As I’ve been doing my planning and thinking and organizing and writing for all things 2014, three women have stood out as role models for me, in progressing in my work. They don’t know it, and it is only through my observations from afar that they influence me, but each of them stand out regardless. I have so much respect for their creative talents, business skills, and dedication to their art and craft.    I look to them as online mentors in successful creative business and art practise.

Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin

Her designs are stunning as is her success story. I worked with her company to create an article once on organic textiles for Living Crafts magazine way back when, and learnt so much about her approach to textiles, traditional craft, and growing a cottage based business practise. Really… who could imagine taking handstitched clothing, not only hand embellished beyond all imagination, but handsewn garments and making this such a popular textile pursuit through books, workshops and kits. And to build a clothing line of high end, entirely hand made clothing, created entirely in the US. Amazing.  Her ethos is one of support, for her local economy, women, and the environment.

Jane Stafford of Jane Stafford Textiles

Jane lives on this same small and wonderful  island.  She has created an amazing business, and beautiful space in the world.  A weaver with 25 years of experience, her name is uttered with awe and reverence at fibre arts events (I’ve heard them!) She has built a beautiful studio and retreat space here on the island, and her 2014 workshops are already almost completely full. Grounded, realistic, funny,  inspiring and supportive…Jane is masterful both in her craft and her teaching.  To balance with such grace her two major life roles, weaving teacher and mother, is a monumental task and inspiring to observe. 

Agostina Zwilling of the Italian Felt Acadamy

Agostina is a contemporary artist who works with an emphasis on fashion, felt and natural dyes. She does so within a rich, modern aesthetic that I love.
I read the mission statement for the Italian Felt Academy and and the dedication within the words resonates and renews. Sometimes we read words/have conversations/see work, that nudges us back in line with our core values…Agostina’s work does so for me. It is dramatic and stunning, and grounded in ethical and environmental production.  Her approach to teaching and event planning appears streamlined, simple, with depth.  Elegant. I
have been following a similar artistic path, exploring shibori, natural
dyes, shadow cloth work, and architectural clothing design. I aspire to her level of technical excellence and aesthetic execution. I see her work and it reminds me to hold fast and be true to my visions.

What do these strong, independent, beautiful women teach me…
Well. there’s a whole let there alone, in just the words I use to describe them…
Live your passion. Believe in what you do. Do it fully. Use your
creativity to build community and support other women, whether at home
or afar….This creates and inspires beauty.