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‘Art is number one’

Deborah Spongale-Taylor and her husband, Chuck, are enjoying a long, artistic career of making everything from whimsical felted sea people to paintings and furniture made from driftwood or scavenged old boat pieces.
Deborah Spongale-Taylor and her husband, Chuck, are enjoying a long, artistic career of making everything from whimsical felted sea people to paintings and furniture made from driftwood or scavenged old boat pieces. - Submitted

Deb’s Sea People and other whimsical creations

LIVERPOOL – Don’t ever doubt Deborah Sponagle-Taylor’s passion for art.

“I’ve had other day jobs off and on over the years, but art is number one, and I can honestly say that I create every day,” says the Liverpool resident. 

Although Sponagle-Taylor can be found on Facebook under Sea People Art, this is really only one of her many artistic talents. 

The felted sea people came to be at a time in 1978 when “the good luck kitchen witch” was a much-wanted item, she says. Being one to make before she buys, Sponagle-Taylor and her husband, Chuck, came up with their own version of the kitchen witch made from flour and salt dough and repurposed fabric from the attic of the old house they were renting. From that one, came requests for more.

Then, in 1979, Sponagle-Taylor opened the Copper Doll House. It was, at that time, the only craft shop in Lunenburg, where they made about 90 per cent of the products they sold.

“I am self-taught and work in many mediums from stained glass to needle felting, not really having a favourite,” she says. 

Sponagle-Taylor says she’s always been creative, even as a child, working with refurbished material from a young age making clothes for her Barbie dolls. It wasn’t until in 1978, when she opened her shop, that she truly considered herself an artist. 

 

Another of Sponagle-Taylor’s passions is costume making. 

“Moving back to Liverpool in 2007,” she says, “we continued doing local shows and volunteering at schools and senior homes, dressing in period or themed costume, entertaining with art or music.”  

Today, they no longer do these types of shows, save for one or two special events each year, such as this year’s Colonel Market during Privateer Days in June, where they will appear in period costumes. 

Looking back over her years of creating art, her paintings done on old boat parts that they found were the most sought after, as well as their driftwood furniture. But the work of searching for old pieces, retrieving and preparing them - and not to mention the fact they are heavy to transport - brought most of that heavy work to an end, she says. 

“Still today,” says Sponagle-Taylor, “if I happen to come across a special piece of boat piece or driftwood, I will do a painting on it and sometimes Chuck will build a piece of furniture from it.” 

These days, Sponagle-Taylor’s art can be often found displayed in an empty storefront window in downtown Liverpool, mostly to give the vacant space some life. In addition, along with some of her young art students, Sponagle-Taylor painted murals on a couple of empty storefront windows in Liverpool last summer, as well as murals at the Wickwire school and seniors’ manor.

These days, Sponagle-Tracy mostly does commissioned pieces at her discretion and offers art classes for children and when time permits, adults by referral. 

More information: Deborah Sponagle-Taylor can be reached at Deborah Sponagle-Taylor Sea People Art on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Sea-People-Art-Deb-167068860013277/  or through her website, wardroomgallery.blogspot.ca.

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