KpacoTa CnaceT Mup-Beauty Will Save the World

(Quote from Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky's THE IDIOT, 1869)

Monday, January 28, 2008

From as early as I can remember...

From as early as I can remember, I have been making art with my hands - whether it was painting the basement stairs, making altered art out of old family photos and hanging them on the walls of those basement stairs, or proudly 'engraving' my mom's name with a steak knife into the dining room buffet table, (I was in early elementary school at this time).

At a very early age I understood and greatly appreciated the time and effort that went into the making of a handmade item. I would be jealous of other girls who would have a handmade sweater, or article of clothing made for them. (I never had my fabulous grandmother for long, as she passed away when I was in 3rd grade. I never met my other grandmother, as she died a few years before I was born, across the ocean in another world). So when Clotilde, my mother's French friend, heard this , she went and knitted me my own pink sweater. She gave it to me for my birthday. It was slightly tight in the sleeves, the pink was not quite my color and the yarn was a little course to the touch, but I didn't mind. She made it for 'Me'! I treasured it, and still do the memory.

I graduated college with a BA in Russian Language and Literature, foreign language teacher certification, and ESL certification. I contacted all the high schools in the country for a teaching job, but found none. Got into the travel industry, working for the company that brought the Americans over to the 1984 Moscow Olympics. I started tour-escorting, then changed companies escorting, bringing professionals around the world for continuing education credits. I traveled the globe extensively for 8 years visiting around 35 countries, specializing in the former Soviet Union, with Kenya and China in 2nd and 3rd 'place'. I took about a hundred flights a year.My trip to Australia/New Zealand cancelled, and I was home long enough to get pregnant.:) I was in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Yugoslavia when Chernobyl hit- eating the salads, drinking the milk- while at the end of my first trimester. I ended my travel one trip later when I couldn't button my pants, and the flying and escorting was getting to be a lot of  'fun' with my morning sickness.

All the while traveling, I enjoyed shopping the different countries, looking for that unusual item that I just couldn't live without, perfecting the art of negotiation.

Two weeks after my daughter was born, I did my first show, selling my blown-up photographs from my travels, and handmade items from around the world. I then started to incorporate some of those items into artwork. I would collage hand crocheted dolls from China with old crocheted or lace pieces onto children's sweatshirts...I painted on sneakers for children and adults. At this point I had two young girls. I pulled out the dolls I had made as a child and delved further into the craft. My two girls went door to door, (within eyesight), selling little baskets filled with homemade chocolates and a handmade doll.

I then took classes with some top dollmakers, as I got into one-of-a-kind dolls-mostly needle-sculpted in cloth. I founded a not for profit international doll organization called the Russian and American Dollmakers Association, (and friends), Inc., or RADA for short. I became friends with a Russian dollmaker, who was going to run the Russian end. But , then I made my biggest doll, my 11 lb. 12 oz. son via natural delivery, (no drugs), almost died giving birth, and my friend started doing so well with her dolls that she wasn't able to help with RADA. Life with 3 young children, and my dollmaking, took so much time that I was unable to continue with RADA, all by myself, which barely got off the ground. I was disappointed with not being able to follow through with its continuance, but then life has a way of changing on us when we least expect it.

I got into 'smaller' artwork, making and selling magnetic scrap art, and magnetic paper dolls. This was before artsy magnets became popular in stores. My children would get mad when stores started selling a few different picture magnets, saying that they (the stores) stole my idea.:)

I rented a shop and started selling antiques and some artwork. Then my son came down with acute asthma, and we almost lost him; and shortly after that my mom passed away. My antique shop swelled. We went back and forth every two weeks to my parents' home, for 3 years, as I emptied my mom's LI home, (dad passed away in 1980), before it was settled and sold. Oh , the treasures we would find! My mother's last request was that I sell the contents of our family home.

I had 4 different Art & Antique shops during an 8 year period, and have been slowly but surely getting back into artwork, manually putting some sanity and balance into my hectic days. I closed the last shop in Dec.2006 and have been working from home ever since. I have been getting back into collage/mixed media art these last few years. I say 'getting back into', because I always have been a collage artist in one way or another, since I was in elementary school.

I live in the 'country' with my wonderful husband of 25 years, my 3 smart and gorgeous children, 2 rather polite cats, and a spunky new kitten.

I hope that you enjoy your visit to my blog world. May you find  a tiny bit of inspiration on your fingertips to find the beauty in yours. Feel free to contact me at :  or at:


Anonymous said...

I think this is the coolest site I have ever seen!!

Jann said...

Hi--I know this is an older post, but I just love the artwork of your sister! I'm hoping to see more soon! ~Jann