Judy Vilmain
Providence, Rhode Island

Judy VilmainJudy Vilmain was well along the path her life had taken when she began to realize she was on the wrong path. After much contemplation, she left her position as a university professor teaching experimental psychology in the Midwest, and headed for the east coast to live near the ocean. 

The about-face wasn’t so she could follow her heart, but rather her hands. Growing up in Iowa, the love of decorative arts was woven into Judy Vilmain’s nature. “I come from a long line of women who make things,” she says. “My mother, grandmother and great grandmother all excelled in handiwork - embroidery, knitting, crocheting, quiltmaking, weaving, tatting and lacemaking. My mother’s gift to me was the love of working with my hands. And today, I’m still compelled by it. 

“My father was a physicist, so from him, I get my love of science. He gave me my appreciation for geometry and nature, which are so much a part of my designs. His approach to life was simple, rational, direct and kind.” 

That kindness is intricately woven into the Vilmain tapestry, if you will. Judy’s parents displayed an unflinching lifelong tradition of volunteerism and philanthropy - principles she reverently puts into practice because of their example. 

So can a girl from Iowa find happiness using her head, her hands and her heart? With a smile, she sums up the 180-degree turn her life took over a decade ago. “Now, my former profession is my hobby, and my former hobby is my profession.”