Yesterday I found out something that has made me sadder than I’ve been in a long, long time. Teresa Wentzler has closed the doors of her needlework design business, TW Designworks.
I am glad, very glad, more glad than I can describe, that her patterns will still be available from PatternsOnline.com, at least as long as they will sell them. But we will never see Illuminata, now. Or the Miniature Spring and Summer Samplers.
I discovered her designs in college, with Footprints. It was the first large project I ever attempted. It was the first large project that I ever found the finished work so beautiful that I couldn’t bear it but had to attempt it. And while I still haven’t finished it (I made an unfortunate fabric choice), I have finished other designs of hers, large and small.
Everything she designed was wonderful to me, even those things that aren’t at all to my taste, and there many*, are done with such wonder and color and imagery that they hurt to experience. They are lovely, but difficult, and I am inconsistent in application, so I have not finished all that I would have liked.
I’ve learned a great deal from stitching her designs. I’ve learned new and exotic specialty stitches, nun stitch to finish edges in particular is a delight. I’ve learned to appreciate colors that in my youth I would have skipped over, disdaining as ugly. I’ve learned to hate confetti but rejoice in the results. I’ve learned about balance and composition. And I’ve learned how very hard it is to take a picture from the mind, to the paper, to the grid.
I am working on a project that is possibly too ambitious for me, designing and stitching and Advent calendar. But her work was its direct inspiration. And when I finish it, I will send her the pictures and the chart, because without her, I would not have dreamed needlework this lovely to be possible.
* Purely as a matter of taste, I prefer my dragons large and dangerous and dripping with flame and fearsomeness – because the best use of dragons in fairy tales is to know that they may be overcome. TW’s larger dragons tend to be too cute for these tastes. It hasn’t stopped me from appreciating her little dragons.