The creative and spiritual journey of a (textile) recycler. . .

I have thought about starting a blog for a long time now. I just couldn’t seem to get started. I thought. . what would I say, what would I do and really . . . . . who would care.

Last year I had the great fortune to witness a ‘happening’. As a spouse at a reunion (I know, groan) I was both an observer and participant. This reunion was attended by some of the most creative and talented people on the face of the planet. Really, no exaggeration! But many were holding onto life long insecurities. They didn’t think they were talented enough and embarrassed to perform in front of each other for fear of . . who knows . . . finger pointing, whispers, laughter, ridicule of some sort for sure. Once it was revealed that many shared the same feelings, the healing began. And I was the lucky one. I got to witness it all and benefit as well.

So, the message is that we all think we are not good enough compared to someone else, but we are. Don’t let your fears and insecurities stop you. We can’t measure our own success by someone else’s talents.

This revelation and the kindness / support of strangers has propelled my creative journey to a place I had given up ever getting to. Tho I thought my creative juices were dried up forever, they have merely been reawakened. Many thanks to all involved in my process, including in-part . . Victoria B, Mrs. W., Charles Mc., Claudia H, Mary B, Cindy G, Sandy B, Traci B., Kat C, and my IAA family. So, thank you. I dedicate this blog to all of you!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

And the winner is . . .

. . not me. But that's ok. I came in third out of 25. I was shocked because everyone had vests with lots of little cut pieces stitched together in nice patterns and shapes. I on the other hand merely cut up a pair of black jeans.

You can see that I took the top of the jeans, made it the bottom of the vest.... a girl needs pockets after all. Then I used the leftover pieces for the front and back and a bit of a little piece to make another double pocket at the top. 

I double stitched all the seams just like jeans tho you can't tell from the photo. I'm fairly impressed with myself but still... it's just a pair of jeans. . .

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Every year I volunteer at the American Sewing Expo. It's fun. I get to see a lot of folks I don't see the rest of the year. I make new friends. I find new products and of course I am surrounded by beautiful yummy fabrics. 

Part of being a volunteer is the vest contest. Months prior to the show, The Expo selects the color, then sends the info in an email. At the volunteer meeting before the show starts, everyone puts on their vests, parades around and hopes to get the most votes. Well, tonight is the night.... let's see how it goes.....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Listing goals

While noodling around online, I stumbled upon a blog that caught my eye. It also inspired me. I was first attracted by the bright colors, the style, then the text, then the content. Goals. Yep. Who amongst us doesn't have a mental list of things to do. . . . and how easy is it to get side tracked and never get anything done? Well we know that I excel in that. . Will a list help me and keep me on track. Who knows, but it's worth a try right? Either way, I promise to do better. 

So Miss Aimee, you have inspired me to list my goals, for the rest of the year, for everyone to see.... 

In honor of 'List it Tuesday', here it is:

~ finish at least a few UFOs (unfinished quilts to you uninitiated). 
I have plenty

~ get a workable workspace carved out of the piles of 'treasures' waiting to find their way into some wonderful new creations

~ do a few shows selling my work... let's see what people really think.. or am I just delusional

~ get rid of things that are taking up valuable space that I will truly never use

~ continue listening to my inner voice, even when it says something very unpleasant or uncomfortable

Thank you Aimee!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why I recycle and love fabric ..

I love fabric, yes I do. In fact, I am addicted to it.
Why? Here are just 5 reasons ~
* because it has color and texture that excites me *

* because I can change it from its original form *

* it brings back wonderful memories from the past *

* it connects me to people of like mind and those that I care about *

* fabric allows me to add other items, recycled items, stuff saved from someones trash, that enhances the end product... making it that much more satisfying *

Can you list 5 things that you love about your favorite medium?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

More art fair 2012

This morning I was awakened by severe itchy upper arm for some odd reason. When I took a look, it was beat red and full of large welts! That never happened before, ever. I tried some topical stuff and that seemed to work for a bit. The allergies seemed a tad better, but I'm still feeling a bit out of sorts today. Thinking about yesterday, I realized that when someone mentioned the weather the day before, when I commented, the poor woman looked at me like I had horned tentacles growing out of my body and right before her eyes. I obviously got it wrong. Oh yah, I thought. I haven't seen the light of day for a few days now. What the heck was the weather like yesterday. I better keep my mouth shut. Other than that situation, it was such a wonderful and affirming day after all. How could today top that? So, I thought I'd try the art fair again and see what happens.

Well to be clear, I didn't go to the fair to top yesterday, but I think it did. One thing that I like as much as seeing the art work is watching people and making new connections. Not only did I make new connections today, but I rekindled an old one. So glad. It means a lot to me. Life it too short to lose touch with people.

And the cherry on the top today was learning from some of the artists, that after almost 20 years, I am still thought of as one of the best at what I did. You see. I promoted artists for over 35 years. First it was artists from all over the world in a brick and mortar store, then 20 at fine art fairs and gallerys. That, on top of yesterday, put me over the moon. Thank you again Universe for putting this all in my path. My journey continues . . .

On my walk today I met and had a chat with Paolo Pedini. Love the bright colors and quirky style. He's a bit of a slow key, quiet guy, which let's his art speak. Perfect. Check out more work on his website:

Paolo Pedini
Paolo Pedini
This pix is for you, my skeleton loving friend. And you know who you are. Thank you for the words and just being you. You never know how a seemingly casual conversation can impact someone. I've always admired you and your talent. If you didn't know already, now it's official.

Next I met Pat McCraffrey from Swampware Pottery. I was first drawn to the vintage images on her vases, trays and other goodies. Then we started talking. We talked about our shared love of anything vintage and the images that 'speak' to us so loud and clear. Not to mention the hunt to find them. Each and every piece is it's own painting, but functional. Love it!

Swampware Pottery
Swampware Pottery

Oh, Steven Wirtz, what a crazy mind you have! Just check out the paper mache doggy lifting his leg to, well, you know. All of the paper mache people and animals had some equal quirkyniess to them ... and they were FUN! Haha.. can't be in a bad mood with his work around.

Steven Wirtz

Then I had a nice long chat with Elissa Brown from The Freckled Army. What a nice, upbeat gal she is. Her big smile and bright eyes beamed as she welcomed people into her booth to check out her mix media collage work. Holy cow! It's just great too. I love the layers and colors and textures. She draws and paints her own images then works her magic putting it all together. I wish I had money  . . . and wall space.

Elissa Brown of The Freckled Army

Then there was Julie. I love this gal. The instant we met it was like we knew each other forever. I hope we become life long friends. She is so open and honest and talented! Her paintings are so very detailed and complex. I loved the color combinations...everything from brights to black & white to soft & subtle.

Julie VanZandt-Coules
full view from photo above

 Bye-bye now. See you at the art fair next year!

Ok, maybe just one more thing
This is where I just have to say something. Not out of anger but to educate. This has happened at one time or another to every artist. By people we know and trust and by people we don't. Stop ripping off someone else's designs & ideas. Artists work hard to create what they do. They have time and money invested in creating something that people may want to own or give as a gift. In many cases, selling their art is their livelihood. Especially with today's economy and jobs so hard to find, it's even more important to understand.

I think that a lot of people just don't realize the hours it takes to come up with the idea, the cost of materials, the days, weeks, months it takes to make the piece, the time to finish it with a professional look that will attract a buyer, the gas it takes to drive it to a store or art fair so you can see it, the travel/hotel costs, display costs, the record keeping and follow up to be sure the checks cash, the NSF fees and time to track down the buyer to pay up, the credit card fees the artist incurs so you, the public, don't have to carry cash. .  I think you are getting my point. I heard from a number of artists this weekend that people walk into the booth, start snapping photos (without permission) and then go home and duplicate the work to sell... or copy the images off the internet and produce them for sale or even just for themselves. This is a no-no.

All I ask, is that before you use your cell phone or camera to take a picture of someone's work, ask if it's ok. Tell the artist why you want the photo and never ever duplicate for personal use or to sell it. And never download the pretty image that you wanted so badly to own but not pay for.

And for artist who steal from other artists . . . shame on you. You know better.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Validation at the Art Fair

Scratchy throat, burning eyes, on meds .. again .. not a good day. Never-the-less I forced myself to hit the art fair. It was just one block from my house. I hadn't been out of the house for a few days. I had to try. It was a struggle.. but I made it with a few stops along the way to breath. 

Thank you Universe. You did it again. I got a good butt whipping from a few old friends....yes.. I needed it. You are right. I need to produce more. Thank you for validating me. You told me I had talent. You told me I was an artist. Having the rest of the day and evening to mull these various comments over, I realized - that's all I really ever wanted to hear. I have the ideas. I have the ability. I just needed for someone to say it... so thank you again Universe. You never let me down. Now I just need to carve out some time each day and get back on track.

In between my walks, breaks, visits and butt whippings, I managed to see some really cool art. Tho I did not get a lot of pictures, here are just a few.

Re-Zip It!

Wow! This work was really cool. Metal zippers bent and twisted into all kind of cool things. I especially loved the vases. Yep, that tall white vase is made from zippers!

Detroit Doll Face

Then there are the gals from Detroit Doll Face. I just love their work. . .  everything from Morticia Adams / Vampira pillows to cool knitted stuff to jewelry and oh so much more.

Desiree Kelly
Desiree Kelly
OMG! Desiree Kelly, blew me away. She was easily my favorite artist of the day. Her work is unbelievably spectacular! Unfortunately, these photos do not do the paintings justice. 

Depending on my allergies and how I feel tomorrow, maybe I'll go back for more art fair. If not, it may just be me and my pillow. Either way, I'll be making moves to create something new.

Life's too challenging to be creative

Ugh. Again... side tracked by life... How do people find the time and energy to be creative when so many crazy things are happening around them. Since my last post, in part, I have had a 5 day power outage in 100 degree weather, no phones for over a week, bedridden for a month - twice - due to allergies, still trying to finish the clean- up from last years flood, and working through an unwelcome situation in the family, Alzheimers. Working with family long distance to get anothers home packed, donated, given away, sold and then physically moved to another state was daunting enough, but the time and paperwork once landed has been a new full time job. 

You might say "well, create something to relieve the stress". I have found it just too stressful to even try. It's not that I don't have ideas. It's not that I lack the bits and pieces of things to use. It's not that I don't have the desire. I just sit and look at all my 'treasures' and feel like I need to be doing something for someone else, not myself. I feel guilty even trying. I just haven't been able to get over that hump. I'm pooped out...too pooped to create. But don't count me out all together. I know that I'll bounce back soon.... as soon as the allergies go away and take the head pounding, scratchy throat, itchy eyes and gagging, away....