By Joan C. McKinney, director of university communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – “21st Century Needlepoint: It’s Not Your Grandma’s Footstool!” is the title of an art exhibit by Debby Powell Franklin, who has had her work featured on the White House Christmas tree. The exhibit begins Monday, Oct. 16 and runs through Thursday, Nov. 2 at Campbellsville University.
A reception is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16 in the new Gallery across from the Gosser Fine Arts Center. The gallery is in a stone house with a brown roof.
For the 1996 White House Christmas tree, Franklin designed and stitched one Christmas stocking and painted and stitch guided another. Both of these works are now housed in the Smithsonian Institution.
Franklin has been stitching ever since her grandmother, Lillian Hughes, gave her a set of sewing cards from the Dime Store when she was just four years old. Her grandmother, a master of knitting and crocheting, just wanted to keep her granddaughter quiet for a while. She never dreamed it would be the start of a life-long love of needlework.
Franklin has been stitching for 50 years. She has been teaching various forms of the needle arts for 30 years for the Fayette and Woodford County Adult Education Centers, numerous needlework shops, local chapters of the Embroiderers Guild of America and the American Needlepoint Guild and in her studio, The Needle Workshop.
She also writes custom stitch guides for her students and customers. This entails taking the chosen painted canvas, creating special graphs of stitches and choosing the appropriate threads for each piece based on her student’s skill level.
The Needle Workshop, Franklin’s home studio, is also the site where she designs and paints needlepoint canvases for customers, for guild classes and for her own use. She also stitches, stitch designs and writes stitch guides for other needlework designers.
Because the love of needlework is so important to her, Franklin wishes to keep the arts alive by teaching the next generations of stitchers. She has been a member and officer in the Bluegrass Chapter of the Embroiderers Guild of America (EGA), a founding and charter member of the Central Kentucky Chapter of the American Needlepoint Guild (ANG), where she been a board member for 11 years and a member of the National Embroidery Teachers Association (NETA). All these organizations help promote needle arts education to local, national and international stitchers.
As all needleworkers do, Franklin said she is always striving toward excellence. Consequently, she has entered many of her pieces in juried exhibits on the local, state and national levels where she has earned over 100 ribbons for her work.
Franklin, a native of Central Kentucky, resides on a small farm in the South Woodford County community of Troy, with her husband, Dan. Their son, Nathan, is a senior at Campbellsville University in Campbellsville.
For information on the Gallery, contact Judy Clark, office assistant in the Office of Student Records, at (270) 789-5233.
Campbellsville University, now celebrating her Centennial year, is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,310 students who represent 100 Kentucky counties, 32 states and 28 foreign nations. Listed in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” 14 consecutive years as one of the leading Southern master’s colleges and universities, Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his eighth year as president.