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Anthony Minieri was born and raised as an only child in Paterson, N.J. He states, "As a child I always had a musical and artistic bent. We had a large grape arbor in the backyard and I would sit under it and draw for hours; mostly the surrounding trees and houses."
He attended Catholic schools through high school and then went to the Stevens Institute of Technology where his major was chemistry. Tony's father owned his own construction company (working mostly on water mains) and his mother was employed by Barbizon as a seamstress. She was responsible for all the decorative stitching and finishing on their showroom models. Tony continues, "My Mom and Dad were both very musical. Mom studied opera seriously until the Great Depression. My Dad played 10 different instruments, all self taught. My grandmother was an incredible needlewoman: surface embroidery, lace making (studied on the Island of Burano), intaglio, crocheting, etc."
As a child, Tony was exposed to beautiful needlework all the time because of the work my mother and grandmother engaged in. This proximity to stitching has provided him with a keen appreciation for handwork that has stayed with him all his life.
Even though Tony's formal education hardly seems related to his current career, there is a connection. He explains, "I was a chemistry major in college and a math minor. Since we always work with some sort of geometric shapes and used counted stitches, a math background helps." Tony has never had any formal art training, but he has become a master at creating, drawing and painting with thread.
Before Tony began teaching needlework seriously, he was a hairdresser. A wonderful customer and friend named Vivian Rizzo once came into the shop with a needlepoint. Tony elaborates, "I watched for about 5 minutes fascinated. I asked her to explain it to me in 25 words or less. She did. I asked her if I could try it. She taught me basketweave I stitched about 4 rows of basketweave and was hooked."
Inspiration appears for Tony in many guises: through nature, music, items of historical interest, architecture, shapes, personal collections and the changing seasons. He never fails to be inspired by "all the other wonderful and talented teachers out there."
Asked to describe his own personal artistic style, Tony says is difficult. He adds, "My aim is usually realism. I can't just throw a stitch into an area just to use the stitch. It must speak the area to me, for it to be right in my eyes.I try to not make my designs all look alike. When someone sees a design by me and doesn't know I designed it, I want them to be intrigued by the design but I don't want them to look at it and say, 'Oh, that's a Tony Minieri!'" His style is constantly evolving and tends to be more realistic, more detailed and more sophisticated as he progresses.
Music has a big influence on Tony's work and life in general. He says, "I am the Bass/Baritone soloist for The New Jersey Choral Society and I have always felt, since I started stitching, that there is a correlation between music and art and needlework is certainly an art form. If you think of Kandinsky's Yellow Sound, you can see what I am talking about. Certain music evokes definite colors to me. Beethoven is all deep plums and ponderous browns; Mozart is delicate mauve and pastel blues; Chopin is romantic roses and soft greens, country western music is all primaries etc." Another pastime is Tony's penchant for collecting, "I collect miniature tea sets and antique teapots and teacups and saucers. They inspire me quite a bit."
When Tony took on his very first teaching assignment at a local cross stitch shop, he considers himself fortunate to have met three 3 gals: Roberta Ast, Linda Kent and Audrey Vinarub. Tony explains, "They introduced me to EGA and I joined their chapter. The first meeting I went to Harriet Segal was lecturing and she had Watercolours with her. I was immediately intrigued and bought every color I could. I learned quickly how stitching with an overdyed thread is a serendipitous experience. Yes, you can control them but the fun is watching the colors spin from the strand as you stitch. Soon after, I learned of the other threads and have used them continuously in my designs. The realistic look of a lot of my work is enhanced by the overdyed threads. They make realistic shading a lot of fun."
Tony is a national teacher with Level I Certification from The National Academy of Needlearts. He instructs for the ANG, EGA, local shops and TNNA. Within the next two years he has plans to teach in Canada and Bermuda. Tony's originals encompass both teaching pieces and designs for the commercial market. He is in much demand for creating stitch and thread guides for both Renaissance Designs and Sunrunner Designs. Tony is currently ensconced as Designer and Teacher in Residence at The Edwardian School of Needle Arts in Bloomfield, NJ. When offered this position, he insisted on one condition - that the primary focus in developing the curriculum be on education.
For want of a better title, Tony refers to himself as the Headmaster. He has developed a series of notebook classes entitled Stitching Adventures in which he guides each student on a Stitch Journey, Color Excursion and Thread Travel, in turn. Last year, Tony designed and taught a series of monthly projects using a band sampler format, each highlighting a pertinent holiday theme. In order to initiate a more extensive and challenging project, Tony designed a Sampler Quilt on Canvas project, Stars for a New Millennium, which spans the entire year. Stitchers work on one block each month using overdyed threads from four distinct color families.
Tony's goal as a teacher is to familiarize stitchers with color interaction and guide them in creating balance between colors, threads, stitches and textures. In a class of 70 students, 52 different color combinations have evolved. When complete, Tony intends to publish the project as a commercial design, which will include many of the different color, thread and stitch combinations used.
Additionally, Tony has his own column in the publication needlepoint now, entitled Adventures in Embellishment. Look for it in your next issue of needlepoint now.
For Tony's extensive Online Class, Autumnal Scentiment, presented
in 3 parts, go to
For more information on Anthony Minieri Designs and Tony's teaching itinerary contact him at:
For information on Anthony Minieri's classes at The Edwardian
School of Needle Arts, contact:
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