Thursday, October 28, 2010

Donna Lee Trunk, unique wearable art

Donna Lee Trunk of Donna Lee Fiber Arts, specializes in unique wearable art. Her pieces range from small items to coats; they are all made from natural fibers in nature inspired colors.

Donna Lee Trunk's both grandmothers were involved in crafts, one in sewing, one in knitting. Donna experimented with macramé and wood working in her college / hippie years. A Loom - a wedding gift from her husband, John, made Donna look for weaving instructions. She found them at the Paumanok Weavers Guild where she eventually acted as co-president. A Christmas gift - spinning wheel, directed Donna to the Spinning Study Group in Smithtown. She trained and took expert workshops with masters of the craft: spinning with Patsy Zawistoski, felting with Carol Huber Cypher, knitting with Iris Schreier, knitting and design with Louisa Harding, among others.

She has been active in the field for the last ten years or so; runs her studio in Shoreham, participates in shows, has web presence at, teaches hands-on natural dyeing, spinning, weaving, knitting and felting at various venues including 20 Long Island libraries. She has recently received a New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) grant to teach fiber arts to the community including adults, youth and art teachers in schools. She is now in the process of organizing classes at Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead. Teaching comes naturally to her; she loves her craft and it helps that she studied psychology, sociology and education.

Her alpacas. There are two - ten year old Fitzroy, white coat, and five years old Gordon, black coat. The two boys are doing very well indeed. They are well adapted to Long Island environment, they enjoy the winter, their shearing time falls right before the hot summer months. They even like traveling in Donna's minivan to craft presentations around the area. Their gentle nature makes them a good company. Fitzroy and Gordon draw a fair share of attention on the few occasions when Donna takes them out for a walk around the neighborhood. How frequently does one see alpacas strolling through a quiet Long Island street?

With proper care one can get about 5 lbs of hair a year from one alpaca. Shearing is done by an expert from an alpaca farm. Donna spins and dyes the wool herself. She likes using her own dyes - marigolds for yellow/gold color, poke weed berry for purple, beets for red, onion skins for light brown, black walnut for dark brown. She plans to experiment with sumac bush and Concord grapes next.

The next thing - decorative fiber art, an exciting new chapter. It will be interesting to see where the inspiration takes her.

In the near future, Donna will be one of the guest knitters at the Long Island knits event on Saturday, November 13th, between 11 am and 3 pm.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Theresa Wasserman, passion for knitting

Theresa Wasserman, a knitter from Hicksville, remembers knitting taking place around her since she was a little girl. Both her grandmothers, Italian ladies from Sicily transplanted to Canarsie, were confirmed knitters. One used to knit skeets, as she called them, tiny slippers for sliding on the wooden floors of a long hallway. The other specialized in blankets.

Theresa first picked up needles at the tender age of 7, she started by making blankets and afghans. She never stopped.

After knitting various items as gifts for friends and family, Theresa opened her own business under the name Puddinheart Treasures. She attends local craft shows, takes custom orders, and now also sells her work via a retail store - ours, we are glad to say! She can be reached at

While busy with her professional life she always found time for knitting and crafts; it was a family tradition to employ minds and hands in creative pursuits. She remembers wearing shoes made by her grandfather; the wooden forms made by him are to this day a cherished family memento. Theresa's father enjoys wood turning, painting, drawing, he also makes silhouettes.

Theresa is proud of her thrift. She takes leftover ends from other craftsmen, hunts for vintage yarns, buttons, beads and various other objects. She loves using them in her work, particularly the accessories. She also uses commercial yarns. She knits in the European style, likes to embellish patters that please her and invents her own when needed.

Think Long Island First carries her scarves, hats, blankets, flower pins, cute pumpkin hats for kids, etc. She will be one of the guest knitters at the Long Island knits event on Saturday, November 13th, between 11 am and 3 pm.

Long Island knits

Saturday, November 13th, between 11 am and 3 pm

Come join us with your yarn and needles at the Think Long Island First store in Oyster Bay on Saturday, November 13th, between 11 am and 3 pm.

Knit alongside the three accomplished Long Island knitters - Donna Lee Trunk of Shoreham, Carrie Wood of Baldwin and Theresa Wasserman of Hicksville.

See the yarns transformed into wonderful, warm, decorative wearables.

Take this opportunity to stock up on hats, scarves, handbags, etc.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Meet the Maker - Donna Ferrara

Thursday, November 4th, 5 pm - 7 pm

Photo couresy of
Donna Ferrara
Meet the renown potter Donna Ferrara who will present her work at the store. She will be happy to answer questions about her pottery and the creative process behind it.

Donna first studied pottery with the Japanese potter Makoto Yabe and later trained at the Radcliffe Pottery Center at Harvard. She now runs a successful studio where she creates her own work and teaches students at all levels.

Her artistic explorations into shapes and glazes result in highly functional and beautiful stoneware. In plain words, it's stunnig. You will enjoy using these pieces every day.

Thanksgiving is around the corner; take this opportunity to stock up on the serving dishes, plates, tea sets and more, all made by the artist in her Sea Cliff studio. They make great gifts, too!

Photos by Ewa Rumprecht

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Let us introduce our store

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
After a few years of brainstorming and research Jolanta and I have decided to put the idea of promoting things made on Long Island into action and open a store carrying all kinds of things made locally.

We have been searching for a rental space within our area for a few months and have eventually settled on a store within a store inside an old nickel and dime shop in Oyster Bay called Buckingham Variety Store.

We have officially opened our doors last Thursday with artist Harry Wicks, wood turner from Cutchogue, as our main guest. We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Harry for accepting our invitation. We also want to thank All guests who joined us at the Thursday event and All well-wishers who sent us flowers and congratulations. Generous folks of the Rottkamp Brothers Farm from Old Brookville delighted the guests with the delicious apples from their orchards.

Setting up the store was fun. We have been very lucky in having the Buckingham's Store Manager Jason Protter and his helpful staff at our side. We had another stroke of luck in a person of James Johansen, East Northport painter, who not only painted our store sign but also helped us give a new life to the display furniture we have upcycled; James did such an excellent job that we had to shield numerous offers for the pieces long before we filled them with goods. Our friends and family were simply wonderful with their help and support. Apologies for not mentioning them All here. Many thanks!

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
When we first started the project we were a bit discouraged. We had not been finding that many things made locally. It seemed that whatever we consumed was made elsewhere. We have since learned that there are many talented folks here; we are meeting them daily. At the time of writing the store carries wood turned objects, pottery, paintings, photography, quilts, knits, jewelry, lamp shades, candles, cosmetics, honey, jams and jellies. Quite a mix.

We hope you will take a ride to historic Oyster Bay to see the area and to visit the store. The approaching Oyster Fest scheduled for the weekend of October 16th - 17th might be a good time. We are looking forward to your visit.