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  • Writer's pictureHeather Hauptman

The Neighbor Lady: an introduction

Let me introduce you to someone special, this is The Neighbor Lady.

She and I met only a few years ago, as my nurse self nurse was discovering my artistic self. We spent hundreds of hours together, as I pulled needle and thread through a discarded dress I found at a second hand store. She taught me perseverance, as I fumbled through the process of transforming an idea into a reality. She taught me patients, as I learned that creating her, like many things in life, was not as easy as it seems. And she taught me humility, as I realized I couldn’t make her without asking for help.

In the blind enthusiasm of the beginning, I repurposed a dress into a canvas, and started creating. I had no idea what I was doing, nor what I was in for. I made and remade the Neighbor Lady over and over, as I kept trying to bring to life what was in my mind's eye. I accumulated piles of green thread that I had stitched into her, and then took out. My fingertips turned green from our time together, and she became my constant companion as I dragged her in front of the eyes of those who could help me in the making of her.

I was a novice artist. I didn’t know what foreshortening was, or how to create depth with color, those things I had to learn. I researched and studied, but not alone. I had to find teachers, some of which were almost half my age. I swallowed my pride, and asked for help. Then to the best of my ability, I applied what I learned. It wasn’t a straight path forward as there were many failures, but I knew I needed to finish the Neighbor Lady, even if she's just for me.

Now as I embark on this new journey as an artist, I’m trying to bring the lessons of the Neighbor Lady with me. As best I can. There will be struggles that I’ll have to use my perseverance to get through, difficulties I’ll need to be patient with myself to get past and the humility I’ll need to ask for help. For now I’ll keep making piles of green thread, as I figure out what works for me and what doesn’t.

It's never too late to be something or someone new, right?

Remember, she isn't just for me. If you want a Neighbor Lady, just ask. She likes to meet new people.


Sep 08, 2022

I love her! She is an inspiration. I am also a nurse turned artist (of sorts). Thank you for sharing.

Heather Hauptman
Heather Hauptman
Jan 20, 2023
Replying to

My powers of telepathy aren't what they used to be, as I definetly sent a response to your message... in my mind! Thank you so much. I love The Neighbor Lady to, and am inspired by her as well. If you are still out there in cyber space somewhere, let me know if you need a Neighbor Lady of your own. I'd love to get her to you.

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