Moving to the country!

I grew up in the country. Picture a house in New Hampshire surrounded by trees, a marsh and flowers (my family owned a Perennial Flower business at our home). For the last 14 years I have lived in Portlands. First it was Portland, Maine to go to school and then it was Portland, Oregon for 8 years. Last year I came back to Maine. Most of the apartments that I have chosen have had an outdoor space. If I didn’t have a garden space I would have potted outdoor plants. I was never attracted to big apartments buildings with no personal access to the outdoors. I could never see myself in a large city (Boston, NY, Chicago, etc). It is just not me.


Part of my garden in Portland, Oregon

Moving to the country has been an interest of mine for the last few years. My boyfriend and I love to be outdoors. It is one of the common things about our relationship that is important. It is the inspiration for most of my Fine Art and it is also a spiritual thing for me. Being out in the woods walking around really gives you an awesome sense of peace. The sea also does this for me.

Right now I am on the cusp of moving to the country. I actually already have an apartment there but am currently finishing out my job in Portland, Maine. Stuart got a long term teaching job in Cornish, Maine area. It is an awesome position for him and it has been amazing to get this opportunity. Cornish Maine is a classic New England town. We got an apartment in the village area and I am looking forward to walking around the shops.












Right now I have been packing, organizing and reevaluating. One of the important things about moving is that it makes you look at what is necessary for you and make things work. I am an artist hoarder. I collect supplies or things that could create things and it is really hard for me to part with them. So, I  organize. I make sure that what I do have is easily reached.

A few months before the move I decided to build up my crafting side of my artistic practice. I love making things. Going to art school you are taught to push yourself and make “Fine Art.” This past summer I was walking through Portland for one of their art walks. Congress street was partly shut down and “Fine Artists” were set up with their artwork carefully displayed in white booths. It didn’t click for me. My goal was to attend the crafting sale called “Picnic.” Once I arrived there I understood that this was more my connection. Carefully crafted items made by hand is what I love. I love to paint yes, but there is also the side of me that sews, builds and repurposes. This made me think that my creative direction needed to change.

Well, once I am moved I am going to finally share with you what I have been building up. It has been an amazing process and I have been trying to build this work into something that may actually be profitable online. It is also the season for the holiday craft fair and I will be doing some of these as well. It feels good to be able to combine all of my interests together now. Moving to the country will give me some direction inspiration and the time to be able to get these things made. I am looking forward to this new shift. Talking about moving to the country brings this song to my head. Enjoy!

Getting the perfect fit.

Recently I took an online Craftsy course called, Sew the Perfect Fit with Lynda Maynard. I originally took it because I was having some fit issues with my last jacket that I was working on. The class sends you a pattern and I thought that since I had it I may as well make a dress from it. I am glad that I did. It will a great base to many new dresses in my future.
I did a few muslins to get this together properly. Usually I cut, move and then sew. This time I cut moved and pinned. This save an incredible amount of time because I was able to constantly shift things around when needed.
Getting the fit right using muslins is one of the hardest parts of sewing. The more I do it the more I understand it a little better and actually enjoy it. It feels so great to hear from a stranger that they like your dress and seeing their surprised look when you say that you made it! When something fits well it looks even better on you. I loved this class and very glad that I took it!
Stuart took these photos of me on one of the last of our summer days. We had gone swimming out at our new favorite swim hole about 20 minutes from our house! I loved the covered bridge. It seemed very classic “New England.”
I had to take this shot of Topher as well! He is going to miss his sun pigging!
Is there anything you like to do to close off the summer season?

Sewing project in German Magazine!

I spent a lovely weekend in New Hampshire with some old friends and my family and came home to find this in my mailbox!
Inside the magazine was this!
Burdastyle is a great German pattern company that creates an amazing magazine full of patterns each month. It is translated into other languages and also has an American version. I post my sewing projects on This past spring, Burdastyle magazine contacted me to see if they could post my Dirndl in their fall issue. Of course I said yes! They asked me to write a few things about the dress. What they took from that was, “Mein Halloween Dirndl ist kurzer als das Original.” Which apparently means, “My Halloween Dirndl is shorter than the original.” I think that is funny. I guess that works in case others want to make a similar design.


So excited to have been asked to be in two magazines in one year! It is great to have my sewing projects featured as well. I am currently working on a line of sewn bags and I will share these soon!

My Etsy!

Now that we have been in Maine a year I am wanting to shift some things. Summer is creeping to an end and snow will be coming sooner than I would like. With the change of the season comes a change of my creative work habits.


























As an artist I usually schedule shows and create work for these. What I am more interested in doing these days is creating work that combines my new sewing skills. I have tried to combine paintings and garments in the form of a solo art show before but I felt that it didn’t really connect. I am thinking about creating some hand made items for my etsy account instead. Etsy is an online marketplace where people sell their hand made creations. I have had my account open for years but never really posted much. I would love to spend my days making things for this and being able to make a living this way.

I have uploaded a bunch of work that I have created over the years that are from a variety of different shows. I created an inventory list, a monthly checklist of things to do, and organized the drawings into an easy to access booklet.


I also moved my inside studio around. I moved a desk from our front room into the studio in order to have my sewing machines on this rather than the large work table.


I had some spray paint and gave it a quick update. I love having the color in the studio area.























I also put my sewing supplies in an easier location. Having them at a easier to access place will make things smoother.


























My dog also loves this set-up. The sun comes right in and he gets to have his sun pigging in!














































If you would like to check out the work that is available, please follow this link:
RebeccaShellyArt (etsy)

Have a lovely day!


Rebuilt Dress

Recently I was looking at to get some inspiration for some dresses that I was working on. I came across a dress that was marked down from $100 to $30 because the last size was an extra extra large (4x). I thought that I could take it apart and put it back together.

So, I purchased it. I fell for it in the photo and thought that it would be a good challenge for me.
I did quite a bit of adjustments. If it were just a slightly larger size I could have taken it in at the sides. I had to take each of the parts and sew them back together at different locations. It was a chance but it worked.












































































It is called the “Wild Flower Photographer” dress. This seems fitting for me since I take photos of flowers and make paintings.

I am currently in the process of changing my blog up. This is going to be a very exciting process for me. I hope that you enjoy the change as well! :)

Teaching Life Drawing

This past month, I had an amazing opportunity to teach Life Drawing for the Maine College of Art’s Pre-college program. I was fortunate to have an amazing group of students and wanted to share some of this work on here.

I would start off each class with quick gesture drawings. This was a great way for the students to loosen up and get into the drawing mode.


















I would then move onto longer poses and have them focus on certain aspects. One of the first things was building the form using cylinders. This helped to break down the body into shapes and forms. This seemed to help many of them from the start and used this throughout the class.





















One of my favorite parts about teaching was walking around the classroom and watching the students develop their skills. There was a range of ability in the class and I was careful to focus on different aspects for each student. Some things were universal and I would share this with the students as I walked around.





















































For some of the last classes I brought in some grey toned paper and some white charcoal. This gave them the opportunity to develop tones quickly without having to build up the middle ones. Some really amazing drawings were creating using this technique.
















































































































I am sad that the class is over, but I am looking forward to the next.

Moto Jacket

My latest creative project was a Burdastyle Moto Jacket in silk. There was a sew-along that I used to make this. Prior to this I did a lot of fitting for the jacket. I wanted to make sure that it was the correct fit. I made a bunch of practice rounds to make this work.

Here is one:


























I did a forward shoulder adjustment, swayback, added more at the bottom to fit my but, sliced some fabric at my shoulder blades for more room, realigned the sleeve to fall properly after the adjustment, altered the front to fit me better, etc. Lots of changes happened!





















Sewn Bike Bag

Recently I purchased a bike that would allow me to have bags along the back. I wanted something that I commute with and be able to go to the store, farmers market, park etc. What is exciting about being a sewer is that I was able to custom fit it for my needs. I found plastic coated cotton material at Z Fabrics to make it. I measured my boyfriend’s bike bags and created a pattern from it.

I changed it a bit and turned it into a single bag. I created flaps that protect it more and added a strap from another bag to be able to carry it outside of the bike.

The inside is a canvas duck with pockets that house my bike lights and locks.











































































There is a large amount of space to add many items. My purse fits really well inside.
It folds up if there is not a lot of items inside.


























The back side I have some hard plastic preventing it from going into the wheels and some marine grade vinyl that I found in the scrap section at Jo-Anne Fabrics.


























In order for it to sit and stay on the bike I created some Velcro flaps that keep it in place.

























It comes off easily and I can use it as a messenger bag style.


























I have used it many times and I love it!


My potted garden…

The last four years I have had a few garden beds at my apartment in Oregon. Now that I am in Maine I am trying to create some garden spaces using pots.

My dad started some tomato, pepper and onion plants and brought them up on his last visit. They are amazing! It is mid may and one of the plants is already laden with tomatoes.


























I placed them against the fence near where my trailer sits. Now I will have a view from my trailer of my plants growing into the summer. My neighbors have two big dogs and I added some fencing that I found on the property to discourage the dogs from going into it.


























I have empty containers that I will fill in with some of my seed starts.
Some of these already seemed big enough to transplant to our porch.
Stuart created an installation for the morning glory seeds that we bought. They have already started to climb since taking this photo a few days ago.
This is one of my favorite “rooms” of our apartment. We only get to use it part of the year. I got a table cloth at Jo-Anne’s Fabrics on sale and thought that it brightened up the space.
Do you garden? Is there something that you like to grow?

Featured in Studios Magazine!

I am super excited to share this moment with you! This past winter, Studios Magazine contacted me to see if I wanted to have my trailer featured in their summer issue. They were going to focus on traveling art studios and they thought that my trailer would be an interesting one to share. They asked for certain types of photos and I answered a bunch of questions for them. I hired my friend Dylan to take some shots and we had to do this when it was probably 10 degrees and snow outside!

Rebecca Shelly - Artist Space - by Dylan Verner-188

























The other day I get home and I see a package. It is the magazine! It was so exciting to open it up and see how they put everything together. I brought them out to the trailer for a photo shoot. I thought that this was fitting.


If you are interested in reading the magazine, you can get it through their website:

I also know that Jo-Anne Fabrics and Longfellow Books carries it as well. It was fun to come up with items for the “Get the Look” section of the magazine. I chose the fabric that I bought for the curtains and some drawers that were similar to the ones that I had built for my own trailer.

It is the Summer Issue and will be on stands for a few months. It is an interesting issue and features Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Kristina Wentzell another New England artist who turned a vintage trailer into a gallery space for art shows, and another artist Jacqueline Newbold who lives in Oregon and Maine.


I really want to thank everyone who helped me keep this trailer in my life. It was a year ago that I ran my Kickstarter. I have enjoyed making the pieces for people and sharing my enthusiasm for creating. I am trying to figure out what the next stage of the trailer will be. I am wanting to teach and maybe I will start some workshops inside the trailer. It would have to be only a few people at a time but this may be fun. If you are interested in a workshop just send me an email. I will come up with some ideas and post them here soon.

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