My Chat with Sarah Fulford of Up The Stairs Designs

I cannot even begin to say how incredibly STOKED I am about today's post. Seriously, it has been a couple months in the making and I couldn't be more pleased to bring you an interview with my dear friend and colleague, Sarah Fulford of Up The Stairs Designs.

Photo by Sander Vinberg

Photo by Sander Vinberg

Betty: So, who are you and what do you make?

Sarah Fulford: I am a baker of pies and maker of fabulous things! I am a garment draper and pattern cutter.  I pattern and create original garments and costumes. I work as a costume pattern draper in the Seattle Theater community as well as owning my own small garment making business, Up The Stairs Designs. This past fall I completed an original fashion collection of six looks called Mudlark. The majority of the items in the collection where made with free, recycled or donated materials garnered from the fabric stashes of friends, family and coworkers. 

Photo by Sander Vinberg

Photo by Sander Vinberg

The word “Mudlark” is a Victorian slang term used to describe someone who collects junk off the mud banks of the Thames and then sells it to Rag & Bone shops. It seemed a fitting title for a collection made with unwanted or unused materials.
— Sarah M Fulford

Betty: Tell me about how or why you began as an artist & maker?

SMF: I have always been a maker of things.  I made my first costume sometime before kindergarten. It was a steepled henin (pointy princess hat) made out of rolled up construction paper and a silk scarf purloined from my Mom’s scarf drawer.

Photo by Sander Vinberg

Photo by Sander Vinberg

Betty: What got you started on Mudlark?

SMF: After a year of fruitless job searching following completion of my graduate course in London, I had to get very serious with myself about where my portfolio and resume needed improvement. I realized my portfolio did not include any original design work since my undergraduate degree.  It was a hodgepodge of beautifully patterned Victorian ladies dresses, a sequin tiger costume worthy of Liberace and the precisely executed designer knockoffs I had made in grad school.  It was all good technical work but the design work was not my own. I set my self the task of designing a cohesive fashion collection that reflected my aesthetic as a fashion designer rather then costume designer.

 

Betty: How long have you been working on Mudlark?

SMF: My loft dreams of getting everything designed, patterned, fit and made in just two or three short months turned out to be unrealistic, (to put it mildly).  The project took me the better part of a year to complete.  I had to fit it in between a full time job, side project for private clients and my feeble attempts at a social life.

Photo by Sander Vinberg

Photo by Sander Vinberg

Betty: Are you able to create full time? If not, how do you make time for your creative work?

SMF: Do I create full time? Absolutely! Do I create full time making things I want to be making? Sadly no.  My own projects get fit in between the rest of the hustle and bustle in my life.  I don’t sleep a lot and my idea of a rollicking Friday night often involves getting to work on my own thing until 2 am.


Betty: Where do you get your inspiration?

SMF: My aesthetic has always leaned heavily toward the silhouettes and colors of the 1960’s and 70’s.  I am a sucker for a harvest gold refrigerator or an avocado green Formica counter top. Because the materials I was working with where also mostly found, that heavily guided the direction of the project.

Photo by Sander Vinberg

Photo by Sander Vinberg

Betty: Do you have a signature or favorite piece you have created?

SMF: I think my coats are the strongest pieces in the collection, particularly my short coat with the asymmetrical collar.  My trademark seems to be very structured garments.  I like things with shaped yokes and big buttons.  I also love including tiny finishing details such as hand stitching on linings and decorative topstitching.

 

Betty: What direction do you see your work going in the future?

SMF: Who’s to say? I could be the next contestant to cry on Project Runway, or I could become a very contented pattern-cutting instructor at a trade school or perhaps I will run off and make costumes for the circus! Oops! Already done that one!

 

Betty: Tell me a little about your workspace

SMF: It is surprisingly organized.  Occasionally things can get out of hand and the floor disappears for a few days…or weeks, but for the most part I have a hard time working in chaos. I am also a collector of weird things, so, for example my sewing room also houses my extensive collection of Last Supper depictions as well as Jarvis, the taxidermy gazelle head.

Photo by Sander Vinberg

Photo by Sander Vinberg

Betty: What do you feel has been your biggest challenge (creatively or otherwise) with your work?

SMF: In the eight years since graduating with my bachelors’ degree I have concentrated on working on my technical skills as a stitcher and pattern maker.  Designing the garments proved to be my biggest challenge as that muscle has not be exercised in a long time. Add to that that my background is as a costume designer; so making the switch to designing fashion garments was a challenge.  With out the context of a character to design for I really had to work hard to find the line between all the garments that connect them.

Photo by Sander Vinberg

Photo by Sander Vinberg

Betty: And your greatest reward?

SMF: Sleeping? No, but really, the best thing was seeing my clothes on my friend, my effortless model Lizzie Diehl. The clothes are lovely on a hanger, but they really come alive when they are on a body.

 

Betty: What hobbies or other interests do you have? How do you find balance in your life?

SMF: There are other hobbies to be had ASIDE from sewing until your fingers bleed? Does cross stitch and embroidery count? I love to cook. I bake pies that make grown, beardy men cry! I am also a musician. I studied classical music for eight years and then left that to the wayside in college and started playing more folk and bluegrass. I am a songwriter, but a very reluctant performer. Two of my songs have been covered by my dear friend Coty Hogue (check her out HERE) on both of her albums "To The West" and "When We Get to Shore". She is amazing and worth a listen.


That is Sarah! I encourage all of you to check out her Etsy shop (the link is above but here it is again: www.upthestairs.etsy.com). Her work is stunning and, as always, I am annoying you to buy local & handmade. 

 

As always, I love you comments and suggestions! Let me see what brilliant things you find out in your neck of the woods with the hashtag #BettyStyleTester

A Dozen Questions with Samantha Cooper

Holy crap, guys... I am back in Seattle after 3000 miles of travel and 110 days away! Not only that, but I am back with TONS of awesome stuff. New products, new crafty how-tos and new interviews with some amazing local artists.

Today I bring you a woman who I met in 2005 when we were freshman at Western Washington University. She is now a development associate at Book-it Repertory and an amazingly voracious and prolific writer. So now... 12 questions with September's Artist of the Month!

Who are you and what do you do/make?

Samantha Cooper. Playwright. Actor. Director. Theatre Cross-Trainer. (Occasional crafter, painter, apartment decorator etc. Too frequent delusional Pinterest pinner.)

Photograph by Cassi Gallagher

Photograph by Cassi Gallagher

How/why did you get started as an artist/crafter?

I’ve been doing various performing arts for as long as I can remember. I really started, as most little girls do I think, as a “dancer.” You know, little kids in cute costumes following their ballet teacher around on stage while waving at their family in the audience. And I was the kid who always fell over while waving. But I really got bit with the theatre bug in middle school. I don’t think I’ll be able to escape the theatrical grasp…ever.

Why did you start your current project?

I just finished a project with Blood Ensemble called Blood/Sailing. Blood/Sailing was a show that combined experimental theatre and live heavy metal music from local Seattle band Smooth Sailing. Because of the exceptional time I had working with Blood Ensemble on that project, I’ve just signed on to direct their next show, Nevermore, a new play written by Emily Harvey that will combine a pre-written script with moment work. Nevermore (previously titled Poe.) is a modern psychological thriller based on the life and works of Edgar Allen Poe which will go up in a to-be-determined found space in October.

How long have you been working on your current project?

I directed a public reading of Nevermore towards the end of July and officially signed on to direct the full production on July 29th. So, we’re currently in all the pre-work that goes into putting on a new show: setting a schedule, casting, working on the script, finding a space, and being in constant discussions and research about the themes in the work. I’m excited…and a bit nervous. Usually I live in the playwright and actor realm so this is my first big foray into directing.

Meanwhile, there are any number of other creative projects going on in my life. Plays being written, staged readings here and there, festivals, acting gigs when I can take them (get them) and editing a local ten-minute play literary magazine for Northwest Playwright’s Alliance called NorthNorthwest.

Do you create full time or part time? If part time, how do you make time for your creative work?

I create work part time. My day life still involves theatre; I’m the Development Associate at Book-It Repertory Theatre (http://www.book-it.org/) but my work there is more administrative than creative. Making time for creative work is easy when I’m involved in a show; rehearsals and performances are prescheduled so I have a calendar to stick to. Of course, when in a show, it’s hard to strike a balance between working, rehearsing, eating, and sleeping enough. BUT, at the very least, I get to happily be making work.

When not in a show, it’s harder for me to make time for my creative work. As a writer, I tend to rely on inspiration. When there’s a lot of inspiration percolating in my head, I can sit for hours and work on scripts, poems, and stories. When I can’t seem to get inspired, I have a harder time focusing. I’m hitting the point in my life where I need to be scheduling time to focus on my work. That’s a goal for me.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I am a textbook eavesdropper. I tend to draw inspiration from listening to the conversations of others, how they interact, what they say to each other, the acknowledgment (or lack thereof) of status in relationships. I’m really interested in the human condition, why we are the way we are and how we got to be that way. I find riding the bus to be great inspiration. Or sitting in an airport. Anywhere where I can people watch. I keep at least one notebook on me at all times and write down the brilliant and not-so-brilliant things people say.

I also tend to draw inspiration from strong visuals. Pinterest is actually a great tool for me in that way. I archive images that I can use as a jumping off point in the future. I like pictures that tell me a story the minute I look at them, but not too much of a story so that I can’t place my meaning on top of them. I have a HUGE store of images currently, probably too many to use. I like to think they will be a cure for writer’s block in the future.

Blood/Sailing [photograph by Cassi Gallagher]

Blood/Sailing [photograph by Cassi Gallagher]

Do you have a signature or favorite piece you have created?

As a theatre artist, I tend to become deeply involved in whatever I’m working on at the time. Currently, I’m still incredibly attached to Blood/Sailing. And actually, it’s one of the best processes I’ve worked on in a long time. I bet I’ll stay attached to that show for years to come.

One of the most rewarding pieces I’ve worked on was my senior project for Western Washington University. It was an evening of three short works bundled together and titled Apocalypse Plays.

It was the first time I’ve seen my work fully produced while still being able to be involved as a playwright and an actor. I like that piece so much that it remains in the back of my head always; I’m always considering remounting it as a whole.

What direction do you see your work going in the future?

That is a good good question. Most days, I have no idea which direction I’m heading (which I like). I try to focus on the ways I need to grow as an artist and a person at each specific moment in my life. In my writing, at least, I tend to focus on the uniquely female American experience. My friend Jordan said that it’s like I’m saying "I'm a girl, deal with it, 'cause I’m trying to" with my work. I think I like that characterization. I’ll always be trying to deal with it, and hopefully my work will be too.

As a performer, my focus has become and probably will remain in devising/collaboratively created theatre. I like the nature of that beast. I like that you can start with anything and end up in a place you never thought possible. I like the polarizing nature of it as well. I think I feel like my truest self when I am devising.

What is your workspace like?

Ugh, nothing. I don’t currently have a designated work space for myself…which is probably why I have a hard time focusing at times. That is a dream of mine. I want a dream writing studio. In the meantime, I work at my kitchen table, in my bedroom, in coffee shops, in my empty office on the weekends if I really need some quiet. Or I sit in the outdoors somewhere with my notebook, people watching.

What has been your biggest challenge (creatively or otherwise) with your work?

I think I said it before but it’s doubly true now: Focusing. And setting aside time for myself to be creative. I spend a lot of time working with other people, on shows and what not. I need to be forceful in carving out time for me to work by myself on my writing.

What has been your greatest reward?

Getting to know the Seattle theatrical and writing community. There are amazing people here, so many artists that I really admire who are also the nicest, most supportive, and caring people that you could ever meet. That, and seeing my work performed. There is no experience like hearing your words coming out of the mouths of capable artists. Theatre can’t happen in a vacuum after all. It relies on the participation of everyone.

What hobbies or other interests do you have? How do you find balance in your life?

I am constantly on a search for the perfect happy-hour. I also like picnicking while wearing a big floppy hat. Within the last year, I did something I never thought I would do by becoming a runner finishing my first half-marathon in June. That adds a lot of balance to my life. I’m hoping to keep up the running. That’s another thing that requires scheduling.

Samantha's writing is haunting and poignant. She hits on subtleties of humanity while simultaneously being funny and witty. Read her work on her blog http://apocalypseplays.blogspot.com/ and on her newest writing project at http://nightpeople.blog.com/.

You should also watch for Samantha's directorial debut with Blood Ensemble's Nevermore coming in October. Samantha's work can also be seen with DoubleShot Theatre Festival in September and Arts Crush in October.

UPDATE!! Samantha is now a Playwrighting MFA student at Columbia University in NYC! 

A Dozen Questions with May's Artist of the Month!

What with all the goings on of moving to Santa Fe, I seem to have left my Artist of the Month for May to the last! But never fear, for hear I am with this month's fabulous Seattle-area artist... Christine Phillips of Azula by Design!

I first met Christie at the Ballard Farmer's Market in the crafter's Annex and was immediately drawn to her beautiful spirit and stunning work. After getting to know her and her partner Scott over many months, I have come to love being in her creative presence as much as I love her creations, and I hope you all will love them as much as I do!

Betty the Beta Tester: Who are you and what do you make?

Christine Phillips: I am a guest on planet Earth, I create headdresses and hairpieces oftentimes known as "fasincators".

BB: How/why did you get started as an artist/crafter?

CP: My Grandmother and my Mother encouraged my creations...I designed my own clothes as a child, they sewed them for me. Eventually I started sewing for myself. But I was always making something. I would make all kinds of little cities out in the backyard, fairy castles decorated with flowers, all that good stuff. I was one of those kids who had to be dragged in the house during the summers....our backyard was filled with beautiful trees, plants, flowers, bugs, birds...it was my little universe. 

I regret I never really learned how to knit and crochet. While I was in graduate school in Chicago, IL, I worked at a gallery and eventually they put me in charge of the exotic jewelry and bead department and I started designing jewelry for people and got really good at it. Sometimes I'd create custom pieces, and sometimes I'd hire other people to do components of my final creations. I wish I had documented my work! 

 

CD: Why did you start Azula by Design?

CP: I was in transition from a couple of major art projects, and working for a friend's spa and salon and started making headpieces and earrings to sell in the shop to supplement living expenses.

 

CD: How long have you been working on Azula by Design? 

CP: Azula by Design has existed with a website and a presence at the Annex at the Ballard Market in Seattle for a little over a year. It took a while to get the displays right, signs, etc, all of that, it all takes time and money. But I love being around people who have taken all that on as well, who are owners of their own creative worlds, who have an area in their lives that they are responsible for, with no one to answer to but themselves.

 

CD: Do you create full time or part time? If part time, how do you make time for your crafting? 

CP: Part time. I have to be very disciplined about my time; it has to be in my day-planner and I almost have to shut the rest of the world out. I literally have to meditate before I start, to get really quiet so I can listen to the creative force within.

 

CD: Where do you get your inspiration?

CP: Patterns in nature, fine textiles, weavings, fabrics, the arts and crafts of the Orient, Persia, Headdresses of all Indigenous Cultures all over the world, as well as whatever gets channeled through all that and beyond. Of course homage to Deco, Cartier, all the fine artisan jewelers of the 20's and 30's, Erte, Coco, Else Shiaparelli, then there's India! A whole other world. 

I learned a lot and was exposed to a lot of incredible art during my years traveling abroad in college. I spent a year in Vienna and a year in Paris, and traveled all over. I was amazed at the way European women dressed artistically, it was all about how comfortable they were in expressing themselves with little charming details, odd, interesting pairings of texture, design, color. 

Actually, it's all a continuum...and what I create is put through my own filters of understanding of the human condition and how and why it aspires to express itself, in all circumstances. It's fascinating to me that the possibility of a creation is always there. "Fashion" is such a co-opted word right now and exploitative word, and has been for a while. I used to read Vogue voraciously when I was younger, I suppose that is actually where I got a lot of inspiration as a young girl. I still sometimes pick one up, but right now I am fascinated by the explosion of original creativity and manifestation that Etsy and other sites have given rise to! So much beauty and inspiration sincerely from the heart, and extremely skilled and talented. It actually gives me hope that one day the word "sweatshop" will no longer exist.

 

CD: Do you have a signature or favorite piece you have created?

CP: All of my pieces are pretty much 100% one of a kind. It's so so hard to say!

And I enjoy that. One day I might have a signature piece...but probably not...unless there's a cooperative of women somewhere who can help me create some pieces that are similar, while at the same time having creative license in bringing their own artistic skill to their creation.  I'd love to find a group to work with to bring that to fruition.

 

CD: What direction do you see your work going in the future?

CP: Something I aspire to: art created as medicine; creating beauty and telling ones story to work through trauma and/or sadness. When you have time and space to create, it lets something in you play again, it's a form of deep freedom within us that we all need in order to heal, and/or stay balanced. Some people might call it being tapped into Spirit. There are many efforts happening around the world like this.... I could create a list that would go on and on, here's one I love.

Creating special very personal totem headresses for people; in the sense of honoring their inner work, outwardly in a very beautiful graceful way. Ceremonial pieces, for weddings, deeply personal transformative ritual ceremony, coming of age, etc.

 

CD:What is your workspace like?

CP: Probably nothing I could have dreamed of a while a go, and I'm extremely grateful for the time I'm able to look up from creating and see a vast expanse of water, seagulls, passing boats and ships. I live at the end of a road on Vashon Island, very quiet with incredible birdsong, and quite a few hummingbirds that love to fly around at close range around humans and chase each other around the deck. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. There are a few critters around, but they seem to be under control. Part of the trade off of having a multi-million dollar view from a rented old 1950's beach house with a few cracks in the foundation :)

 

CD: What has been your biggest challenge (creatively or otherwise) with Azula by Design?

CP: Putting a price to my time and effort and standing for that time, effort, when someone asks "how long does it take you to make these?" That question always baffles me. I always want to ask "how long do you think it would take YOU! ?" :) It's also been a challenge finding the right market for my work in terms of other shops, groups, demographics for whom these headpieces really important.

 

CD: What has been your greatest reward?

CP: Seeing women of all ages, put on a headpiece and watching them instantly transform and become more of who they really are. It's humbling and amazing.

 

CD: What hobbies or other interests do you have? How do you find balance in your life?

CP: In one of my other lives, I am a professional singer, you can find me at "Avaaza" on Facebook. We'll be opening for Manooghi Hi on Vashon Island for the Garden Tour, June 23rd. I am also a project manager and organizer. My background is in food and farming issues. 

Balance is sort of like learning to surf-- you just have to get a feel for it. To me balance means creating a weekly schedule, planning and setting intentions 5,10, 20 years out, eating well and locally, cooking my own food, deep breathing, singing, work, dance, maintaining friendships and setting time limits on FB time. And meditating. Making sure I spend time slowing way way way down. 

 

You guys will have to check her out either at her website: www.azulabydesign.com or come by her favorite place to show her work, The Annex located by the Veraci Pizza Oven at The Ballard Farmer's Market on Sundays! I highly recommend her beautiful fascinators and earrings. I own two pair of her fabulous earrings myself and get copious compliments on them every time I wear them.

As you all may or may not know, I am now in the stunning mountain desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico for the summer (a road-trip I will be posting about very soon)! I will be blogging from here and hope to be able to include some fabulous southwestern-themed posts! As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments and particularly your suggestions for next month's Artist of the Month!

A Dozen Questions with Scott Arend of Sock of Ages

Welcome to my new monthly segment: Artist of the Month! I am so excited to bring you guys interviews with local artists to give you an idea of the other amazing people creating in our community.

April's Artist of the Month is Seattle blogger, crafter and designer Scott Arend of Sock of Ages! I met Scott in January 2010 while working at The Seattle Opera, where he is Assistant Wardrobe Manager as well as a Principal Artist Dresser. I soon found out that Scott had many other talents beyond being an excellent dresser. 

Scott at work

Scott at work

Betty: Who are you and what do you make?

SA: I am a guy who makes stuff. Right now that is primarily sock monkeys, but some other stuff too -- totes, small quilts, a little painting. I love making stuff from vintage craft kits I find at thrift stores and garage sales-- Christmas tree skirts, ornaments, embroidery. And I love to repurpose things -- give things a second life through paint facelifts, chopping off or adding legs, drawers, knobs, etc. I've got a great candle chandelier on my patio that started life as a god-awful 1970s pendant light fixture. 

Betty: How/why did you get started as an artist and crafter?

SA: I’ve been making stuff since I was a kid, and I always like to “assemble” things. My mom got that magazine “Pack-o-Fun” and I devoured every issue. I used a lot of paper then - I made paper houses, then villages including fountains and trees, and I was really fond of paper collages with colored paper pasted on a black background like a stained glass window. I also loved things from kits, especially model cars and paint-by-number kits. My favorite and largest project was a puppet theatre I made in elementary school. I hauled that theatre to all the classrooms at school that December giving a Christmas show with my puppets from a script I’d found in a magazine. I’ve never considered myself an “artist” because I always associated that with painting and drawing and I never took any art classes in high school or set off to college planning to major in art. When people ask me what I do, I usually say “I make stuff” or “I design stuff.” But I do have a long history of being in art. 

Betty: Why did you start Sock of Ages?

SA: Sock of Ages started four years ago with me dressing a sock monkey I’d made in a costume from an opera, but I didn’t think of it as a project with a name then. I launched the website last summer because I wanted my friends and family to have a place to go where I could show them what I was making and wouldn’t have to keep emailing so many people photos and information. As I got going with it, it became a good way for me to explain to myself what I was doing too! Sometimes I would get really caught up on something and I wanted to write down the process that got me to the finished item. Lately I’ve had a procrastination slump on finishing sock monkeys, so I’ve just posted the other craft things I’m working on.

Frieda

Frieda

Betty: Do you create full time or part time? How to do you make time for your crafting?

SA: My crafting is part time and I don’t work on it nearly as much as I’d like to. I break up my projects into segments and just focus on finishing one thing at a time, like “all I have to do is cut out the shirt and sew it together.” I find it’s easier if I know my time is in 30 to 90 minute blocks. I’ll save things like finishing hems, sewing on snaps, buttons, eyes, etc. to evenings when I’m watching television - it doesn’t seem like work then and I don’t feel like I’ve wasted two hours sitting and doing nothing. Working in theatre, I often have a lot of down time backstage during rehearsals and shows. I try to have at least one project with me to work on for those bonus hours, and I can still visit with people while I’m busy. And I work with super talented and creative people, so there is always somebody around to help me solve a problem or give me an idea to make what I’m doing easier. This is really one of the favorite parts of my job, and I’m constantly thinking,  “Hey, they’re paying me to work on my projects!” 

Betty: What is your workspace like?

SA: My workspace is not the greatest. It’s in the basement of our house, which is unheated, but it’s cozy if I plug in my space heater and put a sweater on. I have a large folding table with my sewing machine on it, and ironing board a 3-tiered rack for bins of fabric and supplies and a couple of cork boards to pin patterns and photos to while I’m working. There’s also a television and stereo there so I can have music or Food Network on as white noise. Oh, and I have a killer iron my brother gave me for my last birthday - it’s a fancy Rowenta that’s the only iron made with no auto shut-off - I LOVE IT!

The Wicked Witch of the West

The Wicked Witch of the West

Betty: Where do you get your inspiration?

SA: Ideas for sock monkeys come from a lot of different sources - sometimes it’s a favorite performer I’ve worked with and I love the costume they’re wearing in the show. I love vintage fabrics and fashions, and they inspire a lot of characters for me. I’ve got an awesome Liberty of London for Target floral dress I picked up in a thrift store that’s eventually going to end up as a full-skirted, ruffled and flouncy dress for a sock monkey gardening society kind of lady named “Flora Bunda.” And I’ve also got piles of fabric for other characters such as a vintage Christmas shopper, Coco Chanel, Marie Antoinette, a bride, Ebenezer Scrooge - the list goes on! I guess I’d have to say that film, literature, plays and art in general are a good source for me too - as I write this I realize I’ve just got to do a “Pinky and Blue Boy”!

Betty: Do you have a signature or favorite piece you have created?

SA: It seems like whatever I’m working on at the moment is my favorite, but two stand out - the “Dodge” I made for my favorite singer, Bill Burden, from the opera Amelia (see below). He’s wearing a copy of Bill’s dress white uniform and I used a blue sock for the monkey which looks great with the white uniform and its ribbons and medals. And I really love the ghost bride I created for my friend (and amazing artist) Rosetta Greek. It’s a costume she wore in the opera Lucia di Lamermoor (also photographed below). It has an actual boned corset, vintage trims from my great aunt’s button box and I hand-sequined and beaded the veil. There’s also a great story about this monkey’s life and why Rosetta named her “Verboten”, but you have to go to my website to read it! I’m also in the middle of working on a “Carmen” that I think will be a favorite.

"Dodge" from Amelia

"Dodge" from Amelia

"Ghost Bride" from Lucia di Lammermoor

"Ghost Bride" from Lucia di Lammermoor

Betty: What has been your biggest challenge (creatively or otherwise) with Sock of Ages?

SA: My biggest challenge for Sock of Ages other than time, is that I don’t have any formal training in clothing construction or sewing, and that makes it hard for me to pattern things and figure out the how-to of making stuff. I’ve got to read about everything and ask millions of questions because I know what I’m going for, just not the easiest way to create it. At the same time, one of the things that makes it fun for me is learning all of this. I can put waist bands on ruffled skirts now and they look good! And I know how to set sleeves into a bodice, make a continuous lap placket, etc. Of course I still find myself making maxi skirts when I intended to be making pants, but at least I now know how to fix it!

Betty: What hobbies or other interests do you have and how do you find balance in your life?

SA: I have too many other hobbies and interests! I’m a trained chef so I’m always dabbling with new recipe ideas, I do some restaurant consulting and a I write a food blog for the Seattle P.I. and have my own cooking blog. I love embroidery and have put several of my pieces in the Puyallup Fair that I’ve won blue ribbons for. I also knit, but have a hard time calling myself a real knitter - I always want it to go faster and I get stuck on simple things, but it’s a challenge and I keep at it. I do a little bit of quilting and want to do more. And then there’s this doll thing, which I guess goes along with sock monkeys. I’m considered to be an expert of vintage Barbie dolls, I’ve co-authored a collecting book about Skipper, Barbie’s little sister, and I’m currently working to launch an online magazine about vintage dolls from 1950 through the 1980s. It’s tentatively calledThat Doll, or maybe Forever Vintage, or possibly Glamour Doll.....we’re still not sure what it’s called, but it’s coming!

Betty: What direction do you see your work going in the future?

SA: As for the future, I don’t know where I’m headed. I’m considering a book - I have a couple of characters and a little story for them that would be fun to do. I’m also thinking of a costume history book with the costumes dressed on sock monkeys.

I am so excited to see what Scott posts next! You can read up on Scott's crafty pursuits and Sock of Ages here as well as his foodie blog here and his Seattle PI blog here. If you have any nominations for a great local artist who should be my next Artist of the Month, shoot me an email at thecuriousdressmaker@gmail.com! And as always, I enjoy your comments and suggestions!

Later this week, look for how to turn worn out or plain notebooks into fun pieces of art!