Dyed and Gone to Heaven – An Online Magazine and Needlework Resource  

"Lacemaker Extraordinaire" is the only way to describe Marjo Timmers.

By Rita Vainius


Marjo's lacework creations are so detailed, meticulous and extraordinarily unique one must just marvel at their appearance and execution. She has been passionate about needlework for as long as she can recall, involving herself in projects with threads, embroidery, sewing and lace throughout her childhood. But, like many other needlework designers, she mostly considered her needlework a pleasant hobby, not a future career goal.

Marjo spent an idyllic childhood growing up in the beautiful surroundings of one of the oldest Dutch towns, Utrecht. After attending college, she taught in a primary school for several years. In 1969, she married Maarten Timmers, who owns a certified public accounting firm, and they began a family. This quickly grew to include three children and as a full-time mother, needlework was somewhat relegated to the back burner. Marjo did stay involved by sewing her children's clothes and making curtains and other decorations for the several homes the family lived in over the years.

In 1978, Marjo and her family moved into a rustic Finnish log house located in a pristine rural setting between the two largest rivers in Holland. As the children grew older Marjo longed to get more in touch with her own creativity by taking up her needlework in addition to learning some new skills and techniques. She realized that her greatest passion was for bobbin-lace and she began to take classes whenever and wherever she could find them. Lacemaking, Marjo soon realized, might involve a lifetime commitment. There are so many different varieties and techniques, no one person could possibly learn them all. Eventually, Marjo narrowed her own focus to colorful bobbin-lace as her specialty - the one that was most satisfying and best enabled her to express her artistic aspirations.

After nine years in the countryside, the family opted for a complete change, relocating to Tilburg, a city in the south of Holland near Belgium. In a total reversal from their prior rustic abode, they now took up residence in a 125-year-old mansion, situated right smack in the center of the urban scene. The kids attended high-school there, grew up and then, one by one, moved out to start their own lives. Marjo was now free to devote her energies to experimenting and applying the skills she had learned. Her first major step towards a career in needlework and specifically lace design was to establish "Bob-In" a lace workshop, in her home, where she taught basic and advanced courses. Next, a shop was installed on the first floor of the house to stock the materials required by the students.This combination of shop and teaching worked very compatibly and met with immediate success. Marjo soon had almost 100 students and worked in the shop three days a week.

By this time, Marjo had displayed her own original bobbin-lace designs at several exhibitions and other people in the field began to take notice. During the summer of 1996, she displayed her work at the Lacecentre of Brugge, Belgium, the most important lace town in Europe. One of her designs was created as an exclusive for this show and Marjo was invited to teach two classes there. Both were booked almost instantly and a third was added to accommodate the overwhelming interest.

An eagerly anticipated event takes place each October feturing lacework designs created specifically with Christmas themes. The project for 1997 was called "Oriental Ornaments". This year's seminar, to be held on October 13 and 14, will feature a flower fashioned entirely out of lace. Marjo considers "From Lace to Roses" to be her best design to date. Already 150 participants are scheduled to attend these intensive one-day workshops. Caron Waterlilies threads appear in most of these ornament patterns. Marjo is fond of juxtaposing them in vibrant combination with specialty fibers, Candlelight metallics and embellishing them with Mill Hill beads, adding further dramatic and dimensional effect.

When Marjo's designs appeared in print in the first issue of "Lace-Express" she gained greater exposure. As a welcome outcome of Marjo's growing popularity and more intense involvement in the wider needlework market, she and Maarten have had the opportunity to travel to other countries, including the US, in conjunction with her work. A new opportunity presented itself when Marjo was sought out to be the exclusive distributor for various compatible product lines in the Benelux region. (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg)

Lois Caron and Marjo became acquainted at the HIA-EURO trade show in Maastricht, Netherlands in 1995. Each recognized a unique talent in the other. Marjo instinctively gravitated toward Lois' threads and Lois could readily envision their application in Marjo's exquisite, singularly expressive designs. When Marjo and Maarten agreed to take on the challenge of becoming distributors, they formed a new company called "The Stitch Company" and the Caron Collection was the first product line that they committed to. To better illustrate the potential for integrating the Caron Collection threads with other materials, Marjo has come up with some original Hardanger designs that are available as kits from the Caron Collection for US customers. Two other designs: "Romantic Pockets" and "Dream Pillows", featuring her favorite Caron threads of Waterlilies and Candlelight, are also available.

In August of 1998, Marjo published her first full-color pattern booklet of Bargello designs which are loaded with more of her favorite fibers. These Bargello designs are specifically adapted to accent and decorate various accessories such as hand-mirrors, satin boxes, coasters, rulers, pill cases and presentation cards, resulting in one-of-a-kind items when completed.

Because of the phenomenal success of "The Stitch Company" combined with Marjo's prolific design output, she has had to forego her teaching avocation. A new building was constructed in Veen to house "The Stitch Company" which takes up the entire first floor. Directly above it is the lace shop, "Bob-In". The retail portion is open to the public every first Tuesday and third Saturday of each month, except for July and August.

"The Stitch Company" wholesales creative needlework materials and exhibits at the yearly Dutch trade show every September. Their youngest child, Janneke, currently manages "The Stitch Company." Today this business distributes almost all the major manufacturers of needlework materials from the US and the UK., including Mill Hill, Stoney Creek, Sewing Basket and Needlepoise and many others.

Everyone who visits should be prepared to be "blown away" by the incredible array of needlework displayed in the showroom, which is visible from the stairs leading to the shop. By the time you reach the top, inspiration should have your creative juices flowing just in time to pick out the ingredients for your next project.

"Bob-In" Lacematerials (Retail Shop) is located at Nieuwstraat 6, 4264 RE Veen (N. Br.), Netherlands
Phone: 31.416.695.072
Fax: 31.416.695.071

"The Stitch Company" (wholesale only) is located at the same address as above
Phone: 31.416.695.070
Fax: 31.416.695.071

© 1997 The Caron Collection / Voice: (203) 381-9999, Fax: 203 381-9003

CARON email: mail@caron-net.com /