Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Returning to my roots

Falling in love with fabric, thread, and the quiet motion of hand stitching has become somewhat of an obsession for me, again. It is what I loved to do when I was young. There was something magical about touching the fibers and the process of creating something beautiful with them. My father built a huge frame in our basement for me to do my rug hooking, as he would do with anything that I might have showed an interest in. He was my biggest supporter in all things creative. And during the 60's and 70's, in the days of folk music and folk art, it was working with thread and yarn.

Then life got in the way. I majored in fine arts in college and transitioned to graphic arts immediately after graduation as a route to making money. With the birth of my children, I worked out of the house for many years using a very early Apple computer that Daddy bought me....way before anybody had a computer or even knew what email, Facebook, or the www. thing might be. I made a successful go with Adobe Illustrator, writing and illustrating instruction sheets for craft and science kits. I never minded working through the night when my children were asleep and I certainly did not mind working in my PJ'S! I also learned that I loved writing as much as I did drawing each detailed illustration. My least favorite thing to do was anything business related, especially submitting bills and figuring out estimated taxes. When the kids were older, I eventually moved into teaching and gladly accepted a regular paycheck every 2 weeks. I regret nothing that I did along the way, except perhaps having a better business sense when I worked for myself. These days, social media provides a much easier access to advertising who you are.  But regardless, I know I would not be as good a teacher as I am without my 15 years of writing instruction sheets. I would not be as good an artist without growing up in a creative home, taking art in college when we all knew that it would not lead to a job, and having the confidence to be an artist whether you use a pencil, a paintbrush, a stylus, or a needle and thread.

 Life does take funny twists and turns and we all seem to go around in circles. Katie recently bought herself a present on Etsy of embroidered flowers on fabric, stretched on a canvas frame. It looks just like the embroidery my mom used to do back in the early 70's. My dad would draw an outline of a scene on fabric and she would lovingly embroider it. Her work would proudly hang in the living room, right next to my dad's paintings and photographs, and my brother's stained glass. Yet, she never considered herself to be an artist. The embroidery that Katie bought looked so similar to my mom's and when I asked if it was a new piece, she told me that it was, in fact, made in the 1970's!

Well Mom, your work was just as beautiful, if not more so. If she only knew about Etsy, Pinterest, Instagram, or the Food Network!!! There's a lot of things that happened in the world during last 30 years that she missed, including the love of grandchildren and a great granddaughter. Oh, the creativity she could have shown us all.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Lisa!! I can't believe its been over 30 years, but when I look at this picture, I feel like she is still with me.