The Road to Jerome Thomas Designs
I have always loved creating something beautiful...even if it was beautiful only to me. From an early age, if given a choice of whether to play a rowdy neighborhood game of baseball or color quietly in my "Jungle Book" coloring book, hands down I would pick the solitude of coloring in my coloring book. I loved getting lost in my world of color. It was a challenge explaining to friends, "...but blending colors is really cool! " Understandably, I was not the most popular kid in the neighborhood.
It wasn't until I met a new friend in fourth-grade art class, that I realized there were others like me. Her name was Serena. I remember our first art class together like it was yesterday. We were all working on the typical beginning-of-the-school year, "Draw what you did over summer vacation," assignment. Of course, I was completely engrossed in the process when all of a sudden, we all heard someone singing. All heads popped up to see Serena singing to her heart's content, completely oblivious to the onlooking stares. There she was, swaying back and forth, singing and drawing! She was in her own world, happily "at one" with the creative process. You know the feeling, right? From then on, I did my best to sit next to Serena on "Art Wednesdays", and occasionally allowed myself to hum along with her, despite the glares from fellow "non-believers".
I taught primary education for 32 years. I not only allowed my students to sing while they created, but I also encouraged it. As a teacher, I could tie virtually any lesson or unit to an art project...giving students a more in-depth level of learning. It allowed their senses to become part of the learning. Math lessons became wall murals. Research reports turned into three-dimensional life-sized dinosaur heads with supporting poetry and songwriting. By the end of the school year, my eight-year-olds knew how to "load" a brush, "let the scissors do the work for you...not your hand", and were able to aptly apply just the right amount of glue, "a dab will do ya."
Now that I am "retired", I have more freedom to pursue endeavors that have fallen by the wayside. I have rekindled my love for carpentry, making stained-glass creations, sketching, gardening, watercolors, landscaping, and hiking. Winters in Vermont are long and harsh (even for this native Vermonter!) and I needed a NEW creative outlet. So, being someone who yearns to create, I decided to take up a new trade: wool appliqué. They say you should try new things. Truth be told, at the time, I didn't know how to thread a needle. You would think growing up around my Russian aunties who crocheted, quilted, sewed, knitted, and "needlepoint-ed", I would have picked up some skills along the way. Back then, I really had no interest in fiber art but was in awe of what my aunties created. They ALWAYS had a project going.
I pioneered my new wool appliqué endeavor by drawing my own designs. I really had no idea how to stitch, so naturally, I did what everyone else does: I turned to YouTube. "She's" a great teacher! Once I kind of knew what I was doing, I would bring my sketches to shops in the area to look for the wool. I discovered a new community where everyone was interested in the projects others were doing. It is such a genuinely supportive group of people. Shop owners, employees, and fellow patrons asked where I got my designs. Long story short, shop owners encouraged me to develop my drawings into patterns to sell in their shops. What a learning curve it has been in such a short period of time! Now my designs/patterns are in shops and magazines around the world and I am so happy to share them here online with those who don't have access to those shops.
I am quite smitten with my new obsession. Perhaps, I actually did soak up some of that "needlework know-how " from my Russian aunties, after all.
I wish YOU and the Serenas in your life "Happy Creating",