Jean Wilson, Weaver Who Willingly Shared Her Skills

Jean Wilson was a master weaver who willingly shared her art, wanting to help others enjoy the creative outlet she enjoyed most of her life.

"Artists don't always share as much of the skills and crafts. She was extremely generous in sharing her skills with anyone," said Sylvia Tacker, a longtime friend and weaving enthusiast.

"She also was a teacher, writer - an artist," Tacker said.

Mrs. Wilson, 83, of Bothell, a respected authority on weaving and allied crafts, died March 29. She wrote 10 books

From 1967 to 1982, Mrs. Wilson wrote 10 books designed to help others enjoy the art she seemed to have perfected. One of her books, "Weaving for Anyone," was translated into 20 languages.

Besides the books, Mrs. Wilson wrote dozens of articles on weaving, embroidery and stitchery for magazines such as National Textile, Sunset and The Herb Companion.

Mrs. Wilson became very well known in the "creative fabric arts, mostly through her books," Tacker said. She was featured at many weavers conventions (called convergences) throughout the United States where she would lecture and give workshops, Tacker said.

A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Mrs. Wilson learned weaving from a neighbor when she was about 20. "That December, 1933, Dad (Ron Wilson, an architect) gave her her first loom and she never stopped weaving," recalled her son, Gary Wilson of Bellevue.

"She had this flair for color and spacial relationships," a talent she wanted to share with other people, her son said. She wanted to reach more people, and she did through her books.

"Everyone who came in contact with her got involved in this kind of aura of love and sharing," Gary Wilson said.

The Wilsons came to Bellevue in 1947, where Mrs. Wilson opened the first interior-design shop in 1948. For a time the family moved to San Juan Island, where they raised sheep. Judge at craft shows

Mrs. Wilson wrote book reviews on textiles, herbs and Northwest Indian crafts. She also was a judge in craft shows in many states, including Hawaii, and she judged items in the early years of the Bellevue Arts & Crafts Show, which began in 1946.

She was instrumental in writing and presenting the 50th-anniversary history of the Seattle Weavers Guild, a group she joined in 1947. She also served as the guild's president.

Her awards for weaving and stitchery include first place and honorable mentions at the Frye Gallery and the Henry Gallery at the University of Washington.

She received the Northwest Booksellers Award for "Weaving is Fun," and she was given the National League of American Pen Women "Owl Award" in 1976 for Letters and in 1986 for Letters and Art.

In 1989, one of Mrs. Wilson's tapestries was chosen for one of Children's Hospital & Medical Center's Christmas-card collection.

Besides her son, Mrs. Wilson is survived by her husband, Ron Wilson of Kirkland; a sister, Doris LeFurge of Lansing, Mich.; a daughter-in-law, Sheri Wilson of Bellevue, and two granddaughters, Dawn and Jill of Bellevue.

On Saturday, her ashes will be placed on her parents' grave at Sunset Hill, Bellevue, in a private ceremony.

Afterward, from 2 to 4 p.m., there will be a celebration of Mrs. Wilson's life at her Bothell home/ studio for anyone she touched during her life. For details, call Butterworth Funeral Home at 622-0949.

Remembrances are suggested to the Lake-Vue Gardens Convalescent Center, 10101 N.E. 120th St., Kirkland, WA 98034, or the Harborview Medical Center Intensive Care Unit, 325 Ninth Ave., Seattle, WA 98104.