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Meet the Artist

Meet the artist Rosemary King

I began my crafting career by embroidering samplers at the age of 6. That led to crewel, needlepoint, and on to sewing. Now in my sixth decade, I have done woodworking, ceramics, tatting, painting, origami, papermaking, macramé, and soap and candle making to name a few. I prefer to design and sew my own clothes and am determined to continue learning new things.

All my younger years I was ignorant of the fact that I came from a creative family. I just assumed that everyone's mother sewed clothes and upholstered furniture. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I realized that my mother had worked in a tailoring shop. Even then, I thought of her as a seamstress. When my sister drew a picture of a dress she wanted to wear to prom and my mother created that dress from a tablecloth, I barely noticed. Didn't all mothers do that? (Yes, teenagers are so full of what they do know that they miss an awful lot of life's interesting details.) As a matter of fact, my mother worked on the business side of that tailoring shop. She may have had sewing lessons, but she was more valuable to that company handling the office and books than sewing men's suits.

As far back as I could remember, she created our clothes. I have a photo of my sister and me holding our dolls wearing matching outfits. My mother also sewed our undergarments. I remember her storing parachutes with her sewing supplies. She bought them from military surplus after the war because parachutes had been made with silk and nylon fabrics for the Second World War. She even made use of the parachute webbing by reinforcing the waistbands for our skirts and slacks with it.

My father was also creative. He had a workshop and tools. In the earlier years that might have been a portion of a garage or the corner of the basement, but he had a work area. Whenever we wanted to have time with our father that was not during mealtime, we had to visit him in his work area. Since both my father and mother were natural teachers, we learned about how to use tools and how to fix things almost by osmosis. He built furniture. He also repaired and refinished furniture. He even taught himself caning to weave new caned seats for a dinette set he refinished. During my teenaged years, my father rescued a broken piano on its way to the dump. He repaired the damaged parts, replaced the missing parts, and learned how to tune it so that I would have an instrument of my own.

I think the greatest gift I inherited from my parents was the willingness to try things I had never tried before. Like my father who taught himself caning and how to tune a piano, I always believed that I could learn how to do things myself. Almost all the crafts and techniques I do I have learned by reading a book and trying. It was only recently that I realized that everybody else doesn't learn the same way I do.