Verve Vertu artists put donations to good use

First Posted: 2/13/2014

Donations of silk, cotton, matelassé, embroidered and woven fabric swatches in a variety of prints were gifts as “good as gold” for the artists at Verve Vertu Art Studio, Dallas.

Sonia Wysochanski of The Drapery Shop and Closet Werks in Clarks Summit has been in the drapery business and interior design business for 30 years and, when the books she purchases from fabric company representatives become outdated, she donates the high-end discontinued fabric swatches to pre-schools, kindergartens and schools.

“The books are discontinued, so that’s why I give them away, because I can no longer order the fabrics. We buy new all the time, so we are current in the textile industry,” said Wysochanski.

“I think it’s great they recycle them. I don’t want to throw these books out. It’s a waste.”

Gwen Harleman, Director/Arts Coordinator of Verve Vertu Art Studio, Dallas, described the variety of fabric Wysochanski donated as “beautiful,” with “a lot of silks and textures” and said that, since settling in at the new 3,200 square foot studio location at 24 Main St. in Dallas, artists at Verve Vertu are incorporating the fabric into a variety of projects.

“We are fabric and textiles artists here (at Verve Vertu),” Harleman said. “We’ll probably use them (the swatches) for a lot of different things, but right now we’re using them for the variation of collage and mixed media. We would incorporate them in maybe sewing and in some of our wearable art. I think our artists are very used to repurposing items because they know I don’t throw anything away. The fabrics donated can be used with paints or as canvases. We work with materials from crayons to high-end paints.”

Swoyersville artist Victoria Brown said of her work at Verve Vertu, “I love it because it’s what my career is all about. I’ve done everything, but I like doing batik using a gutta resist. I like donations and I like the variety of working with different media.”

Brown explained the process she used in a recent project that incorporates the donated fabric.

“I was getting the fabric out and cutting out when I need it,” she said. “I cut the fabric and after that I pin it first onto the musli and I took some pins. After that I do sewing by myself.” \

In addition to fabric art, Brown also recycles CDs to create two-dimensional art work.

Verve Vertu is under the auspices of The Deutsch Institute and provides classes to artists in a five-county area comprised of Luzerne, Lackawanna, Wyoming, Susquehanna and Wayne Counties. Harleman said Verve Vertu’s mission is “to tap into the creative energy of individuals with special needs encompassing intellectual, physical or emotional challenges, but she noted the studio is open to everyone “who feels they want to tap into their creative energy.”

“It’s an option for people who have artistic talents to come here to express themselves with instruction and the ability to be represented,” she said.

Wares created by artists at Verve Vertu have been sold to customers throughout the world, including Denmark, Ireland, England and Afghanistan.

“We’re international,” Harleman said. “We have our own line of wearable art here and we’re known for our reasonably-priced wallets, fiber greetings cards and one-of-a-kind art.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have such a large space where we can be creative,” Harleman continued. “The artists here have an extreme interest in what they’re doing. By their work ,you can see their creative nature. We hope to develop many different venues and avenues for them with the guidance of professionals.”

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