Being a gallery 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 our vacation home on Lake Margrethe, 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.
My daughter Courtney was always the family artist. She’s a professional photographer and owner of “The Compass Points Here”, now based in Traverse City. When we moved full-time to Grayling she was living in California. During that time, she began displaying her work at the AAV gallery, so I began volunteering here to help with her inventory. Little did I know how much I would come to care about the gallery, how deeply I’d become involved with helping it to develop, and eventually become an artist myself. Life sure takes some interesting turns.
During an artist meeting at our house, Terry (AAV Director), noticed the log tree on my deck and said I should try some in the gallery. 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 10” and 8 feet.
I have always been a runner. Although I walk as much as I run now, it gets me into the woods on a daily basis, 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 also have started to apply different finishes. The glossy lacquer is my current favorite, but some of the polyurethane products are allowing the trees to last longer outdoors.
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.
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