Friday, April 16, 2010

Member Interview

Who are you?  Rebecca of Knee Deep Originals
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Rebecca, and I’m no big-city girl.  I live in the woods in the foothills of North Carolina, very close also to the Virginia border.  I am surrounded by some ancient mountains, a river, woodlands, deer and all variety of wildlife, and it is to me the perfect place.  My father-in-law bought this land in the 50s, built a little vacation cabin of 600 square feet with his own hands, and gave it to my husband in later years since John so loved being here.  We used to bring the kids up for weekends when they were small; we all have wonderful memories of those days, and some very special moments were created back then.  Beginning in 2001, we spent three years, every summer vacation, every weekend, renovating and adding on, creating a cozy little place of well-planned 1200 sq feet. It was an exciting time for us, and boy did it get us in good shape! But as that third year dragged on, the fun of it was slowly wearing thin. Finally, we moved here permanently in the fall of 2004 and then sold our home in the city, and we’ve never looked back! This is our heaven on earth, and we’d rather be here than anywhere else.  I’ve posted about this special place on my blog quite a few times.
Prior to becoming a “full-time artist” about two years ago, I taught writing at a local university and worked as a Communications Director at a small Episcopal church.  Both of those careers had some wonderful benefits, but the essence of my being is in my hands and in what I can create with them. My Etsy shop name, Knee Deep Originals, came from my business name, Knee Deep Studio.  Being a word person, I like the way it sounds, but it also explains how much art we have around… unfortunately I make more than I sell.  I’ve been painting for about ten years, but not really seriously until we moved up here and I had more time and inclination.  The jewelry I do is a nice change of pace from painting, but I am easing away from the beaded things and focusing on my newest jewelry endeavor, scrimshaw on recycled piano keys.  These make more sense to me as a companion product in the shop with my paintings since they involve a definite artistic side and skill - drawings in miniature.  And of course I must mention that I also am a singer/songwriter and my first CD is for sale in the Etsy shop.
How did you learn about Etsy Project Embrace?
I’m a big treasury fanatic, and while looking through the treasuries, I kept noticing ones that had EPE in the title or mentioned in the comments. So I checked it out and learned about Laura, how it all got started, the goals, and what a great supportive team it is. I joined the team last September. My mom died of cancer when I was 17. She had always been very healthy, active, vibrant… just so alive, and that six-month period of her horrible illness left a huge hole in my young life, and that hole is still there even today. My dad is a cancer survivor, so supporting ACS is important to me, and I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of this team.
What is your favorite item in your shop at the moment?
I’d say that I’m most proud of the CD, Homespun Girl.  
I’ve played guitar since I was a teenager, but I had little time for it when I was raising my children, playing with friends on an occasional music night here and there.  Once we moved here to the woods, I took it up again and a year and a half ago wrote my first song. My playing has improved, my singing has improved, and each song that comes is so different from the others. 
I’m thankful, though, that my songwriting began so late in life because I have such a different perspective on things now and so much more to meditate on and write about… none of that young angst for me!  The workings of a song can come from anywhere, and it’s always exciting to see how one begins and develops.  I don’t know what I’d do without that in my life, as a means of expression. 
My favorite painting in the shop is the Pop Art Pets in OilThe main photo for this listing is of my beloved Bruschi who recently died, but this shows him when he was healthy and happy and would spend time in the yard and garden with me.  This particular painting is in the collection of the Hanes Companies in Winston-Salem, NC and the experience of painting it was very spiritual for me.  It’s a 60 x 60 work, so it’s the largest I’ve ever done.  The three weeks I spent working on it, and doing little else, were mystical, magical, spiritual, liberating, and invigorating, and I’ll never forget it. 
What favorite vintage or antique item do you own, and why do you cherish it?
I have a silver opera bag that was my grandmother’s.  It looks like chain maille, or at least that’s how one of my kids describes it. It’s very slinky and oh so cool, but I’ve never used it.  It hangs in our guest room.
What is your favorite handmade possession?
I have a few, and most are just small little things. But I’ll tell you about two.
One is a boot dagger that my husband made for me to wear on my cowboy boots. It was a Christmas gift from 2008, and I’m very proud of it and of him.  And perhaps it led to a song on my CD… those who have listened to it will know that The Salton Sea is a song about a certain dagger.
Another favorite possession was made by my middle child, who is a very strong artist but who has not yet given his life to it.  He is amazing in what he can do, and I can only encourage him at this point. At 27, he is still struggling to find his place in this world. This possession is definitely not his best work, but it means the world to me and it brings me much joy.  It’s a little flip-book drawing on a Post-It-Note pad.  He has given me two, the first from many years ago of a skateboarder and the second, a Christmas gift from 2009 of a trick biker.  They are simple little things, but they are special. I keep them in my desk drawer and pull them out as a reminder of what I truly cherish… my family.
What do you collect?
Rocks, stones, bones, and feathers… currently on my windowsill in my office I have a small jawbone with teeth attached and a cardinal skull (this courtesy of my cat, Scout). Most of the bones and skulls and turtle shells find a home in my garden, although the dogs sometimes like to go in there and have a chew. All through the house you will find rocks and feathers, things I have picked up for one reason or another, during walks and hikes.
Where would you like to be and what do you hope to be doing ten years from now?
I want to be right here where I am, with the same conditions… open fields, the woods intact, few neighbors, no housing projects.  I’d like to be doing more music, playing more in public and of course continuing to write songs.  And I hope that I will always paint!  Most of all, I hope that I will always be able to share what I have and what I do with others, to be a bright spot for someone who might be struggling in his or her life.


  1. Rebecca, you are such a free spirit and a great person. I loved reading your interview - nice job miss mollie ann! You have lots of talent and a love of life and i admire you. You keep rockin it, girl! laura XXOO

  2. When I got Rebecca's ivory piano key schrimshaw necklace in the mail, I was so overtaken with joy and emotion, simply it was such a powerful piece, and although I faithfully read her blog, this interview revealed so much in such a succinct way, that I'm grateful to have found it! Thank you for sharing, Rebecca, and Mollie!

  3. What a wonderful interview Rebecca! Your world sounds fabulous! Thanks for sharing it with us. And what a cutie pie you are. Love the cabin!

  4. Hey, Rebecca! You and Mollie did a wonderful job bringing your world to us! I always love reading your blog and about your life..and this interview adds another dimension of your wonderful approach to life and art! xoxo

  5. Woohoo! Rebecca is one of my favorite etsyians and EPE'ers. Her art, her music, her character...they are all honest and true. I think there is a part of all of us that just yearns to live the way Rebecca is charmed enough to have the privilege to. As she says in her own words on her album, she got herself a good thing!

    Thanks for sharing with us, Rebecca. And thank you Mollie for all the hard work you put into these interviews. What a delight they are!

  6. wonderful interview ladies - it's great to get to know even more about you and the the artistic path you are following, rebecca. your talent is obvious in all forms it takes!
    hugs to you both,
    karon xo

  7. Your home sounds amazing and it's the area that you live in that I miss so much. I went to ASU in Boone and for me nothing beats the Appalachian Mountains.

    It's wonderful to get to know more about you and what inspires your beautiful work.

  8. So great to learn more about you! Wonderful interview!

  9. It's been a real pleasure getting to know you better Rebecca. Thank you for sharing!
    And thank you Mollie!

  10. Rebecca, your love of life, your shining and hopeful personality, and your beautiful art in all it's manifestations shine through in this interview (and your blog). Thank You so much for sharing your light and love through your words, paintings and jewelry with all of us!
    And Miss Mollie....awesome interview, as always!

  11. great interview. thanks for sharing more of you with us.

  12. rebecca-- how wonderful to know you've found your true home and are inspired so deeply by your surroundings-- i sense it in your art, jewelry and i imagine that it's all there in your song writing and singing too. thanks for sharing your lovely life and times with us!!

    and thanks miss mollie-- XO!