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Valerie Frandsen Goates' Profile

About

Short version: Mum who likes to make things. Molecular biologist turned crafty crazy when I had my own wee darlings and needed a creative outlet.

6% sales tax for PA residents (added automatically when you pay via paypal).

international shipping: I'm willing!
I've adjusted most newer listings (which reflect _first class_ prices, usually $10 more for priority if you want it), but contact me for an adjusted listing if you're interested in a particular piece of previously-listed pottery.

Long version: (it took me awhile to realize that no one else's was half as long, but I think I'll leave it because I liked writing it. Read on if you have a spare 20 minutes...)

Christmas time at my house meant that my dad…

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  • Female
  • Born on March 3
  • Joined January 1, 2007

Favorite materials

clay, wool, felt, mohair, cotton, silk

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About

Short version: Mum who likes to make things. Molecular biologist turned crafty crazy when I had my own wee darlings and needed a creative outlet.

6% sales tax for PA residents (added automatically when you pay via paypal).

international shipping: I'm willing!
I've adjusted most newer listings (which reflect _first class_ prices, usually $10 more for priority if you want it), but contact me for an adjusted listing if you're interested in a particular piece of previously-listed pottery.

Long version: (it took me awhile to realize that no one else's was half as long, but I think I'll leave it because I liked writing it. Read on if you have a spare 20 minutes...)

Christmas time at my house meant that my dad disappeared into his basement workshop for hours, and my mom's sewing room was full of secrets; it was emphasized early in our family that a handmade gift was a work of love, more important than any plastic substitute could be. My brothers and sisters and I accepted this truth of the universe, and exchanged our own creations, of our own imaginings (one much-younger brother proudly presented me a “family of snakes” for my birthday—a fistful of carefully cut pieces of yarn) and assisted by more-skilled parents or older siblings. Glancing over my shoulder right now, I can see two of those gifts on my dresser. One is a well-crafted pine box a brother worked on for painstaking hours in my dad's workshop after learning the art in high school shop. The other was made for me when my now-18 year old brother was in kindergarten. My dad cut and routed a V-shape (my first initial) of wood, then helped him sand, stain, and affix small hooks for my necklaces. The V boasts two decorations: on one side, a cut-oval of that year's school picture (dimples and 80's sweater), and on the other, “Jeff loves Val,” in his sweet kindergarten handwriting, traced with paint and thus immortalized by my father. How could I not place top value on handmade gifts?

I largely abandoned my crafty endeavors in college, using my fine motor skills in the laboratory instead, but when my first daughter came along rather more suddenly than I had planned, I was just as quickly full of project ideas. The forced ingenuity of the genteel poverty of years and years of husband-in-graduate school combined with my need (now as a stay-at-home mom) for a creative outlet to create a “crafty monster” (my husband's words). I knew I had made the transition when friends assumed I had been an art major and laughed out loud when I protested that I was a scientist. I guess that 18 years of training with my able parents outweighed my brief four years in the world of molecular biology.

I particularly like to make useful things, so for the last ten years, clay has been my favorite medium (the journey of mud to functional beauty is irresistible). Because I love toys, I pretend like they are useful, too. I came across my first Waldorf toy catalog in 2002, and was an easy convert to that movement's philosophy of natural materials and imaginative flexibility.

Now, I just describe myself with a simple “I like to make things.” Endlessly intrigued with new materials and new ideas, I've been unable to settle into a specialty, but, surrounded by beautiful young ones (my own and others I love), I make more small playthings than anything else. I particularly like to have handwork to carry around to the parade of lessons and appointments that are an inevitable part of modern momdom.

As a happy hobbyist, I create for my own enjoyment. I choose materials that please me—I love the warmth of wool, the unbelievable touch of my fairies' angora goat hair, the soft gleam of nugget gemstones, classic and always reliable cotton, sturdy wool felt, the easy drape of silk cord. Nothing is here because I thought it might sell well or be easy or economical. Everything I make we (the girls and I) love to wear or play with ourselves.

I started my fairy endeavor in 2003 in preparation for my oldest daughter's 6th birthday. For that day, she was Princess Purple Petunia, her favorite flower, and I've held onto the name. Fairies have continued to be our staple birthday gift and are universally adored and requested by both girls' friends. Little girls are always bringing me bags or paper cups of acorn caps they have gathered for me, and my daughters' growing playset is approached with awe and played with for hours.

The beautiful purple petunia flower fairy was generously painted for me by a so-talented friend. We traded, and now she graces my tags and banner.

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