Customer Feature: Maureen Kenney
When/how did you first get into bead weaving? What inspired you to begin weaving?
A few years ago, my youngest daughter learned how to inkle weave at a summer arts camp, and it intrigued me to expand my bead work in that direction. She seemed to enjoy it so much, how could I resist?
When you did you first purchase a Mirrix? What made you decide to get one?
I started off with a simple wire table loom that I quickly outgrew. I tried several other table top versions, but they didn’t seem sturdy enough. Thinking I could make my own loom, I pieced afairly primitive loom together from some creative parts and pieces I picked up at the hardware store. BIG mistake, and I never finished the piece that I started. At that point, I did my research, and all roads to quality looms seemed to lead to MIRRIX! That was back in 2012, and my first professional loom is still my favorite Mirrix Little Guy. In addition to my Little Guy, I also have the 8” Lani and the 32” Joni Mirrix looms.
What do you like about Mirrix Looms compared to other bead looms?
Affordability coupled with quality construction, which helps me produce quality tapestries.
Tell us a little bit about your WW11 bead series. Where did your inspiration come from? What pieces make up the series? How long did these take you to create?
As an historical point of interest, my mother was a young girl on the island of Okinawa during the invasion near the end of WWII. Her family lost everything, and it goes without saying that this was a defining moment in her life. My father, an Irish-French American from Massachusetts, met her during his early years in the Air Force in the 1950’s when he was stationed in Okinawa. As a result of my family history, I can’t help but have a personal interest in WWII. I decided to combine my interest in WWII and my beadwork to give a new spin on WWII commemorations.
At this point I have six completed tapestries, all featured on my website: http://thankfulgenerations.com. The first one was inspired by an iconic National Archives photograph of a young soldier in Saipan, which I first saw on the PBS Special “The War” by Ken Burns. Since that time, the rest of my tapestries were created from vintage photographs of my own family members, and those of my friends relatives who served during WWII. My favorite tapestry is actually of my mother-in-law, who served as one of the WAVES (see attached photo).
Initially, each piece took me 3-5 months to complete, but as I’ve become more proficient, I can finish a tapestry in about two months.
Anything else you’d like to add? Stories, pictures, thoughts?
I’m hoping that this project will promote new dialogue across generations, particularly the generation of brave men and women who participated in and supported the war efforts. So many are now in their 80’s and 90’s, and dying off quickly. I feel compelled to do this project before their collective voices are lost forever.
Most people ask me questions about the “process” I use, so I created a webpage that explains my tools and techniques, including, of course, my Mirrix Loom: http://thankfulgenerations.com/my-tools–process.html
You might also be interested in this interview I did to explain more of the background on what this project means to me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnJUHSX626Y