You know that feeling when you meet someone and you just get that ‘good vibe’ feeling? And don’t you love it when your ‘vibe’ is proven correct, and that person turns out to be just an amazing person?
About 7-8 years ago I had that vibe when a beautiful woman with blonde curly hair walked into my store, IONA, back in Madison Wisconsin. My read, I thought for sure she was on a visit from Topanga, CA, or San Antonio, TX. Turns out she was living here in Madison. I was kind to close with my read in that she was part of a creative community. It turns out she was a creative; healer, writer, artist, now add to that podcaster.
Her name is Leslie Coff, she is a partner, a mom to kids and dogs, and the inspiration behind my newest hand dyed pieces for a mini-collection called ‘Hope is in the Stars’. The title is a blend of her podcast ‘Breathing out Stars’ & her current life mantra ‘Hope & Joy’.
The podcast takes a deep dive into the human existence told through personal stories and experiences. Often beautiful, but sometimes heart wrenching, her stories permit us to take an intimate inside look at the life of Leslie, but really she is giving us permission to look deeper within ourselves. Relatable, funny, thoughtful, intense, intelligent, honest and kind. That is how I would describe her work. These themes also extend to her writing and through her paintings, which she also describes as an extension of herself. Self = Art = Life = Self.
I recently spoke to her about her work and how she manages to create and be inspired through this difficult time in all of our lives. She told me that her work is ‘Hope on canvas’, and that ‘Having hope doesn’t mean you need to ignore the dark place, but that you can integrate them both’.
We talked about her podcast too, and I mentioned how much I enjoy listening to it & that I applaud the emotionally raw content but acknowledge how beautifully it was done. Even the sound of her voice is comforting. She told me that it ‘takes courage to be emotionally honest, & that is precisely what she is trying to do, and that is why people love the podcast so much’. She didn’t realize that this honest sharing was ‘so rare’.
She said ‘try to dare people to walk forward with their heads held high & we will all be ok’. I nodded on the other side of the phone call understanding what ‘held high’ meant. Leslie summarized our conversation at the end with ‘We all need Hope & we all need Joy’. Amen.
Now the challenge was on me to try to pay reverence to all of that!
Like Leslie herself, and the work she creates, they are gorgeous. I wanted to create pieces to mimic this beauty on an elevated ‘canvas’ , or in my world, on a ‘blank’. I decided to use more luxurious ‘blanks’ as the starting point, and after that I wanted to respectfully give my interpretation of each piece through use of fabric, colour, pattern & technique. The results are a mix of whimsical, beautiful and dramatic pieces. They are colourful & subdued. They are bright & dark. My hope is that they create the same Hope & Joy as they were created.
‘Hope is in the Stars’ is my luxurious mini-collection inspired by the art of Leslie Coff. It is an exclusive , one-of-a-kind hand dyed series created on silk & cashmere, mostly on luxury pre-owned or vintage pieces. I am hope you enjoy.
’Hope is in the Stars’ will be available on ShopPdub.com on Thursday, November 4, 2021. A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to the ‘Madison Reading Project’, a non-profit providing access to free books and literacy programs. The Madison Reading Project is a non-profit that is important to Leslie.
Thank you to Leslie and thank you to all of you for reading, Pamela