When you grow up within the structure of family businesses, your outlook on life is certainly shaped differently. Our home had a revolving door that welcomed any and all and so it was as well with the business side of our lives. My father gave jobs to people others would not and in doing so, helped guide many into security and stability. He gave financial aid to others, helping them get a foothold in life. My parents have always contributed to their community, both locally and globally. This generous spirit has taught us to see the potential in others and in turn, given us the freedom to be ourselves.
I believe creativity is within us all, but some of us are luckier because it is fostered early and continually encouraged. My earliest memories are of painting, cutting and gluing, watching my mom sew beautiful clothes and my grandfather and father letter signs. My dad taught me to shade at age 5. I sewed my own clothes by age 12. With a family owned craft, hobby and framing shop, I tried my hand at many different medium so that I could more readily assist customers. Still, I continued to be drawn to fabric and paint.
I did leave home and go off to university and eventually gathered a few diplomas. In 1982 I enrolled in a sign writing course at George Brown College in Toronto to further develop the skills I had been gradually honing with my Dad. I successfully ran two small sign businesses in the following years, but still that love of fabric kept me sewing. A marriage, a move to Goose Bay, Labrador and the birth of my two best ever creative collaborations - my son, Gabriel and my daughter, Simone - kept me busy. We chose for me to be a stay at home mom and I embraced raising my children following the path my parents had laid out. And I continued to sew. I sewed clothes, home decor items, costumes, and gradually I started making quilts.
In order to encourage and involve my young children in my art work, I began using their drawings as my source of design. With only a small amount of formal quilting training, I fused long before it was fashionable, used my glue gun to adhere embellishments, braided, painted, dyed, and beaded fabric creating a collection of vivid, colorful wall hangings that showcased Gabe and Simone’s art. These remain my favorite pieces in my repertoire.
Surface design continues to hold my attention. I also love to photograph and often my shots end up printed on fabric combined with fabric and thread in a piece. I grew up near the water and have spent a huge portion of my life in it, whether it be beach, river, pool or more recently, “hotpots” in Iceland. You will find the ocean and all its various accoutrements as part of or adorning my work. I will always be an Island girl with waves and sea breezes forever on my mind.
The most recent development in my quilting and fabric life has been the acquisition of a longarm quilting machine. This partnership is still new but I can see the potential and the creative freedom I can achieve as I meld my love of quilting with my sign writing skills! I am excited to explore this area and see where it takes me as I continue creating. Already I am seeing myself stitching those waves I so love integrated with script lettering as I learn to find my place in the longarm custom quilting world.
I teach, I share, I design, I judge, I donate, I encourage, I contribute. And as I see my children grow into creative, successful, responsible, community minded individuals I feel I am successfully passing on the legacy that was given me.
I am author of a blog called Sister of the Brush where I showcase some of my fabric work and photographs and where I also tend to ramble just because I feel like it! Feel free to check it and my work out and if you have any questions or comments, please use the comment tool. I love to know where readers hail from and if they share any commonalities with me.
Many thanks to The Needle and Thread Network for inviting me to be part of this forum! I love WIP Wednesdays and Feature Fridays - it's habit forming!
Great post Jennifer! I love what you did with your kids' artwork. Family treasures.ReplyDelete
Nice to see you on FF.
Nice work, Jennifer. Have a look at my blog to see what I did with our daughter's preschool drawings. Kids' art is THE BEST!ReplyDelete
Nice to 'see' you, Jennifer. Your work has a delightful, fresh, maybe breezy or wavey, look to it. ;^)ReplyDelete
How interesting! Great to meet Jennifer!ReplyDelete
Love that you are a fellow Islander too, your work is very unique. What wonderful gifts your parents taught you (social conciousness) , and you have obviously passed them on to your kids as well. Great article!ReplyDelete
I just love reading the background stories of quilters. We have a common love but we are all so diverse.ReplyDelete
Jennifer I just realized when I saw your picture that we have met. I believe it was at a quilt show. You may have been working with a fabric shop.
While I didn't grow up on the Island my family are all there. My younger brothers and sisters went to school there. We visit my mothers cottage every summer near Malpeque.
It always amazes me at how people arrive at their creative life! Your journey sounds like you took some very courageous steps.ReplyDelete
SWEET! Great to have you here. What a great word. You are so poetic too you know ; ) I wasn't raised that way, but we seem to be raising our kids that way. How awesome! And I ADORE the kid-art-to-art-quilt. Such a fantastic idea.ReplyDelete
Thank you SO much for being part of TN&TN!
Monika K. in Saskatoon
great word? I mean great story... you have a great way with words.ReplyDelete
me - apparently not so much. haha ; )
Thanks everyone for your lovely comments! The network is a great forum for making connections and it is wonderful to get to know you all and get to know some of you a little more. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and for commenting on it!ReplyDelete