Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Creative Mind is Rarely Tidy

I don't know about you, but when I'm making something I tend to leave all the various options that have been part of the jury process just shoved aside. It's a very colorful and sparkly debris field to be sure but by the end there's very little room to actually walk or move!

I just finished up a batch of about half a dozen commissions so it's particularly bad at the moment. There's no distinction between wet and dry parts of the studio in process or done pieces its just all a big jumble.

So I'm taking the time this morning to actually stop and put things away. The good news? I got 3 more commissions over the weekend!

( this Thursday will be the cutoff for a local commissions.)

One of the hardest things about being a retailer who is an artist is trying to find time to actually make things myself.
Having people so thrilled with the gift that I make so they can give them to their loved ones is a good reminder that whatever we make, no matter how small, matters.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Laughter and paint.

Had fun yesterday running a team bonding exercise for a group of polished, positive HR executives for one of our biggest consulting firms.

I must confess it felt like a million years since I have worked in that kind of environment. Not good or bad, just different!

They were a delight to work with. I did a UN structured art lesson because they seemed like such a creative group.

It was fun to see how different everyone's paintings were by the end.

This was a group of ten but if you want to get together with friends, co-workers or family for a fun night out, remember it only takes four to make a class!

All available workshops are on our website. www.StifelandCapra.com

Monday, August 24, 2015

OK, I know it is still summer but...

 Took my daughter up to her second year of art school on Sunday. I was struck by that air of expectation that floated over campus.  New beginnings- back to school.  My son doesn't start until after Labor Day so I am floating in this weird sort of limbo.  Feeling motivated and energized to start the new season but not waiting to wish away the time I have left of summer.

I must confess that my biggest summer indulgence is sleeping in.  With the shop not opening until 10 I can get up at 8 and still have a leisurely morning.  Of course the price I pay for that is all of the things that DON'T get done in my well rested state. During the school year I am up by 6 and have 31/2 hours to exercise, meditate, make art, do chores, or do paperwork before the shop opens and my phone starts ringing.
 My perennial problem? As Steven Covey so elegantly puts it - putting First Things First.  I can't do EVERYthing I want to before I head to work. So how does it get done when I run out of steam at night after being perky all day? How do I juggle the interminable list  of to-do's of the business owner and actually hang out with my son while he still lives here? How do I stay in touch with and support my family and friends that need my help and love?
 My biggest failing is I am an "all or nothing" kind of gal so today I DID get my spiritual reading done, my house is clean but no art happened and the only exercise I got was running up and down the stairs with the laundry!
The good news? All those hours in the car doing the college run gave me some thoughts about regrouping and restarting.  Let me know if you have any hints.  This donut around my middle has GOT to go.  Maybe I need to re-read that Covey book.

Friday, March 20, 2015

From trunk to treasure to thirteen messages.

I have a colleague that has "seller's remorse" when something she brings in sells right away. I think she worries that it some long lost Picasso treasure rather than just being happy it found the right new owner in a twinkling of an eye.

A happy example - I had a client who told me that they were looking for an "unconventional shower caddy" for a recent remodel that they had done. After listening to her creative yet vague description I suggested we go to the back of my truck where some (awfully dirty) treasures were waiting to be cleaned up, tagged and put out on the sales floor.

To my delight she jumped on an awesome vintage plant stand, spider webs and all.  The out of the box results are below!

Dear Theresa,
As promised, please see how perfect your newly-hauled plant stand/converted unique shower caddy turned out for us!  A few strategic holes, new Rustoleum paint job and we're good to go forever.  I was trying to replace the little rubber feet, but once scrubbed they were discovered to be in fine shape and ready to go.  Thanks so much for so quickly filling the bill of my "out of the box" look for our shower.
Love it!  And you know I'll be back--to shop your store--or the back of your car for recent discoveries.
Take care.


Speaking of cleaning up, I have spent the better part of the last 60 days cleaning out, filing or responding to my in box. My voice mail box is cleaned out too!  I will admit my to do list is still there but it is focused and singular.  I feel like I have lost weight!  Quite exciting.  (although you know losing weight is on my to do list as well).

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Brooklyn Bound- Revisited

Inspiration can strike anywhere.  An old acquaintance's Facebook post caught my eye.  She was elegantly dressed to catch a train to party in New York. While lamenting the fact that my middle age life did not include such excitement I asked her if I could "appropriate" the photo as inspiration for a collage.  She graciously gave permission. (While it is not illegal to 'borrow' photos in the public domain,  I feel it, it is only proper to ask to use someone's image or take their photo.)

A lovely family came in and bought not one, but TWO of my pieces.  I was thrilled and jestingly asked if they would send me a photo of my art in their new home as I like to see where they land. Not long after - I received this from John.

Hi Theresa,

We like your work very much. When did you make it? This year?

When I first saw your collage I liked it a lot because I saw a rare young woman I thought I recognized -- one with a defined sense of personal style that was somewhat daring confident and casual. I went back to see how you'd made it and liked it even more because what I'd first taken to be carefully drawn and painted, actually seemed to be brilliantly dyed draped and stitched! I admired the intensity you captured in your friend. And I think your medium of collage is so apt simple and surprisingly evocative of flesh blood and spirit. It pops with life and I love looking at it.

Sure you can use the photo.  You're pretty good to make me see your friend the way you see her.  She sounds like a special person. John

You are too, John. You are too.

PS- Blogger & artist Seth Apter is running a "Living with Art" series one his blog right now.  A corner of my living room is lucky  enough to be featured in an upcoming edition. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ok so maybe you DO have to hit me in the head!

You know that thing where you get a new car and suddenly every firth car on the road is the same make and model as your?  Of course all of those cars were there the day before but you are just SEEING them for the first time.

In the past 24 hours I received the same message from my Growing Your Soul Group,  Seth Godin, Jennifer Boykin, Regina and Facebook & Pinterest posts. I felt like I am being hit in the head with a baseball bat with the message to just GO.

In the past few days I also had a pipe burst at the shop, our wet-vac caught on fire, the color is off so I can't print a commission work that is due uh, NOW, I ran over a pin with a sewing machine and it killed it, oh AND I woke up this morning and my 2 week out of warranty laptop (read still darn new as far as I am concerned) just didn't. turn on.

So advice all of my real and virtual pals has me resolved. Even if it is not perfect or pretty. So here you are.

I am starting,
yet again.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Embracing Change

I had the audacity to run away this weekend. With the family, to one of my oldest and dearest friend's house. Ok that probably doesn't seem audacious to you but we haven't gone on a trip for the sheer pleasure of it for a long time. 

 I had to beg for shop coverage and pay my lovely staff for bleary winter days in January when most folks are more excited about the Super Bowl that they are about gift shopping.  So it was a big deal.  More about our lovely time later but I just sat down and steeled myself to really LOOK at my email and one of the first things in my inbox was the article below.

It's like it was reading my mind.  Question begs- what is next?  Still thinking. Stay tuned.

Embrace Change in Order To Make A Difference

by Clint Watson

When I first started BoldBrush (the company behind FASO), things were pretty simple. I was the leader, the boss, and all the employees. [...] 

Read the rest of this article at:

This excerpt appears courtesy of FineArtViews Art Marketing Newsletter by FASO,
a free email newsletter about art, marketing, inspiration and fine living for artists,
collectors and galleries (and anyone else who loves art).

For a complimentary subscription, visit: http://www.faso.com/art-marketing-newsletter

Miss you already!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Mending in Camel & Black

After spending DAYS over New Year's clearing up and out by office and studio spaces my mission for 2015 is to simply start.  Take one piece, project, inspiration piece what have you and work on it until it is done.  In the past I have worked in assembly line fashion, paint 20 backgrounds, cut out 20 pillows, embroider 20 things and what it has left me with is LOTS of half finished things and no inventory to sell or art to present when an exhibition opportunity arises.  I was crushed and flummoxed when I was invited to do a show at the end of last year and I literally had nothing new to present,  Ugh.

 Am determined to leap between art, craft, writing and business development and simply do.  In this case replace a velvet waist band that had dryrotted on a lovely wool felt circle skirt from the 50's.
 A simple matter of cutting off the old waistband, measuring a slice of black velvet (donated to me by buddy Nire Nah when she made the command decision to quit pretending SHE was going to do something with this lovely black velvet (!) drape!).
 Pinning the waist band on- while wondering WHY I picked a project that when finished will fit on a person with a 25 inch waist.  Who IS this woman and do I even want to know her?
 After recognizing I really didn't have a beef against folks with slim waists although I have never had one even when I weighed 50 pounds less I pinned
 and seamed and clipped threads...

 and hand hemmed the edge under to make a pretty facing.
 Ta Da! The Finished project- ready for sale. $90 at Stifel & Capra
 Loving all of the details with the appliques and the cording.  Quite the fancy home sewn project by some svelte lady way back when! Imagine how tiny that 25 inch waist would look with crinolines?
 Next up? Cute wool sweater with moth holes...
 snazzed up with some crocheted appliques!
Pardon the boots- my computer is fighting me & I didn't want to torture myself trying to find the edited version of this shot!!!! Super cute I think, What say you?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Nothing says "Happy New Year" like fresh paint.

January first. New Year's day. Stereotypically a time of new beginnings.  We woke up after a fairly sedate New Year's eve of Family Movie Night with the teenagers (Guardians of the Galaxy) and faced the fact that one of my favorite people and long time vendor and tenant has given notice so she can concentrate more on shows and less on day to day retail. So faced with an empty room ( and ghosts of fabulous sewing and lovely jewelry) I picked
 not surprisingly the color of spring seas to cover the walls. Theory being we are turning the space into a self contained Gourmet Market to showcase our food & wine artisans and the bulk of their packaging is black white and red. What better color to make those shine than S&C Aqua?
 Started at 9:45. By 2pm with the help of Charming Husband and Reluctant Except I am Paying Him Son the "new" Gourmet Shop was taking place. I am actually VERY impressed with how much we got done.
 Also impressed with myself I didn't make the family do the Do It Now Death March to do ALL of the moves I am visualizing for the shop right NOW instead of rolling it out over the next couple of months...
Reworking the coffee station (pot is too crazy big) so one can buy a cup of coffee in Falls Church that is roasted by a local guy and not by a big chain. More soon.