It all began with Vivian

It all began with Vivian

 

It all began with Vivian

A long time ago, when I was a wee lass. Well maybe not this small; but still long before now . . . I had a dear, sweet grandma. My Grandma’s name was Vivian, and she had 5 kids. She cooked, she sewed and she made lots of beautiful quilts over the years. And even though I could trace creativity in my genes back way further in both directions this is the lady who I remember starting it all for me, so to speak. So. . . It all began with Vivian

I couldn’t have been more than 2  when this lesson took place, while I was left for one of those few overnight visits at Grandma’s and I remember her teaching me to sew white blocks together.

My Mom finds this hard to believe; considering the fact that I was only 18 mos. when she is sure she left me there for my brother to be born. But whatever the age somehow that first lesson got me interested and hooked for life on creating.

I went on to make many quilts of my own over the years with my Mom and on my own. I designed and sewed adorable Barbie dresses for my many Barbies, did all kinds of craft projects and sewing projects and clothes,  and got into cake decorating all as outlets for my creative hunger. I was my Mom’s sewing assistant and learned lots by her side over the years. But as I reached my early teen years I started pursuing more serious cake decorating and started baking cake orders when I was 12.

I kept on sewing, quilting, decorating cakes, and got into scrapbooking later to document my college years.

Art and creativity were in my blood.

My Mom had done marvelous oil and acrylic paintings before we kids came along and somehow the creativity and need to create passed down from both sides of our ancestors was something so strong that without it I couldn’t be truly satisfied.

A job is good, and getting to work as a seamstress was fun, but yet the need to create, dream and imagine needed release.

In 2004 a good friend introduced me to silk painting. I treasure that first silk square because it turned out so lovely, and it was the beginning of a new chapter of art for me.

This new chapter in life took another turn when I ended up moving to Latvia for a year to teach English. After my first lesson on silk, I painted once or twice to make gifts for my husband to be and Dad but didn’t really get into for real until after I got married in 2006. And so I became a permanent citizen of Latvia and started finding my path in this country of artisans and tradesmen.

In the beginning, I didn’t even have a frame to stretch my scarves in, and somehow tacked them between chairs. But we were younger and poor and we needed gifts so I thought making them myself would be a good long term investment in the paints and silk.

The years passed with me occasionally painting, doing lots of sewing, and some wedding cakes between working as an English teacher.

Then the babies started coming and so I had lots of quiet moments between walks, naps, and feedings and I began painting more. Sewing is loud, with that noisy machine. But painting on silk was silent, a quiet release to that pent up flood of color and shape that I had been longing to use.

I was taken anew with silk painting, as I could put on my headphones, and flow with the music to the tunes while letting my hands and brushes fly. I started to get a few orders for silk scarves and then I found out about Etsy.

Opening my Etsy shop in 2010 was the beginning of my own little business,  and things just really took off right away with my first scarves selling quickly and inspiring me to keep painting for others.

Since then I have painted hundreds of scarves and ties. I continue to grow as a self-taught artist. I have had some lessons with other artists and experts and have had the privilege of getting to know silk artists around the world through our Silk Team on Etsy. I have had the honor of teaching silk workshops in the USA and introducing more people to this amazing and little-known art form.

And so now I capture moments for painting between raising 4 kids 9 and under, in my charming (tiny) studio that my husband created for me. I have lots of frames to choose from now and many projects going at once to keep those ideas flowing. And when I am not painting silk, mothering and chauffeuring my brood,  you can find me sewing on occasion, and baking goodies, cakes, and an occasional wedding cake.

And so now you know; It all began with Vivian. Thanks Grandma for making the world a better place by passing on what you knew!

It all began with Vivian

Wasn’t she gorgeous?!

The Right Teacher

The Right Teacher

Just as a little refresher of who I am behind this website and what I do.

I am Elizabeth- the full time Mom of 4 kids ages 8 and under. I am a wife living the simple life in Latvia. I am the artist behind the hand painted silk you see. I delight in creating one of a kind custom ties for weddings, and other special occasions.

One of the things I want to pass on to my kids is a love for music and the ability to play an instrument. Growing up my parents provided piano lessons, later I took voice and violin lessons and firmly believe music has impacted my life in so many positive ways.

Our experience

When my oldest turned 6 naturally I decided it was time for him to start his music lessons and the popular way being music school here in Latvia I decided he needed to go that route. The first year I let him choose between piano or violin- and he chose violin. Everything started ok, but somewhere along the way I grew to fear his teacher’s method.

After my American private music lesson experience  this method seemed very derogotary and negative. Eventually I confronted her on the topic saying I didn’t expect him to be a musician- but wanted him to have a love for music. And perhaps he should switch from the music school program to just private lessons. She said to me, “What would be the point?” I told her that in the USA people take music lessons for their own enjoyment and personal development. She just didn’t get it. . .

Fast forward 3 years- my son switched to piano lessons. We managed to get a sweet, understanding piano teacher at the music school and he is now taking private lessons through the music school. My daugther also started piano lessons with the same teacher last fall and has loved that.

But that violin, sweet, small and inviting stands unused in our house. Part of me hoping at least one of my 4 kids would like to play it- yet fearful of a repeat of our first experience.

New hope awakened 

Then somehow I learned of a private violin studio– and wondered if perhaps this could be the answer?! My daughter had begun begging me from time to time that she’d like to take violin lessons.  My baby was born and 7 months have passed and I finally got around to setting up a time for us to meet this private violin teacher in her studio.

I sat in on the lesson with my 2 other younger boys (one a 7 mos old baby). Every word, ever gesture, every ounce of her method was inviting and POSTIVE. I sat behind the teacher on a rug with my baby and 5 year old, soaking up the lesson. So much joy and so many quiet tears spilled down my cheeks as she introduced my daughter to the violin- and taught her some little songs (with plucking). The tears again rolled down my cheeks when she told my daughter she was going to play some pieces (musical riddles)  about how she felt when my daughter was there (she’d have to guess if they were happy or sad) , and how’d she feel when she left. She broke into some beautiful classical pieces- and it was as if we were at our own private concert.

Music truly is the language of the heart. 

Joy, pure joy. Growing up in a positive culture where music teachers are usually optimistic and you learn because you want to had been my childhood experience. But here in this former Soviet country things are done differently as I said- and my hope of finding a positive experience had begun to die a slow death. This lesson showed me how deep that desire was by the unexpected tears that coursed down my face.

The right teacher, so hard time come by at times; yet such a blessing!