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I'm Jeanne Wertman, I live in North Canton, Ohio, USA. I've always been interested in crafting: sewing, crocheting, knitting, tatting, and my latest beading and micro-macrame. I can hardly remember when I didn't do anything with my hands. As I look back to the beginning of my crafting days, I find two little words have shaped my desire to do the very best I can at whatever I am working on at the time. A craft show was being held at my grade school, and I proudly entered a collar that I had embroidered on. An 8th grade boy came into our third grade classroom to pick up the entries, and when he came to mine he said... "What's this?"
Those words and a look of disgust haunt me to this day as I pull out miles of crochet thread, and undo hundreds of knots in tatting and macrame, striving for perfection in everything I make. I learned early on the joy of making something, whether it was with beads or needle and thread of some kind.
Things were so different in 1936... It started with a dime store loom and a tube of seed beads that were ten cents for a small vial at the time. I have never since been as happy as I was then, when I was 8 years old and could walk 6 blocks to the store to buy a couple of colors of seed beads! Now I wouldn't call them beautiful, as they were misshapen Indian beads to be sewn on a garment, not woven into jewelry as we are doing today. Those beads and a loom were the beginning of my love for beading.
I lived with my grandmother at that time and I watched as she, being a dressmaker, sewed from morning to night making beautiful garments for wealthy ladies. She could make a garment after just seeing a picture of it. Her motto was to make everything on the back side as nice as on the part you see, and that is another something that has stayed with me all these years.
I could sew well enough to make my own clothes when I was in high school, and by the time I had my own family I continued sewing for my two girls. To make money for living, for some time I've worked in bridal salons and upper-scale dress shops working long hours doing alterations. I have also had my own business designing and making costumes for competition skaters. There was a lot of beading involved in these outfits, and soon I quit the sewing part and concentrated on just working with beads.
I have also done quite a bit with crocheting, knitting, both hand and machine, tatting with shuttle, kumihimo, and polymer clay. After my retirement many years ago, I've been a designer of knitted garments mostly made of cashmere, mohair, silk and also of some other natural fibers. These were put in shops in New York under another designer's name I worked for. I have been for the most part self-taught and I have learned everything I could from books - many, many books.
During the late 60's and 70's there was a great upsurge of macrame, and I sold many plant hangers and hanging tables at that time. I couldn't think then this would lead me to making jewelry! About 8 years ago I saw someone on the Internet who was doing micro-macrame jewelry. I thought I'd try it, and that is how I got started. The same knots that are used with the larger things are used with the smaller cord; I exclusively use size 18 Mastex cord. I learned making leaves from the "Big White Russian Book" and combined them with macrameing, and that was all I needed to get going with my style of micro-macrame.
As a rule, I start with a general idea and then I get to a point where I wonder: where do I go now? I try different things, rip out the knots and start over and over until I get what I think looks the best to me, and a design is born! All those things take a lot of time. I can say it takes about one hour to make a leaf with the macrame, and a little less to make a bead leaf, so it is difficult to say exactly how long it takes to create a piece of jewelry. I cannot work with the board just lying on a table; I need to have a stand to put my board on. This leaves both hands free with the cords hanging vertically (with weights on the filler cords).
I have raised a family, two sons, two daughters, eight grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren. I am 85 years old and have time to play, I am still learning. To me, it is the most important thing, more important than any monitory gain I might have made. Now I'm trying to take as much as I can about the "Margarete" way of doing micro-macrame (Margareten Spitze, Margarete's Lace).
In 2006 I was a finalist in "Bead Dreams" with my micro-macrame work that made me really proud, and I have had several pictures in magazines with my macrame jewelry. Being recognized is my riches from what I do, as I have sold only a few pieces. Doing something you love and keeping a positive attitude means a lot health wise, it has walked me through two bouts with cancer and kept me in touch with people who love the same things I do.
|Jeanne Wertman, North Canton, Ohio, USA|
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