Marnie Cornwall has a lifetime of experience creating one-of-a-kind artwork. In order to showcase my work and inspire others, I created The Spinning Room. In addition, I work with Schacht Spindle selling their looms and spinning wheels.
Born to Create
Beads and fiber have both been passions of mine since childhood. When I was very young, I received a beautiful and very old split loom beaded necklace from my great grandmother. This piece inspired me to pursue beadwork. Originally, I worked with tiny shells since seed beads were not available. I then began selling my creations at the age of12.
A Knack for Knitting
On the fiber side, I began even earlier. I do not remember learning to knit. Once, when teaching a class of children to knit, I said "I was born with knitting needles in my hands". When I spoke to my mother, she said "you were and so was I"! In fact my mother knitted until she was 96 years old.
Lace and damask were also a strong part of my background. After a school visit to Greenfield Park in Detroit, Michigan, I yearned for a spinning wheel. Years later, as head of a public library, I sponsored a show in spinning, weaving, and quilting and bought my first spinning wheel the next day. Ever since, I have knit or woven or sold every ounce of yarn I have spun! I bought my first loom in 1971 and moved to Fairbanks a month later. My friend, Lydia Fohn-Hansen, introduced me to qiviut and my other friend, Kyo Currier, introduced me to weaving, so I was off and running on a lifelong adventure.
A while a back, I wondered if I wanted to do anymore weaving and I talked with my friend, Jonelle, at Southwest Trading. She sent me cones of bamboo for weaving and said to weave some for her and to keep the rest. I made her several samples, and once I started weaving, I became hooked.
Starting the Spinning Room
In 1975, I began The Spinning Room and started teaching. Years later, in 1983, I taught a national workshop in Qiviut spinning and wrote an article for Spin-Off Magazine. Two European glass tours in the late 1990s inspired my understanding of the incredible and exciting forms of glass, both past and present.
To this day, I continue to discover passions for new expressions, such as bobbin lace, glass bead making, metalwork, and watercolor painting. It is the integration of these inspirations that can be seen in my work's various mediums.
In the end, beads and fiber remain my ultimate joy. Sharing these passions and encouraging others to discover their own creativity have been extremely important to me. In addition, Alaska has given me so many color, light, and form experiences: sparkles in the ice and snow; magnificent flowers; intricate, lacey lichens; and of course the auroras. My goal is to help others realize, as I have, that life is all about inspiration!