What's in your handbag?

Workshop for women will be a "soul (and purse) making" event
by: Vern Uyetake, Marcel shows a finished handbag. She will lead “Skilled Hands, Connected Souls,” a workshop for women to learn handcrafts and connect woman to woman.

Handbags are probably a woman's most important accessory. Women usually have several purses to mix and match with different outfits, events or moods and rarely will they leave home without one.

Lake Oswego resident Teresa Dane Marcel knows the importance of these very personal, private containers and she has developed a workshop that will enable women to create a very special handbag - one that has soul.

A counselor, craftswoman and teacher, Marcel will lead 'Skilled Hands, Connected Souls,' a workshop that combines elementary crocheting, machine quilting and beading skills to create a fully reversible versatile handbag. But the workshop will afford participants much more than a nice handbag: Marcel insists this workshop will be a 'soul making' event.

'When people make something with their own hands there is a quality that is added to it, from touching the materials and working with them that is 'soul making,' said Marcel. 'When you spend time with others working on a project your souls connect, too.'

It is the satisfaction of creating something and connecting with others that Marcel wants to share with women in the workshops.

As a means to assist the women in understanding themselves better, Marcel includes symbolic aspects of the feminine self as illustrated by Greek mythology. A long-time student of mythology, she finds stories of the goddesses' powers inspirational and pertinent for today's woman.

'The Greek goddesses are fascinating, not as idols, but as aspects of ourselves. You can see characteristics of the goddesses in yourself and others. For instance, if you are a direct person, you may identify with Artemis, known for her ability to get straight to the point while remaining true to herself,' said Marcel.

The myths and stories will inspire the group to ask what particular resources they always carry with them in their handbags, she continued.

'What do we really carry in our handbags? What is with us at all times?' she poses.

Marcel learned from her mother how to knit, sew and crochet and has enjoyed the handcrafts all her life. She finds leading the workshops a great way to help others discover the satisfaction of doing handcrafts while connecting woman to woman.

The workshop will be held on three consecutive Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. In the spirit of cooperation and community building, the workshop will be held at a different local business each of the three weeks. The workshop will meet at Molehill Farm, 16722 S.W. Boones Ferry Road on Nov. 14, A Common Thread, 16925 S.W. 65th on Nov. 21 and at Jewels Beads and Gallery, 393 North State St., on Nov. 28.

Designed with the beginning handwork artist in mind, the workshop will appeal to all skill levels, as the craftsmanship is just one aspect of the workshop. Class fee is $75 plus materials. Participants will receive nine hours of instruction, detailed patterns with photographs and materials list and refreshments.

For more information, call any of the store locations or Marcel directly at 503-534-2600 or e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..