How It All Started.

Here I am with installment #2 of Charles’ Adventures in Blogging.CharlesOnFloor

A few disclaimers as I wade into uncharted waters. My typing skills are reprehensible; slow and mistake filled. I spend more time correcting typos than I do actually typing. I’m afraid I grew up in a time when typing was considered more of a womanly thing. I took typing class, as required, but was less than serious about my skill level. Now, of course, with the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had applied myself. I guess downloading a typing tutor is next on my ever-expanding to-do list.

Next up, an advance apology for my language arts and technical writing abilities. Again, not something I thought I’d ever really find much use for day-to-day. I’m not a slacker by any means. I do, however, have limited tolerance for endeavors for which I do not perceive much use. So, verb and tense agreements are something I am only mildly aware of, and even less concerned about. Then there’s “dangling participles” and those just sound, well, mildly obscene. I also have a comma fetish. There, I said it! I use them with reckless abandon and with little or no provocation. The same with this:  ….   as my mind changes gear mid-sentence. The joys of thinking and writing with ADD!

Now that I have significantly lowered your expectations of my writing, I can proceed without guilt or fear. Thank you for understanding and patience.

On to the creative processes if you’re still with me.

The painted horse (previous blog post, Jan. 10) became the inspiration for my first scarf. Before I delve into the creative process let me say a little about my venturing into the intimidating world of fashion completely unarmed and unprepared. The following is from the About Us page of my website. I wrote this as well though it seems oddly polished. I must have wrote and rewrote this a number of times!

“For more thIrisan 30 years, I have designed and crafted radiant stained glass windows from my small studio tucked in the Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee. The surrounding countryside provides the inspiration, which I combine with technical expertise and craftsmanship to create artworks of lasting beauty.

Ottolini Studios has been designing and fabricating artworks for residential, commercial and religious environments since 1977. During this time I have learned to be sensitive to the architectural and environmental setting of the artwork and to my client’s aesthetic needs. My glass working skills include leaded, beveled and etched glass, specializing in fine hand painted, kiln-fired renderings of religious themes and the natural world.

Fabric art has fascinated me since a trip to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City more than 20 years ago. I purchased two scarves, which were reproductions of Henri Matisse’s paintings. The manner in which silk takes color amazed me. Brilliant, saturated colors!

Stained glass is brilliant, saturated color. Stained glass images would be perfect reproduced on silk. The idea remained in the back of my mind all these years- until recently. A few years ago I decided to create a collection of beautiful textile products based on my stained glass designs and my love of color.CharlesAprilScarves

Starting this artistic endeavor has been both challenging and exciting. I’ve learned so much and am still exploring different processes for creating artful fashions and accessories from my stained glass designs. In an era when most textile designs are created digitally, my designs are individually handcrafted as paintings, pastels, watercolors or stained glass pieces.

I was born in Toledo, Ohio and raised in Newark, Delaware. I come from a family of creative people. One of my grandfathers was an architect and an artist. The other was a highly skilled craftsman, as is my father. One of my brothers is an artist and a craftsman as well. I attended the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.EpiphanyBaptOfTheLord

I was studying commercial art when I happened to visit the Ringling Museum of Art’s exhibition of Tiffany’s work. I was immediately hooked on the intense, clean colors that stained glass possessed.

As much as I enjoyed sitting and drawing or painting, I have always loved building things with my hands. Soon I was looking for opportunities to learn the stained glass craft. After several years working in other studios, I started my own business in east Tennessee. My desire to create and build is the impetus for my designs all being original artworks rather than digitally generated images. They are statements about your style, whether it is bold or subtle, contemporary or traditional, expressed in artworks you can wear.

I invite you to browse my scarf and handbag designs. In addition to what you see here, there are about 15 sketches for new designs, which will be released as the artworks are completed and a multitude of other ideas being formulated in my mind or scribbled on scraps of paper. Stay tuned for new collections and items, all handcrafted, reproduced and sewn in the United States.”

Last week I promised to tell you how a horse became a scarf in this week’s post. I hate to renege, but a little about the journey from stained glass craftsman to textile designer seemed appropriate to tell before moving forward. Next week, I swear!

Until then, have a fabulous week!


And if you found this article even mildly informative, interesting or amusing, please forward or share it with a friend or two. I will be most grateful!  😉



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