Since early childhood, I have always loved creating things. Some of my earliest memories include making little rugs for my doll house, using a "knitting mushroom" which I made out of an old wooden spool with nails tacked on the end. I vividly recall receiving a loom at Christmas time which sparked a creative flurry of woven potholders that left my mother never needing to purchase one again...well, almost never!
My first venture into papier-mache was a Blue Jay hand puppet made in Brownies. Who would have ever thought that could lead to all this? In grade school, I carved an igloo out of a bar of Ivory soap, with a paring knife that was brought from home. This seems quite out of place today in this world of metal detectors in schools, but it served me well and kept me on a creative path. At other times, when our school work was finished, we were allowed to go to the back of the room to work on craft projects. I remember making an embroidered towel to give to my parents at Christmas time and thinking how special it was giving what I considered a truly "fine" gift.....one that came from my heart and hands. Was I proud!
Now, so many years later, I am still fulfilling this same desire, by designing and creating papier-mache nodders. Drawing inspiration from my collection of antique nodders, I originally spent over a year trying to achieve the look and feel of these early toys and also acquiring the skill and technique necessary to create the nodding function. The work is challenging to be sure, but it is equally rewarding. I love that they strike a familiar chord with years gone by, when everything was handcrafted with care, love, and pride and passed on from generation to generation. All my nodders are offered in limited editions, signed, and dated. Since each is individually hand made, although similar, no two are ever really the same.
In 2002, I was awarded the status of Juried Member, in the field of Paper, by the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen and belong to the Williamsport Chapter of the Guild. Early American Life magazine has included me among the top 200 artisans in the country as published in their Directory of Traditional American Crafts. In addition, three of my nodders were featured in their 2004 Holiday Directory Issue.
It is an honor that my work has received such recognition, and I owe a debt of gratitude to the people who influenced creativity early in my life: My mother, who was always so pleased with the small gifts that I made for her, and the teachers who gave me the freedom to create what I wanted. They all sparked a passion in me that I feel blessed to be able to use to bring such joy to others.
Also, I am especially grateful to my wonderful husband and family who have been there to support and encourage me throughout the years, even though I must have said... "just a minute", a thousand times. AND of course, where would I be without each and every customer who has purchased my nodders along the way? My sincerest gratitude to you all for making this possible. Please keep sharing your endearing "nodder" stories... they always make me smile!