Color created her pathway.

Color created her pathway.

Marina T., age 71

Sixty-six years ago, my mother sent me to kindergarten with a small handwoven blanket of many colors. At “nap time” I would study the elaborate pattern and trace the yarn, trying to make sense of how each color could change depending on what color it was next to. To this day I am still fascinated by color.

Fifty years ago, black boots with big heels and a pretense of self-confidence could generally get me what I wanted. Traffic would stop when I needed to cross the street. I always found that strange. I bought my first loom. Loved it just as much as I thought I would. Started a store, imported looms and yarns from everywhere in the world, and taught people to see what I first saw in kindergarten. Hundreds of students and thousands of rugs later it was time to change my career. Worked from home to raise my son. That was thirty years ago.

Still manipulating color in a 2D plane, I became an illustrator, color continuing to be my best friend. Working alone avoided discrimination and the harassment I experienced in school. Being self-employed had become a way of life. Challenging but well worth it. As time rolled on and my son grew much taller than me, I noticed I was slightly less visible when I went out. Traffic didn’t stop—it was kind of a relief. 

Now, I sometimes find it annoying that I have become almost invisible, but most of the time I find it liberating. I still love spending time pushing color around, watching how different colors relate to each other, change with their juxtapositions, play in their relationships. I paint in my studio, still creating work that people take home and enjoy. I spend time with my family, swim, and paint with my grandchildren. My first granddaughter is going to kindergarten next year. I will give her the handwoven blanket I took with me when I was five.