A Tribute To:
He Was Our Teacher, He Was Our Motivator, He Was Our Inspiration, He Was My Friend!
Yes, it is with a heavy heart that I must share the news of a fallen warrior for the Commercial and the Home Embroiderer. I can recount the times I heard him tell audiences of 20 to 500 people, “I don’t care what you use, I care about what you know!” Walter Floriani’s words came from his heart, and he proved it so many times. This is just one of the reasons why he was presented with the prestigious award that was named after his father, “The Floriani Award” that was presented annually by Stitches Inc. to Individuals who had made a positive Impact In The Embroidery Industry, and Walter Floriani Jr, was one of those amazing people. As the son of Swiss immigrants, Walter Jr was born into embroidery royalty with the Floriani name, but as he said himself, “While I have much pride in the fame they enjoyed because of their innovation, their passion and dedication, I am more proud of the reputation they gained out of their desire to share what they knew with others.”
I met Walter two decades ago and I, like nearly everyone who ever heard him speak, was instantly mesmerized by him. Even when Walter ventured into subjects that were significantly above my understanding, my attention was captivated by his sincere interest in helping his audience become better embroiderers. It wasn’t an attempt to help them make more money, although he helped many individuals as well as large corporations develop embroidery methods that made them more successful, but Walter’s strongest desire was to help Home Embroiderers produce better Embroidery.
When my wife and I decided to leave the Sewing Retail World and founded RNK Distributing we approach Walter about using his, and his amazing Ancestors, name for our products. Not only did Walter agree, but offered to help us produce a superior line of Embroidery Products.
As Embroidery was introduced to the Home Sewing Industry, Walter saw that embroidery had come full circle, back from the larger businesses and commercial industries, in a return to the home embroiderers: The hobbyists, the crafters, the families, just as he and his family had started. This was his chance, in Walter’s eyes, this is what his grandfather and father had readied him for since he was a boy climbing on the huge embroidery machines of the 1950’s. To share the family secrets that they had learned through generational labor and passion with the wide base of embroiderers who wanted to learn.
Working with RNK, Walter Floriani traveled more and reached more people through educational events than ever before. As proud as he was of the professionals he had taught, he especially loved these events, and this is where most memories of him will carry on from. The expert techniques he taught with an ever-friendly smile and paternal patience. The samples of Floriani Family Lace he brought with him on the road for home embroiderers to touch for themselves and see what their favorite hobby could produce. The stories he would tell in that warm voice, like you were in family den instead of a classroom.
Walter Floriani Jr made embroiderers feel like family, because embroidery WAS family to the Floriani’s.
With prayers and sympathy,
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