Pillow Talk

Moving on, with every fiber of her being

Nancy Shaw Cramer has always had a creative mindset. From earning a degree in interior design, to being a nationally recognized tapestry rug weaver, to fulfilling her childhood dream of owning a gallery, art is in her blood.

But after twenty years of focusing full-time on the Shaw Cramer Gallery on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, she is ready to take a step back. For the past three years she debated closing the gallery, but it wasn’t until her husband Dick pointed out to her that she had made three pots of soup in one week that she knew it was time.

“Obviously my need to make things is starting to overwhelm me,” she turned to him and said with a laugh.

With the gallery officially closing at the end of November, Shaw Cramer is looking forward to devoting her newfound time and energy to her fiber products. In her cozy home studio, which is just large enough to fit her loom, plus another room for sewing, she plans to weave smaller rugs with big blocks of color, and to experiment with bead inlay in her rugs, create one-of-a-kind pillows, and fabricate wearable art such as tunics and wrap coats. Already, during hours that in previous years would have been spent prepping for next year’s gallery season, she’s created more than forty pillows, a handful of wrap coats, five tunics, and a detailed rug with inlay.

“I would wake up in the morning and I couldn’t wait to [make] something,” she said. “I had my music set up. And it was peaceful. And it really told me for sure that it was what I wanted to be doing.”

As for getting her finished products out to the public now that she won’t have her Vineyard Haven gallery, there will be mini trunk shows and private parties at friends’ homes where people can bring a guest – with no pressure to buy, of course. She also hopes to sell nationally, and have a few shows with her Island artist friends she has met throughout the years at the gallery.  “[I’m] not looking for boutiques to carry my work,” she said. “I’ve done that all in the past. I just want this to be pleasurable.”

And of course a website is in the works, and maybe an occasional newsletter, too. They won’t be sent out monthly, but only when she has new products to showcase. “I think they are more personal and private,” she said, and added that if you see something you enjoy on the website, buy it fast, because she is making it a point not to do custom orders.

Some people call it retiring, but to Nancy Shaw Cramer, this is just moving on to the next phase of her life. It’s doing something she has always enjoyed, and seeing where her many ideas take her.

“I like to keep the window of ideas open and see what passes through.” 

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