Used clothing alchemist since 1987

Hey, Welcome!


WELCOME!  I’m Crispina ffrench. Recycled textile artist, author, teacher – creator of many things. My sister and I run The Dolphin Studio, a second generation, family owned screen-printing business. My hubby and I own Shire City Sanctuary, a Makerspace in an urban Cathedral in the heart of The Berkshires where my studio is housed. It’s a pleasure to share here creative high-jinx, as we work toward environmental consideration of all aspects of living.

Weekly Treasury – Step Right Up


‘Step Right Up’ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

The County Fair is a tradition enjoyed all over the country, and is an experience for all the senses: The smell of hay, the cheerful voices carrying across the grounds. The animals on display and, yes, the taste of deep-fried food.

Click this link to view on etsy.

 

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!

Blog Theme – County/Agricultural Fairs


Berkshire County 4H Fair 2014
Berkshire County 4H Fair 2014

Each week there is a blog theme that usually has something to do with what is going on in my world.  This week we will be delving into all aspects of County/Agricultural Fairs.  My family has visited three Agricultural Fairs in the last three weeks.  Most of these events have been happening for over 100 years in our neck of the woods.  Steeped in history and local culture, Agricultural Fairs celebrate old school hard work and commitment that is not common in many other aspects of today’s Unites States culture.  My daughters Lucy and Violet are sweet little care givers to all sorts of animals and recently showed their bunnies for the first time at our local 4H fair.  Each kid took home a ribbon and look forward to the next opportunity they will have to participate.  I am particularly smitten with 4H.  Got a bumper sticker to prove it.  It says, Join the Revolution of Responsibility 4H.  I’m in.  Revolution – Yes, Responsibility – Yes!

Oh and then there are the Oxen and Workhorse Pulls, my all time favorite aspect of the County fairs.  A old time tradition, a show of strength and connection between beast and person.  Nothing cyber about it – at all – REFRESHING!

Fran Mason's Ox 'Stone' weighs over 3000 lbs.
Fran Mason’s Ox ‘Stone’ weighs over 3000 lbs.

 

Have you been to an agricultural or county fair?  Let me recommend it.  Take along pretty much anyone of any age and be prepared for fun.  You might want to bring your own healthy food snacks (especially if you have any sort of dietary limitation).

Did you know our One Thousand Words column is featured right here on Fridays? One Thousand Words is a photo gallery of selected from our readership’s images. Each week, you are invited to submit an image that speaks to our theme. There are no words, just an image with caption including the photographer’s name and business name (if applicable). You know, a picture speaks One Thousand Words. Show us what you got! Images should be emailed to me at Crispinaffrench@gmail.com by Wednesday night for possible inclusion. Fun, Right?!

Middlefield MA August 2014
Middlefield MA August 2014

 

One Thousand Words – Teachers/Schools/Mentors


At the end of the week we feature a gallery of photographs summing up the week from our readers.  There are no words, just images with captions stating the name of the photographer and their business name (if they have one).  Weekly blog themes are posted right here on Sundays.  Feel free to submit your original images to Crispinaffrench@gmail.com for possible inclusion.  Please include your name and the business name you would like included.

So here you are, the pick of the week – our theme this last week – was Teachers/School/Mentors.  Thanks to all the contributors this week!

Carrie Converse - Shire City Sanctuary
Carrie Converse – Shire City Sanctuary

 

Katie Gray
Katie Gray

 

Beth Etman
Beth Etman

 

Tim Butterworth - Artisan's Asylum
Tim Butterworth – Artisan’s Asylum

 

Freaks of the Week ~ John and Primm ffrench


John and Primm ffrench c. 2009 Linnane's, New Quay, Co Clare
John and Primm ffrench c. 2009 Linnane’s, New Quay, Co Clare

This week my theme is Teachers/School/Mentors so my freak of the week will actually be FREAKS of the Week and will feature my parents, who were teachers. They are both gone now. So I will improvise, sharing some fun with a little history in their memory.

John and Primm ffrench were The Art Teachers at the local regional high school, and I was The Art Teachers’ daughter for the first 18 years of life.

My mother started teaching in 1950 at the age of 20 in Virginia, where she grew up. She taught in all black schools and worked hard to keep things comfortable for her students and co-workers. There was a story of her bringing in her own chair so at lunchtime when everyone sat on benches that lined the hallways she could sit down without making everyone else stand-up. She loved her job and kept in touch with some of her first year students her whole life. Every Christmas she made (and we still make) Gingerbread Men from a recipe from someone named Dickie Vass, who was in that school her first year.

My dad began teaching after marrying my mother. They lived in Ireland where my father was raised, and my sisters and I were born. My family moved to Stockbridge MA when my older sister, Felicitas, was ready to start school. Irish schools were not known for their kudos at the time and there was a brand new regional high school looking for two art teachers. This shift began my fathers teaching career. His focus was Ceramics but also taught Creative Wood Shop, Introduction to Art, and Batik. So together they taught multiple generations of Berkshire County residents leaving a long legacy of students who went on to professions in the visual arts.

My parents were my high school art teachers.

At each of their funerals, we were hugged, for literally hours, by people from every walk of life who came to pay homage to their favorite teachers. To this day we continue to be reminded of what a difference they made in so many lives.

They encouraged, believed in, nurtured, and loved their students and kids alike. Primm and John were well-traveled, active artists in many media, and conjured up creative lives balancing adventure and stability.

If my mother could have had lunch with anyone, she might have chosen Paul Newman, or maybe Bill Clinton. She just loved Paul Newman for his acting, charitable giving, and good looks. Bill Clinton and Primm both had childhood homes in the south and worked toward racial equality. She called them both (and other foxy gentlemen) ‘Muums Filly Baba!’. Not sure from what language that phrase originates but it means something like ‘Wowsers That is One Beautiful Piece on Man!”

My father was a bit more of an activist. He would have had a really hard time choosing one person for lunch. The short list of possibilities might have included Nelson Mandela, Mohatma Ghandi, Hugo Chavez, Frida Khalo, Isadora Duncan, Alexander Calder, and Angela Davis. He would have loved to have shared tea in a Moroccan tea room with all of them.

My parents were proponents for racial justice, gender and class equality, and artist recognition. My mother was my father’s boss which I never realized was unusual until I was an adult. They were fair, honest, hard working, and creative. They were happily married for nearly 50 years and lived in the house where we were raised til they died.

My dad is the person who actually gave me the idea to create using shrunk wool sweaters for raw material back in 1987.

I was raised by geniuses.   Blessed, for real.

Today, in addition to our regular jobs, my sister, Sofia Hughes and I run The Dolphin Studio, a hand silkscreen printing business that our parents founded in 1971.

 

Weekly Treasury – Back To School, Back To Work


‘Back To School, Back To Work’ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

Teachers give so much of themselves to the education and enlightenment of our children; every once in a while it’s good to give something back. Use this treasury to find a way to appreciate your child’s teacher.

Click this link to view on etsy.

 

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

Blog Theme – Teachers, School, Mentors


My Mother, Primm ffrench, Teaching my Daughters to Make Paper Crowns
My Mother, Primm ffrench, Teaching my Daughters to Make Paper Crowns

Each week there is a blog theme that usually has something to do with what is going on in my world.  This week’s theme is Teachers, School, Mentors as we are preparing to send our two youngest, Violet and Lucy to second and third grade.  We’re hoping for, banking on, crossing our fingers for, teachers who engage, encourage, and excite. (Last year Violet had a TOUGH year in first grade with a not-so-great teacher.) Ben, our oldest is taking a semester off from Berklee College of Music to process the dense learning material he has been offered there.

Both of my parents were high school art teachers and (mostly) loved by their students for over 40 years each!  Both of my hubby’s parents were teachers too.  My sister is a teacher.  I love to teach and find great inspiration in my workshop students.

This week I am getting my ducks in a row to spend a week at The Kushi Institute where my goal is to learn to conquer the root of Ulcerative Colitis with Macrobiotics.  May my teacher/s there be wonderful mentors full of nutritional healing knowledge.

As the seasons change I nod to all those teachers in the past who have shone light on a path unknown to me prior.  I look forward to learning from teachers along the way, planned and unexpected alike.  Going forth with an open, inquisitive, absorbent lilt.  Here’s to it!

Did you know our One Thousand Words column is featured right here on Fridays? One Thousand Words is a photo gallery selected from our readership’s images. Each week, our readers are invited to submit an image that speaks to our theme. There are no words, just an image with caption including the photographer’s name and business name (if applicable). You know, a picture speaks One Thousand Words. Show us what you got! Images should be emailed to me at Crispinaffrench@gmail.com by Wednesday night for possible inclusion. Fun, Right?!

One Thousand Words


At the end of the week we feature a gallerie of photographs summing up the week from our readers.  There are no words, just images with captions stating the name of the photographer and their business name (if they have one).  Weekly blog themes are posted right here on Sundays.  Feel free to submit your original images to Crispinaffrench@gmail.com for possible inclusion.  Please include your name and the business name you would like included.

So here you are, the pick of the week – our theme this last week – was Recipes/Menus/Cookbooks.  Thanks to all the contributors this week!

Sue Velte - http://ssveltestuff.blogspot.com/
Sue Velte – http://ssveltestuff.blogspot.com/

 

Filis Warren
Filis Warren

 

Crispina ffrench
Crispina ffrench

Weekly Treasury – Eating In


‘Eating In’ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

Staying organized in the kitchen isn’t always easy. Chaos can stump the imagination and make putting food on the table more of a chore than an adventure. Maybe this treasury can help you drawn inspiration from organization.

Click this link to view on etsy.

 

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

Blog Theme ~ Recipes/Cookbooks/Menus


My kitchen Passed down spice jars and recipes along with, fresh eggs from the hen house
My Kitchen – Passed down spice jars and recipes along with fresh eggs from the hen house.

Each week there is a blog theme that usually has something to do with what is going on in my world.  This week I’m thinking about end-of-day family meals for when we are back in the swing of school. I’d like to take advantage of our CSA’s bountiful harvest and stock the pantry and freezer with some meals, jams, and pickles that are healthy, freeze-able, and palatable for my family. I’m gluten and sugar free and educating myself in ways of controlling Ulcerative Colitis with food choices. My diet will likely be changing as I participate in two, week-long workshops I have on my fall and winter calendar. In the meantime, the larder will be full of easy options for my hubby and kids so I can focus on my dietary needs.

Oh, and another reason for this week’s theme is the fact that this fall Chris and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. We asked for, and received, some pretty amazing recipes (along with samples of these dishes) for wedding gifts at our 350 person potluck dinner held a couple months after our October 3, 2004 wedding day.  Since way back then, all these treasures have been stuffed into a folder in my file cabinet. This week I will organize them – and likely try a few out. Stay tuned.

Did you know our One Thousand Words column is featured right here on Fridays? One Thousand Words is a photo gallery of selected from our readership’s images. Each week, you are invited to submit an image that speaks to our theme. There are no words, just an image with caption including the photographer’s name and business name (if applicable). You know, a picture speaks One Thousand Words. Show us what you got! Images should be emailed to me at Crispinaffrench@gmail.com by Wednesday night for possible inclusion. Fun, Right?!

One Thousand Words


At the end of the week we feature photographs summing up the week for the contributors.  There are no words, just images with captions with the name of the photographer and their business name (if they have one).  Weekly blog themes are posted right here on Sundays.  Feel free to submit your original images to Crispinaffrench@gmail.com for possible inclusion.  Please include your name and business name you would like included.

So here you are, the pick of the week – our theme this last week – was Back to School/Lunchboxes.  Thanks to all the contributors this week!

Joan Sussman
Joan Sussman

 

Sarah Buttenwieser - Standing in the Shadows
Sarah Buttenwieser – Standing in the Shadows

 

Abby Webster - One Mercantile
Abby Webster – One Mercantile

 

Andy Pruhenski - One Mercantile
Andy Pruhenski – One Mercantile

 

 

Crispina ffrench
Crispina ffrench – Crispina