Lonni Rossi, Textile Artist

Lonni Rossi with some of her fabulous fabric creations

Lonni Rossi’s cozy shop/studio/office is filled with her original fabric designs hanging on walls, from the ceiling, on her work table, and in bolts on the 18 shelves that you see as you enter her Ardmore, PA store. (On my first visit I thought the fabric was purchased elsewhere & was stunned to find these were all her creations! See one row of her fabrics below.)

My conversation with Lonni, and it was more like a friendly conversation than an interview, spanned her 40 years as a graphic designer to a designer of textiles that she calls “Bespoke Textiles.” Taken from the British word “bespoke,” Lonni custom designs bespoke fabrics in colors and combinations that are exclusive to each customer.

Starting with a degree in graphic design from Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia (circa 1970), Lonni worked for 20 plus years in the advertising field, which she described as “cutthroat.” After a few years working for someone else, she and a business partner opened their own business in 1978, catering to small companies gearing up for the explosion of the personal computer field. They got in on the ground floor of PCs and eventually realized that they needed a sales person.

When a friend of a friend recommended someone and he came through the office door to interview for the job, Lonni fell in love at first sight. But only after 3 or 4 years of working together did they come together as man and wife. (Lonni also mentioned that her husband was one of the main dance participants on American Bandstand that took place in Philadelphia. A piece of local history that became a national sensation, which I used to watch.)

Fast forward to post-marriage and Lonni’s decision in her late forties to go into business for herself, designing fabric, painting the design and then having it made into bolts of fabric to use for creating quilts, wall hangings, chair covers, fabric banners, etc. She raised two children and worked at home for 10 years, often painting large pieces of fabric in her backyard. In 2002, Lonni opened her charming store in Ardmore, where she now creates with the able assistance of Molly, a graduate of fashion design school with an important minor in entrepreneurship, since Molly eventually wants her own shop.

Lonni with her able assistant, Molly.

While Lonni’s childhood was surrounded by artistic women — her mother made Halloween costumes and taught Lonni to sew on the ancient machine in the corner of the room off the kitchen; her grandmother was adept at needle arts (knitting, crocheting, embroidering); and her great-aunt who lived next door sewed designs on bowling shirts—Lonni did not automatically decide to have her own artistic studio. It was a gradual transition from her college degree, her advertising experience, and finally her decision to do what she loves: play with fabric because she loves texture and color and likes to create visually.

This attractive, quilted wall hanging can be found on one of Lonni’s walls in her store.

Women born a generation before the Women’s Movement did not dream of their own businesses. Unlike young Molly, Lonni’s assistant, Lonni never took classes in entrepreneurship. But her immigrant family’s background to achieve inadvertently set the stage for Lonni’s eventual venture into business for herself. Freed from the deadlines and the competitive environment of corporate life, Lonni now struggles with having so many ideas that she cannot do everything she wants.

Creativity begets creativity, both a blessing and a curse. But the struggle results in incredible works of fabric art created from Lonni’s head, hands, and heart. The love of her art shows in every piece of fabric, including her new line: “Bubble and Swirl.”

Here is a sampler of  Lonni’s new line of Bubble & Swirl fabrics, created by Lonni’s friend Cheryl Lynch, also a fabric artist and author. Her email address is: oyveyquilts@yahoo.com.

Lonni readily admits that she made more money when she was in the corporate world. But she is busy and so happy with her work that her artistic spirit soars. From my conversation with her, I would say that Lonni is paid handsomely in satisfaction. A recent article in the AARP Bulletin noted that while wealth is not to be sniffed at, job satisfaction is very important to older people. Earning a living is important, but having a life is more important, and I think Lonni is able to combine both.

Please visit her website: www.LonniRossi.com to see Lonni’s creativity and projects light up your computer screen!

Here is just one of Lonni’s fabric designs in the works.

5 thoughts on “Lonni Rossi, Textile Artist

  1. What wonderful fabric art and creative women,
    just like you!

    The Bubble Art reminds me of the design of my
    mother’s one handmade coverlet.


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