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Out of a quaint New England town come the designs of Jean Ahearn, known as Primitive Sis. Although much of her life has been one of moving, she feels Massachusetts is ‘home.’ It’s there that she draws the essence to create from the old stone walls, pines and oaks, and the glorious Autumn season. At such places as historic Deerfield, she finds the peace and creative flow within stirred as she encounters the houses, relics, and expressions of colonial times.
Jean's mother was from Newfoundland. She showed Jean how to make the type of stick doll she herself had made as a child while being one of nine children. Several years later, Jean was fascinated by a display of very detailed and costumed apple head dolls she discovered at a small town hall. Love of such things was the beginning of the primitive style that Jean expresses in her work.
Her grandfather carved monkeys from peach pits; her dad has made peach pit baskets, walnut shell jack-o'-lanterns, and other little spur-of-the-moment creations from tree trunks. This sort of ‘take nothing and make it something’ trait is found in Jean’s creations, too.
It was at age 11 that Jean sat at her mother’s sewing machine to make doll clothes. Initiated as a ‘true seamstress’ by sewing her finger, she was caught up in the fascination of the machinery whirring along the fabric. To sew straight lines at top speed thrilled this perfectionist!
Since Jean taught herself many of the handiwork skills she learned by reading directions, she works at writing pattern instructions with a determination to make them step-by-step and clearly stated. Even in the primitive doll classes she teaches in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, she is undaunted by students who tell her they just look at the picture on a pattern they buy and don’t read the directions to make the item.
Although she, too, can many times create things by looking at a picture, she writes for those who do want to read directions! Through teaching others, she knows the value of words projecting the correct image in one's mind in the process of making a doll or other item.
Jean says that every time she designs and makes something it amazes her. It’s intriguing. When others ask if she’s always thinking of things to make and coming up with new ideas, she surprises them with her answer of, “No, I don’t try to be creative constantly. I look at it as if the creativity is a river. It’s there and flowing all the time because it’s part of me, part of who I am. When I need to, I reach into the river and find just what I need.” So, you'll find her being her most creative self while listening to books on tape, and the longer the book, the more lengthy the creative outflow of that river!
We'll put our collection of "Primitive Sis" patterns on several separate pages as they are released. We'll start with the first four. CLICK HERE to begin your browsing journey.
And remember, you can order any of these patterns directly from Homespun Peddler. Each pattern has an e-mail click but you can also click here for general ordering information.
All items are copyrighted by Jean Ahearn
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