Monday, March 28, 2016

What an honor

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, (go to fiber art posts) and can be found more frequently on Facebook. 



Margarita Korioth said...

My dear friend,
Thank you for sharing your story, now I know a little bit more about you. You are very talented. I am glad I met you.

Deborah Camp said...

Very cool, Marilyn! Well written and VERY interesting!!! Good stuff!