My husband and I have lived in bucolic (well, it used to be)
Great Falls, Virginia since 1975. We built our house in the woods in
1978 and last year, in a dream come true, we built a studio for me over
It is large, light-filled, with plenty of space for my thousands(if not more) of beads and for display of my jewelry. I even have room for classes and a TV/TIVO to watch or listen to junk TV while I spend hours making my pieces.
In previous lives I was a French translator at the American Embassy in Brussels, a writer for the American Medical Association and for ten years, a health care lobbyist. In 1986 I "retired" from these careers and started a new chapter: I opened a designer yarn shop in McLean, Virginia.
As the owner/operator of Wooly Knits for 15 years (with lots of good help and thank you Brigitte for all those great years of service) .
I also organized and conducted more than half a dozen international tours for fiber and craft artists, something I've continued to do with our third workshop/tour to the west coast of Ireland scheduled for this coming October 23-November 3, 2007. The trip is full but we are taking names for a wait list. In 2008 plans are in the works for a knitters' tour to the Isle of Skye and Scotland tentatively set for the end of September. We are also investigating a trip to Florence for the spring or fall of 2008.
In March of 2001 I closed Wooly Knits thinking I had well and truly retired for the last time, planning to knit, knit, knit. But then I discovered beads and jewelry making and added yet another passion to my long list of handwork.
I started by knitting and crocheting with wire and beads and then began taking classes in wire work and advanced bead work in Santa Fe, Tucson, Miami and Pennsylvania. Today I spend much of my time creating artful jewelry, specializing in intricate beading as well as wire working in which I wrap, coil and shape unusual clasps, beads and bangles and combine them with unique beads and semiprecious stones which I am forever buying on my international trips. I have also integrated my love of fibers by making necklaces with unusual yarns and beads, by needle felting merino wool into beads which I then embellish with small seed beads and I have recently started Kumihimo, an intricate form of Japanese braiding with funky yarns to make bead-embellished necklaces.
Of course I still knit in my spare time!
All of my jewelry is one-of-a-kind. If you see something you like the next one I make will be different, even if I use the same technique. So many of my pieces have components which in themselves have their own story: where they were purchased, when, where and who made them, what they're made of. I only buy what I really love, things that are made with passion and creativity by someone who is proud of their one bead as I am of the piece I've made incorporating it. For every bead that I use, there are another 12 that I've tried and rejected. And the bead goes on!