After I created my first EcoMemory piece for my geology professor Dr. Palmquist, "Partridge Point in Lake Superior” (Read about it HERE), I wondered what would be my next step. I thought, who really gets my abstract landscape art. I immediately thought of Jackie Skarritt. Click HERE to see her Instagram Page. We have been Instagram friends for a few years and she always would comment so insightfully on both design issues and color palette. She would highlight the complicated designs or the teeniest little piece of fabric that I had inserted and thought no one would notice. But Jackie noticed, and would comment about it on Instagram. She would look at my Clouds series and say she looked up at the sky and it was exactly like what she saw in a recent daily square from that Clouds series. I knew that we saw the world in similar ways. So next step, I direct messaged her in Instagram and asked if I could call her about a project I had in mind.
She could not have been more gracious. We talked for an hour and found out we have many things in common. It turns out she is from a small town right next to where I grew up in Pennsylvania. She’s from Red Lion and I am from York. Small world. And then it turns out she’s had many years experience as a professional watercolorist. So I learned so much from her and so grateful for the opportunity to talk to her about art business topics.
I told her about my EcoMemory idea and asked if I could make her a prototype artwork and actually interview her to hear about her favorite place in nature and how it makes her feel. She agreed and we scheduled another phone call. So I came up with a list of 10 questions to ask during this EcoMemory conversation. She was the perfect "first person" to interview for a prototype with these questions because she is very insightful, and as an artist herself, very observant so she knew color and sound details from her memory. It was really fun. As we were talking, I was building the design elements in my mind. I knew I had perfect fabric colors for the sunset with a shot cotton made with two different thread colors woven together.
And the best part, we decided to do an Art Swap! She sent me one of her spectacular Wild Irises watercolors and I sent her the custom EcoMemory. It worked out perfectly.
Here is what she had to say about the EcoMemory process…
"My favorite part of the custom EcoMemory process was being encouraged to really search the depth of my connections to specific places from childhood/young adulthood whether through memories visual, emotional or sensory (or all three!) I realized in the process how vitality important it is for me to return to those places on as regular a basis as possible.
The EcoMemory collaboration will result in a beautifully constructed and extremely personal fabric artwork encompassing your feelings and memories of place in abstract form. I’d also add how easy and communicative Kathleen is to work with.... that she really listens to her clients and that her dealings in all ways are done in an extremely professional manner."
-Jackie Skarritt from Kalamazoo, Michigan
Her EcoMemory View from Seaside Heights Boardwalk is based on her childhood visits to the New Jersey shore. As someone who grew up in Pennsylvania, I knew all about “the Shore. ” We talked about the smells of the food on the boardwalk, the waves breaking on the beach, the freedom as children to go to the amusement park and go on rides. But it was the sky and ocean that was to be the focus of this memory.
If you look at the bottom of the EcoMemory "View from Seaside Heights Boardwalk," the boardwalks are very textured with interesting patterns in how the wood is laid out on the boardwalk. Then I made the sand out of two different colors for variations in the sand. Next horizontal level up is the surf with teal and sky blue for the breaking waves. Then the next level represents the sunset colors going up to the darkening sky.
I learned two main thing about this process from Jackie. When my clients get very specific about their special memories from these special places in nature, they can relive those vivid memories when they see their custom art. Even though art is a visual medium, the other senses like the smell of food on the boardwalk or the feeling of wind on your face are just as powerful. Secondly, I learned the power of custom artwork that is so personal and made just for you. I think Jackie would agree, this is a special gift to yourself or a loved one.
I will always cherish my memory of going through this process with Jackie and remember it every time I see Jackie’s Wild Irises watercolor hanging in my studio.
I have found a way to serve my clients that reconnects them to how they feel in nature. My hope is that every time my client sees their custom EcoMemory, they remember what was special about this place and bring that feeling into their every day life.
If there is any way I could be of service to you, just let me know. You can use this Contact Me form.