Cecilia Turner began her needlework career designing samplers and inspirational sayings. The birth sampler (inset photo above) is a tribute to Matthew, her son who died shortly after birth. Today her hallmarks are whimsy, simplicity, and petite size. Among the many Wee Ones designs from Heart in Hand Needleart are Wee Valentine and Wee Girlfriends, above left and center. The bird and butterfly, above right, are from her Spring Tiny Trimmings leaflet.
Better Homes and Garden Cross Stitch & Needlework ran a wonderful profile of Cecilia. A magazine representative came to Cecilia's home along with photographer Perry Struse, who did a fabulous job!
Cecilia Turner seems almost surprised to be a cross-stitch designer. Indeed, as a teenager, Cecilia seemed more destined to become an actress or a television reporter. She was involved in speech and theater activities in high school and college. In fact, she met husband Randy at a speech competition. Armed with a degree in mass communications, she worked in television news and later as an editor in a publishing house.
'Actually,' says Cecilia, 'those experiences prepared me for the constant serach for new cross-stitch design ideas! As an assignment editor for a television station, I was responsible for the activities of 50 to 60 reporters and photographers. I had to come up with fresh story ideas day after day.'
The article first discussed Cecilia's background.
Heart in Hand Artist Cecilia Turner says, "Listening to shop owners is a key to designing. In response to their input, she's currently focused on small designs and versatile finishes. Most of her Wee Ones designs, like Wee Bee, above, and Wee Hope, a tribute to the millennium. above right, can be stitched on assorted fabrics. She likes box finishing for her Monthly Miniature series, and suggests prefinished pillows to those who don't sew. A chicken-tracks frame accents Wee Chicken, left.
The article described Cecilia's first exposure to cross stitch as a child by her grandmother, who taught her to cross stitch on stamped designs. It also described trips she made with a childhood friend to the local five-and-dime where they would choose skeins of their favorite colors.
Even today, her design process starts with color. She puts together floss, fibers, fabrics, and embellishments, combining and recombining until she gets a pleasing mood.
The article recounted how stitching provided solace after the loss of her son, Matthew, in 1985.
Eventually Cecilia began designing her own work, a business that's grown in successive steps. Winning a [cross stitch magazine] design contest in 1991 encouraged her to submit other designs to magazine publishers. When success and friends in the industry persuaded her to publish leaflets, Heart in Hand was born...
Cecilia's Wee Fruits and Wee Vegetables above, are among her most popular designs. Her Winter Tiny Trimmings, right, are quick-and-easy ornaments, appropriate for stitchers of any level.
The article discussed how the business has become a family affair, noting that her husband, Randy, travels with her to trade shows and becomes a solo parent to their daughters Elise and Allison when Cecilia travels to teach. The article also noted that Randy organizes and directs A Stitcher's Retreat and lectures on the legal aspects of shop ownership and designing at trade shows.
[Their daughters] are prominent in Cecilia's business motivation. 'I want my daughters to understand how important it is for moms to build something of their own.'
Teaching her daughters to stitch was a philosophical necessity for Cecilia. 'Needlework is a gift we need to share with children, friends, and neighbors. If we don't, it won't continue.'
The article concluded with the design Jolly Old Elf, which was designed exclusively for the magazine.