Roberta Whittemore

Sis and I met sisters Roberta and Jennifer at a show in Namp. They walked in and had a brief visit before leaving. They came back later that day and between the two of them they tried on everything in our booth… EVERYTHING!!

Chatting amongst piles of coats and taking turns holding the mirror, we learned they are from New York, their age difference, their unique tastes in apparel and more. It was like we were long time friends 🙂 We also received the distinction of being their favorite shop of the event.

I would like to introduce the elder sisters, Roberta…

Danette: What is it you do?

Roberta: I have tried many things over the years, looking for something that seems special to me. I have decorated shoes, altered bottles, made wreaths, decorated birdhouses, done mixed media, decoupage, made handmade paper and then made ornaments and cards, etc. out of it, to name a few. I also make small animals/people out of… scrap metal, and Christmas ornaments. One of the things I like the most though is making altered books. That fascinates me. I love to take pictures so last summer I started making small magnets using photos I take and altering them with a photo app. I am now trying my hand at painting – something I have always wanted to do. Basically I like to do anything artistic.

The thing I am the most proud of though, I think, is the book of poetry I had published in 2015. Titled “Whispers in the Wind”, it is mostly about the area in and around Silver City, Idaho, and some of the interesting people I have met there, along with a few that are just silly or feeling type poems.
This photo was taken at a book signing I did in Silver in 2015, I think.

I am currently trying to write a non-fiction book based on a collection of old letters written in the 1800s – giving some history around the people who wrote the letters, and places or events mentioned in the letters. So a lot of research is required – given that there are about seventy letters, at my age I may never finish it but I am trying. It is a fascinating study and keeps me busy in the winter when I’m not in the mountains.

I also have a small museum at my home. I had a public museum in New York so when I moved here I brought it with me and have since added local items to it.

Danette: How did you get started making your art and also your poetry?
Roberta:  I had always liked to draw, since I was very young. After I retired and moved out to Idaho from upstate New York, I finally had time to devote to artistic endeavors, something I had always wanted to do. So I just started playing around with different things.
 As for my poetry – I love words but I was never a poet. I think I had written maybe two or three poems in my entire life (and believe me, they weren’t special) until I moved out here and started spending my summers in the Owyhee Mountains. I met a man who became a good friend – Tennessee – and he is musical and he started to write a poem that he could turn into a song. I became interested and wrote several stanzas of the poem. After that I was hooked and thought maybe I could do that. So I did.

Danette: What materials do you use?
Roberta: I am a craft materials hoarder – I can use almost anything for something, paper especially. But because I try so many different things I use various materials – from old rusty metal, to papers, cardboard, paint, buttons, threads, inks, books, etc.

Danette: Does it/they have a particular meaning to you?
Roberta: The old junk metal is special to me because I find it in the mountains, a place I love. It has a history. Paper is special because I just LOVE paper – the older and more water-stained the better.

Danette: What are the inspirations for your designs & for your poetry?
Roberta: I get a lot of ideas for crafts from Pinterest or things I see, things other people do.
My poetry comes mostly from a love of the mountains and the area around Silver City, and the people I meet there. But some just comes from inside me and how I feel. Actually, though, I always say some of the poems just fall out of the air into my head, so I feel God gives them to me. I literally sat at the computer one day, staring into space and a phrase just sort of wafted down into my brain. A phrase will just come to me and I can write a whole poem around it. It’s much easier when that happens as opposed to trying to force an idea to come to me.

Danette: What are your favorite parts?
Roberta: I guess it depends – my favorite seems to be whatever I am inspired by at the moment, but working with paper, writing poems, and taking photos will always be my special favorites I think.

Danette: If you could hire someone to do something you don’t like, what would it be?
Roberta: Oh my, housework!!

Danette: Can your creations be purchased? If so, where?
Roberta: My book can be found online at places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I sell my creations, including my book, in Silver City in the summer at the little store I run for the fire dept. – Silver City Fire & Rescue. The store is open on weekends from 10am – 5pm, Memorial weekend through the middle of Sept. My book is also sold in the summer at the Idaho Hotel in Silver City. My personal business name is Owyhee Mountain Gypsy so I can sell things myself – if that ever happens – lol.

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