Betty Jo Tatum

Meet Betty Jo

Betty Jo  retired on 1 January 2012 to pursue her interests in fabric art full time. 

From an early age, Betty Jo learned to sew, knit, and other creative arts from her brilliant and artistic mother.  She has been interested in art  her entire life and has pursued this interest by taking art classes and studying independently throughout high school and college.  She attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City where she majored in vocal music, and George Washington University in Washington DC for her degree in International Affairs.

She has traveled extensively to interesting places in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central Asia, Japan, Turkey, Europe, and South America.  During her travels, she developed a substantial interest in photography, architecture, and interesting textiles. 
While living in Japan as a young woman, Betty Jo pursued the study of Japanese flower arranging (Ikebana) and she holds a four year certificate in the Sogetsu School of the art.  She once won a ribbon in Ikebana in a juried Ikebana show in Kanazawa, Japan, anonymously competing with Japanese long schooled in the art.

In the early 1980s she established her own fashion design business for both men and women in Ithaca, New York, where she lived with her late husband, Marvin Tatum, who was a librarian at Cornell University at that time.  When Betty Jo and Marvin moved to Washington, DC, she gave up her design business to work full time for the Federal Government, but continued her interest in fashion and sewing.  Following the death of Marvin, Betty Jo moved to Ashburn, Virginia, to be near her oldest son and his family.   Her youngest son, a writer, joined her following his graduation from college in order to launch his writing career and support his mother in this new phase of her life.
Beginning in 2005 she developed a substantial interest in quilting, especially art quilting, with the particular support of her oldest son's wife Beth who loves quilting herself.  Her current focus is on pictorial wall art quilts.  She is especially enjoying experimenting with the advanced technologies and interesting tools available to today's fabric artists.  She does all her own quilting on her sit down Bernina Q20 longarm, named Fritz.