{Art} Meet 6 FOF artisans

6 FOFs turned these crafts into cash. Read how below!

1. Deborah Purtell

Deborah Purtell Designs
Age 62
Portsmith, New Hampshire

“I make needlepoint bags, apparel and housewares, as well as patterns for people to create their own. I’ve been designing them for years.  My son went to Bucknell University and I did a needlepoint belt for him. Other people started asking for them and it blew up. I create the needlepoint designs on the computer and when I’m satisfied, I print it out and paint it by hand on a graph-like canvas. I sell on my website and five needlepoint shops on the East Coast. It keeps me busy, especially the past year since I put up a website. People have really started to find me.”

2. Jeanne Scannell

Urban Wraps
Age 58
Newburg, Pennsylvania

“I’ve been making clothing since I was 12 and selling it at ‘hippie happenings’ and crafts festivals. I started getting serious in the 70s. I sold at the very first National Crafts Show in 1974. I was selling wraps two and a half years ago at the Lyndhurst Crafts Fair in New Jersey, and a very sophisticated European women came to my booth and said ‘I like what you’re doing but I want you to do it differently.’ Normally I don’t listen–I’m not in this business to please everyone–but she intrigued me. I made one the way she suggested, watched her put it on and my jaw dropped. I thought ‘Everyone is going to want one of these.’ I’ve sold thousands. I sew them from fabric remnants I get from the big NYC cutting rooms. Sometimes they are pieces left from Armani, Chanel or Loro Piana showrooms.”

3. Mary “Mare” Lavan

Just Mare
Age 57
Pine, Arizona

“I was in I.T. for Intel for over twenty years, and then I took an early retirement about four years ago and moved to Pine, Arizona, a tiny town in the mountains. I always wanted to find my inner artist but never knew I’d find it in my backyard–literally! My neighbors were potters and gave me lessons. I finally got up the nerve to list one of my items on Etsy in October of 2007 and, ohmigod, it sold! I also do some local shows, sell on my own website and on Artfire.com. I’ve sold about 600 pieces of pottery. It’s my first creative venture. I get inspired by nature; I incorporate twigs and things I find on my walks.”

4. Debbie Lippens

Lippens Design
Age 54
Orlando, Florida

“I used to work in the trade show business and visited Vegas a few times per year. On a trip there in 2007, I visited a junkyard called The Boneyard which has old casino signs from the 70s. I’ve always loved typography and photography – so I began taking pictures of some of the letters. I spelled out my daughter’s name, “Ainsley.” I was ready to leave but found out it would be thirty minutes before a cab came, so I began snapping photographs of every letter I could find. It ended up being almost the entire alphabet.  At the time, I didn’t know what I was going to do with them. That holiday season, I made all my nieces and nephews (I have more than 20!) their own name signs. Other people started asking for them and I started to sell them through Etsy, local farmers markets and an artist co-op called Artistree. I’ve done affirmations like “Carpe Diem”  and “Peace,” first names for children’s rooms or last names for wedding gifts.”

5. Susan Morgan Hoth

Morgan Silk
Age 61
Richmond, Virginia

“I retired from teaching and have too much energy to relax and take it easy. I started MorganSilk, my hand-painted scarves, which I sell exclusively through Etsy and ArtFire. I am a one-woman operation and every scarf is handmade. Once, I took my work to a really upscale gallery and was asked if I use Photoshop. They got a glimpse of the back of my head as I walked away. I’ve had 399 sales from Etsy and 48 from ArtFire (but many were multiples that were counted as single sales). To get inspired, I wander around outside and then figure out how to get the idea onto silk. Sometimes I just let the dyes talk to me.”

6. Ellie Wellstead

51 Greenwich
Age 53
Portland, Oregon

“Growing up, I did crafty activities from knitting sweaters for my teddy bears to silk-screening posters for high school drama productions to painting wall murals in college dorm halls. I graduated from Cornell University’s 5-year architecture program and after ten years working in several architecture offices, from Honolulu to Denver to Ithaca, I wanted a business that was more creative and hands-on. I started my company, 51 Greenwich. I cut, compose, layer, fold and weave recycled paper into cards, journals and other paper goods. I print patterns on them with soy ink. The name 51 Greenwich honors the street address where my mother was born in NYC and also the first location of my grandparents’ printing business, De Pamphilis Press. Right now I sell on Etsy, the Local 14 Art Show in Portland and a gallery in Connecticut called Artist’s Market. I don’t sell enough yet to make a living, but I am working towards it!”

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7 Responses to “{Art} Meet 6 FOF artisans”

  1. SecondhandNel says:

    Great art. I learned to iove silk, linen and cotton fabrics when I lived in a hot climate. I sell vintage on Etsy and in real brick and mortar locations. Good luck.

  2. kay wolter says:

    love the wrap would so love that..beautiful and the sign with letters Tryed to do My own and oh boring….thanks love to read about craft person’s

  3. Morgansilk says:

    You can see my silk scarf and necktie gallery at:

    I made that website all by myself, too!

  4. arlene kohler says:

    this is so inspirational..I am going to see what I can create

  5. ricki - sprig to twig says:

    Found this blog through Ellie, one of the fabulous artists in this post. Bookmarking for further visits…inspiring.

  6. Sandra Healy says:

    Wonderful to see what these FOF artisans can do! My sister and I both have Morgansilk scarves and love them.

  7. Laura says:

    LOved all this sharing…
    Please the italic type in that size makes it a bit hard to read


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