Ei of the Needle: Fabric Art with a Quilting Heart


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Eileen (on the left) buying fabric from our favorite store, Cloth & Bobbin, owned by Johanna on the right  and located in Narberth, PA.

 

 

Eileen Belmont Wishnia quilts memories. Her wall hangings, lap quilts, and full sized bed quilts, pillows, place mats, and clothing, etc. all reflect someone’s feelings, ideas, or wishes. The quilt might be clothing from a loved one who died, it could be pillows decorated with fabric from a wedding gown, or it just might be some whimsical fabric made into placements requested by a mother for her children.

 

Eileen’s website www.eioftheneedle.com says it well: “Preserve the memory of cherished figures in your life who have touched you deeply. Celebrate distinctive occasions you wish to remember for eternity. Personalize your home environment with artwork that conveys special meaning.”

 

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Memorial pillows from a father’s neckties

 

 

When I visited Eileen’s home studio in Ardmore, I was amazed at how many projects this fabric artist juggles. Her shelves were lined with baskets of fantastic fabrics, her closet was stuffed with more fabric, and she had several bags with projects in many stages of completion. Despite the seemingly random display of materials, Eileen is fastidious about her work. She learned to sew as a young girl of 11 from her mother, who was a home economics/science teacher. By junior high school, Eileen was making her own clothes, and by high school, her prom dresses. Her parents regularly attended  many evening events and Eileen made after-five dresses side-by-side, with her mother.  Eileen’s attention to detail is wonderful.

 

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In Eileen’s studio are these wonderful baskets overflowing with gorgeous fabric. I may steal her idea and get baskets for my overflow of material!

 

 

In talking with Eileen, I realized that this is her passion. Two and one half years ago, she made the bold decision to leave her  regular “day job” in order to quilt and sew and create full time. Eileen also teaches quilted heirloom artistry, as she calls it, locally at the Main Line Art Center. She also gives private sewing lessons in her Ardmore studio.

 

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This is a placemat with a unique fabric, all set with bagels for Sunday brunch.

 

One of the most touching stories Eileen shared with me was that of a man whose wife had died. He brought several several bags of his wife’s garments to Eileen and asked her to make him a quilt that he and his three children could use to snuggle under in the evening… which she did. In this way Eileen helps people preserve memories of loved ones. At the same time, Eileen will take pieces of fabric from  with a client’s wardrobe and create piece of quilted fabric art that is used to commemorate a wedding, an anniversary, a bar or bat mitzvah, or any special event.

 

Eileen’s choice of color and fabric is one of the reasons I feel her work is so lovely. Not only does she have an eye for detail, she also has the “eye” of an artist. Go to her website and click on each of the categories to see her work. You may be as amazed as I am to see how she combines texture, color, and patterns to create a beautiful piece of art. Her home is also decorated with lots of color and texture, from her own wall hangings, as well as interesting mirrors and art pieces she has purchased over the years.

 

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This lovely wall hanging is in Eileen’s house. A photo does not do it justice!

 

Eileen’s  brother-in-law offered the phrase ‘ei of the needle’ as a hook to use on her original business card.  She’s been using that Needle’s Eye concept ever since.  I would also say that she has golden hands and a magical imagination that translates into beautiful pillows, wall hangings, quilts, and whatever strikes your fancy.

 

Eileen can be reached via her website: www.eioftheneedle.com or by phone at 215-350-3015.


P.S. When I asked Eileen if an item could be ready for Christmas, this was her reply:

“I could definitely make something in time for Christmas.  It would not be a very large or complicated project, though.  Think about this… I have, in the past, generated an IOU note with my client’s help, for the recipient of a gift project.  I have found that approach works well if there’s a time crunch before an event…birthday/anniversary/graduation… or in this case, Christmas!”

9 Responses to “Ei of the Needle: Fabric Art with a Quilting Heart”

  1. Paula A. Buchak Says:

    Reminds me once again of my talented mother. Beautiful work.
    Paula

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