IF you know me or have taken a workshop, or have followed my work on instagram, you might think I only work in three to 4 colors: Black, white, red, or grey.
NOT SEW! :)
I used to think I would be making quilts, like Alex Anderson from the HGTV series called Simply Quilts. I would record her shows (pre-DVD) and watch them on a loop, devouring each word and technique like a sugar-crazed kid. Over and over. How to make a quilt.
In 1997 I enrolled in a 6 week course at a local quilt shop and learned how to make a quilt from start to finish. I was proud of my work. I walked away from the class having made a 20” x 20” quilt. Fully pieced, quilted and bound. Made using the highest quilting standards and techniques of that time. I adored the instructor and felt I was on my way to making expertly made quilts. I continued to make wall hangings and small quilty-items. A gift for my sister, a niece, or myself.
My fabric stash grew and I loved the annual fall quilt shop hop in Northern Ohio where I’d join other like-minded women on a chartered bus for an exhausting day of shopping and ‘hitting’ as many quilt shops as possible. Each visit per shop was limited to 20 minutes. While the time it took to get to a shop might have taken up to an hour. Off the bus and in to the shop we go creating a frenetic blur of pulling fabric, deciding what I must have and drooling over what I’d not seen before. Get the fabric cut, receive your tally, line up with 40 or more other women, pay and move onto the next shop.
This was pre-internet shopping at it’s finest and I was part of a tribe.
I began to challenge myself to make bed-sized quilts and then it all stopped.
A friend called to ask me to work for her for a few weeks to answer her phones while she looked to replace the office manager in her graphic design firm.
My “temporary job” lasted from October 2001 to December 2007. Six long years.
During that time I was exhausted with work outside the home. I longed to make quilts but didn’t have the self discipline to serve my creative needs.
In 2001, after the September 11 attacks in the USA, I started to knit. I think it was an organic response to the horror I was feeling, and I think others felt the same.
Within 4 months I had knit a coat and started to teach knitting a 2 local knit shops. I loved teaching Sally Melville’s Einstein Coat while also teaching entrelac scarves and totes.
I joined a highly regarded textile group at the Cleveland Museum of Art and within months, became the Chair of Focus Fiber: 2006. Nancy Crow juried this event, I designed the catalog, designed the entry forms, accepted all the entries, kept in contact with the artists, scanned the slides to digitize them, planned the layout, found a place for Nancy to stay, talk, and teach in Cleveland for the grand opening. And so much more.
STILL I wasn’t making art, nor was I knitting.
Because of the fiber exhibition, I met a curator who had been acquiring art for a very well known hospital in Cleveland for over 20 years. She sprinkled her fairy dust on me and I became her assistant and proceeded to help collect and expand the collection to well over 1000 pieces.
I was burning out. Seeing art, buying art, placing it, done and dusted. Coordinating the hospital gallery and helping my boss with the fast past and varied details of new construction.
It was cool.
But I wasn’t happy.
That and my aging mom needed help.
In 2009 I began what I call my real art career.
Seeing and stitching.
Reaching into the stillness of what is possible and doing it before I felt I was ready.
2009. Draw and stitched
2007 - ONWARDS IN STITCH
I want my stitched marks to be considered performative in that the movement of my thoughts is re-enacted in my hands.
By the way, I gave all my quilt fabric and most of my beads and findings to my sisters and a good friend.
No need to keep what doesn’t make me happy.