I received three individual emails from readers during the past few weeks asking similar questions. Simply, they asked how I got interested in sewing and painting, what my artistic background was, where I grew up and what type of work I do, if my house was "funky and whimsical", and if my daughters caught the "creative bug".
So, where should I start?
I have always been crafty. I learned to sew in the 5th grade and continued to sew some of my clothes throughout high school. I grew up in a very small town on the south shore of MA. I was always "making something" and loved to do anything crafty. Summer vacations were spent in Bridgton, Maine and I assembled model cars, made acorn dolls, sketched drawings in the row boat and learned to crochet granny squares. Even on the beaches in the Massachusetts south shore I could be found creating sand sculptures! I loved high school art and home economics classes almost as much as phys ed - I enjoyed being "busy".
In college, during art classes, I was always embellishing - much to my professor's chagrin. In drawing class, we spent hours drawing hands, elbows, lips, eyes, etc. I would add "rings" onto the hand drawings, and "eye shadow" onto the eyes, and "tattoos" onto the arms! For some reason I have always liked embellishments, accoutrements and whimsy and I am drawn to the contrast of black and white. During those years I painted my dorm room walls (which was strictly forbidden), made handmade gifts for friends and designed some fabulous articles of clothing. My degrees are in textiles, fashion design, nutrition, education and administration from Framingham State College in MA, Oswego State and Syracuse University in NY (obviously I kept busy in education, too).
When I moved into my first home I made the window treatments and enjoyed decorating. I bought myself a scroll saw and sold many country style wooden crafts I made through local shops. I was inspired by MacKenzie-Childs, Mary Engelbright, Lee Joffa prints and calligraphy. Again, my hands were busy!
Years of teaching fashion design to high school students enhanced my creativity by encouraging my students to use their imaginations. It was so important to me to teach my students to alter their patterns and designs to make "it their own" and give it a unique flair - and they rarely failed! Because I taught in the 11th poorest white school district in the US (USA Today), my students were pressured to recycle, reuse and redefine fashion. My years of teaching creatively were rewarded with a 3 week Fulbright experience to Japan, where I learned a variety of fabric surface designs, among so much more!
(lunch time at an elementary school in Minami Alps, Japan - can you spot me?)
My daughters are creative, but weren't until they became adults - which I found curious. They never wanted to "create" much when they were younger. But my 4 year old grandson is quite creative and made this, my favorite bowl:
NO - I do not like to garden!! I hate dirt and anything that slithers or has numerous legs. This is the extent of my gardening:
My home is very traditional however I am a big MacKenzie-Childs fan, especially drawn to their Courtly Check. I also have a nice collection of M-C dishes. These are all inspiration for a lot of my paintings on furniture.
I am a retired teacher, currently working part-time as a jewelry merchandiser. My little business of painting furniture for others is always an exciting challenge and I spend time doing "tech work" for a local business - so even in retirement I am busy! I love to travel, especially to cruise. I have a small wall of artwork from some of my travels (St Lucia, Mt Fuji, Haiti, Puerto Rico, NYC, Alaska)
But my favorite place to be is on Cape Cod - once I travel over the bridge, I am so content!
I promised each of the woman that emailed me that I would create a post to answer their questions - hopefully I answered all of their questions!