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Fine art gifts for the home made by a good-natured artist.

12 Sep '17

How A Thermal Underwear Shirt Helped Launch My Business

Posted by Patti Clancy


My Dad died three years ago. He had dementia, and for the last two years of his life, he was in a wonderful memory care facility called Chestnut Cottage. Once I learned how to go into his world and roll with it, my visits with him became less heart-wrenching and more endearing.



One of the most calming activities I did with him was paint-by-number art. The motifs were very simple (for 3-4 year olds), and came with these little blue brushes. The toy store only had 4 designs for that age group and I thought he’d get sick of them quickly. Not so with dementia, each time I’d pull one out for him, it was a new experience!




In the last year of his life, my dad became very frail and tiny, and he was always cold. No matter what the season, he wore a long-sleeved, white thermal underwear shirt. I kept it after he passed. Even after I washed it a few times, it still smelled like him, and that was comforting.



Several months later, I figured out the kind of art business I wanted to develop. My ‘ABOUT’ page can fill you in on that, but you probably figured out by now that it had to do with birds.

After nine months of working on my signature collection of state bird art, I realized I had been using those silly 'paint-by-number brushes' to create fine art! I had also been using the same ‘rag’ to wipe those brushes on all those months . . . my dad’s long underwear shirt. It was cathartic. 




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