Painting & Designing Wearable Art ~ My Pond, Really!

art cottage retreat
The view from my studio looks out on a woodland pond. I’ve lived here for 18 years, yet just recently begun to paint and interpret the pond.

I used to worry about jumping from one thing to another. Being stretched too thin? Not enough time? I’ve finally just accepted that this is my pond, really!

This issue has followed me for decades. It was not until last year when I returned from Italy that I painted this abstract landscape of the pond outside my studio that things began to change.

Returning from a second retreat in Italy this year, ripples from across the pond lapped at my door.

abstract pond painting
My Pond, Really! Original oil painting on canvas, painted with palette knife, 30″ x 40″

My Pond, Really!

Throughout the year,  I’d been letting myself enjoy a little fiber art, making jackets and scarves from my paintings. I’d resisted thoughts of this for years. I thought it would keep me from doing my serious painting, get me bogged down in sewing projects, things I didn’t have time to do.  So I started very slowly.

I made one thing.  In a while I made something else. Bit by bit, I collected a rack of wearable art in my studio. Friends occasionally stopped by and bought a scarf.  Before I left for Italy last summer, I designed a kimono based on the painting of my pond.

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Studio by the Pond

This Sunday a couple rang my doorbell. I wasn’t expecting anyone. I slid my shoes on and invited them in.

In the studio I showed them paintings, the progressions of subjects and styles. Watercolors from my journals in Tuscany to oil paintings, plein air and studio pieces I’d painted returning home.

We chatted about healing art, how my retreats in France and Italy had inspired me to write and share my art in new ways. I told Jeanette how delighted I felt to meet her, that I understand the Creator attracts kindred souls. I listened as she told me about herself, her dreams of retiring soon.

When they asked about my hand painted jackets, I pointed to the oil painting on top of the armoire and lifted the kimono off the rack. Explaining how I printed the painting on challis and painted back into it with shimmering fabric paints, then designed the pattern and sewed the jacket ~ I handed it to Jeanette to try on.

dorothy fagan studio
Jeanette and me in the studio ~ Jeanette is wearing the kimono inspired by the painting, “my Pond, Really!” that is displayed on top of the armoire. I am wearing a hand knitted jacket I designed from remnant wools in my stash. No, we didn’t know each other was going to dress in black!




My Pond, Really!

As I saw the colors of the jacket radiating from Jeanette’s hair and face ~ my mind flashed to the moment Sara Tassi adjusted her designer  jacket on my shoulders in her shop Maison 39 in Figline.  She and my friend Antonella insisted I try on a jacket I never would have selected for myself.

Putting it on, suddenly I felt radiant. Flashing forward again, my hands preened and smoothed Jeanette, as Sara and Antonella had done for me.

Italian fashion designer
Sara Tassi, fashion designer and owner of Maison 39 in Figline, Italy and me!

When Jeanette and Brian left the studio, I knew I had changed. I felt different, as though I’d stepped through a magical doorway. Simply expressing the obvious ~ how beautiful her colors looked to me ~ transformed me. And then I received her email.

“Thank you again for yesterday! It was an extraordinary experience that I will treasure ~ like taking a peek into the future,” I could have written her words myself.

She went home wearing her dream of doing kayaking retreats when she retires in June ~ and left me standing at the door in my own pond, really!


To think I questioned the Creator’s urge with my concerns! When all along it was never about time and space at all. If I had not accepted Antonella’s invitation to meet Sara ~ and allowed myself to purchase the jacket she designed … Well

Ripples across the pond . . . we’re all in this pond together!

What are you concerned about doing ~ if only you had the time?

Use the comments to share your story. What would you do if you had time?  Is there someone you know who would be inspired by this story? Don’t be stingy ~ share your thoughts with them!

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Wearable Fiber ARt
Wearable Fiber Art Kimono hangs on the wall when she’s not wearing it!

Come by the studio to try one on!