Meet the Experts

Ladies & gentlemen, may I introduce to you the Big Scout Project’s charter group of experts. These good souls have cheerily agreed to lend their expertise to me and this project so I can learn, baby, and earn some badges! Look for interviews, posts, task feedback, and general wisdom from these experts and others over the course of the BSP.

Textile Arts: Victoria Gertenbach (Lancaster, PA)

Victoria Gertenbach is a textile artist who currently gathers much visual inspiration from the past, both near and far… from the patched American utilitarian work quilts of long ago, to antique Japanese boro and Korean pojagi, to the long, colorful, hand-stitched rows found in patchwork from India and the beautiful weavings from Guatemala. And most near and dear to her heart, from the old worn and weathered barns and beautiful farmland that surround where she lives, in Lancaster County, PA. Victoria takes all of these varied inspirations and puts her own unique spin on them, creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind stitched, patched and quilted pieces of art, both decorative and functional. Her work has been published numerous times in both magazines and books, including Quilting Arts, Somerset Studio, Quilts, BABY published by Lark Books, Whip Up Mini Quilts, published by Chronicle Books, Transparent Art and Material Obsession, both published by Stampington and Company. Her work also is featured as the cover work for the newly published novel The Prettiest Girls in Euphoria, Kansas, by Bruce Kellner. To see more of Victoria’s work, please visit her blog at: and her on-line shop:

Jean says: Victoria is my gifted sister, and I believe we share the trait of being late bloomers. There’s peace in this, though, and it’s stunningly reflected in a body of work that has simply exploded over the last decade. Vic may be a fan of the old and weathered, but her use of color is as often bold and stunning. I am a particular fan of her pojagi work, functional art quilts, and stitched amoebas.

Photography: Deb Taylor (Carmine, TX)

Deb Taylor, passionate photographer, artisan of handmade goods, vegetarian home-cook, Bed & Breakfast owner in Carmine, Texas. Behind a camera is where she loves to frolic with willing subjects such as half naked women, laundry on the line, lovers on a morning beach, or a weathered Texas fence post at sunset. She has a certain knack for capturing the spirit of the object, which becomes unlocked thru her lens. Her other favorite place is driving one of her three sewing machines creating a variety of unnecessary desirable objects you can purchase at her Etsy Shop And please stop by for a visit on her blog, where she documents her daily life story, celebrating the lives of others and always proudly honoring her 27 year old son, Sgt. Kyle Broughton serving his second tour of duty as an Army Diver in Iraq and his beautiful wife Rachel at home in Virginia.  PEACE.

Jean says: I had the incredible pleasure of meeting Deb in the summer of 2009 in her role as the photographer for the 2010 (and now 2011) Lee County Area Cancer Resource Center’s “Creative Cups for the Cause” art bra calendar. Within seconds of meeting her, I knew Deb was a woman of exceptional gifts, kindness, and spirit. Loving life as she does, Deb brought out the best in the calendar’s nervous models–a whole lotta breast cancer survivors.  A look at Deb’s photostream on Flickr points to why I love Deb and her work: she reminds us that the ordinary is really quite extraordinary, and we are lucky to live in a world of such color.

Health & Fitness: Billy Joe Young (New York, NY)

Billy Joe Young, NASM-CPT is a Private Personal Trainer certified with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).  Formerly overweight in his 40s, Billy Joe was greatly influenced by his father’s death from pancreatic cancer and realized that while aging and death cannot be avoided, one can take responsibility for one’s own health and choose to age as well as possible. Now 50 years old, he is living proof that it’s never too late to change your body for life and specializes in working with clients whose bodies are changing – whether through metabolic changes in their 20s and 30s or hormonal changes in their 40s and 50s – in the comfort of their own home or office, in person or via SKYPE.  For more information about Billy Joe and his philosophy of health and wellness, please visit

Jean says: Billy Joe and I met in 1989 as cast mates in the off-Broadway romp Tony & Tina’s Wedding. For over 500 performances, we played loving cousins and dined side by side seven times a week on baked ziti, white bread, and iceberg lettuce. And while we both found ourselves getting physically lazier and slower over the years (see his “before” picture to the right?), my good friend did something about it. I’m counting on his help to slowly get back into shape so I can safely tackle the dozens and dozens of tasks devoted to exercise, sports, and the great outdoors. My motto has always been “Exercise should equal running for the bus,” but I’m gonna let Billy Joe kick my ass. God bless Skype.

Jean Synodinos, Jean Synodinos, Jean Synodinos, Jean Synodinos


5 thoughts on “Meet the Experts

  1. Pingback: Weight Gain in Middle Age (a.k.a. “The Creep”) | The Big Scout Project

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  3. Pingback: Meet the Experts! | The Big Scout Project

  4. Pingback: Fabric Design for Dummies | The Big Scout Project

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