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Jill Vendituoli

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Jill Vendituoli

I have always had “busy” hands… As a child, teenager, and into adulthood, I would play the piano for hours at a time. Throughout those years, there was also another strong inclination towards the visual arts. I sketched regularly during my childhood, but it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I wanted to see where those sketches would take me. My discovery of needlepoint was both accidental and fortuitous. I wanted something that would keep my hands busy during the long Maine winters, but I never imagined that that craft would become a life-consuming passion. It was love at first stitch! I began my journey as many stitchers do, with a kit. By the time I had finished three of those, I knew that I wanted to design my own needlepoint art. The first original piece I created took weeks of sketching and then eight months of stitching. The result was a 36” x 27” adaptation of the Magi based on a mosaic from Ravenna, Italy. At that point, I knew there was no going back.

Jill Vendituoli

Sunnyfield itself exudes contentment…the enduring spirit of this old house and its inhabitants make it a place people want to return to over and over again.

Jill Vendituoli

I live and create at Sunnyfield, a 1790s farmhouse in southwestern Maine that belonged to my husband’s grand aunt. She intrepidly moved to this rural location from the metro Boston area with her mother after the Second World War. I can only imagine the challenges she faced relocating here, restoring an uninhabited farm and starting a new life in her middle years. Our stories parallel, as I, too, came to live on this farm in my forties. For both Daisy and me, Sunnyfield was a new beginning, an opportunity to experience “a life unexpected.” I am so consciously grateful for her courage, and her legacy is an empowering tribute to a life well-lived. I am also filled with love and profound appreciation for the female mentors that have shaped my vision, and I feel very blessed to have had a mother and grandmother who both regularly engaged in creating fiber art that enriched my world.

Jill Vendituoli

My studio and gallery space are two rooms that connect the farmhouse to the barn, an architectural style typical in this part of New England. We converted these rooms into a place where I could create and where visitors could view the work in a very personal yet historic setting. The well-worn pine floorboards, time polished work counter, exposed ceiling rafters and steps “softened” with curves from a long history of use, create a rustic ambiance that suits both this artist and her work. Sharing the magic of Sunnyfield is a very rewarding experience. There is something quite wonderful about having an opportunity to engage with a viewer and tell the story of your inspiration and process: describing the joy and wonder of a work that has developed in unexpected and organic ways … that is truly one of the joys of opening our door to visitors.

I have always marveled at my own audacity when I sit at my frame.

Needlepoint is a very measured process … its canvas grid appears so structured by its squares, but it actually provides a tremendous amount of freedom when one allows the ideas and fibers to take over. Since I began this odyssey, I never had any doubts about my vocation. The confidence to try a multitude of styles, subjects and work with non-traditional materials was never something that I questioned. It was just what I believed that I should do. The flexibility of fiber means that this medium can be physically manipulated, not as much as some fiber arts, but enough to take my work places where others haven’t gone before … and I am still exploring today.

Jill Vendituoli

My brain thinks in stitches … Every stitch matters to me as every brushstroke does to a painter. Perhaps I am just a dessert-first kind of girl, because it has always been my approach to stitch the subject first and then bring it all together with the background. Even an area of solid background has significance: It’s “the thread that connects” In fact, that phrase is so significant to my way of thinking about my life and work that I created an entire series based upon it. Connectivity and life itself become synonymous. The very real physical connection that I have with my needle, fibers, and canvas and the slowness of my process ultimately result in an exciting intimacy with each work I produce … Hours, days, and weeks disappear in a blissful focus.

Jill Vendituoli

My ideal was contained within the word beauty, so difficult to define despite all the evidence of our senses.

Marguerite Yourcenar

If my brain thinks in stitches, my eyes dance with color … when visitors enter my studio, they know what color means to me … a pulsating visual experience. Maybe it’s because of the long, dark winters that color has always been such a powerful component in my work.
And as I begin my fourth decade of creating and stitching, I find myself giddy with excitement when I encounter (and subsequently use) the stunning new fibers available to me. I consider those producing these amazing threads and hand-dyed yarns artisans in their own right … my work can remain dynamic because of their visionary contributions.

My ideal was contained within the word beauty, so difficult to define despite all the evidence of our senses. Marguerite Yourcenar
The morning light is bright at the east end of my winter studio space. Sunnyfield is a very old Cape Cod house (1790s.)The second story was never “finished” and was supposedly used as open dormitory accommodation when this house was a coaching stop in the 19th century.

Ever grateful for my 21st-century freedoms, I have taken this traditionally female handcraft, removed the constraints that were historically imposed and with a liberated voice created work that expresses my contemporary vision as an artist. Every time that I begin a new work, I am filled with gratitude to my stitching forebearers, who had limited opportunities for self-expression. It was during the process of stitching both useful and decorative objects that women were allowed the quiet opportunity to engage in one of their only means of deliberate creativity. My needle is my visual voice, and it has taken me places that I could never have imagined when I began. I jokingly say to my patient supportive husband at the end of the day, “just one more thread …” But one more is never enough.

Jill Vendituoli

I have always had “busy” hands… As a child, teenager, and into adulthood, I would play the piano for hours at a time. Throughout those years, there was also another strong inclination towards the visual arts. I sketched regularly during my childhood, but it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I wanted to see where those sketches would take me. My discovery of needlepoint was both accidental and fortuitous. I wanted something that would keep my hands busy during the long Maine winters, but I never imagined that that craft would become a life-consuming passion. It was love at first stitch! I began my journey as many stitchers do, with a kit. By the time I had finished three of those, I knew that I wanted to design my own needlepoint art. The first original piece I created took weeks of sketching and then eight months of stitching. The result was a 36” x 27” adaptation of the Magi based on a mosaic from Ravenna, Italy. At that point, I knew there was no going back.

Jill Vendituoli

Sunnyfield itself exudes contentment…the enduring spirit of this old house and its inhabitants make it a place people want to return to over and over again.

Jill Vendituoli

I live and create at Sunnyfield, a 1790s farmhouse in southwestern Maine that belonged to my husband’s grand aunt. She intrepidly moved to this rural location from the metro Boston area with her mother after the Second World War. I can only imagine the challenges she faced relocating here, restoring an uninhabited farm and starting a new life in her middle years. Our stories parallel, as I, too, came to live on this farm in my forties. For both Daisy and me, Sunnyfield was a new beginning, an opportunity to experience “a life unexpected.” I am so consciously grateful for her courage, and her legacy is an empowering tribute to a life well-lived. I am also filled with love and profound appreciation for the female mentors that have shaped my vision, and I feel very blessed to have had a mother and grandmother who both regularly engaged in creating fiber art that enriched my world.

Jill Vendituoli

My studio and gallery space are two rooms that connect the farmhouse to the barn, an architectural style typical in this part of New England. We converted these rooms into a place where I could create and where visitors could view the work in a very personal yet historic setting. The well-worn pine floorboards, time polished work counter, exposed ceiling rafters and steps “softened” with curves from a long history of use, create a rustic ambiance that suits both this artist and her work. Sharing the magic of Sunnyfield is a very rewarding experience. There is something quite wonderful about having an opportunity to engage with a viewer and tell the story of your inspiration and process: describing the joy and wonder of a work that has developed in unexpected and organic ways … that is truly one of the joys of opening our door to visitors.

I have always marveled at my own audacity when I sit at my frame.

Needlepoint is a very measured process … its canvas grid appears so structured by its squares, but it actually provides a tremendous amount of freedom when one allows the ideas and fibers to take over. Since I began this odyssey, I never had any doubts about my vocation. The confidence to try a multitude of styles, subjects and work with non-traditional materials was never something that I questioned. It was just what I believed that I should do. The flexibility of fiber means that this medium can be physically manipulated, not as much as some fiber arts, but enough to take my work places where others haven’t gone before … and I am still exploring today.

Jill Vendituoli

My brain thinks in stitches … Every stitch matters to me as every brushstroke does to a painter. Perhaps I am just a dessert-first kind of girl, because it has always been my approach to stitch the subject first and then bring it all together with the background. Even an area of solid background has significance: It’s “the thread that connects” In fact, that phrase is so significant to my way of thinking about my life and work that I created an entire series based upon it. Connectivity and life itself become synonymous. The very real physical connection that I have with my needle, fibers, and canvas and the slowness of my process ultimately result in an exciting intimacy with each work I produce … Hours, days, and weeks disappear in a blissful focus.

Jill Vendituoli

My ideal was contained within the word beauty, so difficult to define despite all the evidence of our senses.

Marguerite Yourcenar

If my brain thinks in stitches, my eyes dance with color … when visitors enter my studio, they know what color means to me … a pulsating visual experience. Maybe it’s because of the long, dark winters that color has always been such a powerful component in my work.
And as I begin my fourth decade of creating and stitching, I find myself giddy with excitement when I encounter (and subsequently use) the stunning new fibers available to me. I consider those producing these amazing threads and hand-dyed yarns artisans in their own right … my work can remain dynamic because of their visionary contributions.

My ideal was contained within the word beauty, so difficult to define despite all the evidence of our senses. Marguerite Yourcenar
The morning light is bright at the east end of my winter studio space. Sunnyfield is a very old Cape Cod house (1790s.)The second story was never “finished” and was supposedly used as open dormitory accommodation when this house was a coaching stop in the 19th century.

Ever grateful for my 21st-century freedoms, I have taken this traditionally female handcraft, removed the constraints that were historically imposed and with a liberated voice created work that expresses my contemporary vision as an artist. Every time that I begin a new work, I am filled with gratitude to my stitching forebearers, who had limited opportunities for self-expression. It was during the process of stitching both useful and decorative objects that women were allowed the quiet opportunity to engage in one of their only means of deliberate creativity. My needle is my visual voice, and it has taken me places that I could never have imagined when I began. I jokingly say to my patient supportive husband at the end of the day, “just one more thread …” But one more is never enough.