From sales to sailing and writing about...


From sales to sailing and writing about it; About books: 0) Former marketing manager for a publisher is co-author of a book about sailing

Di Goodman isn't the type of person who quits a good job to go sailing every day.

Yet the 32-year old Annapolis woman, a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, quit her job as a marketing manager for a textbook publishing company in 1993.

For a year, Ms. Goodman rode her bike every day to the Annapolis Sailing School where she's given weekend lessons for the past 15 years. And instead of concentrating on selling books, she began co-authoring one -- "Learning to Sail: the Annapolis Sailing School Guide for All Ages."

She had already been working on the outline when one of her students, Ian Brodie, a Washington correspondent for the London Times, mentioned that there weren't any books for children about how to sail.

It took the duo about a year to fill the void. "It worked out well [because] we trusted each other. I trusted Ian saw the beauty and simplicity of my plan and he trusted that I'd put it in the right order . . . he's a good writer and editor," said Ms. Goodman, who recruited local artist Joan B. Machinchick to do the illustrations.

"Everyone is intimidated by the technical aspects of sailing, so the book was written for [Ian's son] Russell, who is 11," said Ms. Goodman.

Instead of returning to her old job after the book was completed last year, Ms. Goodman decided to devote herself full-time to a commercial recycling company she and her husband, Seth Lehner, opened two years ago.

At the same time, she decided to go to the University of Baltimore Law School at night, which she says is another thing she's always wanted to try.

@ When Hollis Minor quit her job as a controller for a Baltimore steel company, she decided to "do some needlepoint until I decided what I wanted to do with my life."

Since then, she has created more than 300 needlework design kits for more than 60 museums and raised $3 million for client museums, foundations and conservation organizations. Among them have been the Art Institute of Chicago, the Walters Art Gallery, the Historic Annapolis Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution.

As head of her own 16-year-old company, It's Polite to Point, the 37-year-old Ms. Minor takes museum art -- a military patch from the Royal Ontario Museum or President James Polk's dinner plates from the Winterthur Museum -- and adapts the designs for needlepoint, turning them into kits.

"People are creating heirlooms," she says.

Last year, they created 30,000 heirlooms from her kits.

The business runs from her home: spools of colorful yarn are in a room that is off-limits to Spot, the family cat. The basement is for storage. A building out back holds designs and machinery to print the canvas.

Ms. Minor draws the designs anywhere in her house, but often on a white office table that overlooks her Severn backyard. She gets the museum's green light, then colors the pattern with markers for final museum approval before painting a canvas. From that, the heat transfers for kits are made. Throughout the country, 40 needlework artists are on call to stitch samples. The museum that commissioned the work sells it exclusively for a while, then it goes into Ms. Minor's company catalog.

The catalog includes kits based on Colonial samplers, Arts and Crafts movement sketches and Art Deco paintings. Embroidery arts are so old that they show everything from life styles to house styles going back 3,000 years.

"Needlework documents history," Ms. Minor says.

Andrea F. Siegel

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