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Dot From

A tribute to Dot from her daughter, Val From:

 

For me, as a kid, it would have been a rare day that my mom, Dot, didn’t have some kind of needlework on the go.

 

I remember embroidered purses and pillows, knit wall hangings (along with scarves and mittens of course) in the 60s. In the 70s there was crewel that got more colourful and creative as time went on. And then in the mid-70s, Mom combined her two loves – writing and craft – and started writing a Craft column for the Winnipeg Tribune. She interviewed countless artisans who were exploring numerous artistic endeavours. As I recall, it was early in this time that mom met Leonida Leatherdale.

All these years later, I still remember when mom met Leonida. She came home full of wonder at the skill of this long-time embroiderer, and so appreciative of the encouragement that Leonida offered her in her own stitchery. It wasn’t long till mom had signed up for her first class, the beginning of her interaction with so many skilled embroiderers. Mom began to explore making her own designs. She honed her skill as a stitcher and her interest in all the possibilities of colour and texture. All of this, of course, as she became an enthusiastic member in each of the Winnipeg Embroiderer’s Guild, the Embroiders’ Association of Canada, the Crafts Guild of Manitoba and met more and more of the artists and craftspeople in and around Winnipeg through the writing of her Craft column in the Winnipeg Tribune.

To the right: a photo of Dot from her days at the Tribune

Her interests grew and changed. She increased her exploration of crewel, she experimented with Hardanger and pulled thread, she created two large church banners: a dove still hanging at Messiah Lutheran Church and a tree still displayed at St. Luke’s-Zion Lutheran. For years she embroidered Christmas cards of her own design. All along she valued the creativity of those she encountered – especially others who worked with fibre – the spinners, weavers, and knitters she met during the days of the column.

 

As time went on, mom attended more workshops and taught a number of classes. She received her BA in her late 40s, explored and wrote the history of the Crafts Guild of Manitoba, as well as doing restoration work on historical textiles. She also did much research for the EAC and the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library, writing a booklet on purses for EAC, a booklet on handkerchiefs for the MCML, and helping with researching other pieces in both collections. At the time of her death in 2015, her latest interest was the research and display of buttons; she was a loyal member of a button group in Winnipeg, which gave her a chance to explore the history of her own grandmother’s buttons, as well as others.

 

Through all the years of mom’s involvement with WEG, EAC, and the Manitoba Crafts Guild, as well as with other craftspeople she met through the Crafts column, she treasured the chance she had to learn from, exchange ideas with and be influenced by so many. Her gratitude for the richness of these experiences was immense, her appreciation for all she learned from those around her was a theme that continued to the end. As I read the other biographies on this page, I am able also to celebrate the talents of these women whose names were so often mentioned by my mom for so many years.

 

Congratulations to the Guild for all the years you have served this community. Thanks to all of you for your gifts shared…

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