As a lifelong fine artist Judy Kaplan has exhibited her paintings, created bronze sculpture for public installations, designed and produced recycled clothing and accessories through her company Frim Fram Design, and has received both private and public grants and commissions. She’s also an RN and a cancer research consultant for the biotech industry.
Since 1988, Judy has managed and produced programs for Heaven Scent Films and was the primary interviewer/production manager/co-producer for the documentary film, Back to the Garden.
In late 2002 Judy and her husband, filmmaker Kevin Tomlinson, left Seattle for a year-long adventure, which is documented in the online diary, RadicalSabbatical.com.
In 1969, Judy hitchhiked to the Woodstock festival at 17 and remembers that it was “very muddy.”
“Fashion and design must be in my blood.”
Judy Kaplan grew up in a family that loved art, music and beauty. Her grandmother was a founding member of a millinery (hatmakers) union of New York State.
Judy taught herself to sew at her grandmother’s house, and she loved a room specially lined with cedar where she had the freedom to explore and create whatever caught her fancy.
“The Cedar Room,” says Judy, “was full of fabric and my grandma’s old Singer sewing machine that only sewed forward. I started making ball gowns with her fabrics … dreaming of a life on Broadway.”
Her other grandmother was a fashion model in The Forward, a popular Yiddish newspaper of the time, while her grandfather sold shoulder pads in Manhattan’s garment center in the 1920s.
Judy’s father influenced her interest in fashion and arts, beyond their frequent visits to New York museums. A successful salesman, he marketed reams of fabric to women’s dress manufacturers and instilled a love of fashion and textiles in Judy. Sometimes he would take her to the factories where they made dresses. “I was always excited by the noise of machinery and the huge tables,” Judy says.
At the same time, Judy’s interest in painting grew. Exploring colors and design, she was developing her own unique style. She painted on everything she could get her hands on and learned how to work with every medium.
Judy has been involved in numerous art projects and solo and group gallery exhibitions. Her work can be found in collections around the world.