In many doctors’ offices, patients may notice works of art hanging in the various hallways and rooms that help brighten up the area. NC State’s Student Health Center is no different, although students may notice a particular theme in many works of art spread throughout the center. Indeed, many of the works on display are cross stitch images of wolves, and the artist behind them sits closer than they think.
Health center staff physician Dr Lynne Wirth sewed each of the wolf-inspired cross stitch patterns throughout the health center. Since 2011, Wirth has lent his talents not only as a doctor, but also as an artist, to the NC State Student Health Center, creating designs inspired by the NC State Wolfpack. Crafts have been a part of Wirth’s life since she was a child, having learned to embroider in cross stitch some time before high school. In addition to cross stitch, she also sews and knits.
“I come from a family of craftsmen,” said Wirth. “My mother is a quilter and does cross stitch, my grandmother was a weaver and my other grandmother was a hardanger, which is Norwegian needlework.”
Wirth affectionately refers to the cross stitch as his own form of therapy. Her home and office on campus are filled with many of the portraits she has taken over the years.
“It’s a great way to unwind at the end of the day,” said Wirth.
A big part of the joy she gets from her job is being able to share it with her family and friends. His Wolfpack design series even extends beyond the halls of the Student Health Center.
“For weddings, babies or any other life event I tend to do a piece for that,” Wirth said.
She is currently finishing a wolf-inspired piece for a coworker and is also starting to work on some pieces for a new baby who will be arriving in her family next March.
Cross-stitch designs usually come from patterns and patterns, and when Wirth joined the North Carolina State Student Health Center, she scoured the internet for wolf designs to help decorate her. office. She has discovered that prefabricated wolf designs are a rare find. She eventually found Dyan Allaire, a cross stitch artist whose work helped inspire the pieces Wirth sewed for the health center. Allaire creates the patterns using a computer program that transforms the photographs into cross stitch patterns.
Patience is not so much a virtue as it is a requirement for people wishing to embroider in cross stitch, with each design sometimes taking up to four or five months to complete. About two inches of work can be accomplished in the span of a single Harry Potter movie, as Wirth discovered when she worked on a piece as her family prepared to watch the final film in the series.
The other Doctors and Nurses at Student Health have their favorites among Wirth’s creations, and tease each other about the number they have in their hallway and the theft of coins from other people’s hallways to hang in theirs.
Wirth’s colleague and friend Maureen Hession, who is a nurse practitioner at the Student Health Center, spoke about Wirth’s work.
“It shows the loyalty she has to what she does, and I think the students love to see her work,” Hession said.
Each of his creations is a labor of love. For many of us who are far from home here at NC State, being sick also means being homesick. Wirth’s cross stitch wolves make the student health center much warmer and more colorful for every student looking to use its services.