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START, MAKE, CONNECT, GROW ISSUE TWO

OCTOBER 2019


Hello Makers and those that Love Makers, Welcome to our Second Issue of The Maker U! If you are here because you found Issue One and LOVED it, YAY! I’m so glad you enjoyed the premiere issue, the contributors were totally amazing, right!? They shared their stories, projects, a recipe, and most of all their heart. So grateful to them for making our first issue so special. If you haven’t read it yet, please go back and grab it

HERE! There are more

amazing women sharing their stories and inspiring us, one by one.

When I was trying to decide what the tag-line would be for The Maker U, I listed out all the words that I wanted this magazine to portray, accomplish, how it would make you feel, etc. I wanted you all to feel confident to START, and even if you weren’t confident, you’d do it anyway. I wanted you to START and think WHY THE HECK NOT? And what if you fail? START again. I wanted The Maker U to be about MAKING too of course! We all don’t have time to MAKE a million projects for fun, I get that...so I wanted to invite a few gals to share quick and easy projects that you might be inspired by to set aside a few minutes to get your creativity on. If there is anything we need in today’s day and age it is the ability to CONNECT. In a world of small screens and little square pictures, to dive into how we can still feel part of a tribe, still have our voices heard, and be able to share bits of ourselves is something worthy of a section in this magazine. The last section, and maybe the most important is how we GROW. It isn’t until we step back and realize our season of life is changing, do we realize it’s normal to not be able to do everything you thought you could do in the last season. Once you have kids, or your kids move out of the house, or you have a new

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challenging job, or you retire from your career, all of these changes have a BIG impact on your life as you know it, and we need to learn how to GROW into our new season. It’s a lot of letting go and a bunch of letting in. Be

gentle on yourself, and get a good footing under yourself, and Start again.

Go Forth and MAKE! Xoxo Rachel McGough

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TABLE OF CONTENTS START SOPHIA RUFFALO - FEMMEBOUGHT GAYLENE STEINBACH - LESSONS THROUGH CHOCOLATE MOLLY ANTHONY - SLOW DOWN GRACE NIXON PETERSON - WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU A LEMON FARM RACHEL WALKER - A WEEK IN THE LIFE FEATURED ARTIST - MARY CAVERLY

MAKE KRISTIN PETERSON - MATCHBOOK TUTORIAL SONIA LYNE - WORKING ON THE BUSINESS RATHER THAN IN IT O’ SWEET GOODNESS – PAPER FLOWERS TRICIA HALL - SIMPLE WAYS TO BE A SUCCESSFUL VENDOR. FEATURED MAKER - KATRINA RODABAUGH

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CONNECT JEAN RUBMAN - RAGBAGGALS JESSICA SAYLOR - TINY TOWNS SARAH BIERSTADT - SPARKING JOY THROUGH CONNECTIONS KHADESIA LATIMER – WELCOME TO MY HOUSE RACHEL MCGOUGH - THE RULES #HANDMADEANDTRADE FEATURED ARTIST - IDANIA SALCIDO

GROW VIV SLIWKA - A JOURNEY CANDICE CASTILLO - PIVOT WITH PASSION SHANNON YONGE - TODAY IS A DAY THAT I NEVER IMAGINED JONEE SUTTON – GROWTH DEFINED KENTIA NAUD - WEARING MANY HATS REFUSING LABELS TO FIND NEW PATHS FEATURED ARTIST - SHARON STANLEY

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The Maker U October 2019 Issue Two Rachel McGough …………………Creator and Editor

Letter to the Editor and Submissions:

Email themakeru@yahoo.com Direct Message on Instagram @themakeru Copyright 2018 by Rachel McGough All rights reserved. No part of this online magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written permission of Rachel McGough. All images and photographs within this publication have been included and reproduced with the knowledge and consent of all the makers and no responsibility is accepted by the publisher, The Maker U, for any infringement of copyright or otherwise coming from the contents of this magazine. We appreciate the giving nature of the makers included in these pages. Please do not reproduce projects that the makers have shared within the magazine for resale. The projects are intended for personal use only. Thank you! *Some products may include affiliate links to support magazine production

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Celebrate Your Wins! by Sophia Ruffolo

“If you can’t find the job you want you can create it.” Jen Gotch Starting a business on your own ain’t easy! It takes grit, resilience, sacrifice, faith, persistence. But at the end of the day you’ll realize you’re more powerful than you could have imagined. Three ways to help you keep your powerful momentum!

Celebrate your Wins! Do you ever forget to to celebrate your wins? I do. Luckily my femmebought network helps remind me to do a little dance and jump up and down. Wins don’t come along that often. How often do you get a No? I get NO a lot! When you get a YES, celebrate, call your bestie, do an Instagram live – your support network wants to celebrate your wins with you.

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“ONE trick to staying motivated + on track is writing down your WINS! Studies proved that identifying your smaller daily achievements and putting them down on paper is most effective.” @thecontentplanner Take Dedicated Time to Yourself No matter how much you love your hustle, don’t forget to take out some time in your day for yourself too! We love spending our Sundays curled up with a good book to inspire us for the week ahead. Take a pause from your business to focus on self-care. Set attainable goals Setting goals is a sure-fire way to know what you’re working towards. Do you ever find that your finishing lines keeps moving? I do. I get distracted. I get lost in the emails and DMs coming in. That’s why I set measurable goals and achievable target dates. And that’s when I celebrate the wins. Are you looking for a network to remind you to celebrate your wins and hold you accountable on your goals? We’ve got that for you at femmebought!

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What’s femmebought? Hint; It’s more than just a directory. At its core, femmebought is an online directory of women-owned businesses. If you’re looking to purchase with purpose, and buy from companies with ladies at the helm, then pull up a chair, you’re in the right place. We’re much more than just a directory, though. Femmebought is a community that empowers more women to reach the top. We’re a community of smart, driven and passionate advocates who take action towards levelling the playing field. Sounds good? Join our community here.

MISSION Our mission isn’t complicated; we want to support women-owned businesses, and show others how to do the same. We empower both companies and consumers to take deliberate, purposeful steps to help more women reach the top. To us, that means less talk, and a lot more action; 1. Actively choosing to buy from women-owned companies 2. Actively bringing together a network of women in business 3. Actively sharing our mission, and showing others how simple it is to effect change

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WHY WOMEN-OWNED MATTERS. In a world where we’re urged to lean in and take our seats at the table, empowering women to succeed is not a new idea. Our approach is not only to actively support businesses, but to inspire and empower the consumer too. 2017’s Fortune 500 list featured a “record high” of 32 women CEOs, but having a 6.4% share of the pie is simply not enough. If you want to help us change the status quo and level the playing field, you can join our community or nominate a business that’s women-owned. GET LISTED HERE Why femmebought? Honestly? Because I didn’t see a platform that supports women-owned businesses across geographies, business types and sizes. And what happened next was incredible. I heard your stories. I heard about how hard it is to find a community, find funding, fund support, get customers. When I went out and asked my favorite spots if they’re woman-owned, I heard NO. A lot (a theme). I LOVE a challenge. Where’s femmebought now? Fast forward, since we launched in Toronto in August, we’ve got over 400 women-owned businesses on our directory. We’ve got thousands of women across the globe from Australia to the Middle East to Europe to North America (and growing). We get female founders more business!

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Sophia is the CEO and Co-Founder of femmebought. Her mission is to help more women reach the top by building collaboration over competition. As a perennial champion of diversity and inclusion from her days in private legal practice to her years as an inhouse lawyer launching a Pro Bono program for a global financial institution, Sophia has dedicated her life to empowering and supporting women. Leveraging her legal and CCO background to form and run femmebought, Sophia is now mastering the hundreds of additional hats worn by the CEO of a start-up – digital marketer, social media guru, funding expert and operational efficiency specialist.

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Lessons Through Chocolate by Gaylene Steinbach

Lulubee Chocolates is an itty-bitty, Lincoln-based start-up that bubbled from Gaylene Steinbach’s passion for the craft of small-batch, artisanal chocolates. Her passion ignited when she received a box of gorgeous chocolates as a gift from her mom. “The chocolates looked almost too pretty to eat,” she tells, “but as a family of foodies, I knew we had to try them.” So, she pulled out a knife and cut each bon bon into four pieces so everyone could have a nibble. “The flavors were ah-maze-ing and I was hooked—I had to figure out how these beautiful and delicious chocolates were made!” Gaylene began reading every book on chocolate and chocolate making she could find. “Looking back, I realize that, because my two kiddos were getting older, I finally had time to find a new passion—and chocolate was it!” Gaylene started experimenting in her home kitchen and then expanded her skills by attending classes and workshops. “Trust me, I experimented a lot. I’d try recipes. Sometimes they would work and sometimes they didn’t. That was when I reached out to mentors I’d met in the workshops. Between their advice and a lot of practice, my confidence grew.”

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She began moving away from others’ recipes and started developing her own. As a chocolatier, her goal is to make chocolate treats so good they make you stop and say, “Oh, wow, how’d they do that?!”

Once she’d perfected some of her signature recipes, Gaylene was ready for the next step—a business. She began by talking to a lot of local makers and entrepreneurs. “I knew that in order to sell my chocolates, my first step was to find a commercial kitchen that I could afford yet big enough to allow me to expand.” After finding space she could rent at a local coffee shop, Gaylene was ready to go! In November 2015, Lulubee Chocolates officially launched. You can find Gaylene’s artisanal chocolates in eight Nebraska indie stores, at local maker boutiques, or on her website at lulubeechocolates.com.

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Read on to learn some of Gaylene’s biggest lessons she’s learned in her first three years as a business owner: 1.

Shine bright. YOU are the best person to represent your company.

Your passion—your story—is inspiring. Share it! 2.

Tell, don’t sell. Confession: the word “sell” scares me, so when

I went on my first “sales call,” I freaked out. After a lot of self-talk, I realized that rather than “selling” my product, I was simply telling my story, explaining my process, and sharing my passion. 3.

Move forward. Yep, I’ve made bon bons that were utter “failures,”

but I’ve learned to look at “failures” as successes because they’re part of an essential process that helps propel me forward. 4.

Evaluate product names. Occasionally, I’ve made a really

scrummy bon bon that just doesn’t sell. I chatted with a mentor and she recommended that I try renaming it. That did the trick!

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5.

Do you. Before I started

my biz, I rented a commercial kitchen, chatted with a lawyer, and developed a name, logo, packaging, and brand. But I’m a planner, and I’m very methodical. Ultimately, this approach was good for me and my business, but if you’re more spontaneous then … do you, friend! #nojudgment 6.

Know your strengths. I

became a chocolatier because … I love making chocolate! Yes, as an entrepreneur, I wear a lot of hats but I know I’ll never be a webmaster, designer, or lawyer so I let those experts do their magic while I do mine!

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7.

Schedule “passion time.� I became a chocolatier because I love

the craft of developing flavors, but as a business owner, I felt like I spent more time doing rather than developing. I’m learning (note that this is a process!), to schedule flavor development days. I have a running list of recipes I want to develop. Next up? Mojito!

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Gaylene Steinbach is the founder and chief Willy Wonka of Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates. (And, as the only employee, she’s also the delivery driver, dishwasher, and accountant!) Gaylene began making artisanal craft chocolates in 2012 and has since become an award-winning chocolatier with a thriving business headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is known for developing chocolates so good you can’t help but sit back and say, “Oh … oh … wow!”

www.lulubeechocolates.com Instagram: @lulubeechocolates facebook.com/lulubeechocolates/ 17


Slow Down

by Molly Anthony 10-Minute Challenge

We are surrounded by inspiration everywhere we go, but sometimes we need to train ourselves to look for it. The biggest lesson I learned in art didn’t come from a teacher or in a classroom, it came from my dog. He taught me to slow down, to look around, to stop and take a moment to really see the world around me. On our morning walks, he paused to sniff every bush and tree and didn’t just smell them and move on, he savored each inhale before releasing his breath and taking his next step. At first, I was annoyed. Our walks were supposed to be about exercise and movement. But once I stopped resisting his pull, I learned that our walks were actually about something much more important and life changing – slowing down and paying attention.

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For this issue’s 10-minute challenge, we’re going to take the time to slow down and really see what’s around us. The best place to do this is outside, but if you aren’t able to go outdoors, inside works too. Begin by choosing your location, whether it’s a park, a mountain trail, the beach, your backyard, or your kitchen. All you need is a timer, a notebook and a pen or pencil. Set your timer for 10 minutes then begin looking around. Don’t rush. Let your eyes pause and rest on the items around you. If you’re outside, find a tree and examine the bark. Read it with your fingers. If you’re inside, look at the things you usually overlook. Stare at food packaging as if you’re seeing it for the rst time. Look for patterns, unusual shapes, color palettes. Take pictures for reference and jot down notes, sketch patterns and shapes and list colors you like. If you’re not done when the timer goes off, keep going. When you’re ready, review your notes and look for things you could incorporate into your own art. Is there a pattern that you could use as a background or accent to a journal page? Are there any unique shapes that you could incorporate into an embroidery pattern or stitch onto a page? Make a few notes next to your ideas so you can remember them when you have time to work on your art.

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For my journal page pictured, I took inspiration from a birch tree in my yard and remnants of a vine on the side of my garage to create the artwork. I began by using matte medium to adhere a vintage sewing pattern to the

page then used a dry brush to swipe wispy layers of dark gray and white acrylic paint to recreate the colors of the birch tree. Then, again using a dry brush, I dabbed patches of bright green paint on top inspired by the moss on the tree. To incorporate the shape of the vines, I used a water-soluble graphite pencil and made thick, messy lines and circles. Then I added water to blur them slightly.

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The pattern on the birch bark has always reminded me of stitches so I used black embroidery floss to recreate the stitched pattern on the page. As a finishing touch, I stamped the words “birch bark & vines ntertwined” on a piece of vintage paper and glued it to the page to emember what sparked my ideas for the artwork. This challenge can easily become a part of your daily routine. You can do it while you’re waiting in line or at the doctor’s office. Collect ideas from the sidelines of a child’s sporting event or while you’re waiting for dinner to cook. All you need are open eyes and a place to record notes and soon you’ll find that your everyday life is an endless source of inspiration and the possibilities are infinite.

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Molly lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband, two young daughters and golden retriever. She finds inspiration for her daily art practice during her morning walks with her dog in their favorite park and uses objects they find along the way as mark-making tools and writing prompts. She developed her Found Object Creativity Kits as a way to inspire others to seek inspiration from unexpected places and use what they have to begin creating. One of her kits was featured in the 6th International Recycling Art Exhibition hosted by the Gachi Art Movement in South Korea in 2017. Her artwork and stories can be found on Instagram @mkranthony and Her blog TheFoundArtWalk.com. Her kits and original artwork are available in her Etsy store TheFoundArtWalk.

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When Life Gives You a Lemon Farm by Grace Nixon Peterson

Today I had a video call with my sister to talk about business tasks; which doesn’t sound all that remarkable until I tell you that 9 months ago, I was holding her hand in an ICU room as her right lung filled with blood and she strained for each breath, certain she was going to die. This was after her right leg had been amputated and we had received the stunning news that strong, independent Leah was paralyzed from the armpits down. It was a tsunami of fear and grief. How do you begin to start over after such a blow? Leah and I had launched our stationery company, Tiny and Snail, in the fall of 2017. It took us nearly a year of foundational work to prepare for our grand debut. We were determined to make our contribution to the world of art and letter-writing be one that was joyful, unique, and put keepsake-quality cards into mailboxes around the world.

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We have always been the best of friends, the best of sisters. Leah and I grew up creating art side by side. When we were young, we would sit at the kitchen counter and draw, then hang our work on the pantry doors. Creativity has been a life raft for us, a way for us to offer our gifts to the world around us. Tiny and Snail was — and is — just the right blend of both of us. As we created our Signature Collection of greeting cards, we recognized that the creative synergy we had when we were young hadn’t gone anywhere.

Some designs were Leah’s work, some were mine, some were a combination. Leah used her tech wizardry to create a gorgeous website for us while I talked to numerous lawyers and accountants to figure out how to get us set up legally. We researched dozens and dozens of printers and thumbed through paper samples looking for just the right weight and texture for our cards. (We’ve been called “paper snobs,” and we have to agree with that assessment.) We gasped and squealed over FaceTime as I finally unboxed our first run of cards from the printer.

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We sent an endless stream of texts throughout the launch of our Signature Collection and worked through a seemingly equal stream of tech glitches to get everything running smoothly. Leah had moved back to our hometown in South Dakota during this time and had started working full-time construction for Habitat for Humanity. I worked on Tiny and Snail during the day while Leah hustled to squeeze it in on nights and weekends.

We were in the midst of designing our next card collection when the unimaginable happened: while working on a Habitat for Humanity site on a rainy August afternoon, a giant telehandler slipped and struck Leah. She was trapped underneath for over 30 minutes as emergency crews worked to extract her. I had been texting with Leah earlier that day, talking about questions from a potential wedding client and asking her thoughts about a particular card design I was creating. The texts stopped and hours later, I learned why: my precious sister was fighting for her life under the glare of emergency room lights.

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The surgeons were able to save her. One of the first questions Leah asked when she became conscious in the ICU was, “Can I still draw?” Mercifully, miraculously, the answer was “yes.” So many things had been taken away — but Leah’s ability to create stunning art remained. We had daily dance parties to help her arms and hands grow strong again. We had sister art sessions from her hospital bed, drawing flowers, messages of strength for future card designs, and the occasional weasel (Leah draws a particularly good cartoon weasel). It was beautiful and hard and holy. It still is. Leah went from 30 days in the ICU to 6 months of rehab. We celebrated the official one-year anniversary of Tiny and Snail from her rehab cafeteria. Our mom made a cake, we sang “Happy Birthday” to this company of ours, and dreamed about the future. Starting has its joys and challenges and so does re-starting when life sends you on a completely different route than the one you anticipated. It has become very clear to us that art is now the way Leah will sustain herself — Tiny and Snail being a big part of that equation. We have a new sense of purpose and motivation to grow, to really make this into a glorious offering to the world.

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We are recently released our new line of cards: the Keep Dancing collection, cards to send when life gets rough. So. How do you restart when the ground monumentally shifts underneath your feet? How do you restart when your feet, quite literally, no longer stand? For us, the answers have come in the form of community. In vulnerably reaching out and asking for help. Receiving prayers (and snail mail) from around the globe. We set bold goals and deadlines and then give ourselves grace when nerve pain and doctor’s appointments take the spotlight. Laughter has saved us. So have tears. None of this was what we ever expected. And yet somehow, we have all we need to make it through. We’re ready to turn this lemon farm into lots and lots and lots of lemonade.

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Grace Nixon Peterson and Leah Nixon are best friends, sisters, and co-founders of the stationery company Tiny and Snail. Vibrant and delightful, each illustration and custom piece of stationery from Tiny and Snail is imbued with joy for both the sender and receiver. Their new card collection is: a line of cards inspired by a severe construction accident that left Leah a paraplegic. Sneak peeks and other mail art inspiration can be found on Instagram @ tiny_and_snail. To sign up for release updates (and a 20% discount!), please visit them at www.TinyandSnail.com. Tiny and Snail - there’s magic in the mail!

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A Week In The Life by Rachel Walker

Monday The first thing I do on a Monday morning is take my Labrador for a long walk to tire him out. Once back home I begin the week with catching up of everything that has been going on over the weekend. I reply to any outstanding emails, pay invoices and browse social media channels for news in the sewing community. I also take the time to reply to questions and comments from our community of makers on our website and social media. In the afternoon I plan out my tasks for the week ahead and check we have everything we need. I will usually spend the rest of the day on accounts, making sure our freelancers are paid and looking at our spending over the last week. Tuesday I start the day by emailing the freelancers who work with us on creating content and sharing it across our social media channels. I’ll also order more stock for our warehouse and check on the status of orders that need to be sent out. In the afternoon I will work on one of our consulting jobs, creating content and scheduling it for the week ahead.

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Wednesday First thing in the morning I photograph any sewing patterns that have been delivered so that we can get the new products added to our website. Later in the morning I visit our warehouse and the team that picks and packs all the orders that go out from our online shop. It’s a good opportunity to take any new stock with me and also talk through problems with the team. In the afternoon I email new pattern designers about adding their sewing patterns to our new online shop. I’ll also update stock levels depending on what products I took to the warehouse. I’ll also spend time on social media looking for new sewing challenges people can take part in, sewing meet ups that have been arranged and sewing pattern releases so we have new content to share with the community. Thursday Thursday starts with another long dog walk. I then meet up with Kate, who is the other founder and director at The Fold Line. Over tea we talk

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about how we are getting on with big projects have planned and chat through any difficulties we’ve had during the week. We also analyse sales of sewing patterns from our online shop and look at current trends. We brainstorm about new content for blogs over the coming months as well. If it’s been a challenging week we will treat ourselves to a nice lunch! In the afternoon I’ll update our diaries and schedule with the plans we have made. I’ll also do more work on one of our consulting jobs. Friday On Fridays I usually spend it working on the second consulting job we do, designing and testing creative content for publication. Weekend We often attend sewing meet ups on Saturdays where we join a group of sewing enthusiasts for fabric shopping or a fashion exhibition. We might also be guest judges of handmade outfits at sewing parties. On Sundays I try not to work and if I have time I’ll try and do a bit of sewing for myself!

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Rachel is co-founder of The Fold Line, an award-winning online sewing community and sewing pattern shop. Championing independent pattern designers, they are the one stop shop for all your dressmaking pattern needs. Founded in 2015 they are the home for people who love sewing and making their own clothes. With a background in science research, it wasn’t until after finishing her PhD that Rachel decided she wanted a career change. She started to work part time for a sewing company in London, teaching classes and helping at events, as she had always enjoyed sewing as a hobby. She then retrained in pattern cutting and over the next year move into overseeing pattern production and development, using the project management skills she had gained from her studies. During this time she met Kate and after a couple of months they decided to start a business together.

THE FOLD LINE SEWING COMMUNITY & PAT T E R N S H O P

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As avid makers, Rachel and Kate struggled to keep up with all the sewing pattern releases and growing number of bloggers sharing their makes and tips. They were inspired by the growing online sewing community to build a home for everyone interested in dressmaking. From this The Fold Line was born, a place you can meet other makers, share tips and ideas and get lots of inspiration for your next project while keeping up-to-date with the latest sewing news and pattern releases. You can expect to find lots of inspiration and catch up on all the latest sewing news on their sewing blog and vlog. They also have an extensive sewing pattern database where you can use a pattern finder tool to search over 10,000 patterns plus read lots of sewing pattern reviews from the community.

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Featured Artist

Mary Elizabeth Caverly @typicalmaryliz

Where are you located? I’m currently located in Pasadena, California What do I do? I am an artist who has worked in all sorts of mediums. Currently, I make what I call “Drawn Circle Mosaics,” using ink and alcohol markers. Describe yourself: I was a shy kid and still think of myself as shy, but most people would disagree with that qualifier now. I do tend to hermit, and do my own thing. Often, I am content never leaving the house and just working on art or other projects. Fortunately, I have a very social husband who gets me out in the world and I’m always glad he did. After my kids were grown, and I was making art full time, it still took me years to call myself an artist. Now I am comfortable with that word and so happy about what I do.

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Describe your art: Sometimes I really struggle to describe my art. Often, I just give up and get my phone out and show my IG feed. I really need to work on that! Here is my process. Basically, I decide what it is I would like to make, for example, a deer, or a woman in a big hat or maybe a flower vase. Using my favorite el cheapo fountain pen, I sketch out the image. As you can imagine, my drawings are not very good at first, as I do no measuring or pencil sketching beforehand. Often there will be multiple lines drawn before I get the line right where I want it. Then I fill in the drawing with all different sizes of circles, and I finish by coloring in the circles with alcohol markers. The challenge, and the fun, is to fix the image with the way I use circles and color. In fact, often the “mistake� part of a piece ends up being the best part, because it forces you to think outside the box and it is always unpredictable.

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How did you get started? Hmmm. Tough one. Started in general with art? My grandmother was an artist, and although my mother would never consider herself an artist, she’s incredibly creative. I have multiple sketch books of drawings my grandmother and I did when I was about three. She drew lovely little boats, and people and animals. I drew scribble balls with legs. Even though I have made art throughout my entire life, things like posters, programs even Christmas cards, I never considered myself an artist. It was just something I sometimes did for fun. Then in my 30s I got curious about painting and took a watercolor class. That lead to other classes on line and at a local art school. I played with as many mediums as possible, and then one day I was scribbling around in my sketch book and stumbled on my Drawn Circle Mosaic style. I was hooked, and I haven’t stopped making them since. Describe a day in your life: Ha! Trick question for me! I’d like to say I have this wonderful schedule of rising early and heading to my studio for hours of creating, but my brain doesn’t work that way. I start my day late, because I am a night

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owl. I will work until two or three in the morning often and sleep till ten or eleven. I eat breakfast and catch up on the news. If I am teaching, I head to South Central Los Angeles to teach Shakespeare to 4th and 5th graders for a non-profit. If I’m not teaching, I usually go out to my studio and work. I love making my art, but I get distracted easily. My studio always needs to be organized and social media haunts me, as I still feel like I’m figuring that all out.

The thing about my art is, I want to be doing it all of the time, so it is not unusual for me to bring it in the house at the end of the evening to continue working while my husband and I watch TV. Sometimes I will take it to bed and work on it before I go to sleep. I do not know exactly why I do this, but I feel like something is missing when I am not doing it. It doesn’t feel like obligation either, in fact it is rather comforting. Drawing circles is like meditating for me.

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How do you overcome creative blocks? Well, I hate to say this, because I am worried I will jinx myself, but I don’t usually have creative blocks. To clarify, when I paint or work with mixed media, I do have creative blocks. There’s lots of staring off into space and over thinking everything, but I haven’t had that so far with my circle art. I have even started keeping a list of things I want to try, because there is always a new challenge out there to draw. “Can I do it?” “How hard would that be?” “Can I make snow when I do not use white?” The possibilities seem endless at this point.

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Future Plans? My future plans are really just to get my art out in the world more. I am trying to get better about marketing my work and using social media. One thing I really hope to do this summer, is to put together an all women art show. I have many incredible women artist friends whose work is not getting seen. I think it would be a blast to get them all together and do something amazing with our diverse art. I’m in the process of navigating that now, and I am open to suggestions!

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MATCHBOOK TUTORIAL by Kristin Peterson

Materials:

@alteredstatesstudio

File folder Found and Made Papers; ephemera Glue stick Stapler and staples Nice to have: Stencils Vintage Papers Fabric Thread Vintage Pics Gloss medium I start by cutting down a file folder to the size I would like to work this. I have made a larger (4.25” width by 5.75”) matchbook down to a petite (1.55” width by 1.75”) one. Once I have decided on the size, I make the cuts and appropriate folds to make the file folder look like a matchbook. Mine today measures 2” by 5.25”

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Making your folds, you will want a small lip and a middle fold. Be mindful though as you will want that front cover to be able to be tucked into the lip to hold it closed if need be. So start with the small lip first. Once I have the folder folded. I start thinking about the papers for the inside. This will be a mix of papers. Some made, some found papers. I like throwing in a few vintage papers. I think the trick is to have a good variety paper- varying the size and color. I normally try the papers in a few arrangements before I land on what is appealing to me.

Once I have my papers fairly well set, I make further considerations for the outside of my folder matchbook. I usually try to use a mix of ephemera and stencils, although this too is completely up to the artist. Do whatever appeals to you. Make this your own. This is the front portion of my matchbook which has a vintage receipt sprinkled with some alcohol

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ink for character. When you are happy with the outside of your matchbook, I like to add some details on the inside cover as well. I have used stencils on the inside and added grocery notes or phone numbers- something that I think people would have written on the inside cover of a matchbook in the day. And again, anything goes. This is your matchbook. Once you are happy with the inside and outside of your matchbook is when I place my papers. Depending on how large or small your matchbook is will determine how many staples you may need to hold your papers inside. Most of the time, I can get by with only one staple. You can also think outside the box and use other items to attach your papers if you like. This was my final paper bundle just before adding to my matchbook. Here is the front view and back view of my matchbook, once the papers have been attached.

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Kristin Peterson is a third generation artist, originally from South Dakota, now residing close to the South Dakota border in Minnesota. Kristin’s creative passion is inspired and supported by her husband and kids, all who encourage, critique, and promote her work. Kristin is always exploring and expanding the creative depths of acrylic paint. She very much enjoys vintage collage work and mixed media. Kristin loves color and things that have a love-worn comfortable feelinglike an old favorite pair of jeans-coffee stained, patched, painted and well loved. She wants her art to project feeling and make people feel good while looking at it. Her paintings contain vibrance mixed with a little funk, which is sprinkled with discreet sensibility. Her style is meant to make you ponder and smile, just as she does as she paints and creates.

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Working On Your Business Rather Than In It by Sonia Lyne

Hi there … I, Sonia Lyne, am the designer and face behind Dandelyne™. The home of the original miniature embroidery hoop. Dandelyne™ is about small-scale embroidery projects that are satisfying, rewarding, soul boosting and frankly, just look so darn cute on any outfit. My business began in 2011. I chose to design and stitch my first family portrait; my family’s. I learnt to embroider at the age of 7 and I had not embroidered since. However, on numerous occasions over the years I remembered how it made me felt. EUPHORIC. The little flame that was ignited so many years ago suddenly became an enormous, crazy bushfire! As I stitched, I found myself daydreaming not only about small and simple embroidery projects but also about small, teeny tiny embroidery hoops. To quote the film “Robots”, “See a need, fill a need.” … I thought if I wanted tiny projects and tiny hoops there must be others who wanted these too. At the time I designed the Dandelyne™ miniature hoop there was absolutely nothing like it out there, and I am proud to say that I am the original

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designer. Now, stitchers worldwide can frame their stitchy awesomeness and wear it loud and proud in a Dandelyne™ miniature embroidery hoop. The growth of my business over the past 8 years is something that I am super proud of, and also a little surprised at. I had never imagined that

my hoops would enable others to start and build businesses too. It is insanely mind blowing that it has evolved in this way, and I am a small part of it. Who would have thought miniature embroidery hoops could be so big? I certainly didn’t it and I am so happy that I have continued to follow my heart. My head definitely tried to sway me in different directions over the years but it always comes back to my heart choices. An enormous part of the growth has been because of the amazing community that continually supports and cheers me on. Two years ago Dandelyne™ really hit a peak and it has sustained at that level since. It could also go higher but as you can imagine, as a onewoman show, there is only so much you can do. It was at this time I started to think about options of expansion. I was exhausted and keen

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to keep the momentum going. I was also very hesitant to let anyone in. Dandelyne™ is my baby. So, over the course of the year I played with a number of ideas and options. I decided to send an email to all of my stockists and makers letting them know I was in need of some help and I wanted to see if there was anyone who could assist with production and distribution. I finally realised that it was time to start working on my business rather than in it (which I knew, but I was not ready to do) and I was overwhelmed with responses and options. It was humbling and also scary. I thought I was ready to let go but I realised that I needed a little more time. I have worked so hard to get the Dandelyne™ brand to where it is today and as much as I needed assistance, I also wanted to continue to be a big part of the future of Dandelyne.

So …. after a little more time and assessing my options I came across a business that ticks all of my boxes. That business is … 2 Green Zebras … AND I will be working with them as an

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ambassador for the Dandelyne™ brand. This decision means that I will now be working on the business, rather than it. A big YAY to that! My creative mind is open again and I will now have time to play, design, research, video and explore all of the ideas that I have been dreaming about. My ultimate dream of getting the world stitching, one stitch at a time is happening every single day and I am uber excited about all of the possibilities. Exciting times ahead indeed.

Website: http://dandelyne.com/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dandelyne/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dandelyne/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/dandelyneEmbroidery Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/dandelyne/

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Paper Flowers Tutorial by O’ Sweet Goodness

I still remember the day Emily called me about starting our business with her. She was supporting her husband as he was working on his MBA and she was busy with her two girls. I had just quit my job and begun the long and crazy adoption process with our little girl. Being a stay at home mom was new for me and starting this business wasn’t something that either one of us really saw coming. We were living in two different states and had several reasons why we shouldn’t do it, but we knew that we wanted a creative outlet and we wanted to do it together. So we hustled, spent a lot of time facetiming, took a leap of faith, and jumped in and started. We began our business by making chalkboards, paper banners, mobiles, and a few paper flowers. As time went on, it became clear that we needed to streamline what we were making. If you know us both and our love of flowers, it’s no surprise that paper flowers have become the focus of our shop. And really, who doesn’t love flowers that will never wilt! We didn’t have a lot of experience in making

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paper flowers when we started, but that didn’t keep us from working hard, practicing, and learning as we went along. Fast forward almost three years later and we still love making paper flowers…they’re our favorite! We’ve navigated working and running a business from two different states. This adds to the crazy sometimes but getting to talk every day and working on this together is worth it all! Creating and making not only has become a part of who we are and our every day lives, but it gives us an opportunity to teach our girls to work hard. Making is becoming a part of their lives too and we love that! One of the things we love most about making paper flowers is watching a simple piece of paper turn into something completely different and beautiful. And the best part is that anyone can do it! You don’t need any fancy tools to start, just a few basic items and some practice. Today we’re going to share with you the very first paper flower we ever learned to make. This flower will always hold a special place with us as it gave us our start and we hope it will be something you love to make too! STEP 1: Gather your supplies. You’ll need scrapbook paper that you love, a paper cutter, scissors, and a hot glue gun.

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STEP 2: Cut half your paper into 1.5 inch strips. Then take those strips and cut them into 1.5 inch squares. Cut the other half of your paper into 2 inch strips and then cut those strips into 2 inch squares.

STEP 3: Take your scissors and round off two of the corners of each square. These will be the petals of your paper flower. Then roll the petals around one of your hot glue sticks to curl your petals a bit before you begin assembling your flower.

STEP 4: Take one of the petals and roll it into a cone shape. Hot glue it together. This will be the center piece of your paper flower.

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STEP 5: Place hot glue along the bottom corners of the next petal and wrap it around the center piece. Continue to glue the petals around the flower until you reach the fullness that you desire. Don’t worry about how many petal pieces you’re using. Just go until you’re happy with your flower! STEP 6: Practice! Don’t worry about it being absolutely perfect! Flowers in your garden aren’t perfect, and neither are paper flowers. We hope you’ll make this and get hooked on making paper flowers like we did! And most of all, we’d love to see photos of your paper flowers so we can support one another and cheer each other on!

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ABOUT US: We are Katie and Emily... sisters living in two separate states who love to stay connected by creating when we aren’t chasing our little girls! We love taking our handmade paper flowers and using them to make one of a kind signs, bouquets, wreaths, napkin rings, mobiles, and more! Getting to create and run this business while we’re home raising our girls is the best job ever! We’d love for you to come hang out with us and get to know us better on Instagram Facebook @osweetgoodness www.osweetgoodness.com

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Simple Ways To Be A Successful Vendor by Tricia Hall

Whether you are a new to selling your creations at an event or are a seasoned market vendor there is always a time to pause and take a look at what you should be doing to be successful for the upcoming show season. Apply Like You Want The Job The first step is applying for the “right” shows while having the basics

of great products, great photos and great branding. If you can put a checkbox next to all of those but are worried about your chances of getting in due to some stiff competition, there are some great practices to take you above and beyond. Application forms are all about you, your business and your products; it’s how the organizers determine whether you’re a fit or not. It is like a job interview but you are interviewing for your business! I could not stress more how important quality photos are when applying that depict your booth set-up, branding and product. Another important aspect is filling out the application with everything

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that is requested of you so the organizer can determine whether you are a great fit to their show or not. Now once you have been accepted into the show your job just does not stop there it is now time to figure out your Set-up Design, Product Inventory and Branding for that particular event. Presentation Is Key The presentation part of your show booth is super important since there will be many other businesses competing for attention too! Just stop at a

show and notice what booths are busier than others. Is it their product, is it the display set-up or both? What makes their booth stand out from others? These are questions you should be asking about your booth set-up and how to make it attractive to customers. Part of creating a fun setup is to make sure you have props, stands and/or containers for your products to make them stand out to the customers. If you need ideas or inspiration for your own set-up design then definitely check out Pinterest, Instagram, etc‌ There are so many great inspirational ideas that can hopefully help stir your creativity and figure out what will work best for own products. Here’s my own Pinterest board with tons of ideas to get the ball rolling! {Link} https://www.pinterest.com/ vintagemadefair/booth-examples-%2B-inspiration/

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Make arrangements ahead of time to ask for manpower to help with hauling inventory to your booth or building displays for the show if you think you will need it. Give yourself enough time for booth set-up before the show so you are not setting up and rushing around minutes before the show starts. By preparing for this it eliminates frustration and anxiety and you will be so much happier because of it. Another key component before the show starts is to have all of your bins and packing material properly stored away and out of sight whether that is under covered tables or back in your vehicle. Product Selection The best part of attending a show is to be able to sell your products on the spot! I love my online shop, Vintage No. 35, but there is something special about selling in person and seeing the customers and interacting with them. It is also a great way to see what people really want and I have learned greatly from that over the years doing shows. The hard part is to know how much product you need to have stocked at

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the event. There are questions you can ask the show promoter to help determine your product needs such as how many people typically visit the event, is it a “buying” crowd, what are the crowd demographics, how many similar vendors are there and how long has the show been in operation. These numbers can help you figure out how much exposure your items will receive. Sometimes you may not know until you have been at the show as a vendor to determine what you might need for next time but you would rather have enough inventory to help fill demand than not enough. If you sell out half way through the show, not only are you missing out on sales but empty booths aren’t very appealing for customers. You do want to offer a range of price points in your product selection for a show. Every business is different and if you only make one product, you may only have one price point, which may work perfectly for you. But the higher the price point goes, the more you want to consider offering an entry level product. Try to stock up on low and mid-priced products so those who are being introduced to your business for the first time have a selection to buy from. Use your high-priced items as the showstoppers.

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Place them at eye-level and in a spot that catches the eye to draw people in. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or spend a lot of time and money creating new products. Just a few small changes and you can instantly boost your sales. Once you have decided on the setup and know what products you are bringing make sure logistically you have a way to store and transport them to the show.

Branding – Sell It Since your business is selling your products hopefully your brand will come through well, but there are a few other things to consider to make your business stand out. Make sure you have some type of larger sign stating who you are – your business name. Be creative with your sign and show how it reflects your business. Customers want to know who they are buying from! Other inexpensive ways of branding is to have business cards, postcards or flyers for customers to take so they can remember you even if they do not purchase an item on the spot. You might receive sales further down the road because they were able to take something home with them. Also, leave a lasting impression with your packaging and make sure it fits with your brand. An important aspect when the show has started is to make a good impression and have conversations with customers who are browsing

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your items. Smile and greet your customers as they walk into your booth and thank them for stopping by. Also, you want to be able to tell them about your business and your products. Even if you don’t practice this at least think a little bit about how you want to come across and what you’re business is all about! A show is like a retail store and you’re creating an experience for the customer. We all know what it feels like to walk into a store and have the staff ignore you. Lastly, be sure you’re doing your part to create a friendly atmosphere for the show no matter how slow or busy the show is. Be present! Good luck selling and have fun doing it!

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Tricia Hall Founder, Vintage & Made Fair www.vintageandmadefair.com Tricia felt like there was a great need in Des Moines, IA to bring both the vintage and handmade worlds together like many other cities do across the Country. Tricia’s goal is to empower the creative community by cultivating a knowledge and respect of vintage found items and handcrafted goods while providing a fun shopping environment with fantastic small businesses. It has been a fun ride the last 6 years at Vintage & Made Fair! Founder, Vintage No. 35 www.vintageno35.com Tricia has been hunting for cool vintage treasures all her life which led to the appreciation of vintage over the years. The experience over the last 12 years as a brick and mortar store owner, show vendor and show promoter allows her to understand the joys and struggles of a small business owner. She is currently selling her vintage finds in her Etsy shop. Rescue, Repurpose, Relove!

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Featured Maker

Katrina Rodabaugh www.katrinarodabaugh.com

When did you first start making? I’ve been making things my entire life. My training started at the side of my mother’s sewing machine when I was a child. But I entered an MFA Creative Writing program in 2005 and taught and trained in the book arts studio as a graduate student too—I think this was really the beginning of me taking my work seriously as an artist. Then exhibitions, craft fairs, online sales, publications, and more opportunities soon followed. What were your first creations? I have a hilarious memory of a failed gray sweatshirt in middle school. But for several years I worked in book arts—letterpress, book binding, broadsides—and then finally turned wholehearted towards fiber arts and sustainable fashion in 2013. Who were your early inspirations? I love Louise Bourgeois, Ana Mendieta, Kiki Smith, Ruth Asawa, and so many other prominent women artists. But my first inspiration was my mother. And I had some great poets who inspired my work too— though it might not show as much anymore, they’re still in there.

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When did you decide to create a business from your making? and why? It wasn’t really a conscious choice. It was an evolution. I finished graduate school in 2007 and went back to working full-time at nonprofit arts galleries and theaters, as I had for several years between college and graduate school. I worked in art offices by day and did my own work at night and weekends. I opened

an Etsy shop, attended Renegade Craft Fairs, and found an amazing group of creative women in the San Francisco Bay Area, where we lived at the time. Then my first son was born in 2011 and I left my day job. I figured out how to prioritize my limited childcare hours to build a creative business. I launched my sustainable fashion project, Make Thrift Mend, in 2013 and I’d say that’s when I really poured my heart into my creative work with more commitment. What were the early lessons learned in this transition? Make lots of mistakes. Get back up. Keep going.

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Are there 2 or 3 points in your business journey that stand out as turning points that brought you to where you are today? Yes, definitely launching my slow fashion project, Make Thrift Mend, in August 2013 was a huge pivot. It combined my college studies in environmentalism with my work experience in arts organizations and my passion for fiber. It all clicked together. And then I was asked to teach a mending class in San Francisco and that opened the door to teaching inperson, at retreats, online, and now in my converted barn studio too. How have you created a tribe around what you do and make? I hesitate to use the word “tribe� but I do have a strong community around my work. I’ve found them organically through social media, teaching, and going to so many art events when I lived in big cities. I think all the work we put into our careers propels us, for me putting over twelve years of work into nonprofit arts communities in New York City

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and the San Francisco Bay Area was so important. And finding a creative community online is huge too, especially now that I live in a very small town in Upstate NY. Have you had supporters along the way that cheered you on? If so how did they help? If not, how have you cheered yourself on? I’ve had so many cheerleaders. And there have been moments I had to be my own cheerleader too. I think it’s always a balance. How have your creations changed over time? What are you focusing on now? My mediums have become more focused now. I used to write and make all sorts of fiber arts, then I turned to paper and book arts, and now I focus on sustainable fashion. But writing has always been important to my creative work. Now I focus mostly on mending, stitching, plant dyes, and redesigning garments. Plants have become a huge part of my work through gardening, foraging, and preserving plant dyes too.

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Beyond making creations, what other things have you done to expand your business? (ie teaching, etc) I teach workshops all over the US. I also teach at craft retreats. In September 2018 I offered the first retreat in my studio barn and will continue to offer a couple retreats each year in my own studio. I also sell seasonal subscription craft kits as teaching tools. I publish articles online and in print magazines. And I just published my second book, Mending Matters, in October 2018. What do you know now that you wish you could tell your early creative self? Keep making work. Expect mistakes. Let the business grow. And just keep going. Who are your inspirations today? I’m inspired by artists, designers, and thinkers who weave social justice, environmentalism, and sustained community engagement into their work. In today’s world, I think it’s so important to understand how creative work and writing and organizing can have a social engagement too.

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How do you see yourself going forward in your business? I’m just going to keep going. Teaching is a huge part of what I do, but I never imagined teaching would take the form of in-person classes, online classes, tutorial craft projects, craft kits, and books too. But it does. That surprise is also exciting. So I’m just keeping my focus on teaching, connecting, and expanding ideas of slow fashion. The rest will continue to follow and give me enough room to stay inspired. Any advice for those working to grow their creative self along with their business? It takes time. I think we so often forget that everyone has a journey. I started working for arts organizations in 2000 and that’s really when my training started too. That’s almost 20 years to get to where I am now. Of course, it didn’t always look like it does now as I worked for other artists and arts spaces for 12 years, but it still takes time. The Internet has a way of making everything look instant and lovely, but we have to develop our craft and our business too. Some folks are better at one than the other. And while someone might have a “get rich quick” plan I’d suggest spending some time getting really clear on your goals. And then being willing to put the time and work in to get there. Aligning my work with my values is a huge part of what keeps me motivated and that motivation is what sustains me.

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I focus on fiber arts, sustainability, and slow fashion. I’m an artist, writer, and crafter working across disciplines to explore environmental and social issues through traditional craft techniques. Mostly, I rethink the relationship between fiber art, sustainability, and slow fashion. Since August 2013 I’ve been on a fashion fast, Make Thrift Mend, to focus on mending, plant dyes, and prioritizing handmade or secondhand garments instead of buying new clothing. I also grow, forage, and harvest dye plants near my farmhouse in the Hudson Valley.

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My work has appeared in galleries, magazines, theaters, books, juried craft fairs, and alternative arts venues like the tiny house my husband built out of reclaimed materials. I published my first book,The Paper Playhouse: Awesome Art Projects for Kids Using Paper, Boxes, and Books in January 2015 and my second book, Mending Matters: Stitch, Patch, and Repair Your Favorite Denim & More with Abrams Books in October 2018. I’ve received artist awards, grants, and residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, Zellerbach Family Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Creative Capacity Fund, and InstarLodge among others. My now-retired blog, Made by Katrina, won the Country Living Blue Ribbon Blogger Award. I hold a BA in Environmental Studies and an MFA in Creative Writing but I’ve been working with arts organizations and making fiber arts for two decades. In 2013, shortly after the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Dhaka Bangladesh, I combined my work and passions into one project, Make Thrift Mend. This project allows me to use my various training in sustainability, fiber arts, writing, and community organizing with a single focus on sustainable fashion. I’m originally from Horseheads, NY, then I spent two decades between Brooklyn, NY; San Francisco, CA; and Oakland, CA before returning to Upstate NY in 2015. I now live in the Hudson Valley, two hours north of Manhattan, with my artist husband and our two beautiful sons. We’re slowly renovating our 200-year-old farmhouse and converting the adjacent carriage barn into our art studios. We’re planting fruit trees, establishing gardens, tending dye plants, and raising chickens and bees.

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RagBagGals

by Jean Rubman “I had a vision as a little girl of being a dress designer and sat for many hours playing with scraps of fabric that my grandmother had in a giant cardboard box. As an only child I had plenty of time to act out my fantasies! I spent many hours fabricating bits and bobs of remnants into makeshift outfits. But, as the story goes, we grow up, go to college, start our career, get

married, have a family and our dreams are put on hold. It wasn’t until I retired that the idea for RagBagGals came to me one summer as I sat writing an article for “Sew Somerset” magazine. The article was about my grandmother who cut strips of fabric from old clothes, bed sheets and table linens to make rag rugs. The fabric came from my grandfather, who supplemented the family income after the depression by collecting rags and selling them to the salvage yard. He would keep the best ones for my grandmother to use.

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Ironically. I never inherited my mother’s amazing seamstress abilities, she made tailored suits and coats, while I just played with scraps and remnants, like my grandmother. It wasn’t until my mother passed, that I found giant bins of old photos I had never seen and boxes of upholstery fabrics. The photos were of my mother pre World War Two, and told of a life I never knew about. I had no family to ask about the images, or the people and places I saw in the myriad photos.

The upholstery samples were from my father who was a furniture salesman and commercial decorator all his life and had died many years before. I was lost, feeling a sense of abandonment and shock, I tried to make sense of it all. As a way to sort through all the feelings of sadness, bewilderment and curiosity of the life my mother led, I decided to somehow create vignettes about her life. Using the upholstery fabrics, old dresses, linens, laces and her vintage jewelry, I made my first “Spirit Quilts”, and I haven’t stopped. But I was wanting to share my love of using remnants with other likeminded artists. I couldn’t really “ sew” like my mother, nor quilt elaborate art quilts

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and I had no formal art training. There were no groups I could join at the local museums or community centers and feel comfortable. Then I discovered Facebook and a new world awaited. But the same problems arose! Although I’ve made quilts, I wasn’t just a “quilter”, I knitted but could only make scarves, etc, so most of the Groups didn’t fill my needs. I was a Fiber Arts addict and aficionado! There was nothing I hadn’t tried in the Fiber Arts field and became “hooked” to all the techniques and crafts. I needed a group that encompassed it all, but didn’t require a mastery. So I started RagBagGals as a way for novices or “generalists” like myself to find a place to post their work and feel accepted, despite their skill level or particular craft. RagBagGals started in June 2015 with 40 members and has grown steadily to almost 1200 members in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia, South Africa,

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Asia and India. We have themed days: Monday is Motivational Magazine Monday where magazine articles are picked from current or past popular fiber arts and mixed media publications to highlight a particular artist/ fiber craft each week. Tuesday is Textile Tutorial Tuesday, a day we teach specific techniques from various artists, or blogs. Wednesday is Wild, Wacky, Wondrous or Woven Wednesday where we highlight unusual projects, woven arts or sculptures in the Fiber Arts world. Thursday is Throwback Thursday where we feature vintage techniques, styles or historical sewing stories. Friday is Fun Finds Friday where members can choose to post their projects, stories, or objects of interest. Saturday is Slow Stitching Saturday where members put away their sewing machine, pick up a needle and thread and “Sew Mindfully” Slow Stitching is the brainchild of international quilting personality and artist, Mark Lapinski who wrote “It will help overcome creative blocks and help enjoy the process rather than the deadline” Saturday’s at RagBagGals is also “SALEabration” day where members are

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encouraged to post their websites, blogs, Etsy sites, classes, retreats etc. Sunday is the day we take off to spend with our friends and family and where I post a series of Inspirational quotes. During the year, we offer four exciting themed swaps. This is a way for members to meet each other and their work, up close and personal. Valentine HeARTs, in February/March Spring Fling, in May/June Scenic Summer, in July/August/ September Winter Wonderland Xmas Ornament, in November/December Our USA Swap Groups average 6-10 members per group with about 3-4 groups in total. We also have a UK group corresponding to our USA themes that is graciously organized on a one to one basis by Pen Parkin from England. The Swaps are the highlight of the year. The talent and generosity of the artists that contribute is really incredible and truly breathtaking to see and behold. But the real joy comes in the daily posts and positive energy and feedback from each participant as we see the many stories that are woven into each piece, the many lives and tales that have come before and through each beautiful handiwork.

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I am a mixed media artist living in Massachusetts and Florida. My work consists of combining ordinary found objects and vintage photos into fabric collage and assemblage. My work is about transformation and remembrance. Using these discarded items and sifting through the past, I try to create a repository for memories and feelings once held dear, and now sacred. My Facebook page is SalvageChica and my blog is www.ragbaggalblog.wordpress.com

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TINY TOWNS

by Jessica Saylor Connection. Most of us feel a connection when looking at a piece of art. Art may evoke a memory from childhood, a life experience, or stir an unexpected emotion. In the past when I set out to create art, I did not have an end goal in mind. I would spend a few months working in a particular medium and then move on to the next. I spent time painting, dabbling with paper binding, free-form powder embossing, hand embroidery and origami. When asked to do a maid of honor speech for my sister’s wedding I wanted to put a creative spin on it. I decided to use some props throughout my speech to deflect attention away from me. I created seven dioramas that captured milestones throughout our childhood. She stood next to me and opened each box as I gave my speech. An image of each diorama was simultaneously projected on a screen behind us for everyone to see. Little did I know that this would be the start of my side business, Tiny Towns. During the day, I am an organized and put-together assistant at a museum exhibit fabrication company. By night, I am a self-taught, noncertified, paper architect creating tiny replicas of buildings and houses. I shifted from small kraft boxes to Altoids tins and from readymade objects to watercolor paper to create the structures. I started creating

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replicas of places around Nashville that I loved. I would send (and on a few occasions drop off in person) the Tiny Towns to local businesses in hopes that my artwork would make it to their social media pages.

Sometimes I would hear nothing back, but on a few occasions, my art was made public (shoutout to Mas Tacos in East Nashville, TN for being the first to post my work). The response I started receiving from people was encouraging. People were having emotional connections to places I would make and soon wanted me to make them their own Nashville skyline, reminding them of a great trip they took here. Others wanted a replica of their childhood home so they could be reminded of the memories spent there, or a tiny version of a restaurant they started to commemorate an anniversary. I have spent hundreds of hours sitting at my table piecing together memories for the past four years. I have connected with people all over

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the country (and a few overseas) to capture something meaningful to them in a tiny tin. Throughout this process I have learned that practice and patience are key, podcasts and audiobooks are my best friends and hand stretching is a must!

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Jessica Saylor was raised in Nashville, TN and still calls the not so tiny town of Nashville, home. Each “tiny� is drawn, painted, hand-cut, assembled and placed in an Altoids tin. website: tinytowns.me instagram: @tiny_towns

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Sparking Joy Through Connections by Sarah Bierstedt

Often when I’m vending at craft shows, people will ask if I have a website, and they are usually surprised when I say, “yes, but with very little e-commerce available.” At a face-to-face event, I’m in my element, with my people, talking about the products I create. Every time I come home from an event, my “good feelings bank” is filled to the brim because I have connected with so many lovely people and given them the opportunity to connect with a space and products that bring them

joy. Maybe it was a bit of vintage embroidery that reminded them of their grandmother or a stuffed narwhal that brought them back to their childhood love of all things cuddly or even just being around all of the textiles made them want to go home and get creative. These connections are important, and I am so pleased to be a part of the process. Creating an environment of happiness has always been a big part of who I am. As a former elementary music teacher, my goal was to enable my students to experience joy and success on a daily basis in the classroom.

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When it was time for a stage performance, my hope was that those daily feats would lead to triumph as their voices came together to make a joyous sound. That feeling of connection with each other, the joy, and the success, was, and still is, what I want to give to those around me. Today, as a full-time crafter, having vended more than 150 events during the past decade, I have had ample opportunities to create connections. Meeting event coordinators, fellow vendors, and customers is such a wonderful part of my self-made business. Working for hours on my own prepping, cutting, and sewing allows copious time to let my mind wander and dream. When preparing for each event, I consider several factors to

create a space and product selection that will be the most meaningful to people who enter my booth. I think about the style of the event as a whole – whether it’s vintage based, crafty, or arty. Who are my customers and what might they be most interested in – nostalgic home goods or colorful gifts? Also, what time of year is it – spring, summer, fall, or holiday? When I arrive at an event for set-up, I check in with the coordinator before heading to my spot to ensure our relationship is off to a positive start. During booth set-up, I find it’s a good idea to introduce myself to other vendors nearby in case either of us needs to call upon the other for help during the event – you never know when you might need to borrow a hammer or take a potty break. Once the stage is set and the show is open, I am ready to meet and greet, answer questions, tell stories, and create

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lasting connections. Tips for creating a connection in 5 minutes or less: Put down your phone. Nothing will turn someone away faster than a vendor who is more involved with their phone than with a customer. Stand if you are able. Being at eye level with your potential customers lets them know you are engaged and at their service. Greet everyone who enters your space. No need to be pushy or obnoxious, just make sure people know you are there to help and answer their questions. Let people know what you make and how or why. If there is a spark in their

interest, go with it and help them make a connection with your work. If not, don’t get frustrated. Not everyone is as passionate about the same things. Always say thank you. Manners matter. Even if someone doesn’t

make a purchase, be sure to thank them for stopping by. You will be remembered for your actions, positive or negative.

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Sarah, the woman behind Purple Pincushion, is a self-taught crafter who is interested in all things textile. She has been sewing for 30 years and attributes a deep love for making to her family tree, which just happens to be quilled, and has branches filled with handy relatives. Sarah has been married for 17 years to her supportive husband, Scott, and together they have two wonderful teenage daughters, Fiona and Lucy. When asked what makes her sewing business a success, Sarah points to her great attention for detail, connection with customers, and sense of responsibility to help keep fine craft alive and well. She designs and stitches one-of-a-kind accessories for you and your home from repurposed felted wool, vintage linens, vintage findings, and other repurposed materials. Find her on Facebook and Instagram @ purplepincushion or at www.purplepincushion.shop https://www.instagram.com/purplepincushion/ https://www.facebook.com/purplepincushionsarah/ https://www.purplepincushion.shop

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Welcome to My House by Khadesia Latimer

In the small rural area where I teach, students come from a variety of socioeconomic statuses. From the richest to the poorest- all students get to come to art each week to spark their creativity. Each student has a different story and that cannot be dismissed. One of my favorite things about teaching is getting the opportunity to connect with my students. Regardless of their background, all of my students have one thing in common. They all want to feel loved. It is my job to do my best to share my love for the arts and share the love I have for my students. What could be a better way to connect with one another than by creating artwork that expresses our interests and individuality? As an activity teacher, it can prove to be very difficult to find ways to connect to our students because we see them so

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little. I am split between two schools so I teach close to 700 students total. At School #1, I see my students every other Monday. At School #2, I see my students every week. Of course, it is easy for me to create lasting connections with the students who have a true passion for art. But what about the other students? Love is the answer. No matter if the student loves art or despises it, it is my job to make sure they feel welcomed and adored when they come to share part of their day with me. Because I only see my students about once a week, I have to get a little creative when it comes to making connections. One way I try to show my students that I love and care about them is by sending postcards of encouragement as often as I can. For example, everyone at both of my schools is a part of a HOUSE (which is essentially a family). We have six houses total- Estima, Bravura, Entusiasmo, Decoro, Fidelis, and Probite. Throughout the year, we compete with the other houses based on who best exhibited the school essentials and the good behavior. I belong to BRAVURA- the House of Valor. Throughout the school year, I wanted to connect more to the students in my house. I decided to create a personalized postcard which are sent to students bi-weekly. These postcards encourage students

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to uphold the values of our house and to always try their best. These postcards have been very beneficial in creating relationships with the students in my house. In many cases, students have stopped by my room to thank me for their postcard which gives me the opportunity to stop and have a meaningful conversation with the student. In these moments, I can check on how the student has been doing behavior wise, give them a quick hug, and share encouraging words. This small bit of encouragement means so much to students. More importantly, it shows that them that Mrs. Latimer loves them enough to make sure they are exhibiting the school essentials and their best behavior as often as possible. Unfortunately, I know that many of my students do not come from backgrounds of encouragement, care, and love-- which is why showing love is such a priority to me and many of the teachers I work with. I know that I can not save the world and give all of my students everything that they need. But, I do know that I can share all the love that I have everytime they walk through my door. As the great Maya Angelou once said, “If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.�

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Khadesia Latimer is a second year teacher in her hometown of Belton, South Carolina. In 2017, she graduated from Winthrop University with a Bachelor’s Degree in . As an elementary school art teacher, she enjoys getting to share her fire for creating with young eager students. Khadesia’s spark for art began in elementary school and her passion has grown since then. She still prides herself in finding time for creating. In her spare time she loves to draw, paint, and create fun new lessons. Khadesia’s personal motto for her work is: “Put your passion on display!” She believes it is truly important to find time to show others how important art is to her and her students. Sharing this love of art and art education with the world not only sparks the imagination of others, but it advocates her program. Check out Khadesia’s Instagram platform that spotlights artwork from her amazing students @thebusybrushes.

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#HandmadeandTrade Group The RULES

*We join for a Round of 3 Months *Each Maker is paired with a different Maker each of those months *We have a target of $25-$35 worth of goodies to be traded *The first week of the month we have everyone post an intro of their partner, in their feed, and it must stay there. (For people who have a very curated feed and don’t want a random post of someone else’s work in it, this sort of Trade Group isn’t for you) You feed must be public as well. *We have everyone send their goodies

Made by @simplyamazingartwork To @t.c.crafts

to their partner by around the 20th of the month *Within 3 or 4 days of receiving your Happy Mail, you post a nice photo of what you received Pretty simple and through monthly trades we learn more about our Maker friends, get some fun goodies, and help along a fellow maker with sharing their work to our followers. We grow as a group.

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Some of the groups people try to get in have participants with 10,000 or more followers each, which I think we can all say, Yes that would be nice to fall in with one of those groups, having that much exposure would be AWESOME…..However, we all start somewhere, each an every follower matters, so if you are hovering around the 500, 1,000, or 2,000 followers level gathering with 20 or 30 other 1,000 follower groups is going to start adding interested people given time and effort. So keep in mind

helping

others will connect you, and though a shout out by someone Made by @va1erie To @simplyamazingartwork

with 20K followers would be

AMAZING, even if you don’t get that, you can work hard and keep yourself out there and connected and you’ll still get to your goals!

Made by @libertygoodsandsupply To @sacredcatstudio

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A Few Ideas for being a Gracious Participant in a Trade Group *Meet the Rules! Yes life happens, plan for it as much as possible, get ahead of the game, but if something unexpected does occur, COMMUNICATE with your partner and swap hostess so they know what is up. Most partners give lots of GRACE if you are open and upfront about the situation *If you are going above and beyond for your partner, please don’t expect they will do anymore than follow the RULES. Giving more should be done for the JOY of it, rather than an expectation of more in return. *Keep it positive, and know when to say, it’s just a SWAP. Yes there may be disappointments, if needed, voice those to your Swap Hostess to try and help manage. If things don’t resolve, keep a level head and know if someone isn’t meeting the Rules they most likely will not be able to continue in the group, and the next month will surely be better. Cheers to all the HAPPY MAIL! If interested in joining #handmadeandtrade, follow Rachel @handmadeu and watch for announcements for openings. OR Direct Message Rachel @handmadeu and share your interest.

Made by @cutcraftcreate To @sueforgod

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Current Participants: @handmadeu

@heathercloudt

@allthingslovelyinlife

@libertygoodsandsupply

@ash_vuich

@looksomethingshiny

@backpocketcreations

@luckylouie.crafts

@beeka1416

@mkranthony

@bethsbagsnmore

@mommymeggie

@blessthissouthernmess

@queenbeedesigner

@brookerpie_arts

@sacredcatstudio

@bujewelry3

@simplyamazingartwork

@cjccustomjewels

@stampandsoul

@cutcraftcreate

@sueforgod

@degreesbykelli

@t.c.crafts

@doublewooddesigns

@twoterriersstudio

@dyeingtocelebrate

@va1erie

@faithandfarmco

@vickianncreation

@groganmm

@yarnfreak

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Featured Artist Idania Salcido

(aka Danita Art)

Where are you located? I’m currently living in Cd. Juarez, Chih., Mexico. Right in the border with El Paso, TX. What do you do? I work in different media. I paint, I make dolls and sometimes jewelry. Currently I’ve been experimenting a lot with watercolors and I’m making dolls with sculpted heads and hand painted fabric bodies. Describe yourself: I’m very curious, I love reading and when a topic interests me it has all my attention (I can get a little bit obsessive). I like experimenting with new things and can get bored easily, and that usually leads to more interest in different topics and more experimentation on whatever I am interested at the time. I love pretty things and lately I’m a bit obsessed with dry flowers and pods and seeds.

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Describe your art: My art is my gateway. I love putting paint on a surface , or taking clay and fabric and making a doll out of simple and humble materials. My art has a nostalgic, surreal feeling to it. Definitively a piece of my soul is shared with every little thing I make. I love mixing animals and flowers with people. I think we’re just part of a whole universe and

I like to remind myself that anything is connected to everything in my pieces. How did you get started? My first painting ever was my dog (an old english sheepdog), in 2004. My husband got me a book for my birthday and I exchange it for a book called “Paint Happy!� that I had seen before at the bookstore. That and 100 dollars in art supplies later I was already painting and experimenting.

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My style has changed a lot over the years. I used to paint super colorful, saturated portraits and use the black color heavily. My house was also very colorful. Over time I’ve changed a lot and also my house and my tastes and my art reflects that. Now I’m more inclined towards nature and natural colors and less saturated colors. Describe one day in your life: I’m a mom of 2 super active kids.... So you imagine I am really busy so I have to squeeze every free moment into creating art. I used to work very

late and night when I was younger. I started at 9:00 pm after putting the kids to bed and I could stay up all night creating. Now I spend time on my creative space in the mornings, sometimes thinking and looking at inspiration (Which a lot of people has pointed out that looks extremely like goofing off) but it’s part of the process. Then one moment I will get inspired and Start creating furiously and a new piece will be born.

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How to do you overcome your creative blocks? Well... I just look at beautiful things and wait. I go back to my collection of illustrated books, my favorite reading, watch my favorite movies again and take a walk in nature. For me the creative process is like a wave that builds up inside. I will feel the shores of my creative ocean retreat and far in the distance I feel something is building up, and that’s when I start looking for inspiration on beauty and nature. I never know when the build up will end, but I must be ready. Then one day, the ideas and creativity rush back in a tsunami of creation and it crashes into my mind, filling it with ideas that beg to become real. That’s when I furiously work and create piece after piece until everything washes out. My mind feels drained and tired and I have a table full of new creations.... Then I know I must rest and wait for the process to begin again, because I never know when it will happen again.

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What are your future plans? To continue improving my art as I discover new materials and techniques, experimenting and pushing myself further. There is never enough time to do all I want!!

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Idania Salcido (aka Danita Art) is an artist working on several media. She enjoys painting, making dolls and experimenting with her art materials. She has been making art since she was little, but started her career as an artist 12 years ago, after her daughter was born. If not creating, you could find her enjoying a nice cup of coffee, reading or compulsively scrolling through Instagram. You can find her in Social Media as Danita Art, where she frequently posts updates of her latest creations and endeavors. IG: @danitaart

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A Journey

Viv Sliwka Like many people who love being creative, my childhood sowed the seeds of creativity and again, like many others, there was an early and inspiring influence by way of my Mother. Mum still to this day, creates in her own style, hand and machine stitched patchwork quilts. Always saving, recycling and looking for interesting fabric prints, that make her heart sing... creating in her quilts, a joyous riot of colour and interest.

So, no surprises that she encouraged me to be creative and when I was handed a pre printed linen table cloth to meticulously embroider by her, at the age of around 10, I was hooked. I have been embroidering in some way or other for nearly 50 years. 50 years! That’s scary. Over the years I have made and sold in some form or another. I hand painted and sold Tee Shirts when our girls were small. I also designed and created greetings cards that sold throughout the UK. The most wondrous change in my creative practise came however,

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when I discovered the world of Blogging in 2007/8. Oh boy, what a life enhancing influence blogging became. A whole world of creativity opened up to be viewed and to be read. Fascinating blogs of art, travel, cookery, hobbies etc.....insights into a huge variety of lives from all over the world. In not much time, I found that I had started to tentatively create textile artworks under the name of ‘Hens Teeth Art’ (as the saying goes ‘as rare as hen’s teeth) and so, started Blogging too. This in turn gave me a way of talking about the work I had started to create. Having a love of folk art, flowers, pets, particularly dogs and

cats, hares and birds, I wanted to create embroidered and mixed media artworks, brooches, purses and bags, that were embellished with these creatures and flowers, that inspired me so much. I have always collected vintage and antique fabric and haberdashery …. the more worn, aged and textural the better for me and this too plays a big role in what I create. Adding small details, such as tiny Bees and so I opened an Etsy shop. My Blog was so important to me in the early days of creating, it has been

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fascinating to revisit that time via my Blog and read and see where I had visited, all the creative influences and what I was making at the time and why. Friendships and acquaintances were made too, long lasting, close friendships... caring and supportive women, that have enriched my life. Back then I had work published in ‘Cloth, Paper Scissors’ and ‘Stampington’ Magazines. What a thrill! My style had emerged and I will always be grateful for those early blogging days, that played such a huge part in my creative process.

I exhibited at various Fairs and still do, occasionally. In the UK, Vintage and Handmade Fairs were and still are very popular. A truly special way to sell my work, meet fellow bloggers and socialise with online friends and customers, that I would perhaps never have met in a noncreative life.

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Over time and unfortunately, I feel blogging has been over taken with Social Media, i.e. Facebook, Twitter etc. I have used these platforms, which are great to drive customers to my Etsy shop. I now very much enjoy Instagram. I do still Blog, but it’s all very much hit and miss. As the last ten years have sped by, I have gained in confidence in my work and in myself. This has been due to the support of truly wonderful people in my life. I now deliver workshops in beautifully inspiring venues. This is something that ten years ago I would never have dreamed

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possible. Speaking ‘in public’ so to speak, has always been my Achilles heal, but I have challenged myself and although still a little nerve racking, the warmth and creative energy that flows in a room of women stitching, talking, having fun, drinking tea, eating cake …. enjoying being creative soothes the nerves and I am now comfortable with delivering workshops. After ten years of interacting via blogging with Meleen Dupre of Warmbrook Barn Retreats...I was able to teach at her Retreat in Vermont. Who would have thought ten years ago! IG: @viv_hensteeth

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Pivot with Passion

By Candice Castillo “Pivot” is a word I knew mostly from that episode of Friends. You know the one where Ross needs to get his waytoo-big couch up a stairwell and he has enlisted his friends to help? If you haven’t seen it, they all struggle with the couch until they’re all stuck on a landing, while Ross screams “PIVOT! PIVOT!” with the look of hope slowly leaving his eyes. His couch is just too big and bulky to make it. The crowd roars in laughter and poor Ross (and his off-white couch) are completely ruined. I have spent the last year learning how to pivot my passion into a business that works well for everyone. Some would tell you that I’ve done it successfully and some (me) would tell you that I’m just winging it. Both are the truth. I have been sharing my artwork with the Instagram world since 2012. That’s about seven years, if you’re counting and just over 3,300 posts - plus or minus the ones I’ve “edited” or archived. At first, I was just sharing my art journal. Then, I started making necklaces, then cards and prints, and before you knew it, I was selling original artworks and DIY kits! I knew how to DO IT ALL and so I did.

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I thought I was just following my love of crafting and creating whatever I wanted and seeing where it would go. Somewhere along this path, a craft show coordinator mentioned to me that “for the next show, I would need to ‘stick’ to my product category.” I had applied as a “paper goods artist” and was selling fabric zippered pouches, earrings, necklaces,

keychains, and t-shirts - in addition to my paper goods. Whoopsie! You see, I was creating a “brand”, hopefully for Hallmark (my dream since childhood) and I wanted to create what I loved. I wanted to put what I loved on anything and everything that I could. “Put that tree drawing on a tote bag or a keychain! How about a journal?!” I was in complete heaven doing this. I think a lot of my followers and customers loved it too, but after a few years of doing it - I was so tired. I needed to create an income without spending 98% of it back into other product ideas. I was unfocused, like a lot of artists are. I was happy, but not able to keep up with the overall demand. My joy of creating eventually became my dread.

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I would walk into my once-happy studio and cry because the thought of making 50 original pieces of artwork was a reality that I couldn’t handle. I didn’t make enough to hire help and I didn’t create enough to make a profit. The truth was that I was slowing killing my brand. By 2016, I was burnt out and completely broke. This happened right about the same time that Instagram was changing their platform to an algorithm-driven feed instead of the chronological feed. It was that chronological feed that had helped grow HEart by Cc from 27 followers to 25,000 followers in just a few short years. With the new algorithms, there was just not enough me, art, or sales. So, I got a job outside of my home and closed HEart by Cc in 2018. It was heartbreaking and I spent most of that year in a bathrobe with mascara running down my cheeks. It was bad. That is when my pivot happened. I knew if I wanted to create for a business, I would need to make a lot of product but I couldn’t invest money into more products. However, I did know how to take my ideas and turn them into a sellable creation. I just needed to narrow it down. Only sell a few products. Here’s the problem, I didn’t know how to create just one thing. Nope - I love to create ALL the things. To make my passion work, I needed to focus on what I really wanted and who I really was as an artist. I began praying on

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how I could re-open my shop, hold down a part time job, and still be an amazing productive artist who didn’t just want to sleep all the time. One morning, while crying in my bathrobe, I could hear it. Those famous lines: “PIVOT! PIVOT! PI-VOOTTTTTTTTTTT!!!” Just as Ross had screamed it to his friends. There I was yelling PIVOT to myself. I knew that in order to pivot, I had to make a move. I decided that the product itself wasn’t the pivot - I was. I still needed to be flexible and change what wasn’t working. Ultimately, I decided to just pick one thing. I decided to pour my passion, attention, and love into ONE thing. The only problem was … I couldn’t do it. So I picked two things. That was super hard too. So, I compromised with myself and I picked three things. I wrote down what I wanted to do if and when I opened my shop back up: 1. Paper Prints. 2. Enamel Pins. 3. Vinyl Stickers. These three items were something I could draw once, then manufacture, and finally sell to more than one person. I couldn’t do that with my original art pieces. I started drawing. I listed my paper prints in the shop, but I also started selling the stickers and enamel pins. By September, my pivot was in full force. I had made it around the corner by downsizing my passion into smaller more focused work. What followed was an overwhelming response to HEart by Cc as a brand. It was absolutely life-changing for me on a personal level as well. Today, I still work outside of my home so that I don’t have to survive on art money alone. Choosing this path has freed up my heart so much that my brand, my HEart by Cc, is doing great. I’m creating out of pure joy and providing quality, loving results. In 2019, I decided that the 7-year old sticker-loving girl inside of me needed to have a sticker club - so I created a monthly sticker

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subscription featuring my art. It has been so wonderful to create out of a passion inside me. I also am not running myself ragged trying to make it. I was recently asked to come aboard and create for Illustrated Faith, a bible journaling company and community. This addition to my pivot has meant there are some small changes I’ve had to make, but it’s all been positive. There’s been more pivots, more focus, more flexibility. Here’s my best advice to other makers who feel called to create, but struggle in business: Be willing to be the pivot. Be willing to change as required and needed, which is the definition of PIVOT. Be sure you are passionate

about what you are doing. Nothing gets better, or succeeds because you feel “so-so” about it. NOWAY! You have to WANT it. Passion is key to the pivot. Once you make the first pivot, you’ll find it’s not as hard as you thought. Sometimes it might be rough, and you might be tempted to cry in your bathrobe all day, but you have to remember that it’s completely worth it.

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HEart by Cc an inspirational brand of whimsical and colorful products created in the HEart of artist, Candice Castillo. Taught to draw and paint by her Grandmother when she was just two years old, Candice has been creating art every moment she could since then. In 2013, while following God’s leading she started HEart by Cc. On Instagram, Cc shares her art, her words, and her unstoppable dreamer spirit- if you’ve followed her for any period of time, there’s one thing you can say for sure- you are not just a follower- you are a friend. You can follow her HEart on Instagram @heart_by_Cc

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Today Is A Day That I Never Imagined by Shannon Yonge

I live in beautiful rural Idaho with my sweet chocolate lab Molly. Together, we have started our lives over. We are beginning again. It’s a lot like fresh paint- you know- that smell- we needed new. After a challenging divorce that ended a 27 year relationship- we chose Idahorivers, mountains, high desert and open spaces. I grew up drawing, creating, and crafting at the kitchen table with my mom Marlene in Northern California. I loved color and creating, and even had a rainbow painted on my bedroom wall. Whether it was rearranging my bedroom furniture or baking up some delicious treats to sell to the neighbors, I was always creating. Creativity has taught me so many things. It is so incredibly valuable to a soul. It’s like oxygen, it heals some of the most difficult experiences. It is beautiful, it is ingenious, and it has certainly gotten me through the most difficult seasons of my life. Just like the seasons change, my creativity has changed and evolved over the years. While raising my two sons in Northern California, my creativity was in baking

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birthday cakes, sewing, in between the pages of a scrapbook, planting a beautiful garden, and creating leather bracelets for my Etsy shop.

I

found solace in these spaces creating things for others. But the deep soulful creativity- the healing kind, came from digging in the soil, and planting the seeds in hope they would grow into something beautiful that I could enjoy later. The colors in my garden painted a beautiful picture for me- bright tall yellows, and deep reds. White draped the garden arch with iceberg roses that sprung forth each spring. The pinks & periwinkles of the Hydrangea, and the lilacs of the sweet peas- all reaching for the sky in-between the pumpkins, beans & tomatoes.

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There was also a time when my creativity was abandoned. As I navigated the devastation of betrayal, separation, and divorce- my world became small- with no emotional room for creativity, I would just sit in my garden, or within the walls of my home- praying. As I prepared to leave the beautiful garden behind, I grieved what I had created. I grieved for the plants I had to leave behind. There is so much to grieve in divorce. It’s not only the death of a marriage, a family unit, but it’s the death of friendships, routines, and the familiar. It is a complete & painful metamorphosis. It is painful, and heartbreaking.

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What I didn’t know at the time is that divorce can also be deliverance. It’s a deliverance into something new. No, I never planned on being solo at 50, but I am. And now, I am so very thankful that I am. It’s taken me 3 years to come to the other side of the messy trauma of my divorce. But the things I have learned about myself, and the choices that I chose to make- even when I have to live out someone else’s choice- has shown me how strong I am. My creativity disappeared for over a year. No making. No gardening. There simply wasn’t space in my grief. The thing about creativity though, is it evolves as we do- and when our lives change, our art form can also change…. my creativity emerged as painting. I had never really painted on a canvas in my “previous life.” But on a whim, and a challenge from a sweet sister to paint something for 31 days- I started painting- only 15 days after my big move to Idaho- I unpacked my brushes, my cheap acrylic paints and just thought - what if? What if I enjoy this? What if this helps me settle into this new life? And you know what, it did. I learned that I enjoyed the challenge- even though I knew nothing about paints, or painting. Once again my creativity is helping me shift, grow and expand in ways I didn’t know I needed.

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You can find Shannon outdoors, camping, hiking or in her new Victory garden. She teaches soulful and fun personal development workshops and retreats for women with Soul Chicks,LLC. She still creates for her Etsy shop, Walking Bravely. Find her on social media on FB and IG at SoulChicks and Walkingbravelysoulchick, or at www.soulchicks.com

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Growth Defined

by Jonee Sutton I was always asked the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. I never really knew how to answer that question. My mind would change every single day, week! To be honest with you, at the ripe age of 45, I still don’t know!! I dream of many things I want to do. When Rachel asked me to contribute an article for the GROW section, I really stumbled on what to write, so like any good scholar, I reached out

to the expert, Merriam-Webster to find a good definition. Grow: to be able to grow in some place or situation, to spring up and develop, to increase, expand, to have an increasing influence, to BECOME. WOW! I really need to do that. In writing this, however, I realized that I HAVE done some of this, and am striving to do more of it every day! I would like to share a little bit of my personal experiences and hope that in some small way, they will inspire, or help you grow in some aspect in your journey as well.

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Hi! I’m Jonee Sutton. I am a mom of 2 young kiddos, 8 and 9 and step mom to an amazing 24-year-old. I am an art teacher of 15 years and trying my hand at the side hustle business of painting and creating in my shop Rustic Wagon. I’ve been creating all my life. I lived on a farm and would draw pictures with sticks in the pig pen poo…..yes, I said it! It’s gross but true! My mom was a teacher and my father passed away at 35 when I was only 5, from Cancer. He was an engineer but did art

on the side as well. I guess you can say art is in my blood. I honestly don’t know if his passing made me love art more because it was what really connected us or if the serious passion was there all along, but I do know that without it, I’d be a complete mess. I grew up using art as my therapy. I would draw, doodle, create but always looked at it as a hobby not as something I’d do “when I grew up” for a real career. Fast forward. I’m not looking at a 15-year career in the art teaching world and can’t imagine doing anything else. So I guess you can say, I’ve GROWN up to be exactly what I was meant to be! I was able to use my place or situation to spring up and develop my love of art to increase and expand by influencing others…by becoming an art teacher! I have grown

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into a person who enjoys making art (while making money at it!!) and teaching that love to others. I spent my first 10 years teaching elementary art. Now, let me tell you, it is a beast of its own but had huge rewards. I got tons of hugs every day. Kids LOVED what we were making no matter what and seeing the joy on faces was the biggest reward of all. On the flip side, you wear so many hats and the tempo in the classroom with so many littles took its toll. I saw roughly 1000 kids a week and traveled between two schools daily. It was a fantastic adventure, but I wanted to grow and expand in a new way. I needed a challenge! So when the middle school position opened up, I gladly jumped into a new area. Yes, I jumped into a big abyss of middle school hormones. I really had NO IDEA WHAT I WAS IN FOR!!! Good news, a great deal of these students where past elementary students I had had and I knew faces. Bad news, these cute little kiddos that I had once had, now were

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morphed into little adults that had bad tempers, low self-esteem, cranky dispositions, and nothing I did could ever be cool enough. It has taken me 5 years to really adjust and I still complain a little but overall, the connections I make with my students is priceless. When I get the kid that doesn’t like anything in life to light up with pride at what he created…..its life-changing! Remember, along this growing journey, I got married, had littles of my own, started my own side gig and tried to juggle it all. There are days I don’t know how I found my rhythm, but I seem to have found a balance. First and foremost, it is my faith and reliance on God above who has made me the artist and person I have become. Alongside the big guy, I have a very supportive husband who encourages me to take trips, plan workshops, develop and grow my business while helping keep my family intact. These things are IMPERATIVE! To have found my support, means I can find purpose in my teaching and passion in creating and make connections with my students in ways I have never thought possible. About 5 years ago, I started a “Being Brave” Art camp for girls. I had noticed so many students with low self-esteem, low confidence, and I had a burning desire to find something that would bring joy. Each year I take a group of 10-12 girls on art

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retreat to a cabin where we make connections, create art, eat our weight in candy and junk food, and bond. This has proven to grow me more as a person, educator, mother, and artist than I ever thought possible. It has helped me make business connections that I would never had made as well. Sometimes when we strive to do good in this world for others, we gain far more back in return. God is good that way! This Being Brave girl idea has grown so big that next year, we are going to New York. Talk about growing leaps and bounds!! (wish me luck!!). Long story short……I say, we don’t need to ever answer the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We don’t always end up where we think we will anyway. Instead…find your passion, water it with experiences along the way…the hurts, the goods, the bads, the unexpected….and watch your life grow into something spectacular. Be willing to grow out of mistakes, out of risk for something better. Take something you love and use it to help grow others. You may totally surprise yourself with how much you grow in love in return and create a life that is totally worth the ride!

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I’m Jonee Sutton. I am a k-12 art teacher, currently teaching middle school. I’ve taught for 16 years, 10 of those teaching elementary students. I am from Marion, Indiana. I graduated in 1992 and attended Ball State University, Indiana University, and ended up getting my degree in Visual Arts Education from Indiana Wesleyan University. I currently live in Bargersville, Indiana.

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Shortly after teaching, I married and became an instant mother to a 13 year old step son, Cody. My husband and I decided we wanted to have more children, and shortly after we had Finnegan who is now 9 and Emerson now 8. As if that didn’t keep me busy enough, I decided to start my own painting business. What I used to do for fun and crafting, I was starting to actually make money from. I’ve been working on my business, Rustic Wagon, for about 7 years now. I’m growing slowly due to the fact that I teach and mom full time. Another way I like to enrich my days, is mentoring and encouraging young women through a yearly retreat called, Being Brave. I host a crafting camp where my middle school girls can come with me for a 3 day crafting/art camp out of town. We get the opportunity to laugh, eat, giggle, create, and share in each other’s company. I hope to think these experiences help foster self worth and esteem. Middle school years can be so tough! These retreats pour so much back into myself and help re-energize my soul. I had so many parents and colleagues ask me if I ever did these retreat for adults. This helped me push toward doing these Finding Joy retreats. I truly believe that grown women are just as in need of connecting and community as much as these young girls, if not more so. I’m recently hosted my second adult retreat this fall with plans for more in the near future. God has blessed me with the talent of art and creating but even more so in reaching out to connect and share with others. I feel truly honored and humbled to be able to help serve and give back in such a very unique and special way. IG @rustic_wagon

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Wearing Many Hats

Refusing Labels To Find New Paths By Kentia Naud

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” I remember being asked this question multiple times. Each time, I felt I had to choose ONE answer and stick to it. Inside, I was full of possibilities, yet the world seemed to say “choose wisely the ONE path that will make you happy for the REST OF YOUR LIFE.” Well, I want to convince you that you can be anything you want, and that you can be on multiple paths at once, or subsequently. It all depends on your hunger for something. The hunger is the big time accelerator. We all change, we all become a new person everyday, every minute. We all go through many seasons, many ups, many downs. Going through time, going through life, changes us, changes our perspectives. 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s…. Each decade is a stepping stone in both complexity and simplicity. What we thought was the truth at 20, is not longer valid later on. I wanted to be a healer, so I went into medicine. Medicine has this tendency to monopolize your whole life, to swallow all your other dreams,

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and make your feel important in exchange. It is fine until your realize the deal does not make you happy or fulfilled anymore. The single path, my supposed life purpose, thereby went into the drain‌ The death of one identity made room for new identities to emerge, old ones, deep dreams. It made me go back to the era of my childhood, feeling full of possibilities, open to whatever lied in front of me. Being an adult, I was afraid to fail, I was afraid to be wrong, to not “strive for my life purposeâ€?. I still had this concept that I had to do only ONE thing in life: however, it is just that, a concept. It has the value we give it. Ceramic arts came by chance, when my life had a little opening for chance; art came in and made me believe in possibilities, in healing, in re-inventing myself. I was using my hands like humans did thousands of years ago; using clay to make things of beauty and function. My hands in mud were able to ignore the chatter of my mind, and I was able to create,

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to connect with something boundless: inspiration. The doctor in me did not exist, the mother did not exist, nor the artist; inspiration came through the work and I, suddenly, had no labels.

Life right now looks like a melting pot of part-time medicine, part-time ceramics, part-time writing, part-time parenting. Juggling balls as they come into my hands. We can wear many hats and be fully defined by none.

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Letting go of deeply rooted fears of lacking money or significance, I decided to just see what would unfold, and love what is already there. And there life was. Full. Multiple. Abundant. Enough. Nothing can define you, no labels, no titles. Who we are is beyond “purpose�, it is more than failures and successes. We are the sum of all the life experiences unfolding. Do what you love, make what you love. Love what you make and what you do. Take time to refuse the labels that grow on you. Be abundant, embrace insignificance. Take time to remember your inner freedom, yet feel your empowerment in choosing paths at every intersection. Have hunger for your passion: the universe will take care of your dreams with you.

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Clay saved me. Healed me. Gave me a new life. Life was a long list of things to do, between morning and night, always in survival mode. Between my ego-driven career as a OBGYN in an academic centre, my four kids, my husband, a house to tend... I did not allow myself much space to exist without serving others. Until, out of nowhere, I came down on my knees and had to acknowledge that even if I had everything someone could wish for, I was still not *really* happy on the inside. There was this longing for unconditional love, for safety, for

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being worthy of just being. I was longing to be, but my life was lost into all the doings of the world. Sometimes you just need to surrender to the Universe, to something bigger than your little self. I needed to learn to love. I thought love was on the “outside”; but I could not allow the same love to reach... me. Clay created a window overlooking a sacred inner space. A room to hear, to be, to play, to be safe, to explore. A room for love. The magic happened there, in the impermanent window where “I” don’t exist, but where I am regardless and ironically. The magic happened and the mud remembered how to be transformed into form, into a vessel, empty yet full of space. The magic happens again when my hands connect to my heart. I now fully embrace the handmade process and its traces. It means that mugs are sometimes not perfectly round, that my pots have a rustic look, a handmade feel, and that I am not a robot. How is life looking right now? A constant rebalancing act between art, medicine, family.. though unconditional love. I add new work every 1-3 months, follow me on Instagram to know what is coming and when it will be available for purchase! Follow the creative journey www.instagram.com/terrefermepottery

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Featured Artist Sharon Stanley

Location: I live at White Oak Farm - a working beef and grain farm in Hanover County Virginia - with 3 dogs, 2 grown sons, 1 husband and lots of cows. Ours is a Century Farm meaning its been farmed by the same family for over 100 years. What I do: I’m a wife and mother. This means I look after three farmers, which in and of itself is a full-time job. I also keep the farm books and help out seasonally when needed. When I’m not swirling around in the crop-circle-of-craziness that is my farm life, I make art in my little workroom accompanied by my little dog Olive. I make mixed media pieces, paint intuitive abstracts inspired by my farm life, make jumble jewelry from beads and found objects and sew anything

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that fits under the pressure foot of my machine. I also write picture books for children (but I don’t illustrate them), which is one of those dreams I had for years and now get to enjoy! Me: Wow, that’s hard. I think I am a positive person who enjoys simple pleasures, farm life, family, friends, falling leaves, fairies, rabbits, Jane Austen novels, and all things British.

I absolutely

love to make things and learn new skills. I have, like many creatives, a scanner personality. Like a radio on scanner mode, I hop, skip and jump my way from art project to art project. There are so many fun things to try! My hair is always sticking straight up, my hands are usually dirty and I never have a clean car. I become overly giddy at Christmas, in art supply stores and when it snows. I love Autumn, hate hot weather, love the mountains and the sea in equal measure and hate snakes. Ice cream is my weakness. My Art: My art is fun and quirky. Fun because it’s colorful and often reflects the wildflowers, hay bales, fences and pastoral view outside my workroom window. Oddly, I usually don’t realize it until a piece is

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done. Dots of magenta turn out to be pokeberries by the fence....White blobs vaguely resemble round bales of hay wrapped in white cover for winter feeding....crooked lines scratched willy nilly across a canvas are the barbwire fences of my sub conscience. Quirky because if I had to name my style I would call it childlike intuitive mixed media abstract! At an art fair once, someone asked me if my little boy had done one of the pieces I had for sale. I took it as a compliment...I think he was three at the time.

I use

lots of ephemera in my pieces which I find while rummaging through the lofts of barns that have seen better days. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. Quirky also because I make marks with sticks, chicken feathers and fox tails I find on my walks. There’s also a bit of magic in each piece, as I usually use creek water to mix paint, and the fairies live close to the creek. I also use farm cast offs for the jumble jewelry I sometimes make - washers, bolts, old buttons, nothing is too rusty for my workroom. The juxtaposition of rust mixed with crystal and pearls makes me happy. My children’s books are usually farm/animal related too as I write what I know and

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see, and I usually write on the front porch. The farm truly is reflected in everything I do. How I started: I started making art as a child in the 60s when Captain Kangaroo took out his shoe box of crayons and construction paper. I’ve never looked back. I’ve made books and bangles, pots and purses, quilts and canvases and everything in-between. I’ve had barn sale, pop up shops, fairs, fetes and art days. I was self taught until the advent of online classes and have since had the benefit of many many fine art makers to help me on my artistic journey.

A day in the life: Much to my husband’s chagrin, I am not a morning person. While he is up with the chickens, literally, I prefer to rise gently, stretch a bit, dress, eat and answer emails. My morning is spent doing household chores and laundry but sometimes I fit in a walk.

My three

farmers come in for lunch daily or if they are off in a field somewhere, I am food delivery lady. Farming is very seasonal work, but generally

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afternoons you’ll find Olive and I in my workroom puttering with whatever project has our attention at the moment. I work on several things at a time (who doesn’t?!) and if the weather is good, drag it onto the porch. Since farmers eat a lot, I cook a lot which means by 4 or so I’m on supper detail. I usually end the evening with a nice hot bath and time in front of the fire with TV and hand sewing, or a book It’s not an exciting life, but it’s a sweet one and I’m thankful for each and every day. Creative blocks: When I’m blocked, I cut and paste. I pull out a stack of colorful catalogs - Anthro and Gudrun Sjoden are my faves - and tear, cut and paste my way back to productivity. It’s my version of an art journal and I fill the pages with interesting textures and colors, then doodle around the clippings. In no time my head is jammed with ideas for new projects. The Future: I do so love making art of all kinds and writing funny books

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for kids and I hope to continue to paint, paste, sew and write for years to come. I hope to teach an online class one day soon and perhaps license some artwork for children’s decor or cards. I have a head start according to that art fair customer! I’d also like to sell more art canvases and prints and continue to learn from this fabulous art community.

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I’m Sharon Stanley and I make art and write picture books for kids. On the personal side, I live at White Oak Farm with three dogs, two grown sons, one husband and lots of beef cows. My everyday life revolves around wheat, corn, hay and beans - some people know these as seasons. I’ve made things - often out of necessity - for as long as I can remember. My idea of fun is creating art using what I have to make what I want. Twigs, rocks and feathers become mark makers, creek water adds a little magic to each piece I create. My surroundings have always turned up in my art - right now in the form of mixed media abstracts on canvas and paper. It took me a while to realize the marks I make often mimic the barbed wire fences that surround the pastures. My constant use of circles may or may not resemble the round hay bales waiting to feed cows this winter just outside the window of my work room. And that’s fine by me. I’m grateful daily for my art and my simple life. IG @sharonpstanley

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