“I am at the point where I just want to create,” says Nancy Kraus. The Rochester artist moved into Brickstone by St. John’s in July of 2022 and has just recently started her own art program, a felting group that meets every other Friday at St. John’s Meadows.
Nancy says that making her landscapes is “like painting with wool.” The thin fibrous layers of soft wool layer one another, the colors mixing, almost emulating watercolor paints. “I am hung up on the Adirondacks, I can’t stop making pieces based on the area,” she explains while showing a few of her new pieces.
The Rochester native, “born down the road at Strong (Hospital),” says that the programs at St. John’s, as well as the freedom to lead programs, are part of why she “loves it here.” Nancy lives with her husband Ronald in a Brickstone Townhouse. She says she loves the nature of the area, though she mentions that she never thought she would end up back in Rochester.
For the majority of her adult life, Nancy lived out of state. She attended school at the University of Michigan and adds that she and her family watch all of the school’s football games. “I scream at the television, and I don’t even like football,” she says.
Following her schooling, Nancy began a long career as a children’s librarian, taking up residency at several libraries in and out of state. Her time in this field and her studies in illustration inspired her to write and publish Illustrating Children’s Books: A Guide to Drawing, Printing, and Publishing. She also self-published a newsletter featuring her children’s book recommendations. Her talents were scouted by the Democrat and Chronicle and Book Links, for whom she wrote book review columns.
Her accomplishments have continued in recent years. She tells the group of residents that a recent piece of hers at a local gallery has been sold. To that, her fellow residents cheer and congratulate her. Though, this does not mean a break for Nancy. “I am currently learning how to work with pastels, I am an amateur at the moment,” she says with a laugh.
“I regret not getting a Master’s in art, but I am always trying to learn new things and techniques,” Nancy mentions. This is part of the reason why she formed this felting group, “so we can talk and learn from each other.”
As a librarian, teacher, illustrator, author, mother, and wife, Nancy’s life has been filled with so much excitement and constant learning. “I am trying to let go a bit,” Nancy says, and “see where the colors take me.”