College of Home Economics (now College of Public Health and Human Sciences) alumna C. Joanne (Huffman) Grabinski, ’63, has accomplished a lot in the world of academia. She served as the first director of the Interdisciplinary Gerontology Program at Central Michigan University, a gerontology professor at Eastern Michigan University and a visiting professor at Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Conn., published a book on gerontology careers and even started her own gerontology consulting business, AgeEd.
But now it’s time for her to take her talents elsewhere — and channel her Home Ec roots through needlepoint art.
“I have always felt that there was art in me if I just found the right medium and I’ve finally found that medium — needlepoint,” she says. “As a Home Economics major, I loved the courses in color and composition and textiles that built on my earlier learnings from my 4-H sewing/clothing projects, and now inform my work as a needlepoint artist. I love the array of threads and stitches that are possible in needlepoint, and the grid canvas I work on allows me to play with color, texture, shapes and light as I stitch my own original designs and adaptations.”
In 2012, her needlepoint art was featured in a solo exhibit at Central Michigan University. She was commissioned to write an article, titled “Stitches & Stories: A Solo Exhibit of Needlepoint Art,” for an issue of Needlepoint Now — the premier needlepoint magazine.
Her work was also featured this year in the 18th Biennial Fiber show sponsored by the Michigan League of Handweavers.
“The MLH Fiber Show is open to all fiber artists, but this is the first time ever that needlepoint art works were submitted,” she says. “To have both of the pieces I submitted juried into this show was a great honor in that it recognized needlepoint as a fiber art form and also recognized the quality of my work as a needlepoint artist.”
Following the success of her book, 101 Careers in Gerontology, Joanne recently completed a new edition requested by her publisher titled 101+ Careers in Gerontology, Second Edition. It will be released later this year.