love of art, art for love

Posts Tagged ‘Weddings by Artists’

Artist Profile: Anita Vaughan, Celebrant

In Artist Profile on January 15, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Thank to you, Anita Vaughan, for taking the time to speak with us about your experiences. We look forward to reading your blog to learn more. Next time we’re in Chicago, we hope to meet up!

 

What does it mean to be a celebrant?

 

A Celebrant creates ceremonies that celebrate various milestones in people’s lives, which is why we’re known as Lifecycle Celebrants. In my case, I mostly work with couples to create personal, unique wedding ceremonies.

One way a Celebrant ceremony is different from most others, is that a Celebrant tells the couple’s love story. I include anecdotes about how they met, what they love about one another, their plans for the future …. what ever they choose to share with their guests. 

Also, I’m in constant contact with the couple when I’m working on their ceremony and they have complete control over the end results.

How do you integrate different faiths into your ceremonies?

When I’m working with an interfaith – or intercultural – couple, it’s important to honor both of their backgrounds. I spend a lot of time researching traditions and rituals from the different faiths or cultures, so I can offer suggestions of what to include in the ceremony. Quite often, couples are surprised by how beautifully their backgrounds can be blended in a wedding ceremony. 

You write on your website that you use a questionnaire as a means to get to know a couple better. What kinds of questions do you ask?

 I use the questionnaire as a tool to help me create the ceremony and make it personal. I ask the couple to each complete the questionnaire separately. I ask LOTS of questions, such as:

How did you first meet?  How did you feel about your partner at that time?

How did you propose or accept the proposal?

What does your partner do that always makes you laugh?

In what ways has your life changed since meeting your partner?

Are there any special customs or traditions from your background that you would like to include in the wedding?

What is your favorite type of music? Favorite performer? Song?

We are a gay couple looking to publicly declare our vows. Do you have particular advice for us?

The best advice I can offer is to say, “Be true to yourselves.” In other words, your ceremony should reflect your individual personalities and beliefs, as well as your shared love story. It’s your day, it’s your ceremony – you should have it be exactly the way you want.


How does being a celebrant affect your private life?

I have come to realize that I’m doing exactly what I was meant to do. I feel so fulfilled – and happy! When I’m working on a ceremony, especially the part where I tell the couple’s story, I can’t help but think of my own love story. I think about my husband, and how happy we’ve been for the past 16 years. I am constantly reminded of how fortunate I am!

Besides that, I have met some fascinating people! I love meeting new couples and getting to know them through the process of creating their ceremonies. People share their very personal stories with me and I feel a great responsibility when I’m entrusted with such a sacred gift. It’s my duty to honor these precious love stories by creating the most fitting and personal ceremony.


What was one of your favorite details from a wedding that you recently officiated?

I have had several ceremonies that are favorites because of interesting rituals incorporated in the ceremony. One favorite was a pagan ceremony this past summer that included a handfasting, as well as invoking the four directions. I also had another ceremony this summer that included lovely Hindu rituals. There have also been several couples that I really connected with, who will always hold a special place in my heart.

But, my favorite was my friend’s wedding this past Halloween. It was so amazing to work on her ceremony, but it made me a little nervous, too! Especially since I knew many of the guests!

One of the best parts was that my daughter was the flower girl – or flower witch, since it was a costume ball! My family was at the wedding, and it was the first time they saw me perform a ceremony. And afterwards, I put on my Bride of Frankenstein costume and got to have a great dinner and dance the night away!

What would be your dream wedding to officiate?

That’s a tough question, since I’ve already had the chance to be a part of so many amazing weddings. But, to be honest, my greatest wish is that Illinois would legalize gay marriage. Then, my dream wedding would be a LEGAL gay wedding here in Chicago.

For more information, click on Anita’s website or read her blog.

Artist Profile: PasukArt by Sonia Gordon-Walinsky

In Artist Profile on October 20, 2009 at 11:50 am

Sonia Gordon-Walinsky with one of her original, hand-written and painted ketubbot (Jewish marriage contracts). Sonia  Gordon-Walinsky2009

PasukArt by Sonia Gordon-Walinsky

What kind of artwork do you create for weddings?

I create two kinds of artwork for weddings- ketubbot and PasukArt.

PasukArt, as shown above, is my unique creation of Torah artwork that connects a couple’s names with a biblical verse. This artwork is inspired by the rabbinic tradition of ascribing each person a name pasuk- a biblical verse that begins and ends with the first and last letters of one’s name. This beautifully hand-painted artwork is a uniquely meaningful wedding gift that inspires a personal connection to Torah. Along with the artwork I also present a scholarly description of the verses and their connection to the couple’s names.  The verses may be presented under the chuppah, along with the ketubbah, or at another appropriate time.

I also create hand-written and painted custom ketubbot and ketubbah prints. The ketubbah is central to Jewish weddings as the legal contract of the marriage and can also be an expression of the couple’s commitment to each other. My ketubbot bring the couple’s aesthetic into their wedding ceremony and into their home.

After the wedding, your ketubbah or PasukArt will remind you of your wedding day and bring you joy throughout your marriage. At my wedding, our rabbi advised us to read our ketubbah whenever we needed to be reminded of the blissfulness of our wedding day love, and grounded in the promises we made to each other on that day.  

I imagine that many customers have an idea of what kind of ketubbah they have in mind, but difficulty explaining their vision. What kinds of questions do you ask to help learn more about their ideas? 

In my conversations with a couple I try to get a sense of their style and translate it into artistic elements. Often, the partners have different styles that I work at blending together in their ketubbah, making it a true expression of marriage! 

I ask the couple about the kinds of colors, shapes, and textures they are drawn to, and what emotions they want the artwork to elicit.  For example, if you want to feel calmed and happy when you look at your ketubbah, what colors — bright or dark, and particular colors—do this for you?  Perhaps you can figure this out by looking at the artwork on your walls, or the colors you choose to wear.  For the design, do you like floral or geometric, angular or smooth shapes, or a combination?  Would you like your ketubbah to be simple or very detailed and ornate?  If you have strong, vague or no preferences–  it’s all great.  With whatever information I have, I start sketching your ketubbah.  We discuss the sketches together and hone in on the design that you like the most to ensure that you are happy with the finished artwork.

I also consult couples on selecting the ketubbah text that’s right for them. 

How does your personal experience with weddings inform your wedding business?

My husband and I got married a little over 3 years ago, so the planning for our wedding is pretty fresh in my mind.  In my experience as a bride, the most frustrating part of planning our wedding was dealing with vendors and trying to get accurate information about their services and price.  Drawing directly from that, I am upfront about what artwork I create for what costs. Custom artwork can be expensive, but I try to work within a couple’s budget, and have come up with some creative solutions to do so.  I’m aware that it can be a stressful time for the couple, and I do everything I can to make my part of it enjoyable and to bring a sense of holiness to the experience.

When did you begin doing art and how did you get into religious artwork?

I grew up with my mom’s ceramic studio and my dad’s piano studio in our home.  Music, dance and visual art were (and are) as much a part of my life as food. By the age of 10, I was seriously enthusiastic about prayer. 

Throughout my childhood I was engaged in art and prayer, but it wasn’t until I reached college that I really combined these two passions.  I attended List College, the undergraduate school at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, where I studied Jewish literature, and was especially focused on liturgy.  It was at this academic level of analyzing the Hebrew texts that I was inspired by their beauty and moved to create artwork with them.  It’s been over 6 years since then and its exciting for me that there is an endless pool of sources from liturgy, Torah and beyond for me to draw from for my artwork for years to come.

What is your dream commission?

Each PasukArt painting is a journey of research and creation, and is so fulfilling.  I have created PasukArt for all sorts of celebrations- birth, b’nai-mitzvah, marriage, anniversary, conversion, graduations, special events honoring clergy and synagogue functionaries-  and I love people’s reactions to the artwork and the text. I feel that PasukArt enriches celebrations and also has the potential to comfort those in need of healing.  My dream is to continue creating PasukArt for all sorts of life-cycle experiences for individuals, couples and communities and through my artwork to have a positive impact on people’s relationship to Torah. 

How do you integrate art into your everyday life?

My artwork is a part of my spiritual practice. Every chance I get to sit at my table and work is nurturing to my soul.  Every week I have many projects going on, in addition to drawing and painting, these often include translating Hebrew and Aramaic texts, and creating graphic design materials for marketing.  Thankfully, I find these all very enriching and that’s what makes my profession and my passion one and the same.

How can people commission artwork from you?

You can go to my website or just give me a call at (917) 822-7963.

If you’re in New York City on November 18, 2009, you can come by the Heschel School Market Fair from 6-9pm to buy prints.  Email me at pasukart(at)gmail(dot)com for more info.

Artist Profile: Ann Keeler Evans, The Wedding Priestess

In Artist Profile on April 27, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Ann Keeler Evans, the Wedding Priestess

Meet Ann Keeler Evans, the Wedding Priestess. We are sure you’ll love her as much as we do.

You are a Wedding Priestess. Can you explain a little bit about what that means?

A priest concerns herself with the rituals of life rather than the more pastoral “ministering to people’s needs.” I am most interested in celebrating and supporting the transitions that move people from one segment of life to the next. While I have worked with churches, and with one small congregation for 10 years, I enjoy my work with individuals, couples, families and communities. I work with people wherever they are in their lives, in their souls and in the world.

The term Priestess is a result of both my feminine/feminist bent and a pet name that one of my couples used. It describes both who I am and what I do.I tried it. I liked it. It stuck.

Much of the work I do today is focused on weddings, because people understand the importance of weddings. After their wedding experience with me, a couple’s understanding of ritual grows to include the many other kinds of celebrations of life passages that exist. I love when people realize that they can celebrate their lives all the time, and ask their beloved community for support.

I prepared for ministry in both Mainstream (an M.Div. at Union Theological Seminary) and traditional ways (with Native Teachers, shamans and witches). All of these added to my understanding of the importance of ritual and celebrating life passages. (And I’m sure a lifetime closet addiction to romances hasn’t hurt my ability to think grandly about romance and marriage! Shhh. Don’t tell anyone!)

Ritual matters and it makes a difference. The goal of a good wedding ceremony is to produce a lifelong marriage that the couple can live in happily and healthily forever.

How do you help couples create their own, unique wedding ceremonies?

While I write personal weddings for every couple I work with I follow an outline of what I believe belongs in a ritual very closely. I believe that there are 10 steps that take you from (in the case of wedding ceremonies) engaged to married. The ritual form remains constant whatever ritual is being celebrated.

The wedding becomes unique to the couple when their romance, their values, their personalities and their intentions for marriage begin to form and inform the ceremony.

No wedding happens without at least 4 meetings with the couple and lots of backing and forthing with the wedding document. Together, we edit and add and subtract as they find permission to open up. I blend in ritual activities as they reveal family traditions, personal interests and activities that center them as a couple.

I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years now, so I’ve gotten better at asking the right questions in the initial meeting, but you never know when people are going to tell you something that will lead to an absolutely magical moment in their wedding ceremony.

What kinds of questions do couples usually ask you?

Couples come with a question about price, but proceed with questions about what is possible in wedding ceremonies and how they can celebrate this aspect of who they are.

What was the most unique wedding(s) you ever officiated?

It’s so easy to say it’s the couples who incorporated Thai dancing or personalized song or poetry whose weddings were the most interesting.But what made those weddings interesting was that the art form or the ritual activity fit that couple. When there’s a good match between who people are and what people see, everything works really well at the wedding.

So, really, I specialize in unique weddings: weddings that look exactly like my couples. It’s so fun!

How does art play a role in your business?

My job is to move people. Couples to the possibility and the reality of life-long promises, communities to support of such important endeavors and the world to the understanding that the sacred celebration of people’s goals, intentions and promises makes a difference in society. I might define the making of art as the use of your gifts whether visual or musical or verbal to help folk to see the world differently, appreciate it more greatly, value it more highly.

It demands our being present – present to life and present to it. It doesn’t work unless you put the hours in day after day, hour after hour. I’m a word artist. My words don’t mean much unless I work at the craft of writing, so the wild wondrous stuff has a platform to stand on. (Sort of like marriage, you need strong well-crafted wedding vows as a platform so your marriage can soar!)

And then it becomes great when you start working with other people (people like Chloé or Anna who add their gifts to a ceremony, or people like Gisele Perez who listen to what you say and what you’re doing during the wedding ceremony and carries that out into the reception food!). The combination of arts can explode the transformative possibilities of a wedding exponentially.

How does art influence your life?

Well, aside from my writing, I live with my beloved mom’s fabulous oils all over the apartment. Other artists are a big part of my life. (For instance, Darling Drummer, my beloved husband.) We work together. We hang with people who like to think about their art and talk about it and make it better. Those conversations get blended with what’s happening in the world and how we can use our art to make those things better.

You write a regular column. What have been some of your favoritearticles? Where do you come up with all of the imaginative ideas?

The imaginative ideas come from making connections. You write about this and you start thinking about that. Or you write a sentence and you realize that it is profound and fundamental to what you believe about (in my case) weddings and marriage. That becomes a favorite article for sure. Today I wrote”Marriages aren’t for getting ahead, they’re for getting along and getting on with life.” I didn’t know that I believed that until I wrote it. I’m testing it now to see how true I really think it is.

It’s fun when a wedding article sparks something amusing: last night’s article about a trail-ride wedding considers how to take something that’s a real part of a couple’s life and values. I loved an article I wrote a while ago on creating a wedding for a people with sight disabilities. I wanted to do that wedding so badly. I’m sure someday I will.

Could you share a detail or two about your own wedding?

Darling Drummer and I had such a pageant! It was an amazing combination of the gifts and talents of our beloved community and our own values. My 93 year old father spoke at my wedding ceremony only 6 weeks before he died. A young man danced to two friend’s gift of song. People sang songs I wrote, played music Steve arranged. We didn’t marry legally because we won’t until gay marriage is legal in Pennsylvania where we live. We exchanged gongs rather than rings. (Mine keeps moving into the instrument collection for performances!) A friend served as our elder and wrote the most extraordinary poem. My beloved god-daughter stood up with me and one of Steve’s daughters stood with him.

We had a pot luck. For 300 people! The food was unbelievable. The decorations were done by our community, an artist friend of mine designed wonderful hearts that were scattered everywhere. The one that most captured my heart arrived soon after as a wall sculpture.

14 bands played. A friend made my dress. Others consulted and painted my nails and laughed, oh we laughed. People came from all over the world, all areas of our lives and blessed us beyond belief. Not that we have any intentions of splitting, but can you imagine how desperately disappointed our community of 300 people would be in us if we didn’t make the dream succeed?

We’re both extroverts and show people, so we wanted something grand and extravagant, as big as we are, as big as our love is as rich as our middle-aged history is. I think we made it!

How do people learn more about what you do?

You can find me here. I write also write here and I’m the Philadelphia Marriage Examiner over Examiner.com. There are tools to make your wedding what you want it to be if you’re DIY kinda people. I think there might be a radio show soon. All this moves slowly, so don’t be holding your breath out there, but keep looking!

I’m looking forward to the challenge of making a wedding ceremony for you that is as perfect mine was for me, even if that’s a quiet wedding for two beside a softly burbling stream!

Artist Profile: Anna Huckabee Tull of Custom Crafted Songs

In Artist Profile on April 17, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Anna Huckabee Tull

We look forward to sharing Anna Huckabee Tull’s background as an artist. Enjoy her website, too!

What is your artistic training?

 

My training is really in Psychology. The “music” part of what I do really just grew out of this unstoppable desire to find a way to communicate some of the powerful transitions that people go through. I went through a huge personal shift, and an unexpected very intense break-up, around the age of thirty. And as I was struggling to make sense of it all, I started discovering that “singing” my way through it–finding words to not only express the pain but also  to give voice to what I might sound like when I became more “healed” around this experience was really transformative. I put out an entire album or really “extremely autobiographical” (as my husband likes to say) songs. And I found that making that album really moved me out of a painful place and into…surprise! a growing relationship with my own ability to use music to heal, and, importantly, to celebrate. At the time I was only healing ME, but eventually, when others started coming to me and commissioning me to create songs for them, I learned that I am every bit as astute at translating other people’s experiences into music as I am my own. So the music–especially the composing part–seems mostly to be something that grew up out of necessity. I had something to say, I knew music was the way I wanted to do it, so I just kept digging around musically till I started finding it. SO! That’s what a couple years of childhood piano lessons and a stint on violin in the public schools can get you! A whole wide world of song after song after song of poignant and joyful musical expression!

 

 

How does art influence your life?

You know, it’s funny. I think for me it’s really the other way around. My LIFE seems to influence my ART. When someone commissions me to write a song, it is literally all about them. In the song interview, the whole world drops away and I actually deeply enjoy the experience of almost forgetting who I am, because I am so completely immersing myself in their experience. And it feels like that all the way through the process, right up until the day the song is recorded in the studio. But then, when it is finally complete–I have delivered the song and the job is done, often I will drive around in my car and listen to the song “from the outside.” I will listen to it as ME (as opposed to trying to see it and speak it and listen to it totally as they would). And when I finally listen to it as me, it is almost always this huge surprise because suddenly, once the job is done, I can hear all kinds of things in there that are as much about ME as they are about the person I wrote the song for, or about. I used to think, “Oh, NO! I was supposed to write it about THEM and I ended up writing it about ME!” But you know what? As I have matured into this I have come to realize that probably part of what makes so many of these songs to deeply meaningful, ultimately, to so many people, is their UNIVERSAL quality. Basically, if you take one data point (the person who commissioned the song, and all that their experience is about for them), and then you take a second data point (me, the way I see and experience the world), and then, suddenly, as soon as you have those two data points, you have all the countless “points on the line” in-between them. And it is that–all those data points in-between, that make a song go from one-dimensional (me me me) to universal. I get emails from people all the time saying, “That song you did about the Guatemalan adoption–that could have been, word, for word, a song about our family!”  or “I sat there and cried for forty five minutes when I heard your song about the mother who never got to say goodbye before she died. I know exactly what that feels like.”  Striking a universal chord with people just absolutely, positively the most amazing part of my job.

 

 

 

What is the process for arranging a custom song?

When someone comes to me for a song-interview–whether it is live, in -person or over the phone, there are really two things going on. One is that I am gathering information–what happened, what is the event to be celebrated, how might the song be used, who is it for, what are you hoping the result will be, etc. But the other is that, the whole time I am connecting with someone on their experience, a part of me is just kind of poised to receive. Not sure how to explain it exactly, but in every interview there comes this moment for me where suddenly I “get it.” I just kind of get the drift of what someone is saying. I feel it like a physical experience–often my eyes water a little, and I feel this “jump” feeling inside of me. Mathematically, the way I tend to describe it is that I get a sense of the vector of what they are saying, where they are coming from. (Sorry if this sounds a little “California” but that’s where I did my master’s work, so whatdayawant?!  🙂 Once I have this feeling, I am ready to go. We might talk for five minutes more or an hour more, but the main goal is accomplished. Then, after gently shoving the person out the door because I am so excited to start composing, I begin. Sometimes it percolates in pieces for weeks, sometimes it happens fast. But either way, when it is ready, I share a “rough cut” with them ( a simple recording with just my voice and some basic guitar). Much of the time they love it as is. Occasionally there is a little noodling to do on a line or two, but when we have it, we both really know it. And then, for me, the party begins! I use the commission budget to hire professional arrangers and performers-different ones depending on the song and what it seems to need, we al head into the studio, and have a ball. Basically, we bring it to life. I don’t mind telling you that, even after ten years of doing this, I am always squeaking and rubbing my hands together on studio day! When I die and go to heaven, I am thinking it is probably going to look like one huge recording studio!

 

 

 

How are the songs integrated into weddings?

Songs I’ve been commissioned to write for weddings have been used in so many different ways. There is kind of no limit to what you can do. It’s mostly about finding the truest expression of who you are a a couple. Here are some favorites: one time a couple commissioned a song together, in secret, so that none of the guests knew about it until it was time for their first dance. They explained to the group gathered that the first dance song had been created by them, about them. The whole room was totally blown away, with most everyone in tears as they watched the couple dance. This particular couple has shared with me that sometimes now, years later, late at night, when all their kids are asleep, they pull out their CD and dance to their song up in their bedroom. I love that. (Their song. )  Sometimes parents surprise couples with a song, and play it at the wedding. Here’s an absolute FAVORITE example of that. I LOVE this song! It was such a huge hit.  A lot of couples make the CD of their song into a gift that they give everyone who attends. It makes a really unique party favor. I have been commissioned to do a song for the father-daughter dance. One AMAZING favorite story was when a groom commissioned a song to surprise his bride with. This particular groom and bride had dated ten years before he officially made up his mind about committing. This was the source of much ribbing at the wedding. When it was time for toasts, one person after another got up and poked fun at the groom for how long it had taken him to commit. Finally, when they had all had their say, he said that he wanted to answer all of them, with a song. I was there, and at that point, I performed, live, the song “The Journey of This Love.” The song is all about how there is deep value in taking the time to really take someone in, and that when you have done that, to your satisfaction, it adds a level of depth to the experience of being with them that is truly phenomenal. All the ribbing melted away, and there was barely a dry eye in the house. When the song was over the entire room stood up and clapped and clapped…for this really amazing groom, and for their joy in suddenly understanding this couple in a different light. It was a night to remember.

 

 

 

Could you share a detail or two about your own wedding?

My husband Jim and I had the greatest wedding! It was so sweet, and heart-felt, and amazing, in so many ways. It was such a great expression of US! It took place in a garden bursting with flowers on a truly radiant day in July. This was several years before I had started doing commissioned songs (I was still pretty deeply in my “extremely autobiographical” stage) but I had composed a song for our wedding. I said to Jim, “If we had a song at our wedding, what would you want it to say?” and he had this really unique, lovely, original idea for a kind of a song I had never heard before. He said, “What if it was a song written specifically to each and every person who had come to be there with us on that day…explaining to them what a critical component of “us” they actually are.” Wow. I thought that was pretty amazing. Everyone held hands, while my friend Jasey performed this song for us at our wedding. It was really surreal. Here’s a link to that song.

 

 

 

 

How do people access your music or learn more about what you do?

I always say, “the right people just seem to find me.” but beyond just leaving it to serendipity like that, there is my website http://www.CustomCraftedSongs.com. A get lots of emails from the people I call “Midnight Googlers.” People up in the middle of the night digging around on the web who just stumbled upon me and can’t even remember how or why. (Love those people). I have a rapidly growing membership to (free)”Song of the Month.” Each month I send an email to everyone on the list, and share a song and the story behind it. People seem to love that, and it is a really easy way to enjoy what’s coming forward and ponder commissioning your own song some day. And finally, I do have five albums out.  The Song of the Month songs are downloadable off my website. But it never hurts to remind folks that they can support the arts and purchase a CD of their very own!  To that end, here’s everything I’ve got, so far… Till the next album comes out! 

 

 

Artist Profile: Amy L Cattell of Amy’s Elegance by Design

In Artist Profile on March 17, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Amy L Cattell of Amys Elegance By Design

We hope you enjoy this conversation with Amy L. Cattell as much as we did. Check out her website for examples of her beautiful designs.

 

 

What is your artistic training?

I started sewing when I was little.  My mother used to make clothes for my sister and I when we were little.  Our Great-Grandmother would send a package of material for Mom to make dresses, play clothes & nightgowns for us. 

 

My sister & I used to spend a week at Grandma & Grandpa Carpenter’s farm in the summer. There were beautiful quilts on Grandma’s beds that she had made.    Grandma showed my sister & I how to embroider and hand sew.  One summer she helped us with a small project that I later learned was called Trapunto.  You would take fabric with a picture on it, layer a piece of cotton behind it and embroider a stem stitch around the picture.  Then make a small cut in the backing fabric and lightly pad the picture with stuffing.  It gave the picture on the fabric a 3-D effect.  Much later in life I learned that the Trapunto quilting style originated in Italy between the fourteenth or the sixteenth century!  I guess it just shows you how little things we learn every day are still passed on over the centuries.

 

I had a pretty typical childhood for the mid-west.  I was in 4-H as soon as I was old enough and learned all the basics of sewing at that time.  I had made a couple of dresses and a reversible jacket, put in zippers, bound button holes & etc. by the time I had home economics class in 7th & 8th grade.  Then I had to make a simple apron and could not do anything the way my teacher wanted!  But I guess I am as stubborn as my Dad says, and did not let that dissuade me from sewing!   I went on to make my own prom dress and was given my own sewing machine as a high school graduation gift!  I was making a dress almost every other week my senior year of high school, and I think my Mom wanted her sewing machine back!

 

I did not go on to college, but started working right away.  I got married and we started a family by the next year.  I continued sewing for my own children.  My daughter was very tiny, weighing 4lbs 12oz at birth!  I made many of her clothes.  It was like sewing doll clothes!  Her christening gown was so tiny!  By the time my son was born, it got pretty busy around our house so I could not sew quite as often.  Once the kids got in school, I was able to pick it all back up.

 

Although I have not had a lot of “formal” training, I have always read everything that I could get my hands on regarding technique.  And have made many friends over the years in my favorite fabric boutiques that trade ideas on techniques.   I have always done a lot of sewing and alterations for other people so I have learned much about fitting clothes to all body types from my own experiences. 

 

I also do custom home décor.  I create tapestry or quilted wall hangings using customers home photos put on fabric, custom bedding & window treatments.  Basically whenever someone calls and asks “Can you do this?”….

 

I have collected by own library about custom fitting, sewing, embellishments, home décor and more to use as references.  But the strangest thing is when a problem comes up in a technique that I am doing, I will finally go to bed.  Then about 2am, I wake up just knowing exactly what I need to do!  It is like an epiphany.  I really think someone does sit on our shoulder giving us a hand when we need it!

 

How does art influence your life?

There is art in everything we see, hear and do.  I have music playing all the time!  I have things around me that others have made.  Grandma Carpenter used to do china painting.  My Mother used to create with flowers that she and my Dad used to grow and dry themselves.  I have an oil painting on the wall that my sister painted and jewelry that she made too.  I have an oak library wall that my brother built to house my collection of books.  And I have Koi swimming around a beautiful pond with a double waterfall next to a brick patio that my husband dug & built by hand!  We visit our son who lives in Yosemite National Park, CA and marvel at the mountains, waterfalls, wildlife and wild flowers.  And we play with our daughter and other son and the six grandkids whenever we can.  Art is in everything you do and live.  Art is life itself!

  

What is the process for having a custom dress made?

I talk in depth with the customer about what they like.  We discuss the basic style, the cut of the garment, neckline, sleeves, flow and length of the skirt (or pants!).  I am there to assist them in creating “their” vision or design.  I show them fabric samples, letting them feel the difference between silk dupionni, charmuese or dutchess satin.  Then we discuss the different types of lace or trims.  I take measurements or fit muslin directly to them to create the pattern we need.  Since there will be multiple fittings, we discuss the schedule of completion.  Realizing how busy everyone’s schedule is, most fittings are usually done in the evening or on the weekend; and can be done at their home or mine.  My main concern is that of fit and comfort when wearing my garments.  And I look for the expression on their face when they look in the mirror to tell me if they are satisfied!

 

How can the dress be integrated into occasions?

With destination weddings being so popular, I try to ask what type of wedding they will have and where will it be.  I recently finished a “gown” that had flowing charmuese pants attached to the bodice instead of a skirt!  There was an overlay of beaded english netting lace and a detachable train also of charmuese.  The bride wanted the train to “flutter behind me” when walking down the isle; but to be able to remove it and be comfortable to “play” in Las Vegas the rest of the night!  So knowing the setting of where the garment is worn is important in suggesting the correct fabrics for the occasions.

 

Fred & I were married almost 12 years ago in Grass Lake, MI.  We had a small gathering of about 50 relatives and close friends.  Our wedding was held at a restored stone train depot.  My daughter was my maid of honor and my son walked me down the cobblestones to a little gazebo for the ceremony.  Half way through the ceremony we had to stop talking to let a passenger train enroute from Chicago to Ann Arbor fly by!  My new father and mother-in-law renewed their vows during our ceremony that day too.  He had survived a stroke and open heart surgery, so he asked if they could share our day with us.  We thought it was great!  And we were glad to catch everything on tape that day, from the train interruption – to Mom crying so hard she could hardly say “I do”!  I would not give up that memory for anything.

 

 Since I work out of my home, people can contact me by phone 517-851-4627 or cell 517-652-4157, email catt@cablespeed.com or see pictures on my website .  And I have a slide show of pictures from things I have done in the past.  I will meet with you and do a consultation at no cost to see how I can be of service.