The Big Web of Margie Oomen, a Sister in Every Sense of the Word

by margaret on November 19, 2009

oomen stone with spiderTHIS SISTER CAN REALLY WIELD A NEEDLE AND ALSO THE LOVE, whether in her practice as a small-town country doctor in Canada or in her nature-inspired crafting—weblike crochet work, charming embroidery on thick, colorful felt, and all manner of sewing and knitting creations. Margie (short for Margaret) Oomen is the gentle genius behind the popular blog Resurrection Fern, and a force of nature herself online among the web’s most creative pairs of hands.

As expert and experienced as she is in both her practices, so is she, first-hand, in genetic sisterhood. Margie, a mother of three girls and a boy herself, is number six of seven siblings (with just one boy, the eldest of the brood, in the lot).

oomen family“I love large families and am so looking forward to being a grandparent one day,” says Margie (back row, left, in the above photo from 23 years ago; her mother and siblings at her side). “My mom had the wonderful job of managing this large family and its household. My father was an electrical engineer and university professor who emigrated from Poland at the time of the Second World War. He lost his only sibling, his sister and his parents during the war.

“My second daughter bears an uncanny resemblance to his sister when she was a young girl.”

crocheted rocks on yellow oomenShe knows what is at stake with sisterhood; how both strong and fragile the bond can be. Perhaps the classic Margie juxtaposition of lacey crochet on stones derives from this insight, and she is at work on a project to make a set of embellished stones—one for each of her sisters, each one strong, but unique, and each with a layer of softness, too.

“Sister means to me a very colorful fine piece of fabric that has been with you from early childhood and that you have sewn carefully into the patchwork quilt that has become your life,” she says. “Family and sisters in particular are like the threads that hold the quilt together. Without them present in your life (past, present and future) the fabric would come apart.”

project rain cardTo her sister-friends, Margie is a strong piece of thread, indeed (just ask Elsita, our first TSP profile a year ago, through whom we met the Resurrection Fern herself). Elsita was among the crafters Margie helped bring together in support of one named Rane who had lost her brother and then in taken on the parenting of his children. For International Women’s Day this year, Margie celebrated that big-hearted sister-friend from her web community with Project Rain. No surprise that Margie is represented as the biggest raindrop in the middle of the official card one friend, Geninne, made for the event (above).

craft saleWe similarly love the advertisement for the holiday crafts market she is involved in next month; talk about invoking the spirit of a sisterhood (above).

oomen mushroomsThough it is hard to imagine she has any spare hours, between her Flickr photostream and Etsy shop and blog and children and crafting and doctoring–particularly in the year of H1N1–Margie says she uses her downtime to “explore my natural environs to relax, be restored and most importantly to be inspired.” She is a prolific photographer of all that she sees on regular walks in the woods, or the artwork she is inspired to make afterward.

“Almost everything I make is inspired by nature. It is sort of my way of paying homage to sister tree and brother stone and all of their relatives. One of my favorite quotes is that of Frank Lloyd Wright: ‘Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.’”

THE TSP INTERVIEW WITH MARGIE OOMEN

oomen baby birdQ: You know you’re a sister when…?

A: “Your mother or father places a perfect, small, sweet-smelling little person in your arms and reminds you to be even gentler with them than you are when playing with your antique dolls.”

Q: What does the word “sister” mean to you?

A: “Sister means to me a very colorful fine piece of fabric that has been with you from early childhood and that you have sewn carefully into the patchwork quilt that has become your life.”

Q: Are there any pop culture or cultural references that make you think of your sister/sibling/sister-friend(s)?

tray of stones oomenA: “The movie ‘The Family Stone’ makes me think of my sisters a great deal. We are all very strong, successful women with different personalities, and although we don’t always see eye to eye—especially with respect to important family decisions—in the end things always work out.

“I have an idea of making sister stones where I would create a covered stone that would reflect the beauty in each of my sisters in a unique way. I am planning to share this idea with each of them soon and hope to get to work on this project in the New Year.”

sisters with puppiesQ: Are there any worst-of/best-of sister tales you want to share?

A: “I think the best thing was being the second youngest in my family of seven children. I got to borrow my older sister’s clothing, jewelry, music and books. This gave me a wealth of experience and materials to develop my own personal sense of style at a very young age. An example of this would be that I was the only girl to wear ‘hot pants’ to their junior high graduation dance and the only person to know all the words to the hit songs of the sixties.

“Sometimes an old pop song from the sixties comes on the radio and I start singing along. My children say, ‘Mom you were too young to know that song,’ and I explain I might have been too young, but my older sisters definitely were not. I learned a great deal from osmosis.”

Q: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from your “sister” experience?

A: “Family and sisters in particular are like the threads that hold the quilt together. Without them present in your life (past, present and future) the fabric would come apart. Sometimes relationships become torn just like fabric but the wonderful thing is that you can always cut another piece and mend it. The final result may be even more beautiful than the original.”

THE TSP GALLERY OF MARGIE OOMEN

WHERE TO FIND MARGIE OOMEN

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Elsita :) November 20, 2009 at 12:00 am

…”gentle genius and a force of nature”…
That’s the perfect way to describe Margie. She’s a one of a kind sister with a huge heart spreading her love all over the world. Margie is the kind of person that touches you deeply in so many ways. I remember when I first “met” her, she left the very first comment on my blog and I immediately knew that she was special. After that day she never abandoned me. You will never find a more loyal friend.
Margie is amazing, her hands are magic and she comes out with the most original ideas like those frozen sculptures encasing special objects! And the crocheted stones and her beautiful photographs and everything else.
The most beautiful thing about Margie is that she is like a little girl. Her heart is intact in terms of the way she values everything around her: people, nature… This is crazy to say but she reminds me of my 6 year old daughter. Her passion, her creativity, her humanity, her beauty.
Well my friend/sister Margie, you know that you have a very special place in my heart. Big hug for Margie and thank you so much for featuring her in this remarkable place.
All my best!
Elsita :)

Mathyld / encore petite November 20, 2009 at 3:40 am

What a wonderful, touching, moving project and interview.
Margie is one of the most precious friends I met thanks to blogging. And I feel lucky, blessed and thankful for that everyday.

Siblings stories and siblings love have always been an important part of my life.
I am not a teenager anymore, far from that, and guess who shares a flat with me ? Yes, right, my sibling !
Only, my sibling is a “he”. A brother.

This post and interview were already moving me to tears … Then I saw the poster I made for the Paris Crafts Market I’m organizing !!! I couldn’t feel more touched and honoured.
This definitely made my day brighter, my week, my whole month, even ♥ ♥ ♥

Oh, and right now I have a special thought for Benjamin, Margie’s son. “Hello Benjamin !” ;)

x x x
___mathyld___

margaret November 20, 2009 at 8:15 am

Welcome to all sisters of Margie; welcome. It is so nice to see you again, Elsita, and to meet you, Mathyld (and I *love* your poster; that’s some group of crafters, haha).

I have followed Margie since the first profile we did here on you, Elsita, but until I went to write the story and dug in deeper didn’t know how many layers of connective sisterhood tissue there actually were. Wow.

Corresponding with Margie these last weeks has been amazing – besides answering my questions, she has been giving me the occasional wellness tips (how to avoid flu and such) along with just general Margie goodwill. I suspect next she will be sending me embroidery or crochet instructions in the hopes of making another convert… :)

See you both soon again, and blessings.

Sonia November 20, 2009 at 9:09 am

What a treat to read such a beautifully made interview of our most wonderful Margie, thank you !
I could write a novel about her, but all I can say is that she changed my life (no less). She’s been an eye opener to me, and I’m blessed, like many other sweet ladies (who are also my friends) to call her my friend.
Margie touches hundreds of people’s life & hearts, everyday, through her photos, though her words, through her art, and thanks to her wisdom.
Now, I’m really excited to know more about her sister stones project ! :)
Best wishes ! and sister hugs to everyone !

margaret November 20, 2009 at 9:34 am

Welcome also to Sister Sonia! Glad to see you here. I agree, it was hard to know which of the many beautiful threads of Margie to include and leave out…so much to tell, enough for many stories, many pages. I think we will all be watching as those sister stones come to be realized. See you soon, I hope.

Lisa November 20, 2009 at 11:35 am

This was such a wonderful read. Not only is Margie immensely talented, but as Elsita mentions above, she is “special”. You recognize it in her work, her photos, her words, and in her caring spirit from the very first time you encounter her. She’s an inspiration.

margaret November 20, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Welcome, Lisa. From the first email a year ago, when she introduced herself to me as “another Margaret,” I was charmed. Don’t be a stranger; hope to see you here again soon.

melissa November 22, 2009 at 9:33 pm

thank you for this beautiful portrait of my dear friend margie- gentle genius, indeed! through her i feel as though i’ve seen the forest with new eyes- she is a caring and kind sister to all those she touches through her blog and art, and also to the earth- it’s evident in all she does!

margaret November 23, 2009 at 9:23 am

Welcome, Melissa, and we were delighted to do so. It is nice to hear from all her blogging “sisters” here, so thanks to you, too, for stopping by. See you soon again, I hope.

Lynn January 6, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Awe.some! I missed this when it first came out, but it was about the same time I stumbled on that amazing spider and the shawl on that stone. We’ve never met, but it makes me so happy knowing she’s out there (and really makes me want to learn to do something with needles (not the injecting kind!). Happy New Year!

Soraya Nulliah January 30, 2010 at 8:51 pm

I really LOVE your work! Your love of nature is strong and powerful yet poetic and graceful as well. I have never seen anything like what you do-it is truly amazing work! I have always felt close to nature as well-paying homage in different ways-your work takes my breath away. Thank you for sharing. -Soraya

margaret February 1, 2010 at 11:18 am

Welcome, Soraya. Isn’t Margie amazing? We are glad to have you among us, and hope to see you again soon.

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