The artists group I've belonged to for a long time is starting a feature to highlight an artist periodically. I wrote this short bio and except for the typos, think it's pretty good. I am surprised that I was asked to be included in this, as there are many other members who have a more illustrious career in the arts. This should appear on the group website and/or Facebook page soon. With photos!!! Of course, this is a short bio. The long version would encompass a novel. That would be considered for a screenplay. The biopic would star Meryl Streep as myself and she would win a fucking Oscar! I tell myself this everyday to make me feel better. And it's working.
My parents came to Memphis after WWII and started having more children. I was the fifth girl, so I had no choice but learn how to sew. When my mother decided I wouldn’t sew my fingers or burn myself with the iron, she let me sew as much as I liked.
Lucky for me, I really loved it. The sound of a sewing machine is invigorating and soothing all at the same time, kind of like cigarettes. I made almost all my clothes as a teenager and my first real job was at Sears in the men’s department, doing alterations. I felt like a millionaire!
I continued to sew as a young married woman with two small children, and occasionally made clothes for other people. I worked at a dry cleaners doing alterations, too.
There were many other jobs in the meantime, at a photo finishing shop, retail, retail, retail…….at one point I was selling needlework supplies and giving knitting and crochet lessons at Goldsmith”s. Everyday was a learning experience.
In the 80’s during the last of the heydays of fine fashion fabric stores, I went pro and sewed beautiful things for some very nice people. I taught myself how to construct tailored garments, how to make patterns, fitting adjustments for ladies who found it difficult to buy quality clothing in stores. I made bridesmaids dresses till I pulled my hair out!
I researched unfamiliar techniques in books and magazines, which eventually became a near obsession. I have bookcases FULL of my collections of reference material. Everyday is still a learning experience.
One day in the late 90’s, I picked up a quilting magazine and my focus went immediately to more creative sewing adventures. I followed the “rules” for a little while, but decided to teach myself how to make my own colors and designs. I found a different way to do everything, it seemed.
I can’t remember how I found the Memphis Association of Craft Artists, but I felt a door had opened when I did. My art was accepted for what it is, an expression of a creative form that didn’t fit into a two dimensional plane stuck on a wall. The other artists and their work enthralled me, as I had never been around talented people who made even functional pieces beautiful and desirable, worthy of showing to the world as art work!
I loved being in the group and speaking the same language of creativity, and who doesn’t love a fabulous potluck meal!! The day I was asked to be on the board, I was honored and terrified at the same time. Before this experience, I had no idea what it takes to herd cats. But I have nothing but fond memories and continuing fond feelings for what is now Tennessee Craft-Southwest. I hope to continue to contribute to the group in the future, near and far. As always, everyday should be a learning experience.
If any of y’all are interested, I post infrequently on my blog at www.sadfugeeface.blogspot.com, (go to fiber art posts) and can be found more frequently on Facebook.