Beverly Walker’s Stitchery Skills Blossomed into a Passion for Tapestries
Growing up in northern Minnesota, Anderson Artists Guild member Beverly Walker learned Scandinavian stitchery skills—embroidering, crocheting and knitting—that would influence her artistic life years later. At the time, though, her mother just wanted to keep Walker out of mischief.
Walker attended a year at Concordia College before marrying, raising four kids, and then launching a management career with AT&T and Bell South’s Yellow Pages Divisions. Starting out as a salesperson, she soon was promoted and found herself in a series of increasingly prominent positions. She was a sales manager in Milwaukee before being transferred to Portland, where she headed a five-state division that included Alaska. Her last post was in Dayton, where three sales supervisors reported to her. “I loved coaching people how to be motivated and set goals and manage time and have a successful attitude,” she said.
After retirement, she and her husband focused on farming in Kentucky, where they raised goats, cattle, hay, and nuts. Last summer, they relocated to South Carolina to be near family.
Over the years, Walker’s early training in the fiber arts blossomed into a passion for tapestries and mixed media. She studied weaving with Arturo Sandaval and Pat Johns and has since done many demonstrations and taught classes. “I love the joy students have when they do something they’ve never done before and say, ‘Wow, I made that,’” she said.
Walker’s work is in a number of private and public collections, including at the University of Kentucky, Bell South, and Solarbron.
One of her most memorable experiences was working on the 2012 movie Fun Size when it was filming in Cleveland. The props director called the local fiber art guild, whose president recommended Walker to help with a scene where two moms were weaving. Because Walker could not actually complete a tapestry in the limited time frame—six weeks—she painted on fabric and made it look like it had been woven. Over three days, the actors would weave for the shoot, and at the end of each day, Walker had to unweave the piece for the next day. “It was fun,” she said.
Walker describes her style as expressionistic. “I’m drawn to abstract compositions but then driven to add a realism element and sometimes break into something crazy,” she said.