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...jen o'connor's...Artful Adventures & Daily Inspirations

I Love Art, Adore the Handmade and Treasure the Vintage. I am the Fun Mom, the Silly Friend and the Writer who wants to make more room for beauty in the everyday.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

SHE started it!

How fitting... There were pink tinged clouds aloft as we set up for our annual soiree. Debbee worked, along side the other artists, unpacking great boxes of her latest creations. All were cradled lovingly, placed, tweaked, arranged and...placed again... with the care of the creator. Together, we ignored the storm that brewed west of us and charged forth with the preparations for our event.

Debbee was both serene and supercharged! She was deeply moved by the effort we had made, and even more so by the talent that had gathered for the event. She moved about her fellow artists lending encouragement, breeding laughter and dolling out her fabulous brand of "kissy tattoos"!

Eleven years ago Debbee Thibaut started a storm herself. She launched a line of handmade, limited-edition designs with the help of a small crew she assembled and ensconced in a workshop in Southern California. Condensing clouds of charm in papier mache with the most painterly of details I know, Debbee created perhaps the first "collection" of contemporary American folk art. She worked from her heart, sculpting fetching creations that captivated folk art enthusiasts coast to coast. She melded the methods of traditional craft to her own fresh brand of charm and everyday zeal for the seasons, the nostalgia of holidays and the realm of make believe.

Years have passed, and despite wide and well-deserved recognition and yes, perhaps even fame...Debbee has remained deeply connected to her work, as well as the shops that sell it and the collectors who adore it. She takes great joy in meeting collectors, the young and...well the not as young...(see her with new fan little Liv above, and with my Mom Rosie)

Debbee's work speaks to me with a warmth so familiar it's haunting. I love the weight of her work in by hands... the density of the firm and textured surface that seems to absorb paint and push back colors with a commitment to multiple hues and shaded layers. I can tell it's sculpted with hands that know today's joys, and adorned with a reverence for old things. Her work shows a depth of creativity, clear and true. Debbee is a born storyteller. Her work included us in her daydreams, and tells us of her childhood and gentle hopes for her grandchildren. Debbee is doing what she was born to do, and we are the luckier for it.

Debbee is brave. There are so many that have followed the path she has made in the forest of art and craft. I will argue firmly that she started it all. She gave room to the medium and rise to the form. She has angels, fairies, a cadre of old dolls, a collection of barnyard creatures, and anthropomorphic veggies in her corner that are sure to agree with me! So, let's pause and thank Debbee, not just for creating all the magic that has come from her workshop over the years, but also for the storm of sentiment for folk art that she has truly inspired. So many artists and enthusiasts, myself included, were awakened to the mood of contemporary folk art thanks to Debbee and her work.

I admire Debbee for singing her song. And along the way she has grown with new ideas in the face of challenge. Today, she is charting new territory with a line of fabulous blown glass ornaments. In recent months, Debbee has made countless trips to Germany and has actually found the factory where they made the exquisite kugles and blown glass creations more than 100 years ago. It is there that she is crafting new work. Once again something new, with a devout respect for the old ways.

Debbee you are elegantly aloft. A beauty and my friend. For this and more I am grateful to have you in my life and ask that we salute you!
Three cheers for you Debbee.
xxoo Jen


Nancy said...

Jen- you know when you see certain folk art items, they just speak to you, they actually claim a part of your heart. I remember the store that I was in and the first angel that I just had to have. Debbee's creations are magical. I am happy to have my little magical collection and happy that Debbee was able to start this wonderful, imaginative, creative and heart grabbing line of little creatures.
Thank you Debbee!!!

paige said...

oh fun, i feel like i too just spent the day with an amazing artist. her creations are simply wonderful!
thank you for sharing such gorgeous images of her work!!

Lori said...

ah yes ~ my muse ~ i adore the work of Debbee...her imagination is boundless and her creations divine...

Melissa said...

Oh Jen, I couldn't agree more. Debbie is a treasure!! She's not only a brilliant artists but a kind and whimsical soul. Thanks for sharing photos and stories of your fabulous events with those of us who live across the states. It is my dream to attend one of your events some day soon.

FrostingsNSparkles said...

I hate when I'm offline for a couple of days, because when there is so much goodness to see, I really need a cup of tea and a cookie (and a few hours!) so I can enjoy all of these pictures. Such beauty and Debbee is amazing! Thanks Jen!

Diane Duda said...

Thank you Debbee!

Sam I Am said...

what pretty faces and perfectly pink clouds :)

Anonymous said...

Jen- What a wonderful day it was!
Thank you to all the wonderful artists and to you for making it so memorable.
A special thank you to Debbee for taking my daughter Liv under her wing to share her magical storytelling. It was quite a discussion they had together. I was mesmerized by the moment,it is a memory I will cherish and share with Liv for years to come. Debbee truly spoke from her heart about her work and that brings it full cirle to appreicate not only the wonderful art but the person and what inspires them to create and share it with us. What remarkable Women, Artists, and inspiration they all are. julie

Lisa of Twin Cubs said...

Wow. Debbee's work is stunning. I can see why it has remained so popular over the years. She definitely deserves loads of applause for not only creating these wonderful pieces of art but for inspiring future artists. Bravo!

Rochambeau said...

Dear Jen,
Yes I really admire Debbee's talent.
I was first introduced to her art because years ago we both sold to a store in Pasadena, Ca. called Windows.
I still remember the owner Dian speaking so highly of her.


mosaic queen said...

It looks like everyone had a FABULOUS time!!!!! The creative energy must have been enormous!!!! Hence the pink clouds and storm. The heavens above must have felt all of that wonderful energy and wanted to play along! ;-)

Rosanne said...

I met Debbee a few years back and she left such a wonderful impression on me. Her smile fills a room and her stories are very special. She is an amazing artist and I love her creations. I am so happy that she was at the Spring party and that we were able to spend some special time together.

Donna said...

Hi Jen- It's been a while since I checked in on your blog. I have many of Debbee's creations and I agree with you- she started it all-what a talent and a lovely person! Hope all is well with you.Enjoy your holiday.

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