There Is An Undiscovered Artist In Everyone

Julie Yonge © 2007

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I would like to introduce you to my friend, Claudette Dirzonowski. Claudette, like many, has a love and admiration of beautiful things. Her home is a wonderland of vintage glass, fabrics and collections as seen in this picture of her dining room. 

But, with five children, increasing number of grandchildren and volunteer activities in her community, she had never really found the time to delve into sewing or the arts. In fact, she had never done much sewing at all other than the occasional outfit or accessory for her children. That is, until one day about four years ago when she ran across an ad in the local paper for a Crazy Quilt class being given at the local quilt shop. Now Claudette is not one to normally take classes on a whim, but she was drawn to beautiful Victorian things and this class just seemed to be calling to her.

Well, after taking the CQ class and learning some basics such as foundation piecing and a few embroidery and silk ribbon stitches, she was hooked! She credits God with her desire to learn, seeing the beauty in things, any talent that she will humbly admit to having, and with surrounding her with friends that provide inspiration.

After her initial crazy quilt class, she immediately joined the local crazy quilt bee where ideas, information and techniques are lovingly shared. She is the first to say that nothing is her own idea, but springs forth from seeing the creations of others and adding her own inspired touch. Claudette happily found that crazy quilting lends itself to other creative avenues such as beading, dyeing of fabrics and laces, tatting, and Brazilian Embroidery, her favorite. Here is an example of her tatting.  

As a matter of happenstance, one of the Bee members shared pictures of Brazilian Embroidery (BE) with Claudette one day. She immediately felt drawn to it, went home, ordered books and threads, and taught herself. She has a natural talent and passion for BE and her work is just amazing.

Claudette is also an avid "garage sale" shopper and has wonderful success at finding the most unusual and exquisite items to inspire her crazy quilt creations. She creates many of her own patterns being inspired from things she may see in magazines or just out and about. She also has the most wonderful imagination and creativity in using found items in her art. She may use a plastic "John Doe" credit card sent in the mail as stiffener in something like the Thimble Pip (shown in the picture to the right – it is much like the old plastic coin purses we used to carry, pinch each end and it opens to deposit your thimbles).
Or a piece of a 3" wide silk covered belt to be the basic structure in the Thimble Box/Pin Cushion she designed …notice the adorable beaded flowers around the edge that actually stand up.  


Included below are pictures of a purse she made out of shoulder pads from a garage sale dress, a wall of framed items showing found linens, handkerchiefs, other fabrics and frames from garage sales to which Claudette added Brazilian Embroidery. A seascape also containing many found objects and fibers collected from garage sale clothing and jewelry.


You may not find these at first glance but Claudette enjoys adding small details to her work that provide a bit of whimsy to her art. The framed dragonfly is completely filled with detailed BE and beading as is the trim around the outside.

She loves working on small creations - notice the silk buttons to which she has added flowers or hummingbirds with BE; pretty incredible. 
Here is a backpack she designed and created - the front has a zippered pouch for her wallet to keep it close at hand and it keeps the straps comfortably in place.  
Also shown is a fan needle case she designed.  
and a beautiful teddy bear embellished with Brazilian embroidery  

She is having so much fun discovering her creative, artistic side and is now sharing all these wonderful avenues of creativity with her twelve-year-old granddaughter, Kayla, already an amazing artist in her own right.

After seeing these pictures of Claudette's work and creations, I hope it will inspire even the most reluctant or doubt-filled "artist" to believe that anyone, at any time in their lives, can learn a time-honored handicraft that will provide years of enjoyment and self-satisfaction, not to mention heirloom gifts for their loved ones - give it a try - you too will get hooked and discover the artist in you!

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