Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Tell us a little about yourself.
The best way to start is to tell you my name. My name is Tammy. I've been happily married for 25 years (still hard to believe). I have two children, Tony 23, and Morgan 21. Those three things are my biggest accomplishments.
I grew up in north central Pennsylvania, with six brothers and sisters. We were all involved in 4-H. My brothers learned to sew and cook. My sisters and I learned to take care of engines and change tires. This is were I fell in love with sewing. When my daughter asked for an American Girl doll, I got my sewing machine out and started making clothes. Now that the doll, and my daughter have packed up and moved on, I sew for my nieces dolls. And with an empty nest, sewing is my way to relax.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from interviewing my nieces. I love to find out what fabrics they like and to hear what clothing combination they come up with. I usually try to make more trendy clothing, but enjoy the period clothing that can be made for 18 in. dolls.
Who or what has been most influential in your craft?
My parents are most influential. They both enjoyed sewing. I remember my dad making homemade, life size, pop up campers complete with the cloth walls. I still have the homemade dresses that my mom made for my sisters and I when we were girls.
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade means to create something that is uniquely imperfect, yet desirable. It means to have the ability to take a raw material and turn it into something that is useful. It doesn't matter what is created or what raw material is used, it's simple the act of creation.
When did you know you were an artist?
I don't think I've ever thought about being call an "artist". I simple enjoy making doll clothes. I enjoy the look on the faces of the children who dress their dolls up in something they helped create. Most people will look at their creations then look at the creations of others and still not see their ability to create; to be an artist.
How do you get out of creative ruts?
I get out of creative ruts by going to fabric stores. I don't have to buy anything, I just have to see what's available. I also check out the internet. There are plenty of ideas. Sometimes I just get out the pictures of the outfits and remember how much fun it was to make it. Sometimes a simple message on facebook, "Aunt Tammy, I really, really liked............". That will fix any rut.
Describe my work space.
Right now, I work in the middle of my living room. Why? Well, I'm an empty nester who's downsized and moved in the past year and will be moving sometime in the future year. The living room seems to be the perfect place right now. Besides, when we downsized, I had to get rid of a lot of things. I kept my sewing fabric and I want it close by.
What did you think you would be when you grew up?
I haven't grown up yet! I'm still dressing dolls!
What do you do for your day job?
Before I moved, I worked as a Teaching Assistant (Teacher's Aide, PCA) in a primary learning support classroom. I am now a substitute Teaching Assistant at a near by school district. I absolutely love the primary grades, Pre-K through 3rd grade. I'm often asked why I didn't become a teacher. The answer is easy. A Teaching Assistant helps the Teacher become the best that she can be by implementing strategies that allow students to shine without having to do all the paperwork involved in teaching. The Teacher shines, the student shines, and since I'm a helper, I shine.
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