When I was young, an art teacher once told me I had no artistic talent. And probably not without reason! At that stage in my life, I had no passion for drawing or sculpture or any of what I was being taught…. only an appreciation. My attempts were laughable at that young age. There is a box downstairs filled with those attempts…pottery pieces and sketches that only inspire the words “What IS that?” When art class was no longer a “have to take”, I contented myself with doodles..filling pages with goofy faces and characters that made people smile but had no real “artistic” value.
Then I discovered the art of needlepoint. The story is one only a handful of people know about me, so why do I share it now? Because it’s part of me, part of who I am, part of the legacy in this life that I want to leave. It’s for the Lizard and my mom and for whomever wanders across this page if they choose to listen.
For more years than I can count, one of my “passions” in life has been needlepoint. Beginning in college and throughout the years after, there was rarely a time when there wasn’t a piece in my hands being stitched into one of my “works of art.” I started with commercially printed canvases, winning awards for my stitching at local stitchery shows and soon becoming dissatisfied with the quality of canvases that were available. Until I wandered into a small shop owned by a local designer who designed and handpainted all her canvases. I spent a lot of time sitting around the battered table in the middle of the shop, stitching and laughing with the others who would wander in for help with what they were working on or just stopping by to spend time.
Over time I stitched everything I could get my hands on. I had translated the designs I worked on using yarns and textures and colors. I had a zillion ideas for canvases that I would love stitch in my head. Simple things that gave room for interpretation with yarns and textures and colors. Sitting around that table one day, I mentioned one of them to Darcy. Could she do that for me? Her response? “Susan, I don’t need to do that one for you. You can do it.”
Un huh Darcy! This is a woman with no artistic talent and a boxful of things to prove it!
Thank goodness she didn’t take no for an answer. Instead she sat with me and taught me the basics of needlepoint design and painting over endless cups of coffee… encouraging and suggesting, but always letting me find my own way… what worked and what didn’t.
She created a monster! I found out quickly that I had the talent for designing my own things AND painting them. Darcy saw something in it all and asked me to paint her designs for her. It was something I could do at home and be able to spend the time I needed with my daughter AND get paid for it! Before I knew it, she was offering some of my designs as well…. and they were selling!
Seven years ago, I made the move from Kansas to the St Louis area and started my own needlepoint design business from my home. I sold designs and did custom work for the multitude of shops in the area… until the day that divorce and a move to Illinois dictated that I get a “real” job with benefits and a steady income. Yet the passion never left!
I discovered eBay and began seeing if I could sell some of my design samples… I could, I did and I do! There isn’t a day when there isn’t some new design or thoughts of how to tweak an existing one in my head. I don’t make a living at it, but it feeds my heart!