Tuesday, June 15, 2010
My Greatest Supporter
When I first started to really study fiber arts, I used a lap loom and made purses. This crazy looking collection might not seem all that studious. I mean seriously, there are green feathers in there! The thing is, every time I warped my loom, I explored a new fiber and a different technique.
I probably made a couple hundred woven and crocheted bags, and in doing so, I gained experience with all different kinds of wool as well as cotton, nylon, silk, hemp, bamboo, and yes, even feathers. I worked with every weight from lace to super bulky and all the novelties in between. I explored patterns, textures and worked to achieve all sorts of looks. I had a great time and my hands became familiar with how all the different kinds of yarn behave. It was a good education.
Of course I also ended up with a lot of purses. I started doing craft shows to help find homes for them. At the time, I was living in Northern Virginia where the average upper middle class woman wasn't sure what to think about my whimsical bags. That is, all except one.
There was one very special woman who was always ready and waiting to see what I would come up with next. She refused all offers of discounts and giveaways, insisting on paying full price. She wanted to support my efforts and encourage me to continue forward. The collection you see here was her collection. There's a dozen bags there and she probably had more. This special woman was my mother-in-law, Kathleen.
Kathleen passed away in 2009 and this week I brought all of her purses home with me. I'll keep them and use them and when I do, I'll think of her. I was so lucky to have her in my life for more reasons than I can mention. Her support and enthusiasm meant so much to me and has set an example for how I want to be with my own children as well as with the arts in general.
It's been 18 months, and when I finish a project, I still imagine holding it up for her approval. She would gush and beam and ask questions. She never told me how I could make it better, she just appreciated my endeavors. She could make me feel almost ridiculously good about myself. Everyone who makes anything should have a Kathleen in their life and I hope they do!