Stitch and Burn: Bag Workshop

Guiding a 9 year old to sew is completely soul satisfying for me.7 sew smile

The happy accomplishment, with a practical product at the end is enchanting. This was a 4 hour workshop. The idea was to keep him engaged (fun), have a finished workable product, use our heads to engineer the idea, and never spend a second fussing about perfection. Continue reading

Embracing the Grit

rustI’ll admit right away that I have been quite biased towards wood. Building, refinishing, repairing, and beautifying wood has been my artful pastime for many years now. However, metal runs deep with my family lineage of steel workers, machinists, and builders, yet I rejected it as dirty, dangerous, and rough. While it IS all of those things, I am now embracing the grit and seeing the joys of metal. For me, it was coming home. Besides working in my literal home state of Ohio this summer, I recognized the smells of burning steel, the dirt, and the intense sweaty, grungy heat emanating from this place. I thought often of my Father long ago, coming home from work with black hands and curled metal chips embedded into the souls of his heavy, black work boots.

Of course my Father didn’t work for a creative master who admits he hails from the planet “Ooob” and plays The Orb remixed by Lee Scratch Perry on the sound system. In fact, an artist like myself would not have been welcome into my father’s production steel shop where parts for the industrial/military complex were produced. But there I was, part of the assembly line for Doug Meyer’s Rustbelt Rebirth creations.  Offering me an opportunity to be a part of his East Coast Showcase booth at Brimfield, he created artful frames for my oil paintings that matched his fantastic, industrial furniture. Using recycled scrap metal, he and the crew fabricate his art deco inspired designs that fit into a beautifully modern and artful home, office or studio.

"Sea horse" oil 24x18" framed in upcycled chocolate brown with a rolling serving cart inspired by travelling trains of the past.
“Sea horse” oil 24×18″ by Yabette framed in upcycled chocolate brown metal with a rolling serving cart of the traveler’s train era inspiration by Doug Meyer.

Continue reading

On the Road to Upcycled Awesomeness in Ohio via NYC

I have been blessed this spring and summer with traveling… keeping flexibility, mystery, and adventure in my life. This is adding inspiration and expansiveness to my world in ways I had not even imagined.

Here’s the latest chosen art to leave my hands on the way, the chromodoris willani Nudibranch in oil, still available as a print, in its new home.

Chromodoris Willani Nudibranch Sea Slug now resides in Brooklyn.
Chromodoris Willani Nudibranch Sea Slug now resides in Brooklyn with Petunia kitty.

I was recently inspired as I visited a long time friend and artist, Doug Meyer in his mid-century abode, in the Cleveland area, which was full of his sophisticated, modern, industrial furniture creations. Doug and I both having grown up in the industrial “Rubber Capital of the World” Akron, Ohio, we have a common appreciation for the creative re-use of metal and wood.

Here’s his metal patchwork table circa 2009 in the Swankety Swank Grand Opening for the Divisadero Street shop window.


Continue reading

Conch Call of new beginnings

As a child I was fascinated by a conch shell my Mother had as a souvenir from her honeymoon in the Bahamas. For me it was always a symbol of beauty and love and made me remember my parents’ photos of their young 20’s selves hanging out in the sunshine. In Hawaii, they use conch shells as trumpet-like instruments to signal the beginning of a large community ceremony or gathering.

conch-shell blow

In looking at the photo below, you can see this dresser needed a new beginning. I found it at a yard sale in my neighborhood, where its latest leg of life had it serving as tool storage in a dusty garage. (Surprisingly, this is a common story among many dressers I have transformed). Because it was so rough, I had to really think about tackling this project. But its bones where intact and the shape was still attractive, so I went for it!

Before, After, and detail on   The Conch Shell Dresser by Yabette
Before, After, and detail on The Conch Shell Dresser by Yabette

Continue reading

May’s New Growth

As May springs forward with all the Beltane promise of abundance and joy, I finished a new Art Furniture piece. In the Steampunk tradition of updating the old with swankety style, this New Growth Lingerie Chest is waiting to gracefully adorn your dressing room.

New Growth Lingerie Chest by Yabette
New Growth Lingerie Chest by Yabette

Continue reading

Swankety Swank Showcase: Twilight Tree Dresser

Swankety Swank Showcase: Twilight Tree Dresser (detail)

The Twilight Tree Dresser

Swankety Swank Showcase presents the Twilight Tree Dresser!  This aged, sturdy wood dresser has been newly transformed with a hand painted tree in crackle cream with shimmery gold leaves. The top has been refinished in black on its rustic surface. It features dove-tailed drawers, original handles, protective clear coat on its aged mottled surface. This signed art piece would be a lovely addition to a eclectic modern, artfully traditional or bohemian decor.
Dimensions: 36″H x 39″W x 17″D Continue reading

Swankety Swank Showcase: Wildflower Sideboard

Wildflower Sideboard

The Wildflower Sideboard

Swankety Swank Showcase proudly presents the Wildflower Sideboard!  Measuring 36″H x 48″W x 17″D, this aged, sturdy wood sideboard, buffet or cabinet has had a new makeover by furniture artist and Swankety Swank owner, Yabette.  It features a hand painted wild flowers inspired by vintage fabric in hues of brown.  This design ties together its original aged patina front and the painted cream parts that needed the refinishing.  It has its original handles, center velvet lined drawer, carved wood front and dove tailed, solid wood drawer construction.  This signed art piece would be a lovely addition to an eclectic modern, artfully traditional or bohemian vintage decor. Continue reading