The creative process has been the most brilliant discovery in my life. My greatest love is working in my studio and doing energy/healing work. In my studio I make rolls of fabric, clay, pieces and parts of art stamps, vintage buttons, and Czech glass beads into an alchemy of art that become the bags. Thrilling! The fabric becomes a bag. The clay becomes colors, symbols, designs, layers, shapes, it sometimes shapes upon shapes...it is a wondrous process for me that takes me new places every time I set foot in my studio. It is a sweet surrendering of self to create something that speaks to me and to the person it is to ultimately belong to. I know when my bags have found their person...they hold the bag close to their heart. That warms mine. Delicious, really.
The healing work came about after years of following a path of spiritual and personal growth, trauma, suffering, joy, but most importantly a yearning for more...a search for a richer, deeper life filled with calm and contentment. I followed my heart in the pursing of learning techniques, meeting others on the same spiritual path and opening to possibilities of the divine. I am not a religious person. I was raised in The National Cathedral where all religions were embraced. I see the beauty in all religions and I am touched by them all. I am, however, a deeply spiritual person. Each healing is entirely different and if I have any ideas of what it will be beforehand it never is! I am always delighted by the heart of those I work with and the easing they experience. The healings guide me along sweetly and with the whisper of God and the angels in my ear. If I can ease anyone on their path it is a gift from God.
I am a published writer, I write daily. About my life, beliefs, observations, things I think about God, people, relationships, my Self, me, my work, the creative process in word form is exciting, passionate and deeply expressive for me. I write to be heard, to stretch my voice, to listen to the divine, to keep my heart open, to express my humanity, sometimes because I am mad as hell! But mostly I am in search of themselves and God.
The creative process is what makes me sing. It is a peaceful, calming process for me. Sometimes wondrous and delightful. No matter what I am creating, whether I am writing, doing energy work or making bags it is a letting go to the process taking on a life of its own and me along with it.
Before I started Alice's Tapestries...I did what I thought I 'should.' I plowed forth in corporate man's world and in some ways I enjoyed it. It was lucrative, safe, linear, and easy (to a certain extent!). I knew what was expected of me, I knew where to go, and I was good at what I did. For a time that worked for me. BUT when no one was looking I was studying the I Ching, Philosophy, stacks of reference books on my tables on writing, authors, self-help, spirituality, religion, dictionaries, thesauri, novels by the buckets. Sometimes it would be about the state/city I was living in, some war, some time in history or culture. I was insatiably curious. The job was fine. I got that done, but I knew there was more, but having NO idea what that meant or was. I took classes at 5 different universities, I gravitated to people that were smarter than I was. I remain hungry to this day.
A sample of my writing for fun:
A White Chick in the Barrio...
Shortly after moving into her new place she ran an errand and looking in her rear view mirror saw a man jump out with a gun pointed at the ground. He ran around the back of his old van and checked what looked like the back tire and ran back in. The first on her list of Wi-Fi possibilities was the FBI surveillance van. She wondered if it was connected. It was a far cry from the wilds of Tesuque where you heard the coyotes howl like a great party she wanted to be invited to. The stars above putting her small life in perspective. The universe spread above like infinity…
Now she lived in a bad hood in hot Phoenix with Oscar bags in the warehouse in Denver…not moving but holding back the life she had all but given up on.
Not wanting to give up on dreams and the stars she knew were there but could not see. She took up smoking and ginger snaps and hoped when it all shook out that life would hold dreams again. Big ones with the drive to make them so. Instead the great mystery stood in the stead of dreams…mustering optimistic hope but the feel of a heavy sadness beneath.
Where is the dream of all that can be? The shooting star. The wonder of being alive. Should it be a battle to call it back or would it seep back in like water after a flood…unbidden, but unstoppable? Should a sword be drawn and a battle cry, with a weary voice be called, OR a quiet waiting while it finds its way home?
This is the story of the dream that fails, the dream that emerges from the loss of one dream and the birth of another. Is it the same dreams come from a different place or a new dream? One that is fresh and new like after a rain when the world looks new? Brighter. Awaiting with life swirling about for a cue from somewhere what direction to go, what action to take…in the Barrio of Phoenix.
By Alice K. Monroney
The Story of Alice's Tapestries
Alice's Tapestries began in a basement of Washington Park in
Denver, Colorado in 1995.
Initially, I had made two bags for my two grandmothers who had a great influence over my life, Lilia Tuckerman Gherardi and Mary Ellen Mellon Monroney. Their birthdays fell within days of each other, and so falling in love with a tapestry fabric from the well known Denver Fabrics, Alice made two bags which were loved and carried by them to the end of their lives.
The following year 1994 I made a group of bags for her friends, sisters and Mom. Everyone loved them and to my horror so did their friends. It took me way more than a nano-second to get a clue.
I had just made 15 of them and had little interest in making more. It took me months to finally make a bag for myself. When I did I subsequently wandered about the planet (as one does!) where store owners, even people on the street would comment. But it was ultimately a great art and craft store in Santa Cruz, CA. that wanted to know where I had gotten my bag, and that had me sitting up and paying attention. It was a very nice store with high quality craft and art. She told me that if I made more she would buy them. Really?! It was another year before I launched the line. I hired a friend and excellent sewer and together we designed a line of bags ranging from cosmetic bags to duffle bags. We had kleenex, cosmetic, eyeglass cases. We had the wearable art day bag, the passport bag the larger everyday bag, the Flap Bag AND The wearable art briefcase, tote...fabulous. A backpack, duffle and a really large Executive Flap hat resembled a messenger bag. We had the whole shebang.
We built inventory and I learned the business... I remember not caring what anyone thought or said. I was going to make these bags and sell them, period. And I did. Initially, I called on any store in Colorado that would see me. I learned from some that they were too expensive and went on to the next store. I knew the towns that I could count on. Telluride, Aspen, Vail, Steamboat Springs. Needless to say, it was a gorgeous journey. The mountains and the scenery were breathtaking and it was a joy to go from store to store meeting the owners and wandering the mountains and mountain towns. Some still buy from us to this day.
One by one, I collected stores, traveled to my home town, Washington, D.C. borrowed my parent's car, loaded it up with bags and again went from store to store. Making sure my travels always led me to Annapolis to dangle my feet in the water when I was done. I rarely stopped. A woman on a mission. So this is what it felt like to live your dream. Wow. Nice. I met hundreds of people all so nice and astoundingly, I gathered checks as I went. Eventually, the bags have been in bags carried in 600+ stores and counting. Museum stores, boutiques, high end department stores and occasionally, a store from overseas...just love Dubai! My bags traveled far and wide. Friends and customers would order them by the half dozen and send them to family in Europe. I loved to think of the bags being carried in Paris and London. Nice to imagine. Friends that have lived in Paris have encouraged me to go. Okay. Soon. CanI paint in the shadow of Notre Dame?
Each bag was decorated as one of a kind, with buttons and beads I made for each bag. Occasionally, if I was particularly enamored with a button on a particular bag, I would make a few. Originally, I bought buttons for the bags... the coolest ones I could find. Then feeling creatively stifled, Stephanie Parnell, my beloved assistant of many years and I found a woman who taught us how to work with Polymer Clay... all bets were off. On my "Portfolio" page you can see the how they evolved. Interestingly, the buttons started getting bigger and bigger in my need to express design and color, so that particular joy led me to painting. You never know where it is going to take you. Life, art, choices, creativity unleashed....woohooo...
"Once I started making my own buttons the bags really took off. I still hear from people that have bags a decade old lamenting the loss of their button, wanting to know if they could get another. Yes, of course! Warming to the heart to know they are so cared for and loved. It is why I do what I do. Once someone asked me years ago if it was hard to let them go because they were so beautiful. 'No', I replied, I want them to go to good homes. " We smiled.
This journey has been blessed. Before I founded Alice's Tapestries my father used to say I was a member of 'job of the month club", which I did not ALWAYS find funny. I was forty when I started Alice's Tapestries and had held countless jobs. Mostly sales jobs, which clearly when it came time to sell for myself came in very handy. I worked for TRW, Inc., and sold auto parts in the aftermarket in five states, ran a classic car dealership on Hilton Head Island, wrote for a column for a newspaper ("The Rules of Being Human: A commentary"), sold paper, cars, money, travel, nutritional products, did multilevel marketing (a particular misery) and was the owner of a speaking and a training company. I either eeked by or did well, but most importantly, I lived my life. Never in a million years did it cross my mind that it would lead to award winning handbag designer and be called an artist! Still not clear that I am an artist...maybe an artisan. My gratitude for my life is profound and touches me deeply. All the people I met along the way... the ones that stayed and the ones that drifted off... bless you all for being part of my journey. Never stop yearning for makes your heart sing. Whether you know what it is or not...yearn for it.
Alice Monroney is a native of Washington, D.C. and fondly says she was 'born and regulated' there. She now lives in North Phoenix, Arizona.
Alice Monroney's family history is well documented. She is the direct descendant of two Signers of the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Chase of Maryland and Oliver Wolcott of Connecticut. Oliver's father Roger was Connecticut's Royal Governor appointed by King George. His sons and great grandson, my great...grandfathers, went on to become Governors and Secretaries of the Treasury, Oliver Wolcott, Oliver Wolcott, Jr. . Alice is the grand niece of Henry Bacon the Architect for the Lincoln Memorial. Her Great...Uncle George Bancroft the founder of The U.S. Naval Academy and wrote the first U.S. history book "The History of the United States." He was also a Secretary of Navy. Her great grandfather was Thomas Peabody Mellon and first cousin to Andrew Mellon, the founder and benefactor for The National Museum of Art in Washington, D.C. Thomas was named for Andrew Mellon's father. Lucius Tuckerman her Great.. Grandfather was one of the founders of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She has numerous Admiral's of note. Admiral Bancroft Gherardi (U.S.S. Gherardi) and her great Uncle Bancroft Gherardi won the IEEE Edison Award and was considered one the foremost authority on early telephone technology. Her grandfather was Sen. A.S. Mike Monroney (D-Ok), who was the recipient of The Tony Janus Award, as was Richard Branson, he also won the Wright Brothers Award for his contribution to Aviation. He wrote the legislation that created the FAA. Her father , Michael M
A family history:
My family history is well documented and colorful.
The women were strong, talented and very individual, I made the first two bags for my two grandmothers. Mary Ellen Mellon Monroney and Lilia Tuckerman Gherardi, both were lovely, elegant and characters. Both traveled the world and blazed trails of the their own making. As the time were women were behind the men, these women were master gardeners, cooks, illustrators or in the front of the political scene of the day. Both were very strong personalities and it would have been fascinating to see what they would have done if born in different times.
My maternal great grandmother, Lilia McCauley Tuckerman, was an accomplished painter. Studying at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and is in Who's Who of American Women Painters. She was the first person to translate the Bible into braille.
My maternal great grandmother, Neville R. Gherardi, was the wife of the German Consolate before the war. The Kaiser was one of her children's Godfather. She wrote of her time in Germany before World War I in Saturday Evening Post.
Eleanor Warfield Kenly Bacon my father's grandmother was the author of several books sometime appearing on Amazon.
May Phelps Mellon Halliburton my grandmother's mother was the daughter of a judge in Oklahoma City. She was childhood friends with Will Rogers wife, Betty Blake. I have a picture of the two of them as children.
These women lived rich lives and the stories are numerous. May Mellon husband Thomas Mellon died. She went to England to live with one of his cousin's in a castle of an impoverished British aristicrat. To return home to Oklahoma they bought tickets on the Titanic. My great grandmother decided instead to go to Paris before returning and they turned in their tickets.
I must say I sort of enjoy this cast of characters and has given me an interesting take on American History.
The paternal side of my family is colorful and interesting, as well. I am the direct descendant of two Signers of the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Chase of Maryland and Oliver Wolcott of Connecticut. Oliver's father Roger was Connecticut's Royal Governor appointed by King George. His sons and great grandson, my great...grandfathers, went on to become Governors and Secretaries of the Treasury, Oliver Wolcott, Oliver Wolcott, Jr. . My great-great uncle, Henry Bacon, is the Architect for the Lincoln Memorial. My Great...Uncle George Bancroft the founder of The U.S. Naval Academy and wrote the first U.S. history book "The History of the United States." He was also a Secretary of Navy. My great grandfather was Thomas Peabody Mellon and first cousin to Andrew Mellon, the founder and benefactor for The National Museum of Art in Washington, D.C. Thomas was named for Andrew Mellon's father. Another great...grandfather Lucius Tuckerman was one of the founders of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I have numerous Admiral's of note. Admiral Bancroft Gherardi (U.S.S. Gherardi) and my great Uncle Bancroft Gherardi won the IEEE Edison Award and was considered one the foremost authority on early telephone technology. He was President of AT & T, which has done nothing for my phone bill. My grandfather was Sen. A.S. Mike Monroney (D-Ok), who was the recipient of The Tony Janus Award, as was Richard Branson, he also won the Wright Brothers Award for his contribution to Aviation. He wrote the legislation that created the FAA. Her father , Michael Monroney, was a reporter for The Washington Post and went on to be considered one of the most powerful and ethical lobbyists of his time.