HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH NEEDLEPOINT?
So… it really started when I had my first child, he’s twenty, he’s in college. I worked in publishing for a number of years and I had decided to stop working when we had kids. I was home here in Maplewood, didn’t know a lot of people, it was an absolute shock to the system. My mother had recently started to doing needlepoint, she was helping with the baby, I wasn’t going a lot of places, so she suggested “well why don’t you start doing something like needlepoint, it will pass the time when he is asleep”. You know we started talking and she kind of got me started.
IT GREW FROM THERE?
I had been doing these very simple stitches and what not and she came to visit me and she said you have to do something to make it go faster to make it more interesting. So she started teaching me different kinds of stitches to make things go faster, to make it more interesting.
I was doing a Basic, what is called a ten stitch. So she eventually got me started on doing different kinds of stitches with different kinds of threads with different tools. It was a big piece; she got me involved in different things, whether it was a light or a stand to hold it on. You know a lot of things that I never thought. As we went on family trips and went to different places I would always look for a needlepoint shop wherever we were.
I was always looking around for places and it was really interesting that there was always a story behind the person who owned the needlepoint shop and so it became this really interesting community of people that were doing this kind of thing. She would go once a week to a store and a whole bunch of ladies would sit around and stitch all morning. So when I would go out to visit her in Florida, I would go down there and meet the women at the stores. That’s how I would start finding different canvases to work with.
HOW WAS THE FRAMING EXPERIENCE FOR YOU?
She was creative, she had different kinds of frames. I saw frames there that I didn’t see anywhere else. We can sit for over an hour or less and figure it out together. She’ll help you arrive at the conclusion, not just slap it together. I went to other places where they kind of slap it together and they don’t always know what they’re doing when they’re handling something like needlework. Framing a picture is one thing but framing needlework, you know there is an image, you want to make sure that there is symmetry, you want to make sure that it is blocked properly, that it has been handled properly.
It’s nice that she gets the fact that I’ve put in all this time with my work. I think long and hard before I give a piece to her to do. It’s a big investment and she always comes through.
WHAT DO THESE PIECES MEAN TO YOU?
My mother and I would talk about it often when I went into her apartment and I would see all the pieces that she’s done. She says “who is going to take these?” and I say well you never know. My kids are 17 and 20, and for the first time I’m not there with them. I’m thinking… who am I going to pass them on to…?