May Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. As a child I would weave paper baskets, pick handfuls of our neighbors flowers and re-gift them…sneaking up quietly to the front door, depositing the basket on the doorknob, knocking real hard and running away really fast. Hidden behind a bush, I’d sit and watch as “Aunt Vi” would open the door and seem so surprised to find a May Day basket hanging on her door.
Once the grandchildren came to stay with us we would create all sorts of containers to hold flowers, cut or planted or dirt and seeds, from handkerchiefs to tea cups. They, in turn, would sneak, knock and run to about 15 of our friends and neighbors homes delivering May Day Baskets. One May Day delivery, in particular, will stay with me forever. Simon was about 4 years old. This beautiful white haired, blue eyed boy sneaked up to our only “difficult” neighbor’s house. He knocked and ran and waited…nothing. Sneaked, knocked, ran and waited…still nothing. So, he went and took the basket from the front door and we went around back. Our neighbor met us at the back door spitting mad and ready to attack. He then saw Simon holding a lovely basket of flowers out to him, greeting him with, “Happy May Day!” From that moment forward, we had no more “difficult” neighbors!
On this lovely May 1st morning I wish you love.
Love that brings joy to little children.
Love that fills Grammas to overflowing.
Love that melts hearts.
To use God in your life is to bring into manifestation all harmony, beauty, joy and happiness.
The Two Listeners/God Calling
The joy of watching Fred come into existence from caring, creative hearts to encourage a fellow traveler and gardener. Fred now stands proudly in the newly planted Talbot House garden. Love has many faces at Repurpose Studio.
The faces in the studio change, but the heart of the Father makes it’s way through this space through avenues unexpected. Several of our ladies have moved on to employment, others back to their homes and some back to the streets. Celebrating the joy of growth and recovery and sitting with the uncertainty, frustration and sadness of hopes unfulfilled goes hand in hand here. Love is the common thread that weaves itself through it all!
Legacy Christian Church invited Repurpose Art Studio to display some of our creative efforts at their Easter Sunday Art Show. Thank you Sara for the opportunity to promote our women and their work.
Through the very generous gifts of many loving people in the community and beyond, our goal of 12 sewing machines has been reached and our classes will begin in May. The excitement has been building and we are thrilled to have so many of our ladies interested in learning a new skill, making them marketable in the community.
Fabric has been our media for spring, creating flowers on stems and on magnets for May Day and for Mother’s Day as corsages. It never ceases to amaze me how outdated fabric can get new life, becoming beautifully remade into a purpose discovered only after someone discarded it. Sounds like life renewed!
This past Saturday, Grace City Church blessed Gospel Inc., Repurpose Art Studio and Lighthouse Ministry with a large group of men, women and children willing and excited to step out in the neighborhood and put their hearts and hands to work. Thank you to all involved for your continued generosity in the community and this ministry.
Dear friends, I’m finding, after four long months in this position, that we are a conduit. Nothing more, nothing less… A space that allows the flow of humanity’s suffering and inexplicable joy into a space of peace and healing. We are not a soup kitchen, there are places in this neighborhood that do that really well. We feed the creative spirit. We are not a Bible Study. There are tremendous classes that teach the Scriptures daily throughout the city. We teach acceptance and non-judgement. We are not a church. There are over 50 churches throughout Lakeland that preach their doctrine. What we do…is love, unconditional, unrestricted, unashamed…love. Come join us!
It’s been a couple weeks full of anticipation, which often times brings with it an underlying sense of uncertainty, expectation and frustration. We have several ladies looking for work, and due to the nature of their situation, the positions are very few and very far between. These women have overcome, they are strong and resilient and capable of great things! Please continue to lift us and our women up in prayer, for health, employment and happiness! Thanks for all you do to keep us creating new lives!
We are moved into our newly renovated studio, just in time to add four new neighbors to our lovely group of remarkably brave women!
I received this message from one of our new ladies this week. “…I came home so excited and encouraged which is, sad to say, not always my norm. I felt so “in tune” with EVERYTHING there…it felt like, as they say, “I found my peeps.” I felt acceptance which has not been happening for 3 years… I was expecting a fun time and all, but not on the level I did… I felt like I made new friends today.”
We are all breathing in deeply the open inviting space. We have all been creating originally designed fabric flowers for the Lakeland Downtown Farmer’s Market April 8th.
Remember there are several opportunities to gift these darling creations over the next months! Come by to see us!
May Day, May 1st – May Day Flowers for Filling Baskets!
Mother’s Day, May 14th – Corsages for Moms and Grandmas!
We were invited to set up our market wares at the Grasslands Craft and Art Fair this past weekend. It was such a wonderful opportunity to speak to locals and vacationers about our studio and the women we get to work/play/create with.
We have been blessed with a few generous donations for our Sewing Machine Project. Last week we ordered 4 of the wish-listed 10 Singer Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing Machines we are planning on to fully set up our studio! We are hoping to begin our sewing classes within the next couple weeks. We have several of our women excited about learning a trade that will serve them well in providing an opportunity for employment.
We are almost sold out of our really cute aprons that are made from men’s button-down shirts.
We need shirts!
Any cotton blend shirt works well, but we would love some bright colors for summer!
Call or stop by the studio. You are always welcome to join us and share in our creative space!
“This is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive.” Alice Waters
We enjoyed our first, First Friday cultural meal gathering in March. Our dear friend Letty prepared a Puerto Rican Fiesta of Rice with Gandules, Fricase dePollo and Tostones! We sampled a variety of tropical juices and mavi, a sweet tea specific to Puerto Rico. The dishes were deliciously full of garlic and cilantro!
I had always heard that if you didn’t care for a typical cultural dish, it wasn’t prepared correctly…I can honestly say that any plantain I had ever eaten in the past was NOT properly prepared, because I loved these Tostones!
We had been preparing for Spring Obsession and Lakeland’s Farmer’s Market the second Saturday of March by creating notecards from watercolors and colored paper. The proceeds going toward our project of purchasing sewing machines to begin sewing classes beginning in April! We have a few local boutiques preparing positions for our trained seamstresses!
Our created pieces are now set up and available in our Gathering Space at 310 Plum Street.
You don’t need to wait for the market days to pick up a card, a lovely piece of jewelry or any variety of crafty items.
Our shop is honor based. Prices are posted and a basket “drop box” sits on the ironing board. The doors are generally secured, so call before coming to shop and ring the bell!
Phone:863-869-1623 / 863-513-5001.
Donation basket sets on the ironing board. Donations gladly accepted!
After a very busy weekend with our ladies, neighbors and a wonderful group of workers from Oasis Church, our gathering space and studio was ready to set up for our Mass Market Grand Opening Bonanza!
Josh “Bump” Galletta gifted us with a lovely mural in our entryway.
The wonderful ceiling was completed, the picture rail was established for hanging art, moulding painted, shelves built, walls built, delicious food created and new friendships developed.Thank you to everyone involved!
We are so grateful for our fabulous facilitator Joyce. She is unwavering generous with her time, her talents and love for us all at RePurpose Art Studio.
Over the past several months I have been reading and soaking in the words of, “A Fearless Heart: how the courage to be compassionate can transform our lives” by Thupten Jinpa. One of the practices in the book is repeating, “Just like me, all others aspire to happiness and desire to avoid suffering.” The human connection… Just like me!
During my very short time here at Repurpose Art Studio I have witnessed compassion at work in the smallest of gestures to the moving of mountains! The practicing of compassion takes on life and breath here. The out-workings of compassion are subtle at times, but if you are still and watch…the joy bursts forth from the faces of our women as an inward smile or a confident turn of their head as they survey the final brushstroke on a notecard!
We have been joyfully preparing for “Spring Obsession” this Saturday, March 11th and our table at the Downtown Farmer’s Market. The ladies have been practicing watercolor techniques and being creative with adding color and texture to the lovely Spring note cards we will be showcasing this month at the market. Our aprons and jewelry will be available as usual. The proceeds from the market will go towards a specific project to purchase 10 basic, heavy-duty Singer sewing machines. We have several job opportunities arranged for our women who will be trained on the machines, so we are anxious for the current work to be accomplished so they can begin a new creative endeavor that will increase their marketable skills!
We would appreciate any donation towards this project. Thank you in advance for your generosity!
We are preparing for a workday this Saturday as well. We will have college students and neighbors here moving furniture, painting the last bit of moulding in our studio, building shelving in our cabinets to organize our supplies and creating a “Gallery” in our gathering space to display artwork.
Then comes the “fun” part…settling into our newly renovated Studio! The dream is becoming reality. We will have a spacious studio with sturdy tables for sewing machines, a cutting table and a lovely, vintage, wooden ironing board! The painting center will have tables, easels and drawing boards with a plethora of supplies to inspire creative play that we all so dearly need, no matter your age! For our handcrafters, we will find a couple comfortable chairs for hunkering down in and keeping the fingers full of threads and yarns.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
A week of discovering creative talents that have been hidden.
A week of discovering courage, giving strength to boldly go…
A week of discovering friendships built on trust and a common sisterhood
The renovation of the studio is almost complete. Now, we begin the deliberate equipping of the beautiful space. We plan on filling it with large, sturdy tables and an abundance of comfortable, practical chairs for sewing, jewelry making, handcrafts and painting. Yes, I did use those two words in the same context to describe chairs! It is possible!
Your prayers are especially appreciated in covering us women in love, courage and strength for the day.
We are grateful for our very handy man Art, who works to keep Repurpose Art Studio moving forward. A sincere thank you to Trinity Presbyterian Church for donating furniture to help make this space inviting and functional. Thank you to the multitude of people who have given of themselves and their wealth, be it financial or material…you provide the opportunity to keep our hearts full and our hands busy here at the studio.
We had the pleasure of having gentlemen from the Ledger visit the Studio on Wednesday. Several of our women had the opportunity to share the stories of their lives and their time here at Repurpose. The photographer snapped photos of watercolors moving on paper, beads strung on string and threads cross-stitched onto cloth. They graciously spent time on their knees picking up spilled beads from a necklace that slipped from Allie’s fingers. They shared in our time together as if they had all day. Hoping to see them again once we are settled in our new space. It was truly a pleasure.
Preparing our cherry blossom tree and watercolor note cards for Spring Obsession at the Downtown Farmers Market on March 11! Our ladies didn’t know how talented they are.
As we continue preparing Repurpose Art Studio for our growing number of women, our friend and fellow worker Letty has created a lovely welcoming entryway for our women and visitors. The painting placed in the entryway hangs In honor of Repurpose Art Studios dreamer and co- founder, Jessica Felix-Jager.
Our ladies set up at the Downtown Farmer’s Market this past Saturday. It was a beautiful, encouraging and successful day! Our handcrafted Valentines Cards were a big hit. Necklaces, earrings and several of our aprons, repurposed from men’s button-down shirts, were purchased. We will be returning March 11 for Spring Obsession with watercolor notecards designed especially for this event. Thank you Joyce, Letty and Ciara for supporting our women and drawing marketers to the tent!!
Thank you to all who came through our tent, admired our handywork and brought home gifts for yourselves or for a loved one! Your purchases make a profound effect on our precious women at Repurpose Art Studio.
The Demolition has begun! Our three small studio spaces have become one expansive, roomy, light-filled, creative space. The brainstorming has begun on the placement of a variety of stations designed specifically to enable each woman the opportunity to learn and grow in skill and creativity. There will be a painting station streaming with natural light and supplies, a sewing station equipped with heavy-duty machines, ironing boards and cutting tables and a sitting area for creating handcrafts. These spaces will make this studio a pleasure to teach and learn in.
Thank you Cameron for all your hard work and creative touches.
Our Repurpose Ladies have been preparing for Lakeland’s Downtown Market this week.
They have been building jewelry displays, from common, repurposed household items, for the handcrafted necklaces and earrings several of our ladies have created specifically for the Downtown Market.
Seeing this is “THE LAST WEEKEND BEFORE VALENTINES DAY” we have been concentrating on creating unique Valentines Day cards to gift to your friends and loved ones! The women really enjoyed this project and put a lot of heart into this precious cards! Look for us at the Lakeland Downtown Market this Saturday, February 11.
We are looking forward to changes to the studio over the next couple weeks. As I write, our plumber is piping water upstairs to the studio for a utility sink! The excitement of having accessible water for projects and being able to wash our equipment and floors without hauling buckets of water up the flight of stairs is beyond words! Thank you Paul!
Next week begins our wall demolition to open up the studio from three smaller spaces into one large working space. Removing the walls will accommodate the growing number of women who are joining us for the workshops, and will allow several projects to be in progress at the same time without the group being separated. We are planning on creating specific stations for sewing, painting and crafting in an open, fellowship friendly atmosphere. We will be meeting downstairs until the studio is completed. I will be posting progression photos, so please join with us in our anticipation of this new space! There will be opportunities for volunteers to help paint and build centers for a fresh creative atmosphere. Thanks in advance for your thoughts, prayers and willingness to help!
It’s been a wonderful whirlwind of celebration over these past two weeks at the Studio. Three of our ladies graduated from the Life Renewal Program at Talbot House. Moving on with increased courage and confidence, with new life skills and new friends!
From the Alumni of Talbot House… “I would like to remind all of you, that as you move forward, you can and will survive whatever comes your way…Because all of you are wiser and stronger from your prior setbacks in life. You have been tested many times, and yet, here you are!” Congratulations Ladies!
We enjoyed a wonderful time of food and fellowship this week. One of our precious women is leaving us and heading north to be near family in Connecticut. She takes with her the hearts of many of the women at Talbot House and all of us here at Repurpose Studio. She will be missed for her strength and wisdom and for the miracles she performs with a little yarn and a crochet hook!! Thank you for all the love you are leaving behind and look forward to creating with you over Skype!
Hello, my name is Connie Lutter and I am the newly positioned Director of Repurpose Art Studio located at 310 Plum Street in Downtown Lakeland. My husband Mark and I have very recently moved back to Lakeland after three years in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m feeling deliberately placed in this space, at this time, to fulfill a passion of opening up meaningful, honest dialog between women to nurture trust and courage. I have a lifelong love of fabric and paint that make this position, not only purposeful, but rewarding!
Repurpose provides a variety of workshops designed to encourage marginalized women from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds; to find and develop skills of sewing, handcrafts, jewelry making and cooking, to equip them for the marketplace. Which in turn will raise the quality of life for them and their families.
Repurpose not only provides opportunities for new skills, it also creates a loving space to build relationships, trust and courage and a safe-haven for healing.