Jeanne Wolfe is the head of embroidery at Imagewear in Chilliwack

Jeanne Wolfe: Stitching together creativity and business

Jeanne Wolfe has found a way to turn her creative side into a career.

To be or not to be? For Jeanne Wolfe, that question was answered by the time she was eight years old. “My mom took me to see Oliver and it was so magical for me. From that time on, I knew that I would be involved in theatre,” she enthused.

Both her mother and father are prairie folk; good, honest, kind, hard-working people who lived off the land. Her mother was from Muenster, Saskatchewan while her father lived a short distance away in Marysburg and yet they didn’t meet until they headed out west. “My mother met her yet-to-be mother-in-law on the train coming out here. When mom rolled through Chilliwack, she looked out the window and thought that she’d died and gone to heaven and vowed to live here one day,” she said, with a quick chuckle.

After her parents married, they made their home in Ocean Falls, a mill town located on B.C.’s Central Coast. The mill operated for many years but by the early 70s the facility had become inefficient and uneconomical and the mill’s owner decided to shut it down, effectively shutting down the town by 1973. “Dad had seen signs, well in advance, of what was happening and since he had a brother living in Chilliwack at the time, they decided to move here,” she said.

So, from the time that she was three years old, Jeanne lived in Chilliwack and thoroughly enjoyed its rural setting. “It was such a great place to grow up,” she said, with vivid recollection. She was always a creative child and to this day she’s still working on pencil portraits. “My maternal grandfather was a painter and I used to watch him with fascination. He had a swing in his workshop and I would swing back and forth while he painted and I was captivated by what he was doing. My family was also fairly musical,” she said.

After graduating, she took as many theatre courses as she could in Chilliwack. She was even a member of the Chilliwack Player’s Guild and had a blast.

But soon it was time to move on to further her career, so Jeanne headed out east to take Theatre Production Design at York University, one of Canada’s largest universities.

One summer, after being in university for a couple of years, she came home to Chilliwack and began working at a popular, local dinner theatre known as the Galley and Gallery. “I auditioned for a part in Neil Simon’s I Ought to be Pictures and got the part. Bill Green owned the business and he was from New York so I learned so much from him. He decided to take the show to Abbotsford and at that point, I made the decision not to return to school. I moved to Abbotsford and did a couple of seasons there and learned from the very best. It was a semi-pro house and we ended up taking the show to the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island,” she explained.

After appearing at the Waterfront, Jeanne was offered a position at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre. From there she was picked up by the entertainment division of Expo where she worked for two years. “After Expo, I had my two boys, who are just my favourite people. Unfortunately theatre isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle and theatre and a family don’t necessarily mix, so I headed back to Chilliwack which is where I had a support base,” she said.

Once she was re-established in Chilliwack, Jeanne returned to what was then UCFV and began working on an Associate of Arts degree. “I did that and then decided to get into the business aspect and eventually wound up at Mark’s Work Wearhouse. Wow, I have been here since 2004!” As the head of embroidery at Imagewear in Chilliwack, a division of Mark’s Work Wearhouse and the largest supplier of branded, footwear and promotional products in Canada, she has the pleasure of working with so many corporations, service groups, schools and the trades. “I absolutely love what I do and I love coming to work each and every day. There is never a dull moment and it’s always different. When I was working in Abbotsford, I got into stage management and this is like that in many ways. I have the ability to use my creative side and there are specific deadlines to meet.   I love my clients. They are awesome people and in many cases they have become my friends,” she said.

When Jeanne is not hard at work, she enjoys what she calls her other life. “I enjoy the theatre and I’m pleased that Chilliwack has so many more amenities with respect to the arts. I try to go to as many shows as I can and eventually, when I have a bit more time, I will get back into it again with both feet,” she laughed.

Just Posted

Chilliwack Chiefs erase three goal deficit in overtime win

Down 3-0 to the Cowichan Capitals, the Chiefs came back to win 4-3 in the BCHL Showcase match.

Chilliwack man feeling helpless about puppy stolen while at church

Evidence of neighbour trespassing and accusing him of dog neglect not enough for RCMP

UPDATE: Missing Chilliwack man has been found

Chilliwack RCMP is thanking the public for keeping an eye out

UPDATED: Chilliwack councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with RCMP taken at special meeting of council

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read