By Ashley Brown
“You are never going to believe this! Come see!” Francelia smiles broadly and leads me through the maze of the studio. Past the black floor in Folk Art, past the bright white walls of the pottery studio—still shining from it’s remodel, through the doorway into the Gateway Gallery artwork hung for the Gateway Local show, past the clank and chatter of the sun drenched fabric and paper studios, into the weaving studio. There she presents a pillow–stitched from seam to seam in wide basting stitches.
The pillow is striped with a rainbow array of colors in embroidery thread. Francelia is wild for stripes. The taut stitches create a rippling effect over the fabric similar to waves on sand. Her lines of stitches have washed over the botanical design masking the fabric but not covering it completely. The stitches are so tight that the pillow is taking on a new form– the corners of the pillow curl from the tension. What was once a 18″ square pillow has been squeezed to a 14″ A-symmetrical cushion.
Francelia’s radiant smile is contagious. I know how much work it took her. I saw her day after day working quietly and diligently. The repetition plays through my head. Unwrap thread, slice of scissors, squeeze through the eye, match the ends, tie the knot. Then the real work starts. The sharp point of the needle goes in and out of the fabric until the line of stitches has eaten the embroidery thread to its entirety. This is a labor of love, and Francelia has the passion to endure the path to success. She looks up, a bit impatiently, and puts her hands on hips and lectures, “Well?”
“Well, I can see why you are artist of the month.”
Francelia has been here for 7 years working on paintings, vases, quilts, clocks, pillows, books, aprons, gift wrap, ornaments, necklaces, and many other products. Over the years, her products have sold and can be found in homes across the country. No really. There is a bowl she created that is being used in California! Each product has a life after it is sold.
Francelia too has a life after work. She loves spending time with her family in Florida, relaxing in the Jacuzzi or taking a cold dip in the pool. In Boston, you may find her at IHOP selecting her favorite meal—a Ham and Egg Griddle Melt with Fries and a small Coke.
Francelia Brea is always ready to show off her artwork. Come see her art in the store, and be sure to meet her in person.