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Hey Welcome! I’m Crispina ffrench
Artist, Educator, Empowerer, Plant Eater,
Nature Lover, Cookie Baker, Climate Change Activist
I’m glad you are here, Now let’s make shift happen.

Scrapbox Contestants - Julia Tait Dickenson

Over the next 9 days you will continue to meet each of the contestants in this super fun and creative kick in the pants that is Crispina's Scrapbox Challenge 2020. Each participant has documented their journey and put it all together so we can peek inside their backstory and give their work a bit of a backstory - Today we meet Juila Tait Dickenson:

Tell our readers a little about you, and your history, your passion, your work.

I studied ceramics in college, was a professional metalsmith/ jeweler for 20 years after that in Santa Fe, NM & VT, then started in social work. I now work at a Parent Child Center in rural Vermont helping families living in poverty with all the barriers in their lives - parenting, high school completion, trauma, addiction, work and life skills, I supervise a worksite that we started as a jewelry studio and now has transitioned to a sewing studio. We are committed to recycling and reuse unusual “textiles” from our community - feed bags of any kind (farms & people food) as well as banners and signs. We sell our sewn bags, pouches, containers, lawn chairs and umbrellas locally at fairs and events and all proceeds go right back to the program. I also have a husband and 3 kids in their 20’s - which makes me feel old, as I still imagine myself in my 30’s, which I am clearly not.

Talk about your first awareness of textile recycling.

I’ve always loved innovative reuse - I’m drawn to things that used to be other things. When I learned the basic sewing of transforming a used feed bag into a functional bag I immediately unearthed a few sewing machines at our center and taught the young parents I work with. We had a lot of fun & frustration with the learning curve (our machines still don’t love our weird materials). As people saw and heard about  what we were doing, the empty bags started arriving. We live in a farming community and bags are donated on our center porch every day - we have hundreds to use now and have added discarded vinyl and signage to our materials list. I feel like the outpouring of used bags/ trash is the message that we need to keep going in this direction - we put away our jewelry tools & materials and put out the call for sewing machines!

How did you learn about Crispina’s Scrapbox Challenge 2020.

I’ve known and admired Crispina for many years - we both started out as youngsters in the wholesale craft show world. I follow her instagram and emails - and was excited to enter the Scrapbox Challenge and share this with my worksite of young moms.

What has participation in the challenge meant to you, and why.  Be honest.

I was so excited to enter and have my worksite young moms be involved in this. They have developed solid sewing skills and I am always encouraging them to think out of the box and explore their creativity. I had told them about Crispina and the Scrapbox Challenge -  we brainstormed our idea together and had planned to create something collaboratively. We had JUST suspended our program due to COVID19 when the box arrived. I was so disappointed to be unboxing it alone!  What are you two biggest struggles?

  1. Creating this piece alone - it had meant to be a collaborative, evolving design - with many hands being involved. We had already decided to make an umbrella - but depending on the scraps we received, we were going to decide how to proceed. Our scraps were not large enough to create actual panels for our umbrella - so it was just me who decided on using all the scraps as embellishment and our grain bags as background panels. I imagine that, collectively, we may have made the same decision - but who knows the way it would have evolved!?
  2. Donald Trump is also my biggest struggle - but I won't go there today.

Three things that bring you joy.  Explain

     1.Making things - so this project added to my joy.

     2. My family - even though I now have 2 kids (out of 3) at home that would rather be somewhere else! I still like having them around and feeling like we may be           keeping them safe and loved.

  1. Humor, always.

How can Crispina serve you as we venture forward in this uncertain time

Keep making beautiful objects, employing people, communicating, connecting and sharing all the love that you have!

top L to R, Unboxing, Detail, Added Materials - Above, In Progress, Finished Work

Scrapbox Contestants - Julia Tait Dickenson

Over the next 9 days you will continue to meet each of the contestants in this super fun and creative kick in the pants that is Crispina's Scrapbox Challenge 2020. Each participant has documented their journey and put it all together so we can peek inside their backstory and give their work a bit of a backstory - Today we meet Juila Tait Dickenson:

Tell our readers a little about you, and your history, your passion, your work.

I studied ceramics in college, was a professional metalsmith/ jeweler for 20 years after that in Santa Fe, NM & VT, then started in social work. I now work at a Parent Child Center in rural Vermont helping families living in poverty with all the barriers in their lives - parenting, high school completion, trauma, addiction, work and life skills, I supervise a worksite that we started as a jewelry studio and now has transitioned to a sewing studio. We are committed to recycling and reuse unusual “textiles” from our community - feed bags of any kind (farms & people food) as well as banners and signs. We sell our sewn bags, pouches, containers, lawn chairs and umbrellas locally at fairs and events and all proceeds go right back to the program. I also have a husband and 3 kids in their 20’s - which makes me feel old, as I still imagine myself in my 30’s, which I am clearly not.

Talk about your first awareness of textile recycling.

I’ve always loved innovative reuse - I’m drawn to things that used to be other things. When I learned the basic sewing of transforming a used feed bag into a functional bag I immediately unearthed a few sewing machines at our center and taught the young parents I work with. We had a lot of fun & frustration with the learning curve (our machines still don’t love our weird materials). As people saw and heard about  what we were doing, the empty bags started arriving. We live in a farming community and bags are donated on our center porch every day - we have hundreds to use now and have added discarded vinyl and signage to our materials list. I feel like the outpouring of used bags/ trash is the message that we need to keep going in this direction - we put away our jewelry tools & materials and put out the call for sewing machines!

How did you learn about Crispina’s Scrapbox Challenge 2020.

I’ve known and admired Crispina for many years - we both started out as youngsters in the wholesale craft show world. I follow her instagram and emails - and was excited to enter the Scrapbox Challenge and share this with my worksite of young moms.

What has participation in the challenge meant to you, and why.  Be honest.

I was so excited to enter and have my worksite young moms be involved in this. They have developed solid sewing skills and I am always encouraging them to think out of the box and explore their creativity. I had told them about Crispina and the Scrapbox Challenge -  we brainstormed our idea together and had planned to create something collaboratively. We had JUST suspended our program due to COVID19 when the box arrived. I was so disappointed to be unboxing it alone!  What are you two biggest struggles?

  1. Creating this piece alone - it had meant to be a collaborative, evolving design - with many hands being involved. We had already decided to make an umbrella - but depending on the scraps we received, we were going to decide how to proceed. Our scraps were not large enough to create actual panels for our umbrella - so it was just me who decided on using all the scraps as embellishment and our grain bags as background panels. I imagine that, collectively, we may have made the same decision - but who knows the way it would have evolved!?
  2. Donald Trump is also my biggest struggle - but I won't go there today.

Three things that bring you joy.  Explain

     1.Making things - so this project added to my joy.

     2. My family - even though I now have 2 kids (out of 3) at home that would rather be somewhere else! I still like having them around and feeling like we may be           keeping them safe and loved.

  1. Humor, always.

How can Crispina serve you as we venture forward in this uncertain time

Keep making beautiful objects, employing people, communicating, connecting and sharing all the love that you have!

top L to R, Unboxing, Detail, Added Materials - Above, In Progress, Finished Work

Scrapbox Contestants - Julia Tait Dickenson

Over the next 9 days you will continue to meet each of the contestants in this super fun and creative kick in the pants that is Crispina's Scrapbox Challenge 2020. Each participant has documented their journey and put it all together so we can peek inside their backstory and give their work a bit of a backstory - Today we meet Juila Tait Dickenson:

Tell our readers a little about you, and your history, your passion, your work.

I studied ceramics in college, was a professional metalsmith/ jeweler for 20 years after that in Santa Fe, NM & VT, then started in social work. I now work at a Parent Child Center in rural Vermont helping families living in poverty with all the barriers in their lives - parenting, high school completion, trauma, addiction, work and life skills, I supervise a worksite that we started as a jewelry studio and now has transitioned to a sewing studio. We are committed to recycling and reuse unusual “textiles” from our community - feed bags of any kind (farms & people food) as well as banners and signs. We sell our sewn bags, pouches, containers, lawn chairs and umbrellas locally at fairs and events and all proceeds go right back to the program. I also have a husband and 3 kids in their 20’s - which makes me feel old, as I still imagine myself in my 30’s, which I am clearly not.

Talk about your first awareness of textile recycling.

I’ve always loved innovative reuse - I’m drawn to things that used to be other things. When I learned the basic sewing of transforming a used feed bag into a functional bag I immediately unearthed a few sewing machines at our center and taught the young parents I work with. We had a lot of fun & frustration with the learning curve (our machines still don’t love our weird materials). As people saw and heard about  what we were doing, the empty bags started arriving. We live in a farming community and bags are donated on our center porch every day - we have hundreds to use now and have added discarded vinyl and signage to our materials list. I feel like the outpouring of used bags/ trash is the message that we need to keep going in this direction - we put away our jewelry tools & materials and put out the call for sewing machines!

How did you learn about Crispina’s Scrapbox Challenge 2020.

I’ve known and admired Crispina for many years - we both started out as youngsters in the wholesale craft show world. I follow her instagram and emails - and was excited to enter the Scrapbox Challenge and share this with my worksite of young moms.

What has participation in the challenge meant to you, and why.  Be honest.

I was so excited to enter and have my worksite young moms be involved in this. They have developed solid sewing skills and I am always encouraging them to think out of the box and explore their creativity. I had told them about Crispina and the Scrapbox Challenge -  we brainstormed our idea together and had planned to create something collaboratively. We had JUST suspended our program due to COVID19 when the box arrived. I was so disappointed to be unboxing it alone!  What are you two biggest struggles?

  1. Creating this piece alone - it had meant to be a collaborative, evolving design - with many hands being involved. We had already decided to make an umbrella - but depending on the scraps we received, we were going to decide how to proceed. Our scraps were not large enough to create actual panels for our umbrella - so it was just me who decided on using all the scraps as embellishment and our grain bags as background panels. I imagine that, collectively, we may have made the same decision - but who knows the way it would have evolved!?
  2. Donald Trump is also my biggest struggle - but I won't go there today.

Three things that bring you joy.  Explain

     1.Making things - so this project added to my joy.

     2. My family - even though I now have 2 kids (out of 3) at home that would rather be somewhere else! I still like having them around and feeling like we may be           keeping them safe and loved.

  1. Humor, always.

How can Crispina serve you as we venture forward in this uncertain time

Keep making beautiful objects, employing people, communicating, connecting and sharing all the love that you have!

top L to R, Unboxing, Detail, Added Materials - Above, In Progress, Finished Work
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