Westlake resident creates needlework art

Barbara Bilas spent five years crafting this needlework tapestry. Photo by Sue Shanks

Some artists express their creativity by painting a picture, but Barbara Bilas, a resident of Westlake Village Retirement Community, expresses her creativity with needles, thread and scraps of fabric from dresses her mother made for her when she was a child. She had seen a needlework of a cut-away house and instantly knew it was for her. She sent away for the pattern and began assembling her materials on a double bed. 

Barbara started with the kitchen, where she spent most of her time, and as a child had watched her great-aunt at work in her grandmother's kitchen. Barbara says it was pure pleasure selecting the materials for each room, creating a tapestry of color and texture and reliving memories of her childhood. 

The result is a large, colorful wall hanging of a three-story Victorian house with eight rooms and a family busy with various activities, from the baby in the crib waving a rattle to a girl playing a harp and the maid working in the kitchen. It is vibrant with color and texture. Many of the features and figures are three-dimensional. The longer you look at it, the more you see and the more memories it brings back. 

It took Barbara five years to complete the project, but every moment spent on creating her work of needlework art was pure pleasure for her. It hung in her family room in her house in North Olmsted, but now it hangs over her bed at Westlake Village. It is currently on display in a show of artwork by residents of Westlake Village, and it draws many gasps of delight from viewers. To view Barbara's work and other works of art at Westlake Village call 440-892-4200.

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Volume 6, Issue 18, Posted 9:40 AM, 09.03.2014