Squirrel Hill woman creates joy with notecards
Ruth Drescher, 75, of Squirrel Hill, is the creator of "Friendly Creatures," a line of note cards that feature abstract, colorful and computer-generated images of animals.
"Friendly Creatures," note cards that feature abstract, colorful and computer-generated images of animals.
Share with others:
Ruth Drescher is always creating and learning -- even from her grandchildren.
"One day, I was watching one of my grandchildren play with a computer program called 'Paint,' " she said. "I was fascinated by what she was able to do.
"Then one day, I saw I had the same program on my computer. I started playing around with it and began creating images."
The result of Ms. Drescher's tinkering is "Friendly Creatures," a line of abstract, colorful and whimsical notecards that features images of creatures on the front. The cards are blank inside.
"The images just made sense to put on notecards," said Ms. Drescher, of Squirrel Hill, whose computer skills "are pretty much self-taught."
"The cards are the result of the creative process," she said. "It was all spontaneous. There is a level of joy I get when I am making something. It keeps me happy."
Ms. Drescher, a real estate agent in Shadyside, also has created a second line of notecards dubbed "Happy Houses," which are similar to "Friendly Creatures."
Art and the creation of art have been an important part of Ms. Drescher's life. She was born in Germany in 1934. Her family immigrated to the United States when she was 5 years old to escape the Holocaust.
Ms. Drescher said that when she was growing up, her mother always was busy with needlework and encouraged creativity. Ms. Drescher's older sister taught painting at a small college in Wisconsin.
"My father always said Max Lieberman was a distant relative," said Ms. Drescher, referring to a German impressionist painter from the early 1900s. "I don't know if it was true or not."
Ms. Drescher earned a degree in English from City College of New York, then moved to Madison, Wis., where her husband, Sy, would earn a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. While in Wisconsin, Ms. Drescher said she got a job at a small printing company, where she learned about paper and typefaces.
"It was a great experience," she said.
When the Dreschers, and their three children, moved to Pittsburgh, Ms. Drescher worked at Pittsburgh Point and Pittsburgh Forum. She did layout work for both publications and covered the women's movement of the late 1960s and early '70s.
Around that time, Ms. Drescher said she became interested in group dynamics and how groups functioned. She returned to school and earned a master's degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh, then was a social worker for 18 years.
Ms. Drescher earned a real estate license in 1994, at a time when that industry was transitioning from "dumb" computer terminals to personal computers. Real estate agents then were being encouraged to take more photographs of their listings. Ms. Drescher said she relished the challenge of developing her computer skills.
"I guess I am a geriatric geek," Ms. Drescher said with a laugh.
She also has had several shows of her photography at galleries in the East End.
"It's important for me to put my art out there and let it breathe, and not sit in a closet or drawer," she said.
Mr. Drescher, a history professor at the University of Pittsburgh, said what he likes about his wife's art is that it is intended to lift people's spirits.
"That is her modus operandi," he said. "She wants to appeal to the senses."
The colorful images of "Friendly Creatures" is why Audrey Schoenwald, of Highland Park, is a frequent customer.
"They are so much fun," said Ms. Schoenwald, who uses Ms. Drescher's cards for all sorts of occasions. "She uses color well. ... They are cheerful colors and have movement to them, a playfulness."
In December, Ms. Drescher started a Web site on which to sell her art: www.drescherart.com.
First Published February 19, 2009 6:19 am