I am blessed with many clever and talented friends, but I think my craftiest is Suzette, a friend I made shortly after I started working at Pacific Asia Museum, over 15 years ago now. Suzette worked in the development department in the museum and so was part of the museum’s fundraising team for several years, and has since had a similar position at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, a wonderful organization that provides arts education to adults and kinds (my own included). To those who don’t know her well, she might seems quiet, retiring and perhaps a little serious, but in reality, she has a wickedly dry sense of humor, a passion for cute, adorable creatures, and a surprising talent for knitting them out of wool. She has a house that always seems full of cats, she has always liked Japanese anime characters like Tottoro and Pokemon, and when I was in my squirrel phase (pre-cat, husband and child), she whole-heartedly approved of my obsession. A few years ago, she discovered the Japanese craft amigurumi (knitted dolls), and taught herself to knit the cutest little creatures out of different colored wool. I am delighted to say that I have been the recipient of a couple of these amazing little creations. They are the types of gifts that make me happy every time I look at them. I admire them artistically, but they also lighten my heart.
When Suzette and her husband Mark (see March 30), decided to rebuild their house, they added a second story including a crafting room where Suzette could store her materials and tools. I was in awe of this organization and commitment, as all my arty stuff is stuck in boxes and drawers in different parts of the house, unorganized and largely neglected. A few months back, I found a book on knitting folk bags from around the world and bought it with Suzette in mind. Suzette had generously invited me to a fundraising event she is organizing at the Armory this weekend, but rather than burden her with it then, I took it over this evening, along with a book on macramé. As I had hoped, she lit up as she looked through the knitting book, and at one point she rushed off inside and brought back some macramé yarn she had just picked up on a whim the other day, as such creative spirits as Suzette do. I have an image in my mind of my talented friend sitting knitting in her crafting room bathed in sunlight, with a cat curled at her side – a vision of a contented creativity making lovely, uplifting things that bring others joy.