Monday, February 9, 2015

Who is The Brilliant Stranger?

Brilliant Stranger first appeared in a dream.  It was 2004, and I was living in Northern Wisconsin, raising my daughter and running a small business called “Inspire” in Bayfield, WI.  One night I dreamt about a very surprising and entertaining character, who appeared in a van I was driving.  In the dream I saw the words, “Brilliant Stranger on Board!”
Over the years, Brilliant Stranger has been many things and assigned many purposes.  I titled my travel sketchbooks with the moniker, hosted a few art workshops with the name, devised DIY art kits for “Brilliant Strangers to be.”  Finally, in 2007 I moved to Door County Wisconsin and opened a retail store with the dream name, and brought all my visions to life under one roof… for seven years.

Many people scratched their heads at the name.  Others seemed to comprehend the sentiment immediately.  I even received a crayon drawing at my counter one day with the words,”I understand… I AM the Brilliant Stranger!”  I saved that one.
In the seven years I ran Brilliant Stranger in Fish Creek I launched my own eclectic brand “Refab” hosting runway events and outdoor fashion shows, opening an etsy shop and spreading the word of “Reduce, ReUse and Recycle” into the world of SE Wisconsin fashion. 

Four Photos by Alacrity Photography

It’s been quite a trip, with many friendships forged and memories made.  And all using fabrics and clothing that someone threw away or gave away.  

Photo by Koltz Photography

My two greatest passions, art and recycling, grew into a business of their own during those seven years running a busy Door County shop.

In 2013 I decided to close the doors.  Customer service and the hectic schedule of a tourist location had drained me of my creative juices.  I realized I would have to choose between creating and shopkeeping, and for me the decision was a matter of survival.

So who is the Brilliant Stranger now?  He/she hears the muse, that driving force behind every maker, every painter, every singer, every seamstress….  She’s also a mom, he’s a grandpa, she’s a teacher, he’s a gardener.  Anyone adding to the beauty of the world without taking more than he or she gives back.  The Brilliant Stranger always lives by the motto: MORE ART LESS WASTE and takes that philosophy of creating and conserving into every new day, making the world beautiful and keeping the world beautiful.

Brilliant Stranger is now the "Home" of Refab - up-cycled clothing and vintage, Mysterystones - a free arts project and Dale Kumbalek Tonewood - handmade musical instruments made from sustainable wood, and Dawn Patel Art.

Debuting this spring are the JotBots, a children's line of Refab clothing and Toys!

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