Cape May Star and Wave
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

WEST CAPE MAY – Many come to the shore and end up leaving with a souvenir – often a T-shirt or a knick knack; sometimes a sunburn or a jellyfish sting. 
Penelope Cake, who runs Suzy’s Gift Shop at Emilia’s Garden, likes to help people create a memory they can take home with them.
Cake is a visual artist who is currently specializing in creating art from recycled items. She is also running an arts and crafts program open to kids, teens and adults. 
“A lot of the things in the store are made out of recycled materials – but not everything,” she said. 
Cake, who retired as a dance instructor after 35 years, said that is now her principle interest as an artist. She said she takes an item such as a tossed off button down shirt and tries to use every part of it. She takes the shirt collars and makes collarettes for dogs, obviously for dogs who prefer to look more formal than a crew neck or boat neck provides. 
She will also take the cuffs off a shirt and make reusable wraps (or heat guards) for coffee cups. 
“I will make a pillow out of the rest of the shirt,” she said. 
Cake said she will incorporate hardware into her art; also using keys for jewelry, flatware and ceramic plates for wind chimes. She has also been using T-shirts to make into rugs. The T-shirts are cut into strips and then the strips are pulled into spirals. She rolls the strips into a ball, like yarn, and then is able to crochet a rug. 
She also uses items like soda can tabs and elastic to make fun bracelets. 
Cake said she lived in the Tribeca section of Manhattan since she graduated from college, but now lives in the Cape Woods neighborhood in Lower Township. After retiring from dance she has engaged in the visual arts. 
“I’m now busily pursuing my interest in visual arts, and in merchandizing and crafting. I like seeing how much I can do with that,” she said. 
She said doing arts and crafts is something she has done most of her life, and she likes teaching the arts and crafts component of her business.
“I do it whenever I am here. I have about six projects to do for $10 each. It allows people to experience their own creativity while they are here,” she said. 
Right now she probably has more kids doing crafts but she wants to encourage teens and adults to try it as well. She said the other night she was teaching some girls to knit. 
Knitting and crocheting are each an aspect of the crafts she teaches. Anyone can decorate a picture frame with a variety of natural and man made items. She will show people how to make a snake-like decoration from an old necktie, she helps them make collages, or make a bag out of an old T-shirt without any sewing – just cutting and tying. 
Cake showed a bag with a print from Flying Fish Studio in West Cape May. Her fiber art crafts do not require sewing but she does some hand-sewing on site. Cake makes totes of recycled canvas that are hand-painted. The ones on display in her shop have a “CM” for Cape May but she can make them with a person’s initials – given a day’s notice. 
You can reach Penelope Cake via email at or by calling Emilia’s Garden at (609) 435-5710, or visit the garden and gift shop at 479 W. Perry, West Cape May.

Christopher South
Managing Editor
Cape May Star and Wave
600 Park Boulevard Unit 28
West Cape May, NJ 08204
Tel: 609-884-3466
Fax: 609 -884-2893