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May 5, 2023

The Confidence to Go Public

On Sunday, May 14, I will be exhibiting my Penny Rug Pillows and wall hangings for the first time! In New York City – at West Elm in Chelsea! I am beyond thrilled to be showing in a venue where, not only will there be great traffic, but also at a place where I’ll meet my ideal customer: sophisticated shoppers looking to beautify their homes. I’m almost as thrilled to have a deadline to work towards. 


West Elm Chelsea opens its doors to select artists to exhibit their offerings each weekend. My pop-up will be from noon to 5pm on May 14th, Mother’s Day. I’m visualizing families heading out to brunch late morning, then moseying through the store and coming upon me and my work. My experience has been that, even though shoppers may not intend to purchase a pillow, my art will captivate them and be irresistible.

How did this come about, you may be wondering. It was an opportunity I could have missed.

I met with my Visions Group in late March and mentioned the need to take action around sales. My pieces are visible on Etsy, but I’m not proactive about promotion.

“Check with Vanessa,” the woman in my group of three suggested, referring me to a mutual friend. “I know she does something with a local store.” Vanessa’s Vintage, while gorgeous and tasteful, is not handmade, nor is it interior design related.

My immediate impulse was to reject the idea. This sentiment is hereditary. I’ve worked for decades to take opposite action to this relatable, albeit, provocative quote: “The highest form of ignorance is contempt prior to investigation.”

I called Vanessa.

I was surprised by how excited I was to hear about the West Elm opportunity. She gave me the specs of her experiences – she has exhibited repeatedly – and, at the first opportunity, I hopped a train downtown to meet the store’s designer who would say yea or nay.

I brought samples of my work, plus a copy of the spring issue of Where Women Create that features me. Upon seeing the spread, he gave me an enthusiastic yes.

“Would you like to see the samples I brought?” I asked.
“I don’t need to. I can see you do beautiful work.”

Like my excitement with the Subway contest, the quick high was replaced with a terrified, “How will I display my work on a tabletop?” panic. I called V again to see if she might recommend a stylist/merchandiser. She did.

Here’s a sneak preview of how this talented referral will partner my art with West Elm products:


In addition to getting more of my art ready, I’ve scheduled a haircut in advance of my showing and an appointment with my wardrobe consultant to pick something fun to wear.

I would love to have you stop by that day if you’re in the city. There is a vast difference between the pretty pictures of my work online vs. seeing and touching these pieces in real life. The wools are so lush, and the beads sparkle. Plus, I’ll sparkle too when you say hello.

“It takes enormous fortitude to create the work in the first place, but then once it’s time to put it out in the world, the confidence required to go public is unrelated to the audacity that created the work.” – Lucinda Williams

My friends and followers give me that enormous fortitude. Thank you!

Sunday, May 14
12PM – 5PM
West Elm Chelsea
112 West 18th Street

I’ll be bringing a couple of in-process pieces to demonstrate the stitching and beading while I’m at West Elm. Here’s a sneak peek:


No results yet on the Subway contest, but I got great encouragement and support from my readers. Two responses need to be shared:

From my dear friend and fellow artist on Whidbey Island, Patti: “For someone who is the antithesis of tunnel vision, this is an ironic undertaking.”

My good friend, Holly, nicknamed me the Sol LeWitt of 191st Street, referencing the esteemed artist who created this design for the Columbus Circle Station in NYC

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