Martha K. Wood, 62, needlepoint designer

April 08, 1995|By DeWitt Bliss | DeWitt Bliss,Sun Staff Writer

Martha K. Wood, a needlepoint designer whose works are in City Hall, the Governor's Mansion, churches, Argyll Castle in Scotland and many Baltimore homes, died Monday at St. Joseph Medical Centerof a disease of the bone marrow.

Mrs. Wood, who was 62 and lived in the Rodgers Forge area, retired in 1993 as needlepoint designer at the Blunt Needle, which she had been associated with for 22 years.

Helen Lee Schildhauer, owner of the Blunt Needle, described her yesterday as a person of "incredible ability." She said that most people would be content with a tenth of Mrs. Wood's talent.

"Her sensitivity and caring came through in her work, designed for the individual, personalized," Mrs. Schildhauer said.

She said that because the designs were so personalized, it was an especially "demanding discipline" that required counting the stitches needed for each line of each patch of color, instead of just painting a picture on the canvas netting used as the foundation for the needlework.

Mrs. Schildhauer said Mrs. Wood would gather photographs and sometimes visit the home that a customer wanted shown on a needlepoint chair seat or pillow.

In addition to more traditional designs such as pictures of the State House, other historical buildings or a Chinese tapestry, Mrs. Wood made chair seats showing an electric chair for filmmaker John Waters.

She worked at home in a basement studio with an artist's desk and the family pool table, where materials often were laid out to design pillows, bellpulls, chair and footstool seats, rugs, eyeglass cases, purses, belts and church furnishings, including altar frontals, kneeler covers and a large rug for University Baptist Church.

For the Christmas season, she made stockings for children.

She was born Martha Kemp in Towson and was a 1953 graduate of Goucher College, where she majored in physiology and bacteriology, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She was a schoolteacher for a short time after graduation.

In 1954, she married Hal D. Wood, a Naval Academy graduate and electronics engineer for the Bendix Communications Division. They settled in the Towson area in 1960.

For many years, the Woods had a home in Wiltondale that was included in a garden tour in the 1970s. Mrs. Wood won many community awards for the Christmas wreaths and other traditional decorations she made from materials in her garden.

She was also a self-taught painter who did portraits in oils.

Mrs. Wood was a member of the vestry and a Sunday school teacher at Trinity Episcopal Church, 120 Allegheny Ave. in Towson, where a memorial service was planned for 10:30 a.m. today.

In addition to her husband, survivors include three daughters, Sharon Wood Goodill of Wilmington, Del., Virginia Wood Barnhart of Towson and Ann Wood Rihn of Ashburn, Va.; her mother, Cornelia S. Kemp of Towson; and five grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the Trinity Church Parish House Renovations Fund.

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