Frances D. McClure received the ATA Award for Excellence for her tapestry, Beyond the Desert. Her tapestry was part of the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati Members’ Tapestry Exhibit entitled, “Discontinuous Wefts: Imagery and Imagination.” The show opened February 17 and closed April 25, 2012.
Tapestry weaving is one of my ways of self-expression and one that I like because it is portable and I can “paint” my pictures with wool and silk yarns. In a recent tapestry, My Cancer, My Hair, exhibited at Xavier University in Cincinnati, 2010, and awarded the HGA Award, I used silk with hair I spun that had come out with chemotherapy. This tapestry, Beyond the Desert, is from childhood memories of the Southwest.
Until arthritis affected the quality of my work, I made Nantucket and Shaker-style baskets and wove more on my looms. However, as a regular volunteer at the Pioneer Farm outside Oxford, Ohio, I continue to spin wool and try to develop an appreciation of the craft in the children who come through the pioneer farm house during the spring Arts and Crafts Fair and the fall Apple Butter Festival.
I am a survivor – of breast cancer, the loss of my husband too soon, and growing up in the middle of the Dust Bowl in West Texas, where I learned to entertain myself and to appreciate handcrafts at an early age. I was taught to crochet and embroider by the time I was six years old.
I’ve been a resident of Oxford, Ohio, since 1964, when my late husband, Dr. Jerry McClure, accepted a faculty position at Miami University and where I later worked as assistant to the Head of the University Special Collections and Rare Books Library. At the University, I initiated a library conservation program for the rare books and manuscripts, as well as the university management program. I was one of the founding members of the Ohio Preservation Council with the purpose to preserve all types of library materials in the State.
After my retirement, I was appointed a member of the Board of Directors, Handweavers Guild of America, Inc., and subsequently was elected to serve another six years, including two years as president of the Board. I continue to be a member of HGA and the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati, Inc., where I am currently the chair of the Scholarship Committee.
Since childhood, I have been interested in other countries and was fortunate to have a husband who enjoyed traveling, too. We lived in Germany and Kenya and traveled widely throughout Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, including Iran. In these travels, I have seen too many hungry people in the world, so for over seventeen years, I have been a weekly volunteer in Oxford, delivering home meals (formerly known as “Meals on Wheels”) to local residents, as well as a volunteer at the Choice Food Pantry.