Deborah Baker

Influenced by her grandfather, who was a tailor, and by her maternal grandmother, from whom she learned traditional needle arts, Chicago artist Deborah Baker remembers learning to sew before she could write her name. Originally from Detroit, Deborah earned a BFA at Detroit’s Center for Creative Studies, and an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, specializing in ceramics. Following graduate school, Baker married, and soon found that the demands of family and motherhood left little time for making art. A lifelong ballet dancer, she instead focused her creative energies on teaching ballet. A couple of decades later, her children grown, she again found the time to explore visual art, and in 2006, she began making embroidered pictures. Her hand-stitched, narrative, semi-autobiographical pieces are drawings in cotton embroidery floss on natural linen, with no sketching done beforehand. She cites women’s traditional needle arts, Mexican art, and folk art among her major influences.