But I was invested so of course I kept on searching for tutorials when I came across arm knitting. It's where you knit a chunky look using your arms as the needles. And with the swollen arms on me I knew I had to try. I made a scarf and it turned out amazing! I was hooked! 

I had felt as if I had found the path to *my craft*. I explored more into fiber arts and dreamt of all the things I could learn to make. One Saturday morning I went yard sale hopping and stumbled upon a vintage rigid heddle loom and a bunch of yarn. Naturally my brain said, I can figure this out. So off to pinterest I went again. But to my surprise there wasn't very much about weaving let alone how to weave. Being the researcher that I am, I found every youtube video, library book, blog post I could find about weaving and finally figured it out like I prematurely told myself. 

After countless hours of self teaching and even making my own loom out of cardboard, I realized there was a hole in the market. Yes, there were a couple weaving looms out there on etsy but they didn't come with instructions, yarn, or anything. Knowing that I had something here but not exactly sure how to execute it, I went to an Etsy bootcamp for makers. That's where I met a maker who made laser cut lanterns and that's when it clicked. I went home and started to design a beginners weaving loom kit with all the tools and instructions that you would need to learn how to weave. The Pop Out Loom & Tools DIY Weaving Kit was born!

Now the saying goes, "do what you love and you won't work a day in your life" but that person who said it, I don't think opened a small business on their own. I put my researching hat on again and starting emailing gift and yarn shops about my weaving kit. Within a few years my kit was in over 200 stores across North America. My goal of spreading the amazing and therapeutic craft that is weaving was reached. But I still wanted to learn more about yarn and fiber art so during my downtime throughout the years, I've taught myself how to crochet, macrame, and even spin yarn! And yes, there was a big floor loom I had for a little bit that I wove some really cool clothes on but that kind of weaving loom wasn't for me.

Always searching for my next crafting hyperfixation (and more upcycled yarn for weaving to add to my neverending Yarnia stash), I went down to my local creative reuse store and found some fabric dyes. The experimenting began and I found that using ice to create a sort of barrier created a really cool look that gave a slight tie dye look but it was softer. More experimenting went down. I tried different types of dyes and materials. I was an ice dyeing machine! I just fell in love with how the ice and the dye created a gorgeous watercolor effect with none of that in your face look that traditional tie dye created. It was a form of color therapy for me. Nothing white was safe around here. Yarn, clothes, anything I could get my hands on. After wearing a few of my old shirts that I had ice dyed and getting multiple compliments I knew I had to make more. But I wasn't impressed with the blank items that were offered on a few wholesale apparel websites so I looked around for some cuter styles. That's when it clicked. Fast fashion is currently overtaking the landfills so I scoured their websites for closeout styles that were white. Knowing that I was saving these pieces from imminent doom and giving them a new colorful life opened up a new world for me and my business. Since starting my ice dyeing journey I have saved over 3,500 pounds of clothes from heading to the landfill. Currently I am expanding my ice dyeing into the home goods realm and there's no end to what could come next. 

All of my goods are available here on my webshop if you would like to support me and my textile and fiber art journey. And If you are in Nashville, I'd love to meet you at one of the many local arts and craft shows that I do. You can follow me on instagram @BLACKSHEEPGOODS to see where I will be set up at next!

And to all my fellow black sheep, keep being your badass one of a kind self!! 

Ashley Owens

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