Needlepoint Heirloom Complete
by Susan Bohan, Member Since 2007
If you venture into the ground floor of the Art League on Tuesdays around 3pm, you will find a wonderful group of Members busily working on their current needlepoint canvases. The Stitch and Bi*** have been active for well over 20 years exchanging ideas and techniques while having a great time doing it.
But it is their group effort to benefit the 2020 All Charities that is remarkable. Linda Kaplan, Claudia Langworthy, Mary Leighow, Jessie Mitchell, Betsy Osborne, Sandy Post (missing from photo) and Marcia Ryon each completed a panel of flowers made into a one-of-a-kind rug and coordinating pillow. They even needlepointed the green panels used to frame each piece as it was formed into this masterpiece.
Each of the seven hand-painted canvases was culled from the collection of artist/professor/musician Eileen Willison whose husband David gave 150 to 200 of them to his sister, Mary Leighow after Eileen’s passing. Most of the collection concentrated on her love of orchids which she grew with great success. “She never considered herself an artist,” remarked David. But when you see the finished work, you will wholeheartedly disagree!
When asked how the idea came about, most credited Claudia with the idea of the rug, Mary chose the perfect canvases, then Linda took the idea and helped bring it to fruition by bringing it to the top finisher in Chicago. They also embroidered their names and the “2020 All Charities” designation to make this a future heirloom. “We never thought we would finish,” said Jessie. According to Betsy, she enjoyed the entire project. “Needlepoint is cheaper than a Psychiatrist. We all just like to get together and this was a worthwhile project we all could participate in.” Each felt that their canvas took well over 100 hours to complete. So, when you see both rug and pillow on display in the “New Works Show” at the Art League beginning January 28, before it is displayed at All Charities, you will see more than 1100 hours of creativity.