Wednesday, January 28, 2009


The difference, for me, in the process of drawing, as oppposed to creating textile pieces, is that I have NO IDEA what I'm going to draw before I begin. I don't plan anything out. I don't think "Hey, I'm gonna draw some kind of flower-type thing, man." I simply put pencil and pastel to paper. The pencil makes the first line --the first line takes me to the next and the next, and shapes take form and color emerges, and at a certain point I know I'm done with a drawing.

There's an enormous amount of Trust in this process, and I write Trust with a capitol T because I feel like it's the Big Trust. It's the Trust in one's self, in one's own process, in one's own heart opening up to what it needs to express.

That Trust happens in the first step, and then the next and the next. It certainly doesn't mean that we don't plan. Of course we do, but as John Steinbeck wrote in Of Mice and Men "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."

Perhaps if we paid a little more attention to what is actually happening as the plan emerges, other than simply sticking strictly to the plan itself, we'd fine we were less 'awry.'

Who knows where we would end up, eh?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Simple Gifts

We live in complex times. We want more than we have and we have more than we often need. Yet we think that having more and wanting more will make us, somehow, better.

If we simply slow down and look and listen to what is emerging from simplicity, we'll find that we have all we truly need, and that there is really nothing to want.

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

Many of you may have noticed that the musical arrangement of this Shaker poem was played at President Obama's inauguration. I think it is the perfect sentiment to move into this new era.

May we all continue to find ourselves in the place just right.

Drawing: Adelaide Shalhope - pastel and charcoal, 19x24"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Silver Thread

This pendant was my first, recent, attempt at working with silver -- a very different medium for me as a fabric artist. I've found that recently, however, I've been 'following the silver thread', which for me means subtly putting myself out of my own comfort zone to explore what I might not otherwise explore, and in turn, unearthing those parts of myself that have been waiting patiently to awaken.

As an artist, designer, and generally 'tuned in' person of a large amount of sensitivity, I often times get 'directives', subtle phrases or images that inspire a particular design idea or simply cause me to pause and think on a subtle, yet deeper level. "Follow the silver thread" was a phrase that literally popped in my mind randomly one morning as I was sitting quietly. Hmm, I thought, how interesting, and what does it mean?

Silver, apparently is symbolic of a number of things:

Single-ness of Purpose

It's a subtle strength because it can withstand all sorts of abuse, including weathering and even heat, yet it can still be molded into desired forms.

I like the message that we ourselves can be flexible enough to be molded into something better, but strong enough to keep our core integrity in tact.

So, I'm following the silver thread of my own life, and this blog is part of that thread. I hope that the postings and photos you see here will somehow inspire you to follow your own silver thread.

photo: Veselin Cuparic

Monday, January 19, 2009


I've recently begun to 'recycle' old cashmere sweaters. Picture the above as a long sleeved, simple turtleneck sweater worn so much that there were holes under the arm. Throw it out? Give it to Goodwill? How silly. Cut off the sleeves. Cut up the middle, and sew small ties of black silk charmeuse, which can be un-tied if you wish.

Now, picture, if you will, a large man's crew-neck cashmere sweater. Your dad or your granddad may be wearing one right now while sitting in front of a fire smoking a pipe.

Now imagine cutting the sleeve to the elbow, cutting it up the front, and sewing the scraps on to the front to create 'ruffles'.

Oh, and don't forget the back.......

Okay, now we're getting a little tricky. Two cashmere sweaters. One very heavy ribbed Banana Republic turtleneck and the other a wrap around. Wash and dry them and ask them to dance together......

photos: Veselin Cuparic

Branches and leaves

I never met a tree branch I didn't like......

or a falling leaf.......

or a dancing one, for that matter......

Images to inspire during a cold and snowy New England winter. Pastel, oil pastel, walnut ink, and graphite...and a little bit of love :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Several years ago I found myself at a crossroads. I needed fresh inspiration for my design work. I wanted to create something different from what I had been creating. I wanted to follow a new direction. My aesthetic was changing. I was changing. I went to London, where I will always go when I want to feel in 'my place' (one of several) and to feel instantly inspired. As I spent the week wandering about my favourite (sorry, had to inject a British spelling) shops, streets, and galleries I kept hearing the phrase "underwater."

I listen attentively to these subtle directives, because they are the 'silver threads.' This one led me to change my design work quite pointedly, and although I'm not going to show you my old work, this is a recent drawing (pastel, oil pastel, charcoal, graphite, gouache) which continues to inspire other pieces.

So, go to the places you love. Wander and listen.

A gift from the sea

Handmade of silk organza, crystal, vintage faux pearls, citrine.
Inspired by the phrase 'underwater', and solitary walks on Squibnocket beach.

photos: Veselin Cuparic

One person's trash

For some reason, this piece of scarred rubber caught my eye during one of my Martha's Vineyard beachwalks. It fits perfectly and naturally around the neck. When I added a touch of blue silk chiffon, a vintage faux pearl, and a citrine gemstone, it became a treasure. How's that for recyling?

photo: Veselin Cuparic

Washed ashore

I spend as much time as I'm able walking alone on the beaches of Martha's Vineyard. The solitude combined with the beauty of the beach, the freshness of the air, and the peaceful rhythm of the crashing waves inspires me and connects me more than almost anything.

I find beautiful pieces of driftwood, stones, shells, and other natural and unnatural items that have washed to the shore. This silk and beaded neckpiece was first in my 'washed ashore' collection.
photos: Veselin Cuparic

Berries on a vine

A year ago, I took a full-time administrative job after working for years on my own to develop a custom textile accessories business. Clearly I don't have the long stretches of unstructured time as I used to, so I've adjusted my creative process to include drawing. I've found that putting pencil or pastel to paper allows an instant satisfaction, a relief almost, that I'm still able to create something even though I have less time.

One morning, on my walk to work, which I use as a time to connect with what's growing in my neighborhood, I heard the phrase "berries on a vine" and heard it several times over the next few days. I'd been working in pencil, for about a year, but for some reason the phrase 'berries on a vine' helped me move out of pencil and into pastel, oil pastel, charcoal, and walnut ink.

More berries

Part of the 'berries on a vine' inspiration, my drawings have begun to morph into more undefined organic forms....leaves? Berries? Little creatures just hangin' out?

A closer look

I like how this looks cropped for a closer view. I can see it imprinted on a large fabric panel, or as a design for a set of dishes, etc......ahhh the design possibilities from a simple form.....