I’ve been lucky enough to make my living as a professional violist. I am the principal violist of the Richmond Symphony, I teach viola at Virginia Commonwealth University, and I am the violist for the Oberon String Quartet, in residence at St. Catherine’s and St. Christopher Schools. I have degrees from the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music.
On a family trip to New Orleans when I was really young, I saw all of the artists painting in the French Quarter, and I thought “I want to do this." I never really showed much artistic talent as a kid (I can’t draw), but I did show musical talent, so my life went in that direction. When I was three I asked for a violin. What I got was a viola when I was ten. (and I am forever grateful that it worked out like that!)
I come to art and music through my family: my paternal grandmother and aunt are artists, my maternal grandmother and mother are musicians, and my father is one of the most creative people I know.
In my early forties, I came across a group of quilters who changed my life. They make quilts for foster children and cancer patients. They had a sign that read “Quilts for a cause - No experience necessary.” I stopped by and found an amazing community of people who welcomed me and said, “So, what do you want to learn?” Quilting unlocked me creatively, and helped me begin to find my voice.
Artist Donna Downey wrote: “I believe art is not about talent or skill, but more about the ability to “see”. Being a constant observer in life inspired my passion to create.” I cling to this quote like a lifeline.
Over the years I’ve found that my medium is repurposing. I enjoy three dimensional functional art and assemblages. As a kid I loved the Boxcar Children (everything they had was repurposed or scavenged), and I was always inspired by George Washington Carver, who set up his first lab with scavenged and repurposed items. What I love most is taking an item that already has inherent memories in it and turning it into something functional for that person.
I’ve learned that the process of creating art is often more important that the art itself. We make art to become ourselves more fully, and to process events and emotions. I enjoy helping others enter into this process in order to heal old wounds or to learn something about themselves. Making art for people, helping people make art, and facilitating new experiences for people feeds me and helps me connect with people in a meaningful way.