One of the most exciting things that happened for me last year was moving into my own studio space. It was not something that I had planned on doing, so even more exciting was that it was totally unexpected and helped me to put my career into perspective in many ways. And to further add to the excitement, behind my walls sit two of my dear friends Melissa and Simone whom I admire both creatively and professionally. Needless to say, the collaborative environment and energy totally works for me and I’m so happy to be where I am. Since I’ve moved in, my studio has been a work in progress and it’s coming together one step at a time. I saw this table below in an issue of Elle Decor a few months back and immediately knew it was the one for me and my space. I sent it over to my good friend Steve for inspiration and asked him if he could build me something similar. What I really loved about it was the size, so aside from that I gave him the freedom (and my trust!) to construct a table for me where I could sit and draw, have a meeting, show textiles, etc. I gasped when he delivered it to my studio. He used various stains to color the wood and gave it some Joanna flavor, and I couldn’t be happier. After my table arrived, I was thinking about a centerpiece that I would want for it. When I was visiting my in-laws in San Luis Obispo one weekend, my very generous and loving mother-in-law, Jacki, told me that I could take her textile art that I had long been admiring. I knew it would be perfect for my beautiful table, and very Joanna. Jacki is beyond inspiring; just ask anyone who has crossed her path and you will get the same answer. I’m so, so lucky to have her, and to have her spirit with me in my office. This morning I emailed her to ask what year she made her textile sculpture and I got the best response ever: “I believe it was 1977 and the name of it is Growth. At the time, my teacher Dr. Jeanne Knorr, who was a colleague of Sheila Hicks was teaching at Norfolk State, in Norfolk, VA, and I was taking classes from her & also majoring in art at Old Dominion University, where my passion was sculpture. Her work (that orange shaman’s fan piece I have in the patio room) and the work of Sheila Hicks was inspiring at the time. There was also a good group of fiber artists I joined in Norfolk. I wanted to do sculpture rather than the wall pieces that Sheila & Jeanne were doing, so I first did a container shape to get the wrapping technique–and old basketry method. I was changing personally at the time, finally adopting some of the feminist values my hippie friends discovered in the sixties (remember I was a military wife & mom) and growth and change was my exploration. Inspired by growing things in nature and the convoluted process of personal growth (I had learned macrame’ from a salty bosun’s mate in Cuba) I made it as a tree and knot form. The second one I made (now being glued) had a root system in addition and some clear plastic tubing to give open channels. It was fun to explore with the freedom to create. Interesting that you are combining it with the table, as I think Steve has the same spirit of exploration and the combining of many techniques and colors, etc. that was prevalent in the 70s. This is way more than you need, but gives you a flavor of the times, I hope.” How’s that for inspiring?! Thank you, Jacki and Steve!