Bargello Quilts Photo Gallery is a collection of photos my work in fiber — specifically bargello quilts (wall hangings and bed quilts), other kinds of quilts, and sewn vests — over the years (1975 – 2012) to hopefully give you ideas for your own work.
I guess you could say I came to doing art work by the back door. My formal schooling was in the area of clinical psychology . . . Bradley University, B.S. 1965 and M.A. 1969. But even as a child I wanted to grow up to be a jeweler. I was always fascinated by pretty stones. I would pry them out of old pieces of costume jewelry and squirrel them away in a small, fuzzy, green velvet box lined with cotton and have fantasies about whether or not they were real.
I was a stay-at-home mom when we lived in Chicago’s Hyde Park district so I had a lot of time on my hands. I started buying and studying jewelry design books and set up a small studio in the sun room of our apartment and showed my wares at street festivals. The University of Chicago offered a class in welding so my friend, Annie Kleboe, and I decided to sign up. Annie was doing stone sculpture at the time; she’s now into collages.
We moved to Arizona in 1975. I wanted to learn casting and was very fortunate to find excellent instructors. Bob and Gina Winston were veteran designers selling out of a gallery in California but their studio where they held classes was only ten minutes from my house. I truly lucked out. I stayed with them for five years
Also, during this same time period, I wanted to learn how to cut gem stones . . . another excellent instructor was fortunately available. Martin Koning, a cutter whose skills were respected internationally, had his shop right off the highway near Wickenburg, Az. He agreed to teach me.
Wickenburg was a two hour drive from my house. Every Saturday for two years my husband would take care of the kids to give me a day off. I’d leave my house at six a.m. to be at Martin’s by 8 and usually not get home until dinner. It was a beautiful drive; I absolutely loved it.
My other crafts include woodworking and sewing (quilt design and construction). I owe whatever sewing skills I have to my mother. She was very patient with me. Sometimes I’d get so frustrated at not being able to do it I’d be ready to quit. But she sat with me and she showed me and finally I’d settle down and try again. Another skill this taught me was how to follow directions.
Woodworking is still another kind of puzzle only in order to put this puzzle together, you first have to design and make the pieces. It’s fun. I definitely recommend any kind of craft as a worthwhile pastime and learning experience.
The unifying factor with all of these seemingly diverse crafts is that they are all puzzles where you first need to create the pieces before you can build the puzzle. I find that fascinating. It’s kept me involved for the past 40 years.
My professional writing career began in 1980 with the publication of Jean’s Arizona Fan Palm, cutting directions for a 3.2 carat citrine (you can see it in the Handcrafted Jewelry Photo Gallery book in this Kick-Start Creativity series), in the January issue of the Lapidary Journal Gem Cutting Magazine. Many years later I was submitting step-by-step articles for original jewelry designs to various international magazines.
And now, 2012, I’m enjoying the writing and publishing of various kinds of books for Kindle. I’ll be 70 years old this year. It’s been quite a ride. I hope you enjoy my offerings.
Thank you for your interest.