Monday, September 14, 2009

15 years...

how it all began...






this morning it occurred to me that i have been making game boards for 15 years now....it is so hard to imagine, time really moves right on by...i started to think back over the years and made myself laugh when i began at the beginning...




i was living in dallas, texas then...(and honestly, a piece of my heart will always belong to texas)...i was a ferocious quilter - crafting several quilts a year... my girlfriend taught me how to sew on a sewing machine and how to quilt...the first quilt that i made i used the 100% cotton batting...i wanted something warm and toasty for my oldest son, for this was to be his. i joined the quilting group - stitch 'n _itch....a gathering of 8 of us, once a week to quilt, eat and dream....the batting was so thick and tight that i would have to use pliers to pull each and every needle through...since i was a newbie to the quilt, the 'others' thought i was just 'mad as a hatter'....but eventually another quilter used the same batting, and pulled out her own pliers...



i picked up a 'do it yourself' type magazine that is no longer available...i read an article about making game boards yourself for your walls...i thought i'd give it a go... after hitting home depot for a piece of wood and molding, michael's for paint and stain - having no experience in hammer/nail, paint other than wall paint - off i went to see what i could do...



i was hooked....i made several and asked what my friends thought, they loved them. so as my oldest son was in less need of my time - you know, run in and run out?, i thought i'll take the boards around to stores in dallas and see what they think...i was greeted so warmly by the stores and if they didn't think they could sell them they told me of another store to check out...

after a couple of stores welcomed my pieces my business had begun...i had $25.00 to invest in the start-up of my company - so i typed letters to stores that were listed in the back of country living magazine - attached a small picture of my piece...and off i flew...i've always said it was 'luck', but my dad says luck=hardwork...so i have come to accept that yes, it was night and day hard work that made it all fall into place...




originally, my mailman cut my wood squares and would leave it at my home when he dropped off my mail...







a 'tough biker' would later pull up to my home on his motorcycle, his cat riding in his 'carry bag' and he would take my painted boards, loading them on his bike and take them home to add the molding...he was a funny site, cat and all - and i was so interested in checking him out closer. one day a friend of mine and i went to pick up the framed boards at his house - he lived in a wonderful old original section of dallas, where the homes are arts and craft, to die for homes. when i went in i was struck by how odd the inside was, for the furnishings were small and fragile - antiques that reminded me of Louis XVI...it was an odd marriage - biker and Louis XVI...he then took me to his wood work shop where he showed me his lathe. that began my love of the lathe and i am determined to one day craft from one myself...




as i decided it was time to leave the city i read about my little town in a 'great small towns in america' - packed up my son and his 5 cats in my corolla and off we went. 13 years later - i'm still here, in my little paradise... my work has changed throughout the years for people have come and gone through my life leaving me with invaluable knowledge for my craft. my introduction to power tools was probably a life saving event - for your wrists do start to become disagreeable after years of use... i've known students, moonshine runners, oldtimers, artists and hippies throughout these years, each adding their own unique stamp to my heart...if i had to do it all over again, i would do it all the same...







for game boards, here is my link: www.dallisongameboards.com

4 comments:

Zoe Nelson said...

Very cool, Diane. It's always fun to see how people get started. Sometimes I look at my old work and say "what was I thinking?". Maybe I just wasn't! Love your studio -- is it always that clean?

diane allison-stroud said...

yeah right! i cleaned up my act for the shot, you know me!

Lana of Honeysuckle Lane said...

Diane ~ what an interesting story! Your love of your art truly shows in your work. I am honored to call you my friend.

Leigh said...

Oh you gave me goosebumps! I admire you in so many ways my wonderful aunt....I love you! xoxo