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About Zanki



About Zanki

As you know by now, I am Susan Wessels. What you may not know, is that I live in Potcefstroom, a university town close to Johannesburg, in South Africa.

A few years ago, I became the proud owner of a Husqvarna Viking Designer 1 embroidery machine. The urge to do my own designs sparked off something new and exciting - and Zanki Designs, nameless at that stage, was born. I started off using the Husqvarna Viking Professional System but later upgraded to the Professional System Plus, and the 3D Embroidery system after that.

Apart from the Husqvarna Viking formats (HUS, VIP and VP3), my quality machine embroidery designs are available in ART, PES, JEF, DST, to name a few.

When I began selling my designs, I realized this "baby" needed a name. So I took a trip down memory lane and identified people and events that had shaped my life. The name 'Zanki' is derived from names that have special meaning to me. I'll share some of it with you.

My first oil painting

My first oil painting, or painting experiment, I should rather say! I was nine at the time.

My grandmother Nell had a big influence on my life, especially in developing my love for art. As a vote of confidence, she gave me a set of oil painting materials on my ninth birthday. But after a few initial attempts, those tubes of paint remained unused until I did an oil painting course in 2003. What a difference that made! Although I had been digitizing for quite a while, my whole outlook changed. Digitizing became another way of painting, and embroidery thread colors, my palette.

My first sewing experience was on this old machine, inherited from my great grandmother Kate.

My first sewing experience was on this old machine, inherited from my great grandmother Kate.

I distinctly remember the day when my first sewing machine arrived at our house. I was four and a half years old, and the machine was a Jones' that had belonged to my great grandmother Kate. I did not only inherit the machine, but also a huge 'lappiesak' (the Afrikaans word for a bag filled with colorful fabric remnants). I treasured this, and with the help of my mother, I discovered the wonderful world of sewing! The 'lappiesak' has since become cupboards filled with much larger pieces of fabric, but the excitement about the possibilities each piece holds has remained unchanged. (If you're a sewing enthusiast, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about!)

After I had decided on the name Zanki, I realized that it sounded a lot like 'dankie', the Afrikaans word for 'thank you'. It also reminded me of 'Santjie', my father's special name for me when I was a little girl.

The name felt right. I was grateful (and still am) to be involved in the world of machine embroidery at a stage when the possibilities are expanding so rapidly.

Oh, I have to add... After years of successfully avoiding it, I was bitten by the Quilting Bug. The resulting Quilting fever is testimony to the fact that this bug has to be taken seriously - especially when occurring simultaneously with Embroidery fever. The consequences are life-changing. You will probably never get your old life back. (Not that I want to!) Now if I could just find enough space for all of my fabrics...

African Celebration quilt - by Susan Wessels

One of my quilts, "African Celebration". (Copyright, Susan Wessels)

To all of my friends and family, and fellow fabric lovers: I am blessed by your presence in my life. Thank you for your encouragement, support and enthusiasm.

Copyright 2003-2014 Zanki Designs

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