THIS 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).
“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.”
She 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.”
To 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).
Though 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
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)?
A: “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.”
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
- On Flickr, she is knitalatte.
- Her Etsy shop is knitalatte.
- A lovely profile appeared on Loulouandoscar blog.