ARTIST'S PORTRAIT * ANNE BOLLES GALEONE


Anne's beautiful farm in the snow

A hutch holding some samples of her handiwork

Some Firefly Hill backpack tags

Firefly Hill Designs canvas bags

A close-up of one of her bag designs

A few of Anne's patchwork belts

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Anne when she bought one of my prints and left a comment on my blog. Although not technically what many would consider an artist, she certainly qualifies in my book! Her medium just happens to be fabric! She has a great gift for making beautiful accessories and bags from brightly colored fabrics. After emailing back and forth a bit, we discovered that we had some bizarre connections, besides having the same first name, in common! It turns out that not only did she grow up in the same town and graduate from the same high school as my dad, but her son has the same name as my dad!! (an unusual name at that!) Then it was discovered that her parents bought the home that my grandparents used to live in! How's that for some uncanny conicidences? She is a very warm person with a strong commitment to her family and a kind and generous disposition. She generously agreed to fill us in on her story below.


Where were you born?
I was born in Michigan and grew up in Grosse Pointe. I went to college there and then moved to Boston, where I met my husband.

When did you start your business?My business, Firefly Hill Designs, became official about a year ago. However, I have been designing things and selling them casually for several years.

What are your earliest memories of being involved with art?
My sister Kerry and I were always making things. We had a playhouse in the backyard that looked just like our house. It had shutters and window boxes and a screen door. My dad built it for us. That was our playland where we created, painted, did paper mache and all kinds of creative projects. My parents also are both very creative and provided lots of inspiration. My mom was always sewing curtains and clothes for us when we were little, so I had an early exposure to creating things with fabric. Mom has a very wonderful eye for design and beautiful things. She always filled our homes with special objects, furniture, and fabrics. My dad is an artist and his paintings, drawings and sculpture were always was displayed in our homes. From a very early age, I always wanted to create things.

What is your favorite Holiday tradition?
At our house, putting up the tree is always a very big deal. My children, Hannah and Grayson, look forward to it for weeks. We go together as a family to try to find the perfect tree. We then make an evening of decorating it, having hot chocolate and enjoying a fire in the fireplace. It is very nice “family time” that we all enjoy!

What are some of the things that are essential to your success as an artist?
I find living in a beautiful place to be very inspiring and really help me with the creative process. Our little farm, Firefly Hill, is in the beautiful rolling horse country of New Jersey. It is very picturesque here and to me a little slice of heaven! My studio looks out onto our paddocks where I can see our ponies grazing. I also need to know that my family is secure and happy and that all of their needs are met. If I know they are OK, then I can go into my workroom and create. I try to work while the children are in school so that I can give them my attention when they are home.

Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
I really love where we live right now. My husband and I have lived in several different places and have moved across the country twice with children, animals, etc. It feels really good to be settled in a place that we love. Having said that, there are also many other places that I love and would think about spending time in someday: Martha’s Vineyard, the South of France, England, Tuscany, and the Bahamas.

What is the most challenging aspect of being a business owner/craftsperson?
The most challenging aspect for me is just having enough hours in the day! I am constantly juggling lots of different things between my children and their school/social activities, Firefly Hill Designs, our horses, the upkeep of our property and on and on! There is never a dull moment and I never sit still for long, but I would not want it any other way!

Are there any projects you are currently working on that you are excited about?I recently acquired some vintage French fabric that is truly beautiful. I am really excited to see what I can create with that.

Who are some of your favorite artists?I am really inspired by Jennifer Paganelli who designs fabric that I work with a lot. I also really love the work of Deborah Cavanaugh, Beth Rundquist, Hadley Pollet, Heather Bailey, Katherine Megrue Smith, Julie Goetz, the impressionists, Mark Rothko.

What other hobbies/interests do you enjoy?
My other big interest is horses. We keep horses (ponies) on our property and they are a big part of our lives. I grew up riding horses, and the passion has stayed with me throughout my life. Although we only ride recreationally, I am a big follower of equestrian sports and love to attend competitions when I can.

Here's where you can view her online store and see her beautiful work: http://www.fireflyhilldesigns.com/
AND keep up with her latest happenings on her blog:

If you are looking for a beautiful and unique gift be sure and stop by her site! Thank you, Anne!