Wendy Maliszewski

Wendy Maliszewski
Department: Schlegel Center for Service and Justice
Years of Service: 20
Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska

On the wall of Wendy Maliszewski’s office in the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice is what appears to the untrained eye to be a quilt. But this flower piece is different. It’s fiber art.

Think more of tapestries and less of grandma’s blankets. Wendy has been the SCSJ administrative assistant for 20 years, and has been an artist for much longer.

Her tapestry pieces are truly art and have been shown in galleries, showcases throughout Omaha at places like Lauritzen Gardens and the Jewish Community Center.

Wendy says art was always her favorite subject in grade school and in college she studied textiles, clothing and design. After working as an interior designer, Wendy looked for something part-time, leading her to Creighton. And while her job now might not be as creative, it is as inspiring.

“I like the work we do, the students we work with and what we’re trying to accomplish,” she said of SCSJ.  “This is all so worthwhile that it keeps me here.”

On nights and weekends, Wendy can be found in one of two dedicated studio rooms in her home. When her daughters moved out, their old bedrooms became a sewing studio and painting room, mainly for fiber art but sometimes, other mediums as well.

The material she uses varies. Sometimes it may be new fabric, sometimes it may be an old piece recycled into a new creation. In one of her pieces, she used her grandmother’s coffee stained antique tablecloth.

One technique Wendy uses is called ice dyeing, where she layers ice and dye in a five-gallon bucket. The end product is a fabric that looks as though it has been painted with watercolors. A long process, but one Wendy loves.

“Anything you love to do, you start doing it and lose track of time,” Wendy said.

As a young girl, she quickly became comfortable with a sewing machine by making her own Barbie clothes.

“I was not afraid of a needle going up and down a million miles per hour,” Wendy said.

But quilting didn’t begin for Wendy until she came to Creighton when a group of new friends introduced her.

“What they said, is they took me to the dark side because once you start you can’t stop,” Wendy said.

Wendy said traditional quilting soon became boring, so Wendy turned to fiber art. It has become a passion for Wendy; she’s now a member of Midwest Fiber Art Alliance and Studio Art Quilt Association.

“When I retire, this is what I want to do full time,” Wendy said.