As a tomboy—from the time I could crawl—I spent more time in trees than on the ground! One of those climbing adventures brought me face to face with an exquisite nest fastened tightly in the fork of the old oak I had challenged that day. There—anchored solidly in the crotch—was the most perfect “bowl” of mud, leaves and twigs I had ever seen. It contained three, bright blue eggs and, to my amazement, one of my sister’s colorful, plaid, hair ribbons. Mama Robin had woven this missing ribbon in and out so tightly and with such precision that I knew immediately it was the very instrument that held her world together.
Well, there you have it…the ribbon and weaving moment that started me down a path of ribbon addiction, collection, and later in life…a career in Ribbon Artistry. From that day forward I collected ribbons wherever and whenever I travelled both nationally and internationally. As I fast forward 30 plus years (ten years with the government and 24 years in the US Army) I finally found the time and opportunity to uncage my pent-up creativity and in 2001 deemed myself an “Artist of Ribbonry” establishing my own company, “Ribbons Across the Chesapeake”.
I started this new endeavor by creating abstract ribbon weavings for my clients’ walls utilizing a variety of weaving techniques and patterns and using the very same ribbons I had collected my whole life. Most ribbonry up to that point dealt with pillows, flowers, hair bows, and package wrapping. I stepped out of the box by taking ribbonry to the walls and remain one of only a handful of artists that work in this medium today.
In 2006 I became a bit bored with creating in the abstract genre and decided to try my hand at creating actual ribbon “pictures”. To my weavings I added fabric, fibers, vinyl, snippets of paper, and paint to create my ribbon collages of today—specializing in designs that represent our beautiful Chesapeake Bay. I love to capture the bold, bright, colors that surround us every day here on the Eastern Shore and strive to bring a little taste of our Bay to each person that is exposed to my ribbon creations.
In 2014 I came across alcohol-based inks. The inks were bold, bright, and eye-popping and they complemented my ribbon artistry perfectly. I have incorporated these inks into my ribbon papers and fibers to offer a totally new dimension to my work. Not only do I feature ink work in my matted and framed wall art, but I have created a complete line of hand painted Art Pendants and Earrings. They are a fun, funky, and colorful way to dress up your body as well as your walls.
And then in the Spring of 2020, with Covid taking the country by storm, I needed to incorporate a bit of excitement into my home-bound existence and added Acrylic Pouring and Resin Ocean Art to my eclectic artist’s repertoire.
Although I love to “dabble” in other art forms – I always return to my studio and the bookcases full of UTZ Pretzel jars containing the most magnificent art medium in the world------RIBBONS.
This year I am focusing on taking my designs into the realm of print media hoping to allow a greater number of people the chance to see and enjoy my creations. I also specialize in Ribbon Weaving Demonstrations with Art, Community, and Women’s groups – enjoying others’ reaction to my heart’s passion. Is an instruction book in the making? We’ll see!
Among my clients are the Ginger Cove Retirement Community in Annapolis, MD, the US Naval Academy and the National Rifle Association. My ribbon work is exhibited on Kent Island and in Easton and St Michaels, Maryland and held in private collections throughout the world.
My home studio on Kent Island is my design “port” where I stand ready to welcome new ideas and challenges to my creativity. Commissions are always happily accepted.
Wende L. Woodham
806 Mason Road
Stevensville, MD 21666