Margaret Wiseheart Anderson
artist, designer, entrepreneur
"Adrian" fashion show, Atlanta, GA 1979
Since a young child, I've had a fascination with creating things. At age 5, I began to hand sew my dolls' clothes, age 8 a swimsuit for myself, and at age 12 I won a Singer sewing contest. For 10 more years, I continued to develop my creative talent and earned a degree in fashion design at the Art Institute. It was then after my very first job interview where I began my career as a designer and patternmaker in the intimate apparel industry in Atlanta.
By age 25 and with a lot of ambition and even more creative energy, I had decided to start my own business. My niche would be a high end dance and activewear apparel manufacturing enterprise with national wholesale distribution. Under the label Leotardo da Vinci, the period between the 80's and early 90's was perfect timing for a designer with a dance background and pride in Made in America. I rode that wave, making bodywear for aerobics and dance,in an 8,000 sq ft factory, distribution, offices, and store in Perkasie PA. In addition, I created custom designs for numerous celebrities including the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders, Jane Fonda, Cyd Charisse, Cher and Prince. However, when it became clear that I could no longer compete with off shore manufacturing prices and my volume began to decline, I turned the page to a new chapter. Costuming for stage.
Wilkomen, Bienvenue, Welcome to the world of theatre and ballet!
One day in 1994 I got a frantic call from a dancer friend who was cast in a production. She said that Cabaret is opening in 2 weeks at Pennsylvania Playhouse, and the costume designer just quit. There are no Kit Kat Girl costumes and nothing for anyone except Sally Bowles. So, with that little nudge, (thanks Taffy) I shifted into a very satisfying role as a costume designer for theatre and dance for the next 10 years or so.
I was rejuvenated by the opportunity, and eager to learn all I could about this work. Creating and collaborating with the other designers and talented folks involved in the productions was always the best part. Some of the theatres were Bucks County Playhouse, Shawnee Playhouse, Surflight Theatre on LBI, and Civic Theatre of Allentown.
Favorite productions include Angels in America ('98 and '18), My Favorite Year, Dreamgirls, Grand Hotel, West Side Story, and the many ballet and contemporary costumes made for individual artists and performing companies.
My costume work continued on a free lance basis even after my son was born. I enjoyed working with Crayola on several high profile projects, as well as making hundreds of dance solo costumes, and designing for commercial costume catalog companies.
In 2013 after an introductory plein air outing with an amazing artist Charles Browning, I began painting in oils, which I had only done in college a tiny bit. I quickly learned that plein air painting was now my new passion. Weekly paint outs with the Peace Valley Plein Air Painters in Bucks County PA was what helped me begin to develop the observation skills needed to depict a scene on canvas. I took over the task as the coordinator for the group which also helped me to meet other artists, and learn about the art scene in my geographic area.
I have learned so much in these last 8 or 9 years yet I am certain that I'll always be a student of art. I have many favorite influences, both living and beyond, and I'm discovering more every day in this vast world of representational art.
Update: July 2022 - Yes! I've been settling in nicely here in the Northeast Kingdom of VT and Derby Line is now the location of my live/work/studio. Teaching classes for Catamount Arts and participating in other independent workshops will continue to bring me to St Johnsbury on a weekly basis. I am also available for leading plein air excursions at the drop of a hat (lol....jk about the hat, but pretty close).
I welcome your comments and questions about my work. Please don't hesitate to contact me anytime.