2017 Needle Arts Faculty

Each instructor at the Callaway Gardens School of Needle Arts personally designs the piece taught in his or her class – drawing the patterns, writing the instructions and choosing the threads. The finished products are incredibly beautiful and intricate creations that resemble paintings, photographs and sculptures. 

Jo Vincent Weiss, Director, Callaway Gardens School of Needle Arts
In 1968, Jo Vincent Weiss opened a retail needle art shop in Hamilton, GA, and joined Southeastern Yarncrafters Guild, a retail guild which later became the International Needleart Retailers Guild (INRG).  Weiss served on the board's guild and as executive secretary.  During this time, she formed Needlework Markets, Inc. (NMI), an exposition management company that produced and managed wholesale needlework trade shows for both INRG and NMI.  In 1969, Weiss joined the newly formed Georgia Chapter of Embroiderer's Guild of America (EGA) and served as a board member and president (1974-76), co-chairman of the 1975 National EGA Seminar at Callaway Gardens, on the EGA National Board Directors and president  (1983-1985).  She is a lifetime member of EGA.  Weiss studied at the Elsa Williams School of Needlework and The Valentine Museum School of Embroidery where she obtained teacher certification in canvas work.  In 1970, Weiss approached Callaway Gardens about establishing a needlework school.  The Georgia Chapter, EGA agreed to act as sponsor and in 1971, Callaway Gardens first session opened.  Weiss served as director of the school until 1983.

Janet Zickler Casey
Janet Zickler Casey holds a B.S. degree from the University of Texas in Medical Technology, a field in which she still works today.  Janet has taught for over 15 years, including ANG National Seminars, Callaway Gardens School of Needle Arts, and many ANG and EGA chapters, as well as several local shops in the Houston area, where she makes her home with her husband Steve.  An ANG Life Patron, she is an avid stitcher, designer, and teacher of needlepoint and is known for creating whimsical three-dimensional characters for holiday and festive occasions.

Celeste Chalasani
Celeste Chalasani is a designer and teacher specializing in Stumpwork.  Celeste first learned embroidery, sewing and crochet as a young child from her grandmother.  Her passion for Stumpwork was sparked when she joined the Embroiderers' Guild of America (EGA) in 1999.  A life-long learner, she completed the City & Guilds Level 1 and 2 Certificate in Design and Craft Stumpwork distance courses under the tutelage of Chris Hammacott. She has also taken classes through EGA with Chris Berry, Judy Jeroy, Jane Nicholas, and Marsha Papay-Gomola.   

Celeste was the featured Designer Across America in the March 2015 issue of Needle Arts.  Her article on the history of Stumpwork and supplemental project, "The Dragon" was published in Piecework Magazine's March/April 2013 issue.  Her work has also been published in the "GPR Designers 2012" book, at CQMagOnline.com, and on the "Focus on Finishing" blog.  

Celeste holds a BS in Business Administration.  She is a Life Member of EGA and a member of National Embroidery Teachers.

Linda Chirby
Linda Chirby is an accomplished designer and has taught beadwork for national and regional EGA seminars, National Academy of Needlearts, Callaway Gardens School of Needlearts and The Bead & Button Show along with other venues. Linda specializes in several different beading techniques. Her highly detailed patterns and step-by-step instructions can be found at chirbydesigns.com.

Julie Crabtree
Julie was born in Nottinghamshire, England. She brought up in the countryside and attended the family village school. She spent time drawing, knitting, and working on embroidery.  Being from an artistic family led her to an art college career.  She attended Mansfield College of Arts sustaining qualifications in Art, Fabric Printing and City and Guilds of London in Fashion, Embroidery pt. 1 and 2.  Teaching at the College, she later emigrated to Canada before moving to the United States, where she embarked on various aspects of country life, raising fiber animals, spinning, dyeing, and giving lessons. She established a custom sewing business with the emphasis on embroidery and beadwork on bridal wear as well as working on the restoration embroidery of an 18th century ball gown. She is currently getting back to creative embroidery, mixed media, and painting.  She has won numerous awards over the years from best of show at juried art shows across the country and the Sacagawea award in 2014 given to a WI. female artist.  She appeared on PBS-TV in 2010 on the program "Sewing with Nancy."  Julie has had several articles published, including a two part series for a CD cover.

Toni Gerdes
Toni Gerdes holds Level II Teachers’ certification from the National Academy of Needlearts specializing in canvas embroidery.  She currently serves on the Board of NAN as the Assistant Director of Teachers’ Certification and on the Board of Directors for Mile High ANG chapter as President.  She is currently the President of NETA.  She has received numerous awards for her designs.  Toni has taught for NAN, EGA, and ANG, as well as guilds & shops.  She has been published in Needlepointers, Needlepoint Now, and in Needle Arts as the Artist Across America.  She enjoys all types of stitching and especially sharing her knowledge with others.  She currently resides in Colorado.

Gina Maria Kleinmartin
Gina Maria Kleinmartin has been embroidering her whole life. She first joined EGA in 1982, and she has been a member of the Buffalo Chapter since 1995. There is nothing nicer for her than surface embroidery and fabric manipulation, and she is currently working on earning her Master Craftsmen in Color and Surface work through EGA. She has been a juried member of Fiber Forum and her needlework has won her many awards, but her greatest needlework accomplishment was leading the Buffalo Chapter in creating a crazy quilt commemorating a special event in Buffalo’s history. She currently resides in Buffalo, NY with her husband, son and two dogs.

Betsy Morgan
Betsy has been stitching for 55 years and says that she's never happier than when she has a needle in her hand.  Her needlework design career began in the late 1960's when, at age 16, she painted canvases for a local needlepoint shop.  At that time she was attending a girls' prep school and, it being the 60's, she was the go-to person for embroidered blue jeans.

Betsy attended Philadelphia College of Art (now The University of the Arts) where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design with a minor in Art History and also took many elective courses in "Fibres", learning spinning, weaving, 3-D weaving, embroidery and fabric design.

Betsy's latest career in designing and teaching needlework began in the late 90's when she taught as a volunteer for her EGA chapter.  By 2001 she was teaching her designs around the mid-Atlantic area and in 2003 she started her business, Willing Hands Needlework Design.  In the years since she has taught all over the US and Canada and in Australia and England.  In 2016 she will teach in New Zealand for the first time, at a seminar and on a four city tour.  However she still designs and teaches on a volunteer basis for her two EGA chapters and her local Sampler Guild.  She has created over 50 designs in counted thread and Stumpwork, several of which have appeared in Inspirations Magazine.

Betsy lives on a small horse farm in rural northern Virginia with her husband of 35 years, two Arabian mares, a retired racing greyhound, a rescued pit bull and a cat.  Her daughter lives nearby and is a frequent visitor on the farm.

Pamela Reading
Pamela Reading grew up in northern Virginia doing needlework of many types.  After receiving a B.S. in Biology at George Mason University, she moved to Chapel Hill, NC and completed her Ph.D. in Genetics. She began studying Japanese Embroidery in 1998 with Carl Newman.  After completing the phase designs, she attended the Phase X certification class at the Japanese Embroidery Center (JEC) in 2005 and was certified to teach the following year.  She has continued her studies by attending special workshops with Kazumi (Tamura) Fujisawa, multiple Teacher Classes and Advanced Classes at JEC, and two classes in combined gold leaf/stitching techniques.  She is also pursuing JEC certification in Japanese beading. 

She was most honored when ‘Pine of Nindo, Moonlight’ was selected for exhibition at the Japanese Embroidery World Exhibition in Cambridge, U.K. in 2007 and at the Japanese Culture Center in Washington D.C. in 2010 as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. 

She assisted Mr. Newman in classes in North Carolina and Oklahoma until his retirement.  She has been teaching on her own since January of 2011 and currently maintains ongoing classes with students at all levels in Chapel Hill and Rocky Mount, North Carolina. In her spare time, Pam works as a senior computer programmer in clinical trials research.

Leah Henriquez Ready
Leah Henriquez Ready has been crafty most of her life. She originally created heavily-embroidered soft sculpture nativities and Christmas ornaments. But twenty-five years ago, she decided to add some beads for sparkle and that was it! She began creating beaded jewelry and dolls. Bead embroidery is her favorite technique.

Jeanette Rees
Jeanette Rees started out as a self-taught needle worker and first owned a Bernina shop and then a needlework shop for 13 years. Jeanette teaches classes and workshops in all types of canvas work, surface stitching,  embroidery, Hardanger, needlepoint, linen stitching, quilting, and finishing. She has published designs in both cross stitch and canvas pieces.  In addition to owning a needlework shop, Jeanette Rees has been teaching canvas work and linen work since 1992.  Currently, she teaches at National, Regional and EGA and ANG chapters at local levels.  Classes include dimensional embroidery on canvas, canvas work, Hardanger, and mixed media.  She has published designs in both cross stitch and canvas pieces.

Jennifer Riefenberg
Jennifer is an accomplished needle artist meshing her love of the arts into new and varied mediums.  She loves teaching others, both the skills and the pure love and joys of art and creativity.  Jennifer is a National Academy of Needlearts (NAN) Certified Teacher/Designer and also is a Certified Judge through NAN.  Jennifer has taught at National seminars for ANG and NAN.  Jennifer has won numerous awards for her needleart and other artwork.

Jennifer is the photographer for NAN and EGA Seminars.  She also shoots fine art photographs, especially nature and black and white photos.  Jennifer recently published a photography book on her trip to China taken while traveling with Pat Dalton and her Textile Tours.  Another side to the artist is the painter.  Jennifer paints in watercolor, oil, and acrylic.  She is a member of the Plein Air Artists Colorado, Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist society and Women Artists of the West.  She is currently exhibiting her work at the Depot Art Gallery in Littleton, Framed Image in Denver, and Grace Gallery in the Santa Fe Arts District in Denver.

Marnie Ritter
Marnie Ritter has taught needle art for more than 30 years at national and regional seminars for ANG, EGA, Callaway Gardens, Kent State University, NAN, as well as guilds and shops both nationally and internationally. Ritter’s forte is to continuously discover new and innovative techniques that combine many facets of needle art. Her students enjoy her enthusiastic sharing of these years of seasoned experience. Her certification in Surface Stitchery from The Council of Embroiderers, as well as experience in television and publishing, offers students a teacher well-versed in the subject of needlework. Her newest venture in publishing is the creation of needlework calendars to be sold throughout the United States. She has been a juried member of Fiber Forum, as well as serving as President of the Colorado Chapter of EGA in 1995/1996 and 2001/2002.

Julia Key Hardin Snyder
Julia Snyder grew up in her local needlepoint store where her mother, Patsye Hardin, worked.  She started stitching at the age of four and has not stopped since.  Julia has won awards in the State Fair of Texas as well as ANG.  She has designed and taught classes for ANG, EGA, Needlepointers, Destination Dallas Market, and TNNA Market.  Julia has also been involved in judging at the State Fair of Texas for several years and been a part of the Beaux-Arts Auction at the Dallas Museum of Art.  She has been teaching for the past 22 years, since she and her mother opened Key Stitches, which closed in 2009.  Along with stitching and teaching, Julia stays busy writing stitch guides for designers and clients.  Her books have been a huge success as well as her traveling and teaching all over the USA.  Her books include the following: 176 Amazing Stitches, Backgrounds and Such, Categories for Needlepoint, Darn Fillings, Everything Blackwork is New Again, First Stitch First, Great Layers, Have Stitch Will Travel, iBargello, Just Stitches I Use, and Keys to Canvas Embellishment.  Along with writing her books, Julia and her husband, Mickey Snyder, own & more, a wholesale needlepoint company where she designs and paints canvases.  Along with the canvases they carry eight lines of threads, five types of beads, and beading thread that comes in 36 colors.  For the past four years, Julia has helped Leigh from The Needle Bug, in Montgomery, AL, run The Bug Boutique during the Callaway Gardens School Needle Arts, and the past two years has taught her four-day embellishment class at Callaway Gardens School of Needle Arts.

Kay Stanis
Kay Stanis, is an internationally known Master Craftsman, Certified and Graduate Certified Teacher of the Embroiderers' Guild of America, Inc. (EGA) and Kurenai Kai Traditional Japanese Embroidery. She exhibits her needlework widely and is juried into Fiber Forum  which has ongoing exhibits in galleries and museums throughout the United States. Her embroideries have received numerous awards and have been shown on the covers of Kurenai, Inspirations, NeedleArts, and NeedlePointers. She is the recent recipient of EGA's Diana Grossman Memorial Award for Excellence in Needlework and won a Judge's Choice award.

Kay has studied internationally including in Paris at the L'Ecole de Broiderie D'Art (Lesage), at The Royal School of Needlework in England, and was invited to Japan to study with Master Saito at Kurenai Kai. Her travels are always interlaced with textile exhibits and workshops with internationally known teachers in both the U.S and abroad. She teaches and lectures on silk and metal embroidery in the U.S. and abroad for the American Needlepoint Guild (ANG), EGA, South Australia Embroidery Conference, Embroidery 2000 (New Zealand), and independent groups. Kay has written correspondence courses for EGA and served as chairman of their Teacher Certification Committee.

Kay is a frequent member on the faculties of national seminars: American Needlepoint Guild, Callaway Gardens School of Needle Arts, Embroiderers Association of Canada, EGA national and regional seminars, Koala Conventions, and many independent groups.

Catherine Theron
Catherine C. Theron is a graduate of Cornell University studying English, history & design. She resides in Stewartsville, New Jersey. Her interest in needlework began as a small child. She is a self-taught designer and stitcher and has concentrated on counted thread techniques and especially samplers for the past 20 years. Catherine has taught for EGA & ANG chapters, sampler guilds, shops, private groups, museums, and wholesale trade shows.



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