and opulent in color. Simple designs that appear rich and intricate. Naive
in character, quirky and fun. All of these apply to Catherine Reurs' needlepoint
interpretations of animals, florals, folk art, cherubs, birds and numerous
other motifs. (Click on the stocking below, right, for Catherine's FREE DESIGN & CHART.)
Over the years she has learned which subjects really "turn her on"
and she strives to incorporate these into her designs insisting that "...if
you love something, it comes through loud and clear in your artwork, whatever
medium you work in...and people respond to that."
It took a twelve year stint in the stress-filled business world of international
finance for Catherine to discover her real aspirations were artistic in
nature. But her banking experience stood her in good stead when she decided
to go into business for herself as a needlepoint designer. It also enabled
her to travel extensively throughout Europe, exposing her to innumerable
artistic and cultural treasures which have profoundly influenced her work
formative influence was Catherine's exposure from infancy to beautiful
and artistic surroundings. She even retains memories of crawling around
on the detailed oriental carpets decorating her parents' home and to this
day, these occidental designs constitute her favorite textiles. "Our
personal background affects everything that we do...I think I was predisposed
to like those [Oriental] designs - they seeped into my brain!" she
from two Turkish rugs provided the impetus for Catherine's first original
design, "Boteh", executed in a paisley style. Not one to be daunted
by detail and complexity of execution, this piece took three years to complete!
Upon learning to sew at age eight, Catherine diligently produced a wardrobe
and accessories for her bears, dolls and trolls. Even back then she was
embellishing these felt outfits with beads, sequins and faux pearls. The
teddies were her favorites and she has always felt a special affinity for
animals and they still constitute her favorite design motifs. Not surprisingly,
the home Catherine shares with her husband includes two Burmese cats and
a huge white shepherd named Bella.
When needlepoint was discovered by Catherine as
a teenager, she found the available patterns so lackluster that she was
motivated to design her own right from the start. Using an art history
book as a guide, her first attempt was a rendition of a work by Mondrian
entitled "Broadway Boogie Woogie", an ambitious and rather avant-garde
undertaking for a teen trying out a new technique; but then, Catherine
has always been eager to venture into unfamiliar territory.
attended Tufts University, majoring in Art History and History with an
emphasis in Medieval Art. Graduating during an economic recession, however,
did not bode well for pursuing a career in these fields. Instead, Catherine
opted for a management training program. Upon completion, she moved swiftly
up the corporate ladder, landing her "dream assignment" as a
banking officer with all Europe as her territory. Catherine eagerly ingested
the incredibly rich artistic heritage of the many cultures, making it a
point to visit museums, galleries and bookstores wherever she went. Deciding
that she wanted to live there, she applied herself to learning Italian
and procured a position as a second vice president with Chase Manhattan
Bank in Milan, Italy.
a few years, Catherine was transferred to Chase's London Headquarters,
where she lived near the Victoria and Albert Museum and became enamored
of English textiles and needlework. Her banking career came to an abrupt
end at Christmas in 1986, when her entire department of 250 people was
presented with pink slips. Catherine had heard rumors and anticipated this
eventuality, "I thought, `Life is too short; I don't want to deal
with this anymore,' then I realized I wanted to do something artistic."
Needlepoint had remained a cherished hobby and during her banking years
Catherine had found it to be the perfect medium to occupy herself with
on the many tedious hours spent ferrying between destinations and staying
in hotels. Throughout, she had continued to design all her own work. Colleagues
began to notice these and Catherine started receiving requests for custom
to leave England, Catherine did some freelance consulting work while soliciting
other needlework commissions. She became known for rendering architectural
portraits in needlepoint. This fledgling career got a boost when "European
Travel and Life" showcased some of her London house portraits. While
in England she also met her soon-to-be husband, Jiri Stanislav, a Czech
actor, writer and teacher who fled his native homeland when the Russians
invaded in 1968. They were married in 1987. Catherine's life certainly
bears out the maxim: "When one door closes, another one opens."
ideas for designs emanate spontaneously because of the many forms of media
she constantly exposes herself to: books and magazines about art, architecture,
antiques, interior design, needlework and crafts, frequent forays to museums
and galleries, travel in the U.S. and abroad and watching the Learning
Channel, PBS, Discovery, A&E and Bravo on TV. She feels it is very
important to keep "feeding" her imagination by exposure to as
many stimuli as possible.
describes her style as "European with an American twist or American
with a European twist." During the past few years she has been using
many more types of specialty fibers, such as metallics, rayon, perle cotton,
alpaca and angora. Each fiber adds a different texture and reflects the
light differently, greatly expanding Catherine's "palette" and
creative options. She reminisces, with evident surprise, that "...
just five years ago I only used persian wool!" She always carries
a spiral binder so that, when inspiration strikes, she can make what she
calls "...truly horrible little thumbnail sketches." Nonetheless,
they do the trick and are later refined to get the right shape and feel.
Once she is satisfied that she has captured the essence of a particular
design element, she will fill in the color and shading by eye.
The Caron Collection threads caught Catherine's
attention in a store. She had never before seen "space-dyed"
threads made specifically for needlework. At a TNNA show, she chanced to
meet Lois who supplied her with some fabulous samples. Catherine was right
in the middle of writing her second book, Splendid Needlepoint,
and she was intent on using the Caron fibers for some of the projects to
be illustrated. She particularly gravitates toward Watercolours and the
metallic fiber ranges - Rachelette, Antica, Snow and Rachel for her work.
Catherine's first published book of needlepoint designs is entitled In
Splendid Detail which is also the name she gave her business.
Two of Catherine's "Splendid" Needlepoint
(see below for ordering information)
Altogether, Catherine Reurs is that rare example of what is possible when
both the right brain and left brain function at equal capacity and in sync
with each other. Her roles as artist, designer, entrepreneur, art lover,
author, merchandiser and promoter mesh seamlessly assuring her a distinctively
unique place among the needlework elite.
For more information, contact Catherine
Reurs at In Splendid Detail, Ltd.
50 Marion Road, Watertown, MA 02472-4737
Phone: (617) 926-3252
Fax: (617) 926-5883
Catherine's designs encompass a line of thirteen needlepoint kits, available
from her or through her distributor: Westminster Fibers, Inc., Amherst,
N.H. (800) 433-7899 or (603) 886-5041, twenty five cross stitch/needlepoint
chartpack designs, available from her, two needlepoint books, In Splendid
Detail: Needlepoint Art, (ST&C - 1991) and Splendid Needlepoint,
(Lark Books - 1997). Both books are available from her and Splendid
Needlepoint is also available in bookstores. She has completed many
private commissions and still enjoys doing them when time permits. Her
work has been featured in numerous magazines including Better Homes and
Gardens, Cross Stitch & Needlework, Arts and Crafts Magazine, House
Beautiful, Colonial Homes, Country Living, Traditional Home and The Stitchery
Magazine, to mention just a few! She has taught at needlework seminars,
shows and many private needlework shops across the USA.
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: No part of the designs/charts can be reproduced or distributed in any form
(including electronic) or used as a teaching tool without the prior written
permission of Catherine Reurs of In Splendid Detail, Ltd.
© Copyright 1998 Catherine Reurs, In Splendid Detail, Ltd.