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My first love was writing.  I was a big Stephen King nut growing up and I read all of his books – couldn’t wait for the next one to come out.  When I was in seventh grade I wrote a macabre short story about a young woman who is kidnapped and murdered in a van and it won first prize, which was fifty bucks and a new dictionary with my name engraved on it.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Instead of being sent for a psych eval, I won first prize.  But it was the 70’s … so there’s that.

Whenever there was spare time, I was writing.  I began what would become my novel, “Viola in Waiting,” in the late 1980’s. A far cry from Stephen King, for sure, as it is about a woman homesteading in rural Michigan in the 1890’s – though it definitely has dark undertones, especially when it comes to the Civil War flashbacks.

Over the years my passion for writing waned, as life got in the way.  Full time jobs, a husband, raising a son.  The outline was put on a disc and tucked away in a box in my closet.  That’s where it remained until the itch had to be scratched every couple of years.

Fast forward to 2002, and I was a single mom, busier than ever.  In 2005 I met the man who would become my future husband (abstract painter, Louie Rochon), and he gave me a digital camera for my fortieth birthday. I was immediately captivated!  Enter passion number two – Fine Art Photography.  For close to a decade I had a camera in front of my face wherever we went, shooting landscapes, nature, animals and urban settings throughout the Pacific Northwest and Southwest. I did many shows on Whidbey Island, the place I’ve called home since 1994, and the craft filled my soul to the brim … until it didn’t.  Almost overnight the muse drifted away, and I repeatedly tried to find her to no avail.

In 2015 I became an empty nester, which was far more difficult than I imagined it would be. For the next several years I escaped by turning my creative attentions to a home and garden renovation, which brought me great joy.  A modest little rambler with a blank canvas for a yard became my new creative playground.  I overhauled the house and made it a little island cottage, filled with wood floors and doors, and an eclectic boho chic interior. The yard became a forest of cypress trees, lilac bushes and wisteria vines, which make for a stunning spring – and there’s something in bloom throughout the year. But then the day came when the projects were done.  The house was complete and there wasn’t another inch of dirt to place one more plant.  Hence, the creative desert returned.

In 2017, Louie and I visited a room-sized, free-style weaving exhibit at the Bellevue Art Museum that encouraged guests to participate.  I was absolutely charmed and immediately started to collect repurposed materials to make my own version - albeit on a smaller scale.  Enter obsession number three: Fine Art Textile Wall Sculptures.  My sculptures are first and foremost nature-based, evoking the changing of seasons and natural environments.  They begin with the “bones” of the piece – driftwood and jute for the frame. These elements are key, as they set the tone for the entire sculpture. From there the free-style weave takes on a life of its own, as I intuitively choose the colors and variations that speak to me in the moment.  The end result is much like an abstract painting.  I name each one, based on recent experiences, memories and the emotions they evoke. I’ve shown them in Seattle, on Whidbey Island and in the gallery space I share with my husband, the Rochon Fine Art Gallery on Whidbey Island. I have installations throughout Washington State, Seattle, Portland and Phoenix.

In 2022 I joined a book club on Julia Cameron’s The Artist's Way with a group of very dear women friends whom I’ve known for twenty years.  Through that process my writing bug was rekindled and I pulled Viola out of the closet and finished her!  It took over thirty years – but hey, it takes what it takes, right?  I apparently had some more living to do before I could finish her story. 

So this is where I find myself today. In order to feel “normal,” I need to be creating something – and in order to do that, it needs to be done in a balanced fashion.  I’ve been looking for time, inspiration and balance my entire life.  And I’m happy to report, as of this writing, I have found all three.  We’ll see where my muse takes me in the future…

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