Deborah Slabeck Baker
b. 1952

Influenced by her grandfather, who was a tailor, and by her grandmother, from whom she learned traditional needle arts, Chicago artist, Deborah Slabeck Baker remembers learning to sew before she could write her name. Originally from Detroit, Deborah earned a BFA in fabric design at Detroit’s Center for Creative Studies and a MFA from 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 energy on dancing and 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 stitched pieces are drawings in cotton embroidery floss on natural linen, with no sketching done beforehand. All are stitched by hand, and are narrative and semi-autobiographical in content. She cites women’s traditional needle arts, Mexican and folk art, hankies and tablcloths, among her major influences.