Being an artist is the last thing I thought I would be doing at this point in my life, or at any point really! Before my husband and I retired and moved full-time to Grayling, I spent my career at The University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor Public School System. I was fortunate enough to earn my Master’s Degree in Special Education and a Doctorate in Educational Administration.
Our daughter Courtney is the family artist. She’s a professional photographer. Along with her videographer husband, they own “The Compass Points Here”, now based in Traverse City. While she was in California, I volunteered to help with her inventory at The Artisan Village Gallery in Grayling. Little did I know how much I would come to love the art community and how deeply I’d become involved in creating my own pieces.
I initially made large trees, over 5 ft. tall. The more I made, the more intrigued I became at all of the possibilities. I now make trees between 5 inches and 10 feet, as well as candles, ornaments, wall plaques, buttons and suet feeders.
I have always been a runner. Although I walk as much as I run now, it gets me into the woods, searching for downed timber. I make piles along the way and come back later to drag it out to the road and into our truck.
I continue to refine the look. I am experimenting with different types of wood, sanding to uncover the hidden beauty. I have also started to apply different finishes. The satin and glossy enamels work great for indoor pieces, but spar varnish is necessary for outdoor trees. My newest creations are sculptured pieces made out of Michigan driftwood.
There is something very therapeutic about sawing, drilling and sanding. I am surprised at the joy and satisfaction I find in the creative process as well as my interactions with customers. What a wonderful turn of events in my retirement years.