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May 19, 1991|Jennie Nash

Lenore Hughes, 48, a second-generation Armenian, has always wanted to paint. But she was taught that all a woman should do with her hands is bake, knit or nurture, so she became a teacher and satisfied her creative urge by arranging the best bulletin boards in the school. Then, five years ago, at the urging of friends, Hughes--wife of the rector of All Saints-By-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara--ditched the stereotype and pursued her craft. Now her enormous watercolor tapestries have taken over her house--she has to push them off the dining-room table when the bishop comes to dinner. In the past few years, she has had shows in Boston and Santa Fe as well as locally, and has sold almost 300 of her pieces, at $300 to $5,000. Top art aficionados Gail and Barry Berkus are devoted collectors. "My art is a process of creation, destruction and re-creation," Hughes. It's a mirror of what I do in my life;" it's a search for connections." And she seems to be finding them.

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