Welcome

Welcome!

Okay… so here is my blog. And my first post.

I have chucked the hundred other boring intros I have written over the years and will just tell you who I am.  In my second post, we’ll get right into the good stuff.

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I was born a mid-century baby.

Born to play with color. . . and make things.

At four I colored with crayons.

By seven I was sewing with a needle and thread.

At twelve my mother’s artist friend saw some of my drawings lying around the house and thought I should start painting. Her oil paintings were done in an old world Italian style. Before I knew it, I was in her basement, with the smell of linseed oil and turpentine, painting a jack-in-the-box I had drawn.  I still have that painting.

About that time my classmates saw my drawings on notebook paper and thought this shy, quiet girl did something cool. They made me feel so good that I put the drawings in a little folder and added to them day by day. I clung to their idea of me as some sort of artist.

Mostly though, I was just bored. . . always lamenting to my mother, “What can I doooo?“ I didn’t name that uncomfortable feeling until I was in my 40’s. It was the unsatisfied creative urge . . . and I hated it.

At fourteen I entered a newly built public high school with heaps of funding for art supplies. Five days a week, for four years, I worked in every medium - weaving, pottery, wood carving, silver jewelry, drawing, painting, collaging, and more. I was lucky to live in that town.

I studied fashion design in college but found it wasn’t an industry I wanted to work in. I started making quilts instead – and then designing and making quilted wall hangings.

I married and, one-by-one, adopted the four best babies the world has ever created. I wanted nothing more than to be barefoot on our wooded hilltop digging in our big organic garden and being immersed in the life of growing children. They were fascinating to me … and brought a richness to my life that they will never understand. Art, during those years, consisted of gingerbread houses, paper-mache piñatas, and school bulletin boards. Guiding four different personalities through life and watching them become capable, successful adults has been my hardest and most rewarding work. They are everything to me.  

When my youngest was thirteen I rented a third floor studio and fully immersed my hands in fabric again – making commissioned wall hangings, torah covers, and “paintings” of layered and stitched fabric. Fours years later I opened a gallery/studio at street level and sold my framed art.

During that time I was commissioned to make two dozen baby blankets and loved it so much that I made a baby quilt, placed it in the window, and soon realized that baby quilts sell much faster than art.  

I opened a shop on Etsy – Fern Leslie Baby – selling baby quilts and crib bedding.  I had so much work that, after four years working in a storefront studio, I went back to hiding from the public in a third floor studio again.

I eventually became frustrated trying to find fabrics in the color and design that I wanted so I started designing my own fabrics.  It took me a year of sometimes hair-tearing-out frustration to teach myself graphic design using an ancient CS3 version of Adobe Illustrator while studying videos created for an up-to-date CC version world.

I opened a second Etsy shop - Fern Leslie Studio – where I sell Christmas stockings of my own design.

Currently, besides my two Etsy shops, I also have a shop on Spoonflower where you can purchase my fabric/wallpaper/giftwrap designs. I figure that designing for fabric is a till-the-day-I-die proposition. What could be more fun? (see links for my shops at right.)

I am living the icing on my cake – a second life if you will – where I am a late-to-life entrepreneur who found she likes running online businesses (except for the bookkeeping). And I get to be a kid again drawing, coloring, and making fun stuff for a living. I’m far from bored (sometimes wishing I could be three people).

So that’s me.

What will you find here? In a nutshell, I will welcome you into my artist’s world, show you what I’m making/designing, give you a behind the scenes look into my studio, and take you to whatever curious corners my maker mind rambles off to . . . which can be interesting . . . and off the beaten track. 

So let me know who you are and what draws you here.

Welcome.