I was born in Canton, Ohio and moved to Licking County at age 5. My Parents are both native
to Licking County and we have ties to the community that reach back to some of the original
settlers of this area. At 12, my family began our cross-country journey; my father’s job moved
us around every few years. During high school I joined the National Guard and eventually
moved to Iowa and married one of my Army buddies. I attended the University of Iowa until I
dropped out to drive a semi-truck.
It only took me half a million miles behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler to decide that what I really
wanted was to be an artist. I have always had a creative streak, but I never allowed myself the
pleasure of owning my art.
I began sewing as soon as I could pick up a needle and followed in the footsteps of both my
grandmothers. I sewed doll clothes and then clothing for myself all throughout junior high and
high school. One of my Grandmothers thought that I would become a clothing designer but I
had the notion that one could never make a real living from art. So when I went to college I
started studying engineering and then eventually changed my major to psychology.
But the most important class I took was an art class for non-majors where the instructor was
nurturing and honest. The instructor asked me one day during a final project why I wasn’t an Art
Major. I tried to brush her off by saying that art was just a fun pastime for me. She didn’t buy
the answer and kept prodding. I left the class and didn’t think much about the incident until a
few years later after I had dropped out of college for lack of drive to finish and for working too
many jobs at once. I had simply stretched myself too thin.
My escape was a golden steed on 18 wheels. The funny thing is that behind the wheel, late at
night, it is just you, the road and the thoughts rattling around in your skull. I liked the freedom of
the road, the vagabond bohemianness of it all. Yet, it still wasn’t the “thing” I was looking for.
After a few years I took a break from the road to work in the office, so I decided to continue my
education and took a photography course along with required courses. Again I had to face the
question, “Why aren’t you an artist?” Again I put it off. And again, behind the wheel, the
thoughts in my skull started to churn around and stick together like a rich cream forming into
butter. “Why not?”
I began to long for a way to express myself and still drive my truck. During an eventful trip to
“Wally World” for supplies, I cruised the craft section (as I always do). I happened upon some
beads and decided to buy a few things to try to recreate beadwork I had seen out west at shops
on the Indian reservations. I had clumsily tried to work with beads in high school but never really
did anything serious. I started experimenting and that’s all it took. I was addicted! Much to my
co-driver’s dismay I started buying beads every chance I could. I bought magazines about
beads and scanned the shop directories for shops in the areas we traveled. I quickly outgrew
the tackle box I used to store my supplies.