Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

ABOUT JUDITH

Like many ‘expat kids’, Judith has experienced many different cultures and countries.  She grew up in East Africa - Kenya and Tanzania - a uniquely foundational experience.  In 1958 her parents relocated to the UK - a totally new experience.  They settled in Hampton Wick on the south bank of the River Thames, just outside London. Her family home, though, is in East Jerusalem, now in occupied Palestine, and it was there she met her husband, a Swedish citizen serving with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization. In 1973 the Yom Kippur War was breathing down their necks, prompting them to seek safety elsewhere. The young family packed everything into their car - including their 3-month old daughter and German Shepherd - and evacuated from Israel driving around the Mediterranean making their way to Sweden.
The Anderssons settled in a town outside the city of Lund, in the south of Sweden.  "Hemslöjd" (domestic arts and crafts) is very much part of the Swedish culture, so following tradition, Judith learned to weave - in Swedish - books in English being unavailable, this being prior to the advent of the internet.  But because home weaving was, and continues to be, ubiquitous  in Sweden especially, local help was all around. Lessons included designing a project, choosing which fiber to use for the yarn; then, how the choice of weave structure affects the interaction of color and the drape and feel of the finished cloth. This exploration would lead inevitably to yarn design and spinning. But life has a way of taking over, so these creative outlets were forced onto the back-burner as the family left Sweden, setting off on a new venture.  In 1978 their travels took them back to Jerusalem for a while and then on to the UK and finally in 1986 to the US where they settled in North Carolina.  
Mbeya reclining on the loom
Duke University Chapel, NC
Carolina honeysuckle blooming in June
Swedish spinning wheel – circa 1885
It was while in Jerusalem  in the 70's that Judith had the opportunity to acquire the broken remains of what had once been a beautiful Swedish production spinning wheel. Later, in the UK as a member of the Gloucestershire Guild of Weavers and Spinners, Judith found a local craftsman to restore the wheel, and started to learn to spin.  Life intervened once again when the family relocated to the US and creative pursuits were pushed to the back.  It was not until Judith retired in 2018 that time and space could be made in their lives to take up such creative activities once more.  In all this time, the loom has long stood idle, aside from providing a make-shift hammock for various cats - currently, Mbeya, a very vocal and persistent Bengal cat.  On the other hand, the ancient and rhythmic process of spinning has proved to be a beneficial  meditation to combat stress. However, with such a long interlude, spinning technique needs to be refreshed, and there is much more to learn besides to fully master the craft.
Starting over in the US, Judith acquired the necessary credentials to pursue a career in research administration.  Her career included  fiduciary appointments with Case University (Ohio), University of South Florida (Tampa, FL), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (NC) and Duke University (Durham, NC).  During the 80's and 90's the field of research was transformed by increased sponsorship by the government and private sector. Fierce competition for funds lead US research institutions to adopt stringent ethical standards for researchers at all levels to safeguard against any hint of wrongdoing.  Similarly,  grant-writing evolved from the former dry, academic writing style into today’s compelling storytelling to attract sponsors’ investment.   Now retired, Judith is free to explore and expand her creative side. She is retooling her writing to explore and incorporate both these concepts - ethics and storytelling - in creative non-fiction for readers of journals, essays and social media.
Judith and her husband recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  Having been a working mother with two children, juggling her career and family as well as several international relocations, Judith has seen the ups and downs of creating and nurturing family life, as well as negotiated sometimes tough terrain in order to make a go of it