Thursday, 24 March 2011

Meet the expats: Artophile

The lovely Shirl from Artophile is a stained glass artist. She always manages to cheer me up with her posts and makes me laugh with her computer gaming conversations. An interest we share.

Shirl is a Scot living in the US, but it's much easier to let her tell the story of how she ended up living there.

Shirl, usually mentions coming out of her basement when she posts. It makes me wish I could see her studio because it sounds like a magical place. I love her panels, celtic pieces and egg art. Go have a look!

Why did you move?

I didn't mean to become an expat, it just kinda happened!

 After studying Tapestry and Stained Glass at  Art College in Edinburgh, Scotland I travelled around Europe and survived by working at whatever I could find.That included cleaning yachts in Spain, working in  a restaurant in Greece and picking grapes in France.

 I loved the Mediterranean lifestyle so much that I settled in Mallorca, Spain for a few years and worked on yachts, doing anything from varnishing the teak to scraping barnacles off their hulls!

 I was then offered a six month job as a chef on a private yacht based in Palm Beach, Florida. That six months stretched into a year during which time I sailed as far  south as the Bahamas and as far north as Cape Cod.

 I met my husband in Florida and after we had our daughters we moved to the mountains of West Virginia to be closer to his family. I've been been here for 17 years now.

Biggest challenge being an expat? 
 The biggest challenge has to be the separation from my family and the uncomfortable knowledge that I will probably never live in Scotland or Europe again. Leaving my girls here while we moved there would be unthinkable, but so would our insisting they come with us. A tricky one, for sure...

Biggest joy being an expat?
 The biggest joy of being an expat is being with my husband and daughters. I had to travel halfway across the world to find them and am overjoyed that we are as close as we are. It certainly makes living here easier and in fact they are the only reason I'm still here and not living near the sea in Europe somewhere.

 If home is where the heart is, then I am at home here, as unlikey as that  sometimes seems...

Thanks for taking the time to talk to me Shirl it's really good to get to know you a bit better.

Are you a soon-to-be, been-there-done-that or currently an expat? If you sell on Etsy come and join our team.

Post by: Jacqueline Fouche (Tangentine)


  1. This is a lovely post. Very moving :)
    Thanks Shirl for sharing, and Tange for bring us closer!

  2. Wow! What a great life full of adventures. I loved reading this interview.

    Cheers :-)
    - CoconutPalmDesigns

  3. Shirl and Tange - thank you for this very interesting peek into Shirl's life. Shirl - you should write a book about your life!


  4. Wow, what an exciting life you have lead! Your stained glass is stunning! Thank you so much for sharing Shirl, and Tange for the interview.

  5. chicchixnchampagne25 March 2011 at 09:07

    Shirl, nice to meet you. What a Life! Thanks to both for sharing with us.