Tips from Stina The Renegade Seamstress

Blue Ridge Sassenach

Wandering along the Blue Ridge Parkway I came upon a most beautiful unsuspecting creature. The Blue Ridge Sassenach cloaked in yellow brocade clothe brighter then the sun. She had appeared suddenly above the Haw Creek Overlook as the fullness of the sun broke over the valley. I asked her how she came to be in 2021 and she looked down at the Amethyst Point in her hand.

The story she relayed to me was eerie and enthralling. The crystal had apparently transported her through space and time... I love time travelogues and this fashionista seemed not a stranger but a familiar sentient being. She collided with the landscape, and was one with the natural world; she was  a mother from the universe appearing to heal the landscape’s vibrations.

We have all experienced some type of time warp over the last year. The first year  of the pandemic shifted our previous timelines.   Netflix and Hulu inundated our subconscious and dream states. The storyline that enchanted me was that of Claire the English Sassenach who came to be living in Scotland 200 years before her original timeline. I had became #outlanderobsessed sometime in the Fall of 2019. My bestie and I started watching the Outlander STARZ television series based on the historical fantasy novels by American author Diana Gabaldon. The pandemic gave pause to the recording of the 6th season; sew after a dramatic 5th season cliffhanger, we were left in #droughtlander mode. After watching the series three times sequentially; I began reading the books to satiate my #outlanderobession  The only way to quench my Outlander thirst was to capture in photographs the beautiful world that Diana’s story helped me create during the worst of times.

The words of Diana Gabaldon are concise and mysterious, her style  is driven by her passion for historical and contemporary fusion of dialogue.  Excerpts from Outlander Chapter II Standing Stones are presented as captions to our Blue Ridge Sassenach story. Enjoy!

“There was a deep humming noise coming from somewhere near at hand.”
Blue Ridge Sassenach in Hooded Cloak



“I thought there might be a beehive lodged in some crevice of the rock, and placed a hand on the stone in order to lean into the cleft.”

Blue Ridge Sassenach Fashion


“The stone screamed. I backed away as fast as I could, moving so quickly that I tripped on the short turf and sat down

Blue Ridge  


“I stared at the stone, sweating. I shook my head violently to clear it, but the noise went on.”

Blue Ridge Sassenach offers crystal  

 “I stumbled to my feet and staggered towards the edge of the circle.The sounds were all around me, making my teeth ache and my head spin. My vision began to blur.”

Blue Ridge Sassenach Crystal offering

“I could say that my field of vision contracted to a single dark spot, then disappeared altogether, leaving not darkness, but a bright void.”

Blue Ridge Sassenach Fashion 

“I could say that I felt as though I were spinning, or as though I were being pulled inside out.”

Blue Ridge Sassenach


“All these things are true, yet none of them conveys the sense I had of the complete disruption of being slammed very hard against something that wasn’t there.”

Blue Ridge Sassenach


“The truth is that nothing moved, nothing changed , nothing whatever appeared to happen and yet I experienced a feeling of elemental terror so great that I lost all sense of who or what, or where I was.”
Blue Ridge Sassenach


“I was in the heart of chaos, and no power of mind or body was of use against it.”

Blue Ridge Sassenach


“I cannot really say I lost consciousness, but I was certainly not aware of myself for sometime.” 

Blue Ridge Sassenach


“I “woke, “if that’s the word, when I stumbled on a rock near the bottom of the hill.”
Blue Ridge Sassenach The Blue Ridge Sassenach climbed aboard ARTeries Mobile Boutique thanks to model Cindy Bowen and photographer Morgan Ford.

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Fashion Designer Mom: A True Story

     Up until the time my daughter turned three, I was operating under the guise of  "Sculptor Mom". I had a BFA  in Sculpture/Fibers and was running my first professional studio in The Phil Mechanic of Asheville's  River Arts District.  Since graduating in 1999,  I was creating large scale fabric art theatrical sets,  installations, and a ridiculous giant whale weaving. Clothing was something I was commissioned by friends for burning man costumes or I designed for myself to perform in theatrical settings like the Fringe Fest. 
      Late into an all-nighter, as my daughter lay nesting  in a pile of fabrics in my studio; I noticed the struggle of scale and space that I was experiencing. The studio was basically split down the middle with sculpting materials. One  half from floor to vaulted ceiling was stacked with forms, ideas, potential mixed media materials and the other half was the rumblings of a clothing line. That night I decided I would move out the wire, twines, rope, yarns, beads, tape,wood structures, armatures and make room for a focus, fashion design.
Her nest blossomed into a loft, then a sleeper sofa as I built studio after studio growing into my designer jeans and returning to the creative dreams of my youth. Peeling back the years of formal art education until I was 10 again- cutting up 60s prom dresses that my grandma would bring home for me- staging fashion shows with my two younger sisters.  I was still that girl, but  now I had a college education and some life experience under my belt.
What a curvy, windy road this last decade has been, but I wouldn't change a stitch of it. She is learning to sew, has picked up fashion design like a fish to water. When indecision strikes I let her decide the color, material or cut to solve the problem. My little model is growing up sew quickly, now selfies and makeup are figuring into the equation. I promise myself I will not force her to work in "the House" of ARTeries and she has joked that she would call it "ARTeries by Cantona".
My daughter is tuning 12 this weekend, and of course I see the reflection of myself in her youth, and yes everyone says "she looks like your mini me." The deeper truth of this story is that I chose to become a fashion designer to be successful for us.  I had to choose the path that would allow me to live my creative dreams, help me achieve financially stability, and be an example for her. I am a proud mom, and now I strive to make her proud of me both as a mom and professionally as a Fashion Designer.