her own Vintage Style of "Wearable Art"
by Rita Vainius
interior decorator/designer and seamstress brings to her work a lifetime
of passion for the needle arts, and through her own vision and ingenuity,
has combined sewing, embroidery and French flower making skills to create
a collection of "wearable art" that is uniquely her own. (Deanna
is also a staff member of the "Crafty Lady University" this month's
Shop Focus, teaches periodically at Oakland Univesity and has won awards
at state competitions and has been a featured artist at numerous shows.)
Her apprenticeship began as a child, at her grandmother's knee, where she
learned the basics of sewing and embroidery. Her grandmother made all Deanna's
clothes and was a patient teacher, always ready with a smile and words
of encouragement. She instilled in her granddaughter a love of handwork
and attention to detail. Under her tutelage, Deanna progressed from the
basics to increasingly advanced skills and techniques. After high school
Deanna attended Wayne State College and received a degree in Interior Design.
She subsequently worked in that field for many years. Her needlework skills
were relegated to her free time, with family and friends the sole beneficiaries.
Later Deanna began teaching sewing and needlepoint classes. In the past
10 years, her interests have grown to include crazy quilts, having studied
with Arlene Dettore, who wrote the book, "Victorian Patchwork and
Quilting". She credits Arlene with being the primary force in bringing
embroidery back into her life. It was Arlene, as well, who introduced Deanna
to the Caron Collection, specifically Wildflowers and Watercolours. Working
with the Caron threads has been a formidable factor in the development
of Deanna's needlework pursuits.
of a chance encounter with Camela Nitchke at a Stitcher's Sewing Convention
in Toledo, Deanna began taking some classes with her. Camela is a world
renowned expert in creating French Ribbon Flowers and is the only American
whose work is on display in the Museum at Versailles, France. Not surprisingly,
Deanna was soon able to add ribbon flowers to her repertoire of skills
and her classes grew to include wearable
art design. Using French wire and satin ribbon, embroidery, buttons and
beads she embellishes sweaters, jackets and dresses to create one of a
kind garments. Deanna sees the garment as her canvas, and proceeds to create
an artistic collage on this background.One sweater simulates a garden setting:
3 dimensional flowers with embroidered accents of a trailing vine encircle
the neckline and cascade down the bodice, with butterflies, ladybugs or
even angels nestled among the petals and leaves. Unusually shaped beads
and vintage buttons add both whimsy and elegance to the design. Another
creation is a beach tunic which depicts a seashore scene: intricate embroidery
consisting of variegated colors and multiple textures approximates seaweed,
fish nets and aquatic plant life as though seen glimmering through a thin
film of water. The colors and patterns convey a sense of movement and undulation
with fish darting about in this underwater fantasy world.
from being an enthusiastic fan of the colors and textures found in the
Caron Collection, Deanna is constantly amazed by how well they have held
up to the wear and tear of everyday use and subsequent cleanings. The fibers
maintain their texture and the colors remain fresh and vibrant. In teaching
her classes, the Caron threads are her first choice and she encourages
her students to use them. She also advises them to build their color studies
from the colors in the specialty fibers they are using.
Deanna's creations would be stunning using almost any threads, but she
insists that by using the Caron Line, they are real "Show-Stoppers".
Since she frequently wears her creations to work and around town, she is
constantly eliciting both praise and curiosity. Her
classes include many novices, who have no prior needlework experience.
Her approach to teaching is a very populist and democratic one; she wholeheartedly
believes that these, as well as many other artistic skills, can be learned,
and are not just for an elite talented few.
Ever eager to try her "hands" at something
new, Deanna is currently working on a knitted bag, lavishly embroidered
and further embellished with beads. It is progressing so well, that we
will, no doubt, soon find her adding another class to her busy, but rewarding
schedule. Deanna is also continuing the tradition begun by her grandmother.
She now has 8 grandchildren of her own, and is committed to passing on
her skills and love of needlework to the next generation.