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SCULPTING…Because I finally can!
I’ve always loved art and for a few years in the 1980’s had a great job as a graphic designer for a local (Ann Arbor) bank. I knew that I had more creativity within, but over the years my hands began to tremor and eventually I had to quit my job. I was diagnosed with familial tremors.
My father and younger brother suffered from them as well. My neurologist at that time recommended a beta blocker medication which helped quiet the tremors for many years. At that time, all of my energy went into raising our two sons (Nash and Wyatt) with my husband (Lance). Art and my passion for it was “shelved” for the much more fulfilling work as a mother (although the kids and I were always creating some type of art projects for school or during the summers).
Years later Lance and I became “empty nesters”, and that free time allowed me the luxury of having a hobby (other than competing in local and state-wide equestrian events). So, as lifelong animal lovers, our time became filled with our newly adopted extended family…three (3) Australian Shepherds! Weekends with “the boys” (Steve, Roy and Clark) have been spent with agility training and competing, disc catching trials and of course, freestyle dance practice and competing! My art work had taken a back seat to time with my pups, but I was prepared to accept that situation.
What I was not prepared for was that my tremors had actually worsened. Having been on the medications for more than 25 years, the tremors had gotten progressively worse and the best meds available were not able to completely mask the condition to an acceptable level. It became increasingly more difficult to even feed myself, and I had resorted to drinking everything through a straw because I couldn’t hold a glass without spilling its contents. Time to research a more effective and permanent solution.
My husband and I (with help from our oldest son’s father-in-law cardiologist, Mike) researched options: cannabis oil was tried without any effect, and then we landed on DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation). The promise of this radical surgery was the incredible success patients had for almost totally mitigating all the negative effects of familial tremors. We had hope!
Receiving a referral from our family practice physician, we met with a wonderful neurologist and a world class neurosurgeon here in Grand Rapids, MI. After extensive assessments to determine candidacy, I had the three (3) surgeries in April 2016.
After allowing for necessary healing from the intrusive procedures, it was time for the neurologist to “turn on the power”! My entire world “opened up”! I had not acknowledged to myself for many years how much my tremors had taken from me. I walked around waiting for the tremors to return…but they didn’t!
Once my hands began to “work” for the first time in years, I decided it was time to revisit artwork. Several friends encouraged me to experiment in various directions I had never gone. Thanks to my friends (Jane, Marge and Theresa), I experimented with glass work, reverse painting, zentangle and sketching to name a few. But it was when I took a paper mache workshop, I found my new medium and was hooked! There’s something about watching my hands play, molding my whimsical characters and creatures that is so uplifting. We added a new studio space to our home in 2020, and recently I have been creating quirky mixed media paintings as well. I am truly blessed with an incredibly supportive team (family and friends and now even grand children to chase after!) and I hope it shows in the happy nature of each of my creations.
Every piece of my work is handmade and unique to me. I also try to repurpose everyday objects whenever I can. Thank you for your interest!
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