Throw Back Thursday
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~