The Sting of Being Excluded

I was the tallest girl in grade school. I can still feel the sting and hurt of kids making fun of me and excluding me. Those acts of unkindness profoundly changed me and set me on the right course for my life. All of the hurt and loneliness molded me into a person who cares about others, making sure everyone is included. Most important, it made me someone that will always support the underdog. At times this makes others uncomfortable, to include someone different … so be it. I won’t sit by if someone is excluded. I don’t want to be part of “that” group.

— Denise Redgate


The Art of Living

My mother managed to make meals, bake pies for my father’s restaurant, and have time to make art or knit. As a quiet child, I discovered that creating things was fun. When my daughters went off to school, I went back to college to finish my fine arts degree. After retirement, I began doing watercolor, acrylic painting, and made printed papers for collage. I began receiving awards. My pivotal moment was learning to love art at my mother’s side.

— Ann Sisel



From Nursing to Basket-Weaving

It was 1994. It had been two years since my back injury — an event that ended my career as a nurse at age 28. Two years of a doctor-prescribed form of bed rest had passed. My back was no better. I felt isolated, depressed, and was tired of waiting. I decided to get up and “do something.” I signed up for a basketweaving class. I LOVED it — the movement required to sort pre-prepared natural fibers, the focused activity with other people, and the resulting transformation of chaotic materials into beautiful form. Today, I am a professional artist utilizing traditional basketweaving techniques to create sculptural works.

— Martha Bird