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Xavier Magazine | December 18, 2014

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The Fabric of Her Life

The Fabric of Her Life
By Michael Shaw

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In case you missed the October 2013 issue of The Crafts Report—

or are not staying current with the calico dog-eat-dog world of retail craft art—the magazine’s annual cover contest is over and the results are in.

The winner? A nationally known gourd artist.

And while there was no cover for second place, the magazine noted, “A special mention goes to our first runner-up Pamela Mattei for a great showing.” Mattei, a 2004 art graduate, was a gracious runner-up to the champion, whom she says is “pretty much the Picasso of gourds.” But when it comes to her own art, specifically scarves, Mattei means business.

As founder and self-appointed CEO of her one-person company, DyeSigns By Pamela, she promotes herself as possessing an “eye-catching sense of color, big dreams and
unrelenting determination.” And she’s absolutely right. Her lusciously hand-dyed scarves are so eye-catching they’re sold at art galleries as well as boutiques and gift shops.

Fabrics, sewing and textiles have been a part of Mattei’s fiber almost from the beginning. When most girls became boy-crazy, she was sew-crazy, stitching together pillows and aprons. “I was in middle school when I got my first serger [sewing machine] for Christmas.” So by the time she arrived at Xavier, she could sew circles around her class.

“I was told I could take a fiber course all eight semesters and that’s exactly what I did,”
she says.

She even got a head start, taking a fabric dyeing summer workshop before her freshman year. Mattei enhanced her degree with a business minor, seasoned it with graphic and web design classes and voila, an art-repreneur was born.

Last fall she turned her focus on the magazine cover contest where votes for favorite works were registered on Facebook by clicking “like” on that image. Mattei put together such a strong social media campaign in an effort to garner the most votes that “I was threatened with having my account shut down or suspended from Facebook and Twitter on multiple occasions,” she says. “I was doing so much campaigning they thought I was spamming.”

With the magazine cover past, the next step for DyeSigns By Pamela is celebrating its 10th year in business by expanding its product lines and offering products in all 50 states—which now stands at 35 and counting. So if you’re in Eagle River, Alaska, stop in at the Artworks Gallery and pick up a nice scarf.

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