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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Friday Feature: Jennifer @ Sister of the Brush

Hi! I am Jennifer Scantlebury Vienneau and I originally hail from Prince Edward Island though my husband and I presently live in Moncton, NB. I grew up the middle child of wonderful parents who fostered creativity, independent thinking and community responsibility in their children. Some described our family as eccentric and my daughter still tells me “normal” is over-rated, so I suspect there are some who would still categorize me as such. I tend to be out spoken. Or so I am told....

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!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday #57 @ TN&TN