I created this site to promote American art and craft. This site is also a vehicle for messages sent through inspirational photo art- my mind's eye to you and yours- through all life's journeys perhaps learning about things or events you may have never considered. This is a site about me, about you. I hope you join me and the community of souls gathered for a moment in time to appreciate the creative side of life, the importance of supporting American art and craft, supporting each other ....
My life journey has indeed influenced my work. It has been a wonderful adventure to which I am quite grateful. I grew up in what is now termed "the rust belt". I have learned to live on the bare necessities but I have also had the privilege of traveling internationally and experiencing what many may never afford.
My love of the arts has been ingrained since a young child- my first award, a painting of a fire truck was presented in Kindergarten. In later school years, the Junior Scholastic Art Competition awarded me ribbons for art and design works spanning a range of media: rug design and construction, watercolor and pen & ink landscapes. Many college awards included first place, air brushed fashion illustration and woodblock prints. Years pass and the obsession for creating, designing, and constructing works continues....
Creative business adventures began in the 60's with a tie dye business. (yes- I did go to Woodstock:) Articles of tied and dyed clothing were sold to many boutiques in Akron, Cleveland and Kent Ohio. After a few years and a fading fashion trend my interest shifted to other types of creative jobs. I had moved to the ultimate "rust belt" city, Youngstown Ohio in 1970. Here I began dressing windows for a local clothier. I designed logos and in-store signage. Being a bit naive to this "new" style of art I did most of the work for free- an alternative to the "fine art" style I had done.
In time I came to my senses and attended Youngstown State University in 1979 with a major in graphic design- earning a BFA, magna cum laude- a second major in art history and a minor in photography. All through this time I was a Mom and wife- happily, I was young enough to endure that work load!
Upon graduating I began a freelance graphic design business with comprehensive marketing solutions. In those days there was no such thing as the computer- imagine that! I had over seventy accounts ranging from automotive companies to fine jewelry gift stores. I also taught art classes in my "spare" time- did I mention my background in art education? ... Calligraphy was taught for many years at Austintown and Boardman Ohio through the Continuing Adult Education programs. At the Youngstown Jewish Center adult calligraphy was taught in addition to children's photography and cartooning. Children's art was also taught through an after school enrichment program at Robinson Elementary in Youngstown... whew! Something has got to give but what....
In 1989 my husband and I built a new building for my husband's existing company, The Speaker Shop (est 1973). The business focused on professional, commercial & residential audio and video engineering, design, and installation. Due to the lack of qualified workers I stepped in and began selling residential audio and video systems- quite a departure from the creative side of things. Still, my design business continued on a steady climb. Not losing sight of the creative possibilities in the audio business I began designing furniture for residential custom theaters we installed. This would combine with interior design projects and art placement services. It was at this time I decided to open a gallery in The Speaker Shop featuring American art and craft. It also gave me a chance to return back to my arts and crafts roots! Being commissioned for a calligraphy job the client inquired where I find the interesting jewelry I wear- myself I replied. Within a month my jewelry was debuting in the gift shop of the Butler Institute of American Art. The "Earth Sea Collection" continues today.
The NIJAQ Gallery endured the strains of a struggling economy. I continued to forge ahead insisting that consumers support American creativity rather than massed produced off shore "things" and to support all locally owned businesses- when we don't support our own we lose a great deal. When local dealers are gone so goes your tax base for schools, etc. Then, what will remain? ... sorry all you internet buyers this is an ongoing issue that none seem to address nor care about!
Through many shared conversations with young and old, it is realized how our world is changing. Human sensitivity toward one another is strained. So- I press on offering my art and craft to uplift, to think about life, to think. In the long run supporting each other supports a greater cause- US.
Thank you for supporting my cause, our cause- and reading about me.
My bio above was written many years ago- thoughts & highlights continue to be the norm. The updated me has changed only by geographical location...
The adventure continued when my husband and I decided that Ohio's cold, gloomy, sunless days needed to be left behind. In 2014 we packed our things and moved to an island off of Savannah Georgia! What a traumatic experience leaving behind our building that housed our businesses since 1989, our son, our beautiful home and friends! It needed to be done. The years are going faster, we ain't gettin' any younger!!
New paths emerged which you will discover on pages within the site. I no longer have a brick and mortar gallery. My work and services are offered wholesale and I hate to admit, online. The Savannah and South Carolina regions provided me with many new opportunities. I volunteered at the Tybee Island American Legion designing and maintaining their website. The Legion's site evolved into a platform for me interviewing and writing about veterans and our country's history. After years of island living Nick and I decided to head further South to The Villages, Florida!
I look forward to many years of continued success with my new contacts, and new acquaintances in this new world of sunshine!
Here's to all of you that continue to support American art & craft!