A lot has changed since 2020. The world is different, I'm different. We're all different because who could survive the last 3 years without undergoing fundamental changes? Even though I "lost everything," my business, my home, my lifestyle - I've gained far more.
I've reconstructed every aspect of my life and have extricated myself from under the weight of too much stuff. Nicole owns my business, strangers own most of my personal possessions, and a nice artsy gal owns my house. I own very little, and honestly - why did I wait so long to let it go?
Gone are boxes of photos filled with people I barely remember, clothing that no longer fits, the furniture and miscellany that filled every room, closet and corner. Gone is the house with the giant mortgage I could no longer afford. I'm now something of a minimalist. My house is not tiny, but at 640 square feet, it's little. My bedroom is large enough for a twin bed and a bureau. My office/studio is 7 x 12 and is filled with sunlight, books, art supplies, and a brand new yoga mat. Just in case. I am completely happy.
At first, retirement felt like a prison sentence. Years of being the boss of everything made me unfit for leisure. I'm still not very good at it, but at least I don't wake up dreading the longness of the day. I'm finally creating again - a vital part of being me that could get me through just about anything, if I'd let it. This time, the motivation came from an unlikely place.
Last year I was contacted by Dolcezza, a Montreal based fashion house. They'd seen my work somewhere and wanted to license a design for use on a line of women's clothing. Really? As part of my compensation, they sent samples, including this jacket. Each time I wear it, I get compliments and inquiries as to where it was purchased. They contacted me again a few months ago and are working with another design for 2023. My work on fashion? Hmm.
Last month, I received an email from another Montreal based fashion house called Le Galeriste. It seems a couple of years ago I uploaded a few designs to their website, and they wondered if I was still interested in working with them. Really!
Since that felt like a star alignment, I decided to go with this exciting new direction. For the last 3 weeks, I've been on a design binge that wears me out in the most delightful way. This artsy clothing line is so lovely that I could be inspired to leave the house after dark just to have a place to wear it.
The gorgeous magenta design below was created using a method called monoprinting. I rolled out paint on my plate, placed a pressed wild flower in the center, then hand smoothed a sheet of Japanese rice paper over the top. When I pulled the print, this fabulous pattern was revealed. The thing about monoprinting is that you only get one of any "pull." It's impossible to create the exact same thing again, no matter how much you love it. Here's the image before being digitally refined and colored in Photoshop. Before moving, I created literally hundreds of one of a kind prints, with no idea what I'd use them for. Really.
Each piece of Le Galeriste clothing is made-to-order on soft, vegan, moisture-wicking, wrinkle-free polyester - perfect for travel. Using an in-house dye technique called sublimation, they use environmentally friendly water-based inks, ensuring that designs will never fade - and that fabrics remain soft and supple. Printing to order also enables Le Galeriste to keep waste to a bare minimum. I've ordered a shameful number of samples (for me) which I promise won't end up in a landfill.
Their offering includes accessories like lovely, floaty, sheer chiffon kimonos and scarves, dresses, tops, skirts, pants, activewear, and even some home decor. A small selection of Plus Sizes are available, with more in the works.
I'm thrilled about this whole direction as my own closet is a wasteland of yoga pants (5 pairs, all black!) and off-price everything else. I thought I'd given up on style, until I learned that I could actually wear my art rather than store it on my computer, or tuck it behind the couch. I didn't even know wearable art was a thing. I did a search on Pinterest and found a stream of stick people wearing what looked like bird cages and LED lights. Apparently, they don't know it's a thing either.
Not everyone cares about fashion or even art, but if you do, I'd love it if you'd check out my new line of Wearable Art. And if you're inclined, please leave a comment below - they're such fun to receive. Thank you for reading all the way to the end. You are an awesome, unique, one-of-a-kind human being and the world is a better place because you're here.