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Throw Back Thursday

May 7, 2015

Dear Readers,

Let me take you on a journey back to 1989/90,  Yes, way before the internet.  I was a young professional in my late 20-somethings as we used to say.  My husband and I had been married for a couple of years and out of college just a few more than that.   Both working in the architectural profession, we decided on almost a whim to move to Chicago from Detroit.  Within a couple of weeks of relocating we were both employed in architectural firms in Chicago.  I am happy and proud to say that my husband is still employed and is now a part owner and partner at Nagle Hartray Architects after 26 years!  I on the other hand was a bit more restless.  I had always created my artwork and loved textiles.  So, although thrilled to be living in the wonderful city of Chicago, I was not feeling fulfilled at my interior design position.  I was yearning to experience the true meaning of Mother’s Day as well as find a more unique way to express my creativity.  So, I spent my lunch hours walking several blocks to Kroch’s and Brentano’s book store looking through every textile art, art to wear and art quilt book I could put my hands on.  I eventually did have my first child (in 1993), leave my interior design career, and start my own textile art business.  But during those years I created needlewoven neckpieces on my “free-time”.

We lived in a small studio apartment the first year in Chicago and these neckpieces were a project that didn’t require much space.  I had found an ancient book (probably from the 1970’s) on needle lace and needleweaving by Jill Nordfors that served as my inspiration.  I made several neckpieces, photographed them (yes, with film and slides!) and submitted them to the Illinois Artisan Program to be juried.  I am also proud to say that I was accepted and have been a member of the Illinois Artisan Shop since 1989.  In 1990 we found a home to purchase in Oak Park and moved from the tiny studio apartment.  I continued to make my needlewoven neckpieces and I exhibited and sold them at an outdoor art fair at Scoville Park that summer of 1990.  At that fair someone ask me if I knew  Helen Banes as she did similar work.  No I did not, but that was my first taste of “collective unconscience” and “synchronicity”.  Within a month or so I saw an article in a textile art magazine with her neckpieces and yes the technique was very similar to mine.  Soon after I saw a post in the back of a magazine requesting images of needlewoven neckpieces for publication in a book by Helen Banes and Diane Fitzgerald.  I submitted a couple of images and was published!

Well, where is all of this leading to, you ask?  I had a new friend into the studio not long ago.  A woman I had met at another art class we both attended.  She creates “dream catcher” artwork.  I showed her some of my needlewoven pieces from the past.  About a month ago she contacted me to see if I would create a neckpiece for her to wear to a wedding.  She had found a dress and wanted it to work with the colors and neckline.  I hesitated.  I had not done those types of works for quite a while.  Would I want to revisit that technique?  Would I remember what worked and what didn’t?  Would I be able to fulfill her “vision”?  I decided to give it a try!

I am happy to report that I loved the process again!  She had a clear vision of size and colors.  She had some vintage jewelry pieces that she wanted to incorporate.  I had enough parameters and yet enough freedom to make it work.  Here is a little “show” of the process!  Thank you, Terry for the commission and the inspiration.  I hope this catches the “dreams” of the marrying couple this weekend.  I hope you enjoy your trip to California.  Blessing and Light to all~

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