2003 Lifetime Achievement Award: Jean C. Taggart
Jean Taggart of Houston, TX passed away on October 23, 2002 after a long and valiant battle with breast cancer. Everyone who knew her even slightly admired her strength and bravery throughout her final ordeal, her immense courage in the face of life's greatest challenge. Equally valued was the untiring support of Tim, her husband of twenty years.
Click here to see some pictures of Jean's work.
Jean graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA with a B.S. in Biology. She earned her Teachers' Certification from the Valentine Museum (now the National Academy of Needlearts) in 1985. At graduation her piece "Narcissus Fan" was accessioned into the Valentine's permanent collection. This is the highest honor a candidate can receive. She went on to serve NAN as counselor, and was later selected to be on NAN's Board of Directors. She served as Director of Teachers' Certification, and twice as Director of Education, a post she held at her death. Jean was the author of two needlework books, Laid Fillings for Evenweave Fabrics and Darning Patterns for Evenweave Fabrics.
Jean was a long time fixture on the needlework scene, teaching extensively at seminar and chapters across North America. She was best known for her exquisite technique and for her exciting designs. One of her most famous pieces was "View from Anastasia's Window", a composition in cream and gold, depicting St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. Jean often researched other cultures' design styles and adapted them to canvaswork and the American aesthetic. Some examples of this were "Gaelic Gold" based on Irish knotting designs, "Pueblo Patterns" which reflected some of the motifs gleaned from Native American pottery, and "Mogul Medallion" from designs from India. Jean also taught one of the earliest and most successful correspondence courses of all time for EGA, "Victoria Revisited", a design her husband dubbed the "piece that never ends."
In her "other life" Jean was an accomplished cook, never reluctant to try a new recipe or to invent one herself. She equally much enjoyed fine dining and good wines, and was always willing to try the most exotic thing on the menu. Her other passion (besides needlework) was dogs; she loved them and always had one or two Dobermans at her side. These she adopted from the Doberman rescue league and these were some of the luckiest canines on the planet. Jean was widely read and the repository of the most arcane of facts; her memory was prodigious and she was the most desirable partner in Trivial Pursuits.
Jean's passing is a huge loss to the needlework community, both for her contribution of good designs and her sharing of them with her students. No less a loss is her work for NAN in mentoring upcoming teachers. She held to the highest standards, both in her own life and her own work, and was able to elicit it from her students and candidates. She was knowledgeable, efficient, reliable, and orderly and at the same time nurturing; this describes describes the consummate teacher as well as mentor and it describes Jean Taggart.
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