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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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Saturday, June 9, 2007

Divas Always Share

Leslie McCabe loves thread and color, buttons and beads, old cloth, her dogs at her feet and, above all, the fabric of her life. It shows in her work. Each creation is happy and bright, with a definitive lust for texture that seems to come from seeing the world for what it is, and liking it just the same.

Leslie seems to know that sharing might not only be the best thing in the world to do, but the most rewarding. For close to 20 years Leslie has created an impressive and varied body of work in the textile arts. It has been her emotional and creative outlet through life's changes and the tide of time. By sharing these creations, into her life have come a long and powerful stream of friendships that cris-cross the states and the Atlantic to Ireland where she lived for several years.

Though I had heard of her and had lusted for her work, I finally met Leslie at a 50th birthday bash in Connecticut. We were celebrating our mutual friend Moira's special day with rounds of crafts and a weekend of fun. Leslie was to teach all of us punch needle embroidery; my tasks were to cook and to read Flora McFlimsey's Christmas Eve while hands were busy. I couldn't possibly do that punching, why waste her time teaching me...

But, Leslie was doing something she does well...she was sharing. Patiently tutoring those new to the needle, the impatient and the clumsy, she worked with each of us. She held her hands over mine, showed me the push of the needle, the gently pull, the switching of the color, the rhythm of the design's swirls. I felt brazen, confident, enabled. I worked away on a small piece utterly captivated with what my hands were birthing. She had made it look easy as a chef who makes a a simple and elegant dance across the fabric. I struggled, but pleased with my effort, I became enchanted with the results. Leslie taught on, and as she did an image emerged from her own work...a cheery bloom with a bluebird and then, as if to beat all, there were polka dots (Just to make sure we weren't taking this all to seriously!) .

The medium varies, but Leslie's brand of artistry shines through. Her work is intensely detailed and varies from figural pieces in whimsy boxes, to beaded jewelry, hooked rugs, and my favorite, her punch needle pieces. These far surpass others I have seen...done in single stroke with more colors than fair to exist in one place.

Leslie is my friend. A true friend who knows me and loves me just the same. When I see her work that hangs on the walls of my home it reminds me of her wonderful laugh - issued from the throat with head thrown back - her eyes when they look over the top of her glasses in playful retort, and the tilt of her head when she listens to me, not to answer but to understand.

Leslie is a diva, a teacher and more. She shares herself, her style and her time. So let's take the month of June to celebrate the fantastic women artists, like Leslie, who have helped us to grow over the years. Those who teach, those who share, and those who encourage.

Thanks, with great affection, to Leslie for her faith in me and what art and craft can do for all of us who have never mastered the needle and thread, but love it just the same.

Jen O'Connor
ps email us if you'd like to see Leslie's latest creations...we're putting togeter a NEWSY Update....


Anonymous said...

Jen you always seem to have the right words -- Your thoughts read like lyrics. I had the
BEST time talking with Leslie and fell in love with her in an instant! Charming and strikingly beautiful and kind and fun. What's not to love, huh? While I am ever so fond of her needle work we can not forget the DRIPPY BRACELETS! OH MY are they devine. Please call me when mine comes in!! So nice to meet you Leslie -- it was such fun!
Cheers, Sandi

Rosanne said...

Where do I start....Like Jen I also met Leslie at the 50th birthday party and immediately had to learn how to punch. Leslie had me addicted right away and I was in heaven. I love any type of needlework and hadn't done anything in a while. She sparked the fire inside of me. I had an instant connection to Leslie and loved her from day one. How can you not.....she is a very beautiful and special woman who is not only extremely creative but fun, caring and as sweet as can be. I am very proud to be Leslie's friend and always look forward to our talks and visits with each other. Hope to see you real soon! Love you...Ro

Debbee Thibault said...

Leslie is one of my Best Cross Country Buds! When we get a chance to hook up, we always light creative fires under each other. I loooooove her work! I can't tell you how many times thatI have bought items that she made and that she was wearing right off of her. I have quite a collection now of various art pieces created by Leslie over the years. I will always treasure them!

Kissy tattoo's From Debbee Thibault

Michelle said...

Lovely post as always!!!


Diane Duda said...

Leslie's work makes me smile. It looks warm and happy, as do her photos.

Dara said...

I just adore Leslie!!! The sense of color, and texture in her needlepunch and beading reaches out and grabs you!! I love my new beaded bracelet!! She is a wonderful artist, teacher ( yes, I too learned needlepunch from Leslie),friend and mentor. Leslie, thank you for all of your heartfelt words and inspiration....your grace and style is undaunted!!!

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