The Story of Shiny Dime
Shiny Dime is the start of a long process of personal healing, and a desire to share in a community of supportive fiber artists. I love the shared creativity of collaboration, and the positive energy created when sharing in the love of the work that we make together. I don't really like working as a lone artist, I prefer to facilitate connections we can make in our available resources and creative experiences.
But Shiny Dime really begins with the story of my sister, Alexandra.
Alex passed away from cancer in 2003, at the age of 10. I have since struggled to honor her memory in a positive way.
During Alex’s long illness, she had a port implanted in her chest for her chemo treatments. My parents were required to flush it daily, which was not a pleasant task. To get her to sit very still and allow them to carefully flush and cover the port, my father would always say in a silly voice, “I’ll give you a shiny dime...” She would always relent, and the shiny coins slowly piled up. To this day, my family holds great significance to the memory of the shiny dime, and the bravery my little sister showed in her all-too-short time with us.
My mother taught herself to knit during the endless hours spent sitting in the hospital with my sister. Anyone who has ever spent much time in a hospital knows how you can lose track of time, of knowing what day of the week it is or even if it’s day or night. You wait in a mind-numbing purgatory outside of the rest of the world. Knitting was an activity of focus and meditative work that helped give her something productive to do.
I started learning to knit with my mom while Alex was in the hospital. I was away in college much of the time, but I learned to knit with her. We would get together and compare our awkward strips of cloth. It was a gateway to a whole form of art in which I have since found comfort.
Rhythmic, meditative fiber art practices have time and again called to me. I've struggled with this too, feeling like these practices are nothing more than hobbies, flights of fancy. However, over the years I kept coming back to them with more and more earnestness, getting undergraduate degrees, then a long-term residency, then a graduate degree. After graduate school I was so worn out of academia that I gave it up for a while, even working a landscaping job for a year until pregnancy made that impossible. And then...it creeped back in. Weaving commissions while the baby slept. Making meditative, repetitive drawings that resembled stretched cloth. I finally arrived at a moment where becoming an entrepreneur felt like the best way to facilitate the work I was meant to do.
Now I can begin to bridge the practice that has made such a positive impact in my life with the sister that taught me so much in so little time. Alex has been gone almost twice as long as she was here, but I am still struggling to do right by her. So I dedicate my business, a source of great joy and positivity in my life, to her strength, bravery and love.
My now rambunctious 2-year-old, William Alexander, is full of the same courage, big smiles, hugs and all-out goofiness. He is slowly bringing back the cherished memories of my sister puddle-jumping in the rain, climbing trees, running amok, and all the things she was beyond her illness. He’s a daily reminder of just how lucky I am.