Sheila Martin has what people call “A Good Eye.” She has a divvie’s ability to suss out folk art gold whether she is in an upscale shop or a down-at-the-heels Goodwill. When she finds treasure, she gets her patient husband Bill to cart it home and help her shoehorn it into her already full house. Lately, though, she will call me and say, “I’m at Billy Bob’s Junk Emporium and I spotted a lamp, a rug, a set of dishes, or a taxidermy pig, and I think you’d like it.”
Sight unseen, I tell her to buy whatever it is for me. I always fall in love with whatever she finds. I also lust after items she has found that she wants to keep for herself. Examples are Cher Shaffer paintings or scary dolls, a Buddy Snipes figure, hand thrown dishes from Taos where she used to live, and a print she stumbled on recently at a thrift shop.
Part of the appeal of Sheila’s stuff is the way she masses colorful art on the walls and tabletops in her house. Your eye is drawn helplessly to each of her displays, and just when you think you have chosen your favorite pieces of art, you see an arrangement you like even better.
The thing about Sheila’s house is that whenever I go there I leave with the feeling that I need to rip my house apart and start all over again. Either that or that my already crowded house is way too plain and needs more art and more color. I feel like I have done a half-hearted job of making my house my own, and that I should work on finding more cool stuff to make my house reflect my personality the way Sheila’s does hers.
The other thing Sheila does is upcycle clothes she finds in thrift shops. She takes ordinary wool sweaters and sweatshirts from Goodwill, cuts them apart, and sews them back together so they are edgy and fashionable, and then embroiders them using Japanese sewing techniques. She sells out of this work every year at SAAFF along with the animals she creates using scraps and canvas.
She can look at a designer sweater or handbag in an upscale shop and recreate it at home in front of the tv, knitting with wool or shredded sari silk. I have two of her silk handbags at the shop. I also carry her exotic bird sculptures at Chifferobe. Come in and buy a Sheila Martin work of art!