“How (on earth) did you guys start Artisan Design?” - “I thought you’d never ask”.
Watching Laura stitch long before Artisan Design was born made it clear to me that cross stitching was taxing her in many ways. She had migraines from eyestrain; her lower back - injured in a rear end collision with a tractor trailer - was always worse after she cross stitched. Catharsis is elemental in marriage and parenthood; I had my work cut out for me.
One Saturday after playing basketball, I found bought a “sit-on” frame at a garage sale. My broken drafting table contributed some parts and Ace Hardware is right down the street. I cam up with what turned out to be “prototype 01” for the Gazelle.
Meanwhile Laurs’s friend Cindy who introduced Laura to cross stitching had accidentally put her arm through a plate glass window lacerating nerves and making holding anything in her left hand virtually impossible. When she came to visit after a few weeks healing the news was not good; she might get back some strength but no enough to lift more than a few pounds at best. When Laura showed CIndy her stand, she turned to me “Could you make me something like that so I can stitch again?” How could I refuse? I made the first ever Gazelle for Cindy. Cindy insisted on paying us. That $30.00 took care of groceries for us that week as we were jobless at the time.
CIndy suggested I make some of these and start visiting needlework store owners and demonstrate the Gazelle. Oklahoma had double digit unemployment so I had little other choice. We had a little cash but lots of time; so we made our decision. We made price sheets, brochures, and 25 Gazelles. The first few went to the two main shops in Tulsa. Days later I drove to Texas visiting every needlework shop from Dallas to Houston. I sold out quickly and passed out brochures. I came back with more money than we had seen in a year. We immediately had to begin production on another 40. I told Laura “this might be something we could make a living with”. A second trip to Texas made it clear. We sold over 400 by the end of the year and haven’t rested since.
28 years later Laura still stitches - usually on her Gazelle2 -in her craft room. Sometimes she uses her Elan at our breakfast table or on the couch.. She used to stitch in a recliner with an Ergo but kept falling asleep sometimes with needle in hand. WHoa!
“Sit back and relax Laura; you really deserve it.”
I have had the wonderful opportunity in my life to create something - in partnership with my wife - which has made made a positive difference for thousands of people who enjoy creating needlework compostions.
Many stitchers sit and stitch all the time. We’ve devoted oursellves to creating products which can enhance their needleworking for a lifetime.
Gazelle - our first product - defines who we are and what we do. Serving you for 27 years has been a blessing.
Sturdiness and Strength in a quick, lithe, graceful, beast
These critters are not frail. We see them on TV as “prey animals” and yet it is the predators who are the endangered species.
Thomsons Gazelles are among the heartiest and most enduring of all savanah herbivores.
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