Used clothing alchemist since 1987

Hey, Welcome!


Hi and WELCOME!  My name is Crispina ffrench, air breather, water drinker, teacher, mother, wife, friend, artist, entrepreneur, and curator of this journal.

Here in New England, we have had a long cold and super snowy winter. (FUN!)  Spring is late but the melt is on, promising warmer weather is actually right around the corner.  I saw the ground today. Its been a while.

Garden planning along with a shift in my studio work from wool to cotton is underway.  I’ve been turning used clothing into blankets, rugs, and other clothing for 25 years (time flies!) and continue to be inspired by the material and simplicity of process after all these years.  My passion is to raise awareness and respect of our sacred ecosystem.  Nature is my religion.  It is plain to see, that all life is sustained by our amazing planet.  It is my hope that through my work, of turning something as mundane as a pile of discarded clothing into something special, others will be inspired to see waste in a different way.  In addition to making and selling my work, I teach workshops, make presentations, and work hard to promote like-minded people and companies.  Stick around, stop back often, leave a comment.  We are all bouncing around the wild blue yonder on this spaceship called Earth together.  Let’s share and enjoy the ride!

Freak of the Week ~ Wendy Darling


04.15.14 Wendy Darling3My name is Wendy Darling; I live in the beautiful Berkshires surrounded by breathtaking nature, great music and good friends.  I am a designer.  I design and make clothing and home goods made from vintage, antique and recycled fabrics; jewelry, using sterling silver, sometimes gold, and gemstones; and I create events.  My events encompass all my passions, whole food, music, dancing, the great outdoors and dear friends, old and new.

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View from the shores of Pontoosuc

Life’s creative adventure for me started from the early age of 4 when my neighbor, Viola Reed introduced me to her unusual bohemian life.  I fell in Love with her magical ways of alternative lifestyle before I even knew what the word lifestyle meant!  I have a clear and delightful memory of a beautiful dress she gave me.

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Ruffle Shirt in Cosmopolitan

The seed Viola and her husband, Joe, planted with their eclectic house filled with treasures, became a path that I followed throughout my life.   Since way back then, clothing and jewelry, good food, and music played major roles in my life.

In 1972 GYPSY, I opened my first store, opened in Gainesville, Florida.  We sold high fashion and imported clothing and jewelry.  The store was a huge hit and soon, I was designing clothing for large volume producers manufacturing in India.  An amazing world of ethnic textiles, technique and culture was opened to me through this work.  Other stores were opened, Second Hand Rose consignment, Dramboui was a vintage store that I opened in 1973, Magi where we sold spiritual books and herbs opened around the same time.  Things were busy and successful!

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Minnie Ripperton in Wendy’s Designs

Gypsy, became well known as a trendsetting clothier selling, what then was the height of fresh and new – imported ethnic clothing with a western design twist.  I was outfitting well-known performers and developing lasting connections to the LA music industry.   Soon my clothing and jewelry was being featured in Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Playboy magazines.

Minnie Ripperton and I had become good friends at Gypsy, she was in LA, so when my late husband, David Carron, and I moved to moved there we were introduced to a built-in in tribe.   David was delving into the music industry with great success.  He and I were very close, and spent the bulk of our time together, with friends in the well-known1970’s LA music scene. Elton John, Alice Cooper, Minnie Ripperton, Stevie Wonder, David and me, we were a tribe, spending time and creating magic with music, food, and stage fashion.

Fast Forward 15 years.  .  .

We moved back to The Berkshires in 1980 and lived in Becket.  David had had great success in his musical career in Los Angeles but became sadly disheartened with the integrity of the music industry.  We were happy to be home and continued to walk a path of bohemian bliss.  Lana, my second daughter was born in 1981.

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David Carron’s band Gulliver on an album tour 1980′s

In 1985, David passed away at the crazy young age of 36 of a brain aneurism – such a shock.  He was in a hot local band, we had a store on North Street in Pittsfield also called Gypsy.  We were surrounded by love and shared history.

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David’s band, Gulliver’s promo shot early 1980s

When David died, I had two little girls, a broken heart, and shattered dreams.  I shut down, turned inward and focused on raising my daughters.  The girls and I spent summers on the shores of Pontoosuc Lake at my family’s lake house in Lanesborough.  Everything was safe and simple there.  David and I had spent many a wonderful day, summer, afternoon together there which added to the comfort we all feel there to this day.  It is this magical place that has played a center role and been a grounding place throughout my life.

Years later in 2002 my good friend Eddy Broderick and I were married.  Eddy arrived in my life shortly after David’s passing,  He helped me through everything I had been through as a young, widowed mother, spending years telling me we were meant to be together.  Three years after our meeting, we moved in together.  Three years later, our daughter, my youngest, Hayley, was born in 1991.

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Beaded Belt handmade by Wendy Darling

I would make the change to assure every living being no dis ease of any kind. Everyone would have all things necessary to live a good honorable and healthy life.  Sharing Peace, with deep LOVE connections, pure Joy and sincere Gratitude.….all beings!

Cff:  What is your current passion?

In these times my art has taken a back seat to my ministry work. Assisting others and being able to make a difference in someone’s life, however that transpires….one act of kindness at a time has been my passion. Sometimes with words, time spent in actions, and music. I so want a streaming radio show “It’s all about the LOVE” Where we can have dialog, questions, music and sharing. I love promoting concerts for those in need, I so love writing, creating music, art, jewelry and clothing designs.

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Open Sleeved Blouse handmade by Wendy Darling 2012

My father was a huge influence. I watched him give to everyone…I saw lives changed by his care and his heart. I truly felt Love was from a very young age and believe that is why I had the love of my life in my first boyfriend and the amazing relationship we had. It was so light filled and special; people would say we floated when we walked together, that they could see light surrounding us…we felt the same way. So LOVE has always been the most important passion in my life. I was able to see and know manifestation of dreams, I saw the reality of it as a young teen and never doubted that ability…..until I experienced personal loss…my good friend Minnie, my brother, my husband and my father within 5 years…I lost faith for a minute and had to learn some things all over again.

Cff:  Who/What has been most influential in your work?

My late husband David & Dance. First of all I had been dancing in costume since I was 3 and as a young teen, I loved making my clothes and wanted to impress my boyfriend at the Lighthouse dances in the 60’s. I wanted him to be over the moon when he saw me walk into a room…so I began to create my own clothing. It was the Yardley look…mini skirts, petti pants and stockings to match with little French heels as many were in knee socks and saddle shoes….I was out of the box for sure. Soon others wanted what I had created and I began sewing and designing for many folks.

Cff:  Where do you find your inspiration/motivation?

From nature mostly…LOVE, sunsets at my lake house inspire me so much. I enjoy painting and drawing as well as design. Love brings me joy and when you are joyful, you are free to just be…in being I find creativity flows through me. I love color and putting things together in palates that please me. I also love making children’s clothing…everything looks great small!

Cff:  Aside from working, how do you spend your time?

I meditate and do yoga every day. I write in my journal, photograph things, take walks, create art, cook healthy and (sometimes) gourmet meals and enjoy time with people I love. In the summers I share my lake house to inspire peace and well being with friends. We play music, share time, food, memories and the wonder of it all.

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Alice Copper’s Album with David’s Songs

Being present in the presence of guru Muktananda after Woodstock in 1970 transformed my process. He smiled deeply into my soul and handed me a blade of grass…In that moment I realized the “moment” was the experience. So living and Loving (allowing) the moment became my path. A life long work in progress…

Cff:  Do you have a prized possession?  What is it?

I have a few, but none of them are prized, they are only possessions. A possession I am quite fond of is a very old painting of Jesus that I found in our barn when we moved to a small farm in upstate NY.

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Rainbow Gathering with White Buffalo on Distant Peak

There are many that stand out; I will share two if I may.

Sitting next to Stevie Wonder while he sang harmony to his cassette tape of “The Secret Life of Plants” and said it was his greatest achievement to be the first blind man to score a movie. I was over the moon with bliss at that time in my life.

At a Rainbow gathering in 1972 Granby Colorado where we hiked 3 miles into the Rocky mountains with food on our backs to pray for peace and the end of the Vietnam war. We would make a large circle in the field holding hands to pray, daily .…not a festival mind you, a real vigil for peace. It is known that some Native Americans believe if they would pray for peace, a white buffalo would appear in the sky and that meant there would be peace that year. As we gathered one day to pray for peace, my friend Pierre Blanche’ took some photos. In a very special one, looking between two arms upheld you could see the tiny people on the other side of the huge circle, each holding hands in prayer. In the triangle of the two upheld arms were the Rocky Mountains. There in plain sight the snow had melted to form a perfect white Buffalo. Soon after, the Vietnam war ended…it was a sign…one the Native Americans had foretold. (I can enclose the photo). On the way down the mountain a rainbow circled the sun…a brightly colored enormous rainbow!

Cff:  If you were able to spend an afternoon with anyone – dead or alive, who would it be?  What plans would you make for your outing?

At first thought I wanted to say my late husband David…a summer day on Greylock in the field of blueberries with a blanket in each others arms and then I thought, I would be sad all over again if I had to relive the loss.  So I might have to say Jesus, as he is someone whose teachings I aspire to. A day in the garden with Jesus would be amazing.

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Summer Evening on Shore of Pontoosuc Lake

Feeling redundant, but my favorite place is our lake house on Pontoosuc Lake. There is so much nature; it is so peaceful, many birds, bald eagles, incredible sunsets, LOVE, beauty, and with friends to share it with. Just to sit by the shore, lie in the hammock, make music on the stage, watch the children play with strangers and become the best of friends in one moment. Remembering all the generations of Love and life shared on that sacred ground. I adore sitting under the apple trees that my dad planted there from our homestead in upstate NY and watching the carp dance in the water and on the rocks…all while Listening and sharing music, friendship, food, & LOVE.

Cff: Tell about how you imagine the world might look in 10 years.

I am afraid to say what I think, but I pray every day to lift the dark energies and allow more light, compassion, humanity. I strive to bring that to my everyday life as a living example. “It is all about the LOVE”. Let us be the example for all of the children.

Cff: What/who is your community?

ALL of Berkshire county! So many wonderful people, great artists, musicians, light workers, humanitarians. My spiritual network is my community.

Cff: How are you seen within your community?  How do you see your role?

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Wendy at Work

I believe I am seen as a light worker. Bringing Love to every situation, offering a positive message for the highest good of all and connecting people together.

Cff: Do you have an upcoming event or significant happening that you would like to promote with your blog posting?  When?  Where? Details and contact information please.

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Sacred Sunset at Pontoosuc Lake

I am running an Indiegogo Campaign called Music and Mermaids to support the upkeep of our Pontoosuc Lake House and sacred ground.  Please consider making a contribution to keep the music, magic, and connections happening there.  Events there happen all summer long.  They are always free and welcoming.

Weekly Treasury – Hello Birdie


‘Hello Birdie’ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

The sun is shining and the birds are singing, spring is here. Invite those melodious avians into your yard with an enticing home or a spot to refuel.

Click this link to view this week’s treasury list on etsy.

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) – DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) – DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge

 

 

 

Every week we gather a handful of treasures around a theme, from Etsy - an online marketplace featuring handmade wares, vintage items, and supplies for making. Weekly treasuries are normally featured here on Mondays.  You can click on the images above and be taken to a place on Etsy where there is more information about and pictures of that item. Crispina’s online shop is located on Etsy along with a whole ton (like over 800,000) of other handmakers, vintage resellers and material retailers. If you have a minute, leave a comment – it is always so nice to hear from you and build community right here in cyberspace!  Join us in supporting Handmade, Recycled, Organic, and Locally Produced wares for living. Enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freak(s) of the Week ~ Berkshire Fringe


Berkshire Fringe Artistic Directors hard at work
Berkshire Fringe Artistic Directors hard at work

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Sara Katzoff, Peter Wise, Timothy Ryan Olson

Co Founding Artistic Directors of Bazaar Productions and The Berkshire Fringe festival

 

Cff: What is your line of work?  Tell our readers a little about you, and your history. Please clearly state your name, business name, address, telephone, email, website and business hours of operation so they can be included in the blog post.

Sara Katzoff, Peter Wise and Timothy Ryan Olson are the three co founding artistic directors of Bazaar Productions and The Berkshire Fringe, a performing arts festival highlighting adventurous new work by emerging artists from around the world. In addition to our ten-year partnership as curators and organizers of the Fringe, we collaborate and make shows with our company, Kickwheel Ensemble Theater. We also work as directors, performers, educators, writers, musicians and sound designers with a number of schools, production companies and arts organizations throughout the Northeast.

This summer, we are delighted to be moving the Berkshire Fringe to the city of Pittsfield and taking up residence right here in the amazing, Shire City Sanctuary!

From August 2-August 18, the Berkshire Fringe will present over 30 performances, free programs and community workshops. We have some truly amazing artists joining us this season including The Wardrobe Ensemble from Bristol, UKand Under The Table Theater Ensemble from Brooklyn, NY.

Cff:  Tell a story, have we met? When? Where? Who introduced us?   Oh, maybe you are my niece, well just tell a little history here. People love a setting.

Peter: Crispina and her sisters actually used to babysit for me and my sisters when we were very young – that’s how I know her and her amazingly talented family.  Our families both attended a church group that held mass at the chapel on the campus of a former Jesuit boys school that you now all probably know as Cranwell Resort.  So I guess it’s fitting that our lives cross paths again in a former church!

I was pretty young during that whole period, but I do remember her family would create these amazing art installations in the church where everyone of every age could participate and contribute a small bit to a whole big vision that John and Primm were executing.  We worked for a long time cutting out and assembling small butterflies out of different colored paper.  Then when you arrived at church on Easter there was this massive explosion of butterflies installed across the back wall – it was so cool.  Not sure I remember much else from that age, but that definitely made an impression.

Now that I’m writing about it, I guess it really reflects on what we do at the Fringe – bringing lots of people’s important little pieces together from near and far and making a big explosion of art out of it.  Can’t wait to work with Crispina and Chris this summer at the Shire City Sanctuary.  It’s not every day you get to rekindle an old family friendship from toddlerhood in the course of your work!

THE STORY OF HOW WE THREE CONNECTED

Sara: Pete and I were both locally grown here in the Berkshires. Pete grew up in Stockbridge and I grew up in Great Barrington.

Peter: We actually did some theater together during the Fall Festival of Shakespeare at Monument before Sara transferred to Simon’s Rock and I went away to College at the Eastman School of Music.

Sara: During the first semester of my freshman year at Simon’s Rock, I received an email (my first email ever!) from this guy named Timothy Ryan Olson

Ryan: I was spending my junior year abroad studying Dutch theater in Amsterdam and I had written to Sara to invite her to perform in an original play I was writing for my senior thesis

Sara: I said yes and we became instant friends collaborators. We have been for the past 17 years.

Ryan: Pete, Sara and I all reconnected while living in New York and soon formed Bazaar Productions and began work on the The Berkshire Fringe. A few years later, I officiated their wedding….but we digress!

Ryan officiating Peter and Sara's wedding. A Fringey affair complete with a ukelele vow song
Ryan officiating Peter and Sara’s wedding. A Fringey affair complete with a ukelele vow song

THE STORY OF WHAT INSPIRED THE FRINGE

Sara: During my junior year of college, I traveled to California to perform and train with a theater company called Dell’Arte International. While I was on the West Coast, I observed how Dell’Arte’s Mad River Festival drew artists from all over the world and attracted a huge community of patrons and supporters of all ages and backgrounds. It was really inspiring. A seed was planted.

Peter: As artists who grew up (or attended College) in the Berkshires, we had experienced how our generation of peers were not attending shows and cultural events because performances were often too expensive and inaccessible.

Sara: When I returned from California, I approached Ryan and Peter about starting a theater festival that would change that and thus, the Fringe began to take form.

Ryan: We wanted to create a festival that was committed to presenting high quality, financially accessible and adventurous new works of theater, dance, music and multi-media performance by fresh, emerging ensembles from around the globe.

Sara: Our mission was to inspire all audiences to think about and embrace theater in a completely different way.

Peter: We wanted audiences to go see live performance with as much frequency and appetite as they see movies. We wanted to make the Fringe that accessible so audiences could come and see multiple shows and events.

Sara:  In 2005, The Berkshire Fringe was born. Since then, we have hosted over 550 artists, presented 130 full length productions and offered tons of free programs, community workshops and pick your own price events.

The Wardrobe Ensemble from Bristol, UK returns to the Berkshire Fringe this August
The Wardrobe Ensemble from Bristol, UK returns to the Berkshire Fringe this August

If you had the power to make one change in the world what would it be?

To value and support artists and the arts more prolifically in the following ways:

  1. Increase funding for vital arts programming in our schools and communities
  2. Provide artists with more resources, space and opportunities (particularly those in the early stages of their careers)
  3. Treat artists with reverence and dignity by paying them more money. (I know that might seem crass, but it’s true. We have to value both “The Arts” and “the artists” or civilization as we know it is doomed!

 

  1. 2012 Fringe artist, Bronwyn Sims
    2012 Fringe artist, Bronwyn Sims

Cff:  What is your current passion?

Ryan: The mission of the Berkshire Fringe is to shift the cultural landscape of the Berkshires by creating a vital testing ground for new work and providing resources and opportunities to emerging artists from all over the world.

Sara: We are passionate about making theater and developing long term relationships with artists and ensembles who embrace creative risk, blur boundaries between artistic disciplines and advance the medium of live performance.

Pete: We encourage everyone at the Fringe to take a risk: Artists take a risk creating the work, we take a risk presenting it, and audiences take a risk by trying something new.

Cff:  How did you find that passion?

Sara: Theater is one of the only places where our full attention and presence as human beings is required. It’s pretty astounding to think about that. When else are we asked to unplug ourselves, shut off our phones and give our time, our focus and our undivided attention to something that’s happening in front of us? As artists, this creates an opportunity to connect directly with actual human beings who are participating in a common human experience!  That kind of connection is becoming rarer and rarer in our rampantly digital world. We believe this is definitely worthy of celebration and preservation.

Cff:  Where do you find your inspiration/motivation?

Sara: We are inspired by the vision that adventurous theater can be created, supported and promoted and that it can and should be accessible to everyone in our community. Our experience is that the diverse voices, stories and perspectives we present at the Fringe also attract diverse audiences. Seeing audiences who might not otherwise attend a show or event completely transfixed by live performance is inspiring.

Cff:  Aside from working, how do you spend your time?

Sara: I love what I do. I love making theater, supporting artists and collaborating with our company (Kickwheel) I also enjoy going out and experiencing what other artists and organizations are creating and presenting. Even though this sometimes results in some blurred lines between working and not working, it’s an important part of being inspired and getting refueled.

Cff:  Do you have a prized possession?  What is it?

Peter: Indeed! We have this bizarre ceramic figurine we call “The Red One”. It is about 4 inches high and was given to us in 2009 with a very specific set of instructions.

Ryan: “The Red One’s” gets hidden somewhere and whoever discovers him, finds a new hiding place. At first, this game was pretty innocent. One of us would put him in the freezer, the person who found him would put him in the lighting booth, the next person might hide him under someone’s pillow, etc. , etc.

Sara: Over the last few years, the shenanigans have escalated to monumental proportions involving absolutely everyone at the festival including teams of artists, interns, staff and volunteers. In his short life, The Red One has been stolen, sold, broken, lost, rebuilt and ransomed. He has made unscheduled appearances in Fringe shows, found his way into the luggage of unsuspecting travelers, visited several foreign countries, starred in an independent film and currently has his own Facebook fan page. In 2012, he disappeared for months and we were certain that was the end of him. He resurfaced mysteriously inside a package that Peter and I were asked to open at our wedding! We could make an entire festival about the Red One.

The Red One Makes an appearance at the Gate Theater in Dublin, Ireland
The Red One Makes an appearance at the Gate Theater in Dublin, Ireland

Cff:  Tell about a magical moment that comes to mind when you look back on your life experience.

Ryan: The first year of the Berkshire Fringe back in 2005, we hosted a solo performance called Saint Anthony’s Body by Philadelphia based artist, Dawn Falato. The piece was inspired by personal interviews and research into patients suffering from neurological disorders. Dawn created a haunting portrayal of the struggle between the human spirit and the body in which it dwells. It was a brilliant piece of theater and a deeply moving story of a woman struggling to gain control of her suddenly thwarted body.

Sara: Because of a listings error in the local paper,  a group of audience members showed up expecting to see a very different show. When we explained the error, one of the women in the group professed that she thought the show would be “way out of her comfort zone” but decided to stay and see it anyway since the rest of her group wanted to.

Ryan: At the end of the show, she came up to us and was very moved. She spoke with Dawn for a long time and the two connected on a personal level. She also shared her belief that this work, which she hadn’t even intended to see, had been completely life changing. Life changing. Those were her words.

Sara: That story is one of many we have experienced during the course of the Berkshire Fringe’s 9-year history. The connections and unexpected conversations that emerge between our community of artists and audiences always surprises, delights and inspires us.

Cff:  What is your goal or main focus for your next 12 months?

Sara: As we reach our ten-year milestone as an organization, we definitely have a lot to celebrate and will be doing just that this August at Shire City Sanctuary! This next  year of planning and preparations is also an opportunity to reflect, recalibrate and take stock of where we are and where we are headed. It’s a great time to be making some big and exciting changes as we (literally) move forward.

Peter: When we started this festival, we were all in our early 20’s and we had to teach ourselves absolutely everything that went into running an organization: artist programming, grant writing, contracts, bookkeeping, web design, company management, public relations

Ryan: The three of us have planned galas, put up posters, built seating risers, made programs, painted floors and cleaned bathrooms (sometimes all in the same day!)

Peter: Over the course of the last ten years, we have planted a lot of seeds and grown a lot as individuals and as an organization.  Creating this festival has always been a labor of love but it is also a labor of labor and at present, the amount of work and volunteer hours required to make it all happen just aren’t sustainable.

Sara: So the next twelve months will be spent focusing on envisioning and implementing a strategy for long term sustainability. Sustainability means building our board, building new partnerships within the community and raising the necessary funds in order to hire staff and ensure that the Fringe can thrive into the next decade and beyond!

Cff:  Do you have an upcoming event or significant happening that you would like to promote with your blog posting?  When?  Where? Details and contact information please.

 

Berkshire Fringe Gala Dance Party
Berkshire Fringe Gala Dance Party

SAVE THE DATE FOR THE PARTY OF THE SUMMER

RETROSPECTACLE!

The Berkshire Fringe’s 10th Anniversary Celebration and Kickoff Party

Saturday, August 2

6-11pm

Shire City Sanctuary

40 Melville Street

Pittsfield, MA 01201

 

Live Performances |  Food + Drink | Auction | Dance Party

More info at http://berkshirefringe.org/retro

 

2014 Berkshire Fringe Season

Featuring over 30 performances, free programs and community workshops.

All opening night performances are Pick Your Own Price!

August 2-August 18

Shire City Sanctuary

40 Melville Street

Pittsfield, MA 01201

 

For ticket info and a complete schedule, visit, Berkshirefringe.org, Email info@berkshirefringe.org or call 413.320.4175.

 

Full schedule will be available in print and online in May.

 

Under The Table Theater from Brooklyn, NY performs the HunchbackS of Notre Dame at our former Notre Dame Church!
Under The Table Theater from Brooklyn, NY performs the HunchbackS of Notre Dame at our former Notre Dame Church!

Weekly Treasury – It’s A Wrap


‘It’s A Wrap’ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

Even though it’s warming up, there’s still a chill in the air. A pop of color is still needed to brighten our days in these first weeks of spring. A beautiful, hand-crafted scarf will turn any outfit into a spring statement.

Click this link to view this week’s treasury list on etsy.

 

By Cbgde08 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Cbgde08 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
 

Every week we gather a handful of treasures around a theme, from Etsy - an online marketplace featuring handmade wares, vintage items, and supplies for making. Weekly treasuries are normally featured here on Mondays.  You can click on the images above and be taken to a place on Etsy where there is more information about and pictures of that item. Crispina’s online shop is located on Etsy along with a whole ton (like over 800,000) of other handmakers, vintage resellers and material retailers. If you have a minute, leave a comment – it is always so nice to hear from you and build community right here in cyberspace!  Join us in supporting Handmade, Recycled, Organic, and Locally Produced wares for living. Enjoy

Weekly Treasury – Flora


‘Flora’ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

I think it’s finally spring in the New England! Spring is about rebirth and renewal. The blooming crocuses and budding trees are a testament to this. Want to see some blooms sooner rather than later? Checkout this treasury to see some stunners.

Click this link to view this week’s treasury list on etsy.

800px-Crocus_vernus

Every week we gather a handful of treasures around a theme, from Etsy - an online marketplace featuring handmade wares, vintage items, and supplies for making. Weekly treasuries are normally featured here on Mondays.  You can click on the images above and be taken to a place on Etsy where there is more information about and pictures of that item. Crispina’s online shop is located on Etsy along with a whole ton (like over 800,000) of other handmakers, vintage resellers and material retailers. If you have a minute, leave a comment – it is always so nice to hear from you and build community right here in cyberspace!  Join us in supporting Handmade, Recycled, Organic, and Locally Produced wares for living. Enjoy

Freak of the Week ~ Cate Crowley


My name is Cate Crowley.

I am a photographer by trade but also a gallery owner and curator.  I graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a BFA in photography in May 2012. In December 2012 I started The Former Gallery, a space, an idea for exhibiting burgeoning local artists. I started the gallery because in the art world, as with any competitive industry, there is a vicious cycle of need for resume fluff to even be considered.  With no one willing to take the chance on young and rising stars, the foot in the door gallery was begun. The gallery was started @ 6 Harris St in West Stockbridge MA in the former All Fired Up, Berkshire Glass Gallery…hence the name “The Former Gallery”, an homage if you will, but also an insight for future Former Galleries, like NYC’s Alleged Gallery. The Former Gallery is open in the summers representing young and aspiring talent from the region.  You can check out our previously featured and upcoming artists here, or our Facebook page.  We are up and running Memorial Day – Columbus day with frequent events and meet and greets with the young talents.

I met Crispina last winter when she was in search of someone to help print the dolphin studio calendar. I started out with little to no knowledge of screen printing…and over the course of about 8 months became a print master…just kidding, but really, I went from nothing to handling the process on my own if need be, so any 2014 Dolphin Studio calendar in your home, I literally had a hand in. I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity to learn screen printing, a totally usable skill, but most importantly it introduced me to Crispina’s making world!

Cff:  If you had the power to make one change in the world what would it be?

If I could change one thing in the world it would be to raise the level of consciousness/respect for the planet and the amazing ecosystem that is able sustain such a diverse spectrum of life, it never ceases to amaze me how expansive and fruitful our planet is, was and hopefully will be.

Cff: What is your current passion?

My current passion is art making…I am a photographer by trade, but I tend to incorporate other materials and mediums, in particular object making and turning the images I make into objects. People always ask me when I tell them I am a photographer, “landscape or portrait?” and all I want to do is explain to them that photography offers so much more than those terms.

Cff:  How did you find that passion?

I have probably about three different answers for this question…I can indefinitely say the first time I was ever given a camera (on two separate occasions)

to play with.  First when I was 16 and my parents gave me an Olympus OM-1 and then again my first year at Maine College of Art, I was introduced to the 4×5, which is the camera I still use to this day. Or from the very first time I took and processed an image to the most recent time.  It never ceases to amaze me what can be made out using, abusing, understanding and manipulating the principles and processes of “analog”  image making…there’s science and experiment and always a bit of magic. I would also say that everything that is involved in photography, right down to how cool it is that “photography” literally translates to drawing with light. The mechanics of the tools, the sciences and materials of the processes and how once you know you that stuff can choose to forget or neglect all the rules you once learned in order to create that very first image.

Cff: Who/What has been most influential in your work?

As a BFA a student this was a question we were often asked, and I can conjure all sorts of artists names, people who make work similar to mine, people’s whose work I could look at all day.  But I am going to interpret influential this time as inspiring/encouraging. Peter Schellenberger, who introduced me to my photographic life, I’ll call it.  Tom Waits, a 4×5 camera and careful disregard for the process and mechanics of photography. He is the man who insisted I learn the process and then forget it, he always said once you’ve learned it the best way to master it is to change it to best fit your pursuits. I couldn’t forget that, and now there are few things more exciting than getting your developed film back after trying something new.

Cff: Where do you find your inspiration/motivation?

For me my photographic world can be what I want it to be. People don’t believe the photograph as undeniable truth anymore, we like to think it’s honest but we love that we’re being tricked, that’s why I often throw around the word magic, smoke and mirrors, we know we are being fooled, but we like it.  So I often find myself pursing images of nostalgia or “false-memory”.  I am an archiver, I photograph in batches and collect and collect and collect, it’s my way of playing make-believe.

Cff:  Aside from working, how do you spend your time?

Currently I spend my time working on my artwork or working at the bar down the block in Brookline MA. But if I can speak ideally, when I am not making artwork I would be teaching horseback riding lessons or riding myself at Blue Rider Stables in South Egremont MA, and eventually starting my own riding program.

Cff: What is one of your most transforming memories?

My third year in the art department at UMass Amherst, I had a professor that no one liked, I didn’t even like him to start, was it because he was unnecessarily brutal (honest?) or felt that drawing class should be some torturous skill development class? But one class there was a change, I don’t know if it was him or me, but I ended up having him head my thesis board and he always seemed to be one step ahead of me, offering books and artists and insights to my process and work while simultaneously being amazed and impressed at the work I was making.  From being the professor that students didn’t want to deal with, he became my most valued critic and support, he was insightful and impressed with my work.  And I will never forget that he hugged me after my thesis evaluation because he had never been so

pleased with an undergraduate’s portfolio. His conversations and presence came at a time that really ended up being a turning point for me in my pursuit of the photograph.

Cff:  Do you have a prized possession?  What is it?

I have a few prized possessions, my 4×5 I couldn’t do or be what I am without it…but I want to remind myself of my horseback riding instructors license because it represents all of the knowledge, time and effort I put into pursuing something that I love so much it has become a part of me.

Cff: Tell about a magical moment that comes to mind when you look back on your life experience.

A magical moment, nothing beats the feeling of galloping bareback through long grass. I remember going out one time after the rain with my best friend, we were running in the woods and came out into a field, the sun was making easy paths through the wet air.  Our horses were galloping in stride…it’s the most free feeling, yes it is as romantic and magic as it sounds.

Cff: If you were able to spend an afternoon with anyone – dead or alive, who would it be?  What plans would you make for your outing?

I would spend my afternoon with Alexander McQueen, he is (was) far and beyond the fascinating and talented artist I know of.  He chose to work in fashion and women’s clothing, but I think of him as a sculptor or installation artist.  We could do anything as long as I could see at least one of his concept designs, I would love to see the process.

Cff: What is your favorite color?  Why?

I like black. Black is always the new black, you can’t go wrong with black, you know what you’re getting with black and you can cover almost any mistake with black.

Cff:  What is your favorite place and way to spend time?

Wherever my camera takes me or my horse…in a dream world where all three of us end up.

Cff:  What is your goal or main focus for your next 12 months?

These next 12 months I am focusing on generating a portfolio to apply to graduate programs in fine arts. But simultaneously I am going to be running The Former Gallery, in West Stockbridge, for it’s second season. I am really excited about this year because as we were unable to secure our previous location, I made the decision to go mobile…putting art on wheels.  This season The Former Gallery is launching a mobile gallery fleet…one truck at a time and we’ve created a kickstarter in order to raise funds for the project! Our plan is to refurbish a step van or two and tour it’s going on right now, you can check it out here.  The Former Gallery is going to refurbish a step van or two and tour The Berkshires and beyond, bringing artwork right to patrons front door! It is in fundraising mode currently and a kickstarter has been launched in order to make efforts to have the mobile gallery running by memorial day!

Also check out our website and Facebook for information!

 

 

 

Weekly Treasury – Pisces


‘Pisces’ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

I know we’re towards the end of the astrological phase of Pisces but I wanted to celebrate this intuitive sign with a treasury. Here’s to all the dreamy water lovers.


Quilt – ocean rain – made …

$545

Pisces Pendant hand cast res…

$15

Pisces constellation Zodiac …

$6

Pisces Necklace, Pisces Cons…

$29

Pisces Carved River Rock

$8

Dreamy beach photography, oc…

$25

Nautical Fish Leather Bracel…

$21

Pisces

$100

PISCES Healing Crystals Brac…

$27

1 Pair BLUE ICE Chakra Earri…

$9.99

Ocean Jasper (wave) handcut …

$25

Pisces Zodiac Constellation …

$38

Pisces Notecard

$5

PISCES – Zodiac STONE KIT Cr…

$4.95

Pisces Ring Feb 19- Mar 20

$18

Pisces March Birthday Fish T…

$20

Every week we gather a handful of treasures around a theme, from Etsy - an online marketplace featuring handmade wares, vintage items, and supplies for making. Weekly treasuries are normally featured here on Mondays.  You can click on the images above and be taken to a place on Etsy where there is more information about and pictures of that item. Crispina’s online shop is located on Etsy along with a whole ton (like over 800,000) of other handmakers, vintage resellers and material retailers. If you have a minute, leave a comment – it is always so nice to hear from you and build community right here in cyberspace!  Join us in supporting Handmade, Recycled, Organic, and Locally Produced wares for living. Enjoy

Sponsored by send bulk email from excel.

Weekly Treasury – Lunch To Go


‘Lunch To Go’ by  Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

We all want safe and affordable food options but we’re not always sure what we’ll get when we leave our houses. One way to know is to bring it with you. Not only will our food be safe but there will be little to no trash when you’re done.


Girls Insulated Lunch Bag – …

$40

Japanese Bento Lunch Box Mag…

$49

Set of Nine Polar Whiskey St…

$20

Vintage Metal Stanley Thermo…

$54

Reusable Snack Bag – Reusabl…

$40.5

Modern Handmade Napkins- ora…

$6

Vintage Pyrex Refrigerator D…

$80

Dill Pickles – GARLIC – Pure…

$9.75

Sneaky Heat – Ghost Pepper A…

$8.95

Walnut wood 3 piece utensil …

$28

Lidded Spice Pot Spice Holde…

$35

Blue Foliage Landscape Plant…

$13

reusable waxed canvas sandwi…

$12

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookie…

$15

Recycled cotton lunch bag – …

$10

Love Note Cards Flat Mini Kr…

$5

Every week we gather a handful of treasures around a theme, from Etsy - an online marketplace featuring handmade wares, vintage items, and supplies for making. Weekly treasuries are normally featured here on Mondays.  You can click on the images above and be taken to a place on Etsy where there is more information about and pictures of that item. Crispina’s online shop is located on Etsy along with a whole ton (like over 800,000) of other handmakers, vintage resellers and material retailers. If you have a minute, leave a comment – it is always so nice to hear from you and build community right here in cyberspace!  Join us in supporting Handmade, Recycled, Organic, and Locally Produced wares for living. Enjoy

Sponsored by send bulk email from excel.

Freak of the Week ~ Shari Moraga


Hi!

I’m Shari Rogoff Moraga. My business is Leo’s Dry Goods, story later. My studio, The Sustainable Sweat Shop, is where all the goods are designed and made. As well, in the studio, I teach sewing classes and am currently raising 4 baby chicks.

I love making useful goods that are simple and lovely.

I make napkins, aprons, banners and wine bags by hand. The napkins and aprons are either canvas duck, which is made in the USA, repurposed painters cloth or an organic hemp/cotton blend cloth, which is also made in the USA. The wine bags and banners are from upcycled coffee sacks. The designs I create have a modern feel yet invoke the vintage. I “sketch with thread” as a way to draw, creating original imagery. I love to play with color using contrasting threads. As well, I design dishtowels, again using thread to create original designs, and these are made using flour sack.  I think a handmade object should feel and look handmade, and by that I mean made with natural materials, but yet made well, constructed with durability, and have a story. My designs are clean and simple, made entirely by me, here in Boulder, CO.

Crispina and I met in college. We were fiber majors together at the Massachusetts College of Art. We instantly hit it off, I think that was the first time since arriving at college that I actually started laughing for real. The following year we were roommates along with her sister, Sofia, and a few other woman, at the end of the C line in Brookline.  We both had a passion for textiles and taking them to the next level.  I began felting my paintings on a grand scale, 7 by 9 foot felt paintings with a bend toward symbolism. Rolling fleece in huge bamboo shades in a huge handmade table filled with water and suds at our studio in school. It was fantastic. My arms were in great shape-which became helpful when I began my decorative painting career!

After college I began a career in decorative painting. I took traditional classes in New York City, began getting clients and began what would become a 25 year stint.

But now….the paint brush is down and the sewing machine is running full tilt. Here it is in a nut shell:

“I was a decorative painter for 25 years, my start was in NYC. When I imagined that the fountain at Lincoln Center was a creek I knew it was time to head west.
In Boulder I immediately began painting, then got married and the family grew…a son, dogs, chickens and ducks.
I have been standing on canvas/duck drop cloths for many, many years and looking down gave me a great idea: utility fabric for something else.”

When I began making aprons, napkins, etc.  I wanted to create goods that were simple, clean, and fun. I like the modern feel you can get from canvas, and yet at the same time feel some nostalgia in the piece. Mixing those elements is very important in all aspects of my life. We have a very modern home, but the walls are American Clay, a natural breathing surface. Our house, while not LEED certified (as it’s a fortune to do) has been built so that it qualifies for certification. I bring this up because our house was built emulating a lot of ideals found in houses designed by Luis Barragán, my favorite architect: where modern meets tradition in a unique way. Neither undermining the other,  which is what I would like to achieve with Leo’s Dry Goods.

Right now I am spending all my time creating goods and marketing them. There is such an amazing community of crafts persons out there. Its truly exciting becoming a part of something new, but yet this has been around forever: people making things out of repurposed material, natural materials. See? old and new, it’s a constant.  The movement going on in Boulder is very interesting. There is such an eclectic mix here. A lot of people still see us as a very “crunchy” city, especially with the legalization of the reefers. Well, we still have our crunch, but we are quite progressive when it comes to technology (think aerospace engineering), the local business boom has been wonderful, and the marijuana field (pun intended) has expanded to medicinal products for the sick, we just need to open up peoples’ eyes. (They love to shop for natural products at Whole Foods but don’t see how analogous it is to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, but that’s a whole other rant.)

Back to me! I find that in calling my business Leo’s Dry Goods, I am being influenced by my family every step of the way, as if they are all looking over my shoulder and smiling with each stitch. This is the little story of Leo:

“He was my grandfather. Poppa Leo. He had an amazing old store in Newark, NJ. He opened after a long journey from Prague to Spain to South America. Picking up languages along the way, (he spoke 10) he ended up in NYC, then NJ. He married Lilly Rand and opened a dry goods store, with a classic awning and the words “Leo’s Dry Goods.” Saturdays I would go down and sit on a big, worn wooden stool and help out. Once in a while a customer would give me quarter.”

My memories of his place and the stuff he sold has been a constant in my life. Back then nothing was made with anything but natural materials, and it was made well. Hopefully I am making a difference in supplying handmade goods, similar in feel.

When I am not working I am still working. I am trying to be the best mom I can. I enjoy being a mother more than I could imagine, especially since my son is so different than me. He has no interest in sitting at a sewing machine, he wants to throw around a football. But he has this great way of looking at things. Although sad when one of our ducks died or when one of the baby chicks didn’t make it, he got it. He understood. I am amazed by him everyday.

Transforming memory: Learning how our lives give us strength. When I moved to Colorado from NYC my father was diagnosed with cancer. While my dad had cancer, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and died. Two years later, almost to the day of my mother’s death, my dad died. I spent the beginning of my new life in Boulder traveling back and forth caring for my parents. I taught myself, with the help of others, to communicate better, to listen better. I realized how short life is and we may get to the end rather quickly so everyday has to count.

As for a prized possession, I used to have a bunch–including a very early, very large potholder rug! But a lot of that has changed for me. I learned (not by choice) that holding on to items isn’t necessary. We lost our house, four years ago, in a wildfire in the foothills of Boulder and everything was lost, the things I inherited from my parents, baby items of my son. So, I guess my prized possession would be my memory. Lets hope I don’t get Alzheimer’s!  Luckily I have a propensity for black humor.

The most magical moment of my life was the chance to paint my mother’s portrait the week before she passed away…wait for it…yup, lost in the fire. Anyway, she sat for me in our backyard. The woman that introduced me to painting at a very young age, bought me my first set of oil paints, was dying, and she sat quietly, watching me paint.  And the only four words she said the whole time was, “ who’s really the subject?” She stopped me in my tracks. Here she was, taking me in as much as I was taking her in.  It was a symbolic end to a beautiful and intense relationship.

This leads well into your next questions. I would love to spend the afternoon with my mom. Introduce her to her grandson. Just have a normal day. Maybe have a nice lunch, catch up, listen to stories. My favorite color is turquoise- a direct influence of my mother. She spent a lot of time in the 50s in Mexico City, when she was a teenager. Bright colors, mix of old and new. It all makes sense.

One of my favorite places in the world is Oaxaca. It encompasses everything in aesthetics that I love. The art and craft of the region is intense. One year, on my birthday, an old woman in a lesser-known mercado weaved thick fuchsia ribbons through my braids. Then her husband, probably 80, danced me around the market stalls singing to me. It was lovely.

Ok, the next 12 months: to bring lovely handmade goods to people that want to enjoy them. I hope the joy that I get from making them comes through. That is my goal.  I think my role in my community depends on which community we are talking about. I take pride in supporting the public school system and continue to be involved in that. I plan on becoming more a part of the different creative collectives going on around town.  I have just applied to several juried craft fairs, which I hope to be included in. As well, I just opened a shop on etsy:  www.etsy.com/shop/LeosDryGoods

If you come to Boulder look me up!

Weekly Treasury – Hive Minds


‘Hive Minds’ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

We are all anxiously awaiting the buzzing of the bees because that means spring will be in bloom.Fill your home with some of these handcrafted items just like bees will soon be filling their honeycombs with pollen.


Reserved for Marjorie W: Bee…

$12

50% OFF SALE – Patchwork Pil…

$14

Honeycomb Cuff Bracelet – Go…

$190

Sunshine Bee Bowl – Honeybee…

$24

Modern wall clock Honeycomb …

$69

Porcelain cup with honeycomb…

$22

SCRIMSHAW Bookmark ORIGINAL …

$16.95

Gold Honeycomb Long Necklace…

$70

Honeycomb Ring, Geometric Je…

$110

Sterling Silver Honeycomb Ne…

$84

Sterling Honeycomb Tie Clip

$78

Stained Glass Honeycomb Drop…

$115

Molecular Art Painting Gold …

$8.49

Honeycomb book page necklace…

$35

Silver honeycomb ring with g…

$65

Set of 5 White Honeycomb She…

$150

Every week we gather a handful of treasures around a theme, from Etsy - an online marketplace featuring handmade wares, vintage items, and supplies for making. Weekly treasuries are normally featured here on Mondays.  You can click on the images above and be taken to a place on Etsy where there is more information about and pictures of that item. Crispina’s online shop is located on Etsy along with a whole ton (like over 800,000) of other handmakers, vintage resellers and material retailers. If you have a minute, leave a comment – it is always so nice to hear from you and build community right here in cyberspace!  Join us in supporting Handmade, Recycled, Organic, and Locally Produced wares for living. Enjoy

Sponsored by send bulk email from excel.