Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Reflections: Guest Artist Leanne Dougherty

My name is Leanne and I started my Etsy shop,, in July of 2009; this is where I sell one-of-a-kind sewn clothing and accessories, including a lot of purses and cloth cuff bracelets. I've embraced creativity since I was a small child, though drawing and painting were my main modes until about 7 years ago. In the meantime I've picked up a couple more creative endeavors, include spinning, knitting, and bellydancing, in addition to sewing and design. I am also getting into jewelry-making, slowly but surely, and have plans to hopefully start a zine in the near future!
To me, creativity means life and living. As I said before, I've always embraced creativity. In fact, I believe that ALL humans are intrinsically creative, that it's something we're born with rather than something we acquire. Some may have a greater inclination for it, but it's always there, in one form or another. It can either be nourished and develop into something wonderful, or it can be ignored or even, quite sadly, it can be discouraged--not just by others, but the self as well.
Creativity isn't just something that shows up in "arts and crafts," but a necessity that has kept people alive and flourishing since the beginning. Even though many things are factory-made and mass-produced today, there was a time not-too-long-ago when every manmade thing that had come into existence was handmade--think about it!
Usually, when I find myself unable to think creatively, I don't consciously seek inspiration, but instead take a break. For me, ideas often dry up because I am trying too hard or forcing it, and I lose focus. So the best thing is to just step back for a little bit, quit "trying" altogether, and tell myself that it's okay to not create anything for a little bit. It's usually in those times that inspiration strikes from seemingly nowhere. (And often that's the best kind!)

When you desire inspiration, it's important to be open to all possibilities. Inspiration doesn't come from a few select sources, it just depends on how you process thoughts or things. Most agree that it can be found in nature, in art books, and in other pieces of art, but it can also be discovered in a pile of junk, the drape of a skirt, or on the bottom of a shoe.
So naturally, I am finding inspiration everywhere! But to be a little more specific, when it comes to the pieces in my shop, most of my inspiration comes from Victorian and steampunk fashion, with the occasional influence from circus couture, ethnic/world folk styles, and fairy/woodland style. I like things that are elegant and feminine, but at the same time playful, whimsical, and unique. I love color but also love texture, especially fabric that has been manipulated with pleats or ruffles.

When making a new cuff bracelet, for example, I usually begin with a pile of scrap fabric (because I have SOOOO much of it!) I mix it around and see which colors and textures look good, and which buttons or accents go with it, as well. Once I narrow it down, I decide on a design. Sometimes I use patterns old reliable patterns, or depending on how the materials interact with each other, I may come up with a new plan. Then it's just a matter of cutting and stitching!
I am also happy to do custom orders, as Toni* can attest to! I am glad to execute your ideas, or if you're not exactly sure what you want, but know you want something special, I am also glad to try out different designs and hope that you'll find something to your liking!
* * * * * * * * * * *
*And Toni attests!
On my previous blogs, I made mention many times of the exceeding dimensions of my own hands, things like 'the size of a small continent'.  I've never been able to wear bracelets that weren't cuffs, and I only 'settled' for wearing cuffs because I could wear them, not because I actually preferred them at all!  Bangles won't slide over my hand no matter how I crunch my fingers/bones together.  Standard size clasp bracelets dig into my skin or break, and I've always thought extenders just looked tacky.  It wasn't until I chanced on Leanne's FolkEtsy shop that the notion (oh! my! GAWD!) of a fabric bracelet as an option took over my blond brain.  I measured my wrist and saw that the sizes Leanne offered would be too small, so I emailed her and asked if she took custom orders.  She did!  She does!!  Below is a photo of the first bracelet I commissioned Leanne to make for me, a Big Boned Gal bracelet!!!  Except it's feminine, vintage-feeling, HAND MADE, and I feel like I stepped out of a period movie when I wear it and not at all like a woman with beastie hands.
Below is what I have my eye on next.  Since mine would have to be custom sized, I'm not AT ALL worried about telling you these are available in Leanne's shop as we speak for those of you with more demure sized hands! 
P.S.  I want you all to know this post is my way of thanking Leanne for finally bringing the world of bracelets to my life.  I'm not 'receiving' anything in return, no freebies if you go visit and/or purchase from FolkEtsy.  Some discoveries in life just can't be horded, and I'm thinking there have to be others like me out there who can't fit standard bracelets, and (MOST IMPORTANTLY) who will see Leanne's work and FALL IN LOVE!!!



  1. thank YOU!!!!! such a lovely and gracious post! (not my part, YOUR part!!) you are a beautiful lady!!!!!!

    much love,

  2. Toni, these are fabulous and so sexy too. thankyou for introducing us to Leanne, I will be sure to check her blog out. Take care. Be well.

  3. very cool....I'll go and check out her site :)


The Mermaid Chair -- Talk to Me