When I first started naming pieces this summer, Iris was the first name to come to mind. I'm sure you've known someone like Iris. She was born a Nebraska farmgirl and traveled the world with her airplane-flying, always-charming, geologist husband who was patron of her weaving art. When I met her, they had settled back in corn country on the same ground she was raised on. Her roots ran deep in Nebraska!
I first met Iris at a quilt show where I had been invited to set up a vendor booth and demonstrate Bobbin Lace. At that point in my life, I was a bit confused about where my creative juices wanted to flow so my booth was filled with old bottles filled with dried florals, a few framed bobbin lace pieces, antique-looking painted items and two hand-woven shelf scarves. Iris honed in immediately on the shelf scarves and then asked if I was a weaver. I told her the story of how I had started weaving (to be shared later) and she invited me to visit the Prairie Fibers Weavers and Spinners Guild. They met in Hastings which was where the quilt show was.
I had traveled 90 miles to that event as a young bride. It seemed a little far to drive every month but I told Iris, I would love to and I'd do my best. Iris was a wealth of information and encouragement over the years as well as a connection to a whole host of other weavers and spinners that, at the time, I didn't know existed. Traveling 90 miles became a pretty regular thing and spending time in Iris' basement was a treat! Her stash was all marked for sale. If someone got to it before she did it was fair game. Buy the cone or wind off a few ounces. Oh, the colors and the textures and the fibers! Sometimes I had a plan for what I bought and sometimes I just bought because I couldn't help myself. Iris always got excited with me as I'd describe what I was thinking of and most times she'd offer a bit of advice to help make me a better weaver.
Later, Iris, with the help of other guild members opened a store outside of her home. It was a wonderful place to meet friends and share projects. The Plum Nelly continues today under the leadership of Cheryl Jensen. Weaving continues because of those willing to share their passion. Iris shared with so many people and inspired them to try new things. She is a woman of distinction, an individual that I am proud to have known and learned from.
"Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers. Exodus 35:30-35
Who is your "Iris"?