Sunday, November 14, 2010

Member of the Month - Our List Mom

Here at StitchMap we think of ourselves as one big family. We believe our members are the best and every one of them has unlimited talent! With that being said, each month we are going to introduce you to a member of our StitchMap family. We are very proud of our members and their accomplishments. I am starting the introductions with our list "Mom". Without this lady's dream and vision StitchMap would not exist today.

Without further ado I am pleased to introduce our Lady J --- Shari Jensen:

Shari and her husband live in Colorado near Pikes Peak. They have 3 adult children and 3 grandchildren. She is a Colorado native raised in California and has lived in several different parts of the country while her hubby was in the military. She has owned and operated several businesses as they moved around. She had a cake decorating shop and bakery. She is a founding member of the International Cake Exploration Societe (ICES) and at one time published a monthly newsletter for sugar artists around the world. She recently sold an herb, spice and gourmet food business that she had for over 20 years. Soon after she retired she took on the business of raising her 3 young grandchildren. They and their father moved in with the family after "life" took an unexpected turn for them. Having them move in helped her make the decision to do something from home rather than go back into business. So, she decided to share her other passion -- the art of hand stitching and she soon discovered the world of online stitching groups. You will find her blog - Lady J's Cache - listed in the sidebar.

Shari learned her first embroidery stitches from her grandmother. She also learned crocheting, tatting and some sewing skills from her grandmother. She is a Life Member of the Embroiderer's Guild of America and has been associated with her local chapter, Pikes Peak EGA, for the past 30+ years. She is also a member of the American Needlepoint Guild and a founding member of her local chapter, Little London Stitchers. She has helped both of these groups out by volunteering to hold various offices, teach classes and organize functions over the years.

It is well known in her circle of friends that she is not at all comfortable with the sewing machine. However, she does admit to using the sewing machine to piece together her crazy quilt blocks and to zig zag the edges of her linens for counted thread work. She may even make the occasional drawstring bag or Christmas ornament. But...she is more inclined to let someone else do her finishing work for her...often trading services with friends. She might bake them a cake while they sew together her stitched projects.

Shari has a passion for teaching needlearts and spreading "needle fever". Her favorite techniques include stitching reproduction antique samplers in a wide variety of counted thread techniques, including drawn thread, pulled thread, and hardanger. She loves crazy quilting because she sees it as an extension of her interest in samplers. She feels that each crazy quilt is a sampler of stitches and small samples of various techniques. She loves Assissi, blackwork, redwork, surface embroidery, beading, punchneedle, needle felting, silk ribbon embroidery, dyeing of lace and fabrics, making dimensional needlepoint figures, shadow embroidery and stumpwork. She credits the EGA and ANG for helping her have access to many wonderful national teachers whose classes she took as often as possible.

Recently Shari took a class in creating fabric painted landscapes from Judith Baker Montano. Here is a picture of her completed landscape.

Since starting StitchMap in 2009, Shari has spent her time working on organizing the group activities and handling the membership applications, etc. There isn't much that goes on at MAP where she hasn't been one of the creative forces behind the scenes. She has a hand in the writing and editing of courses, challenges, and our group tutorials. She is a mentor in Crazy Quilting and Hardanger and she mentors the members who would like to become mentors in any of the courses. She sets up the classes and handles the class placements. One of her favorite jobs is creating the questions for our Thursday Talk Shop Segments because of the amount of sharing that takes place as a result.
When asked what she sees for StitchMap in the future, Shari said, "I hope that we can add to the actual number of courses we are mentoring. We have several new courses in various stages of completion right now. I would be happy if each one of them could actually be released for Pilot Classes in 2011. I would also like to see growth in our Stash Angels program and I am looking forward to working with our new Community Outreach Coordinator to make that happen. I firmly believe that what we give away we get back 10 times over. So, I want to keep MAP as a place where women, and men, can come to learn stitching for free and even get help with supplies, if need be, for free. I get excited about the family feeling that exists at MAP. I definitely want to find ways to ensure that everyone who joins this group realizes that by belonging to MAP they are also committing to our common goal of keeping needlearts alive by sharing stitches. I would like all MAP members to feel confident enough in their skills to go out and spread the joy of the needle and what they learn about needlework by taking the courses at MAP."