Celebrating an Artist- Tammy Welshon

If you have wandered by Two Hands Paperie or come in for a visit during the holiday season you probably noticed the very colorful and enchanting window display. If not, there is a ship sailing in the air to a castle floating on a cloud, and a sleeping yellow moon all surrounded by shimmering paper stars. It has been a real pleasure watching people stop and admire the artistry or come in and tell us just how beautiful our display is. Thank you for noticing! If you are one of these people you may already know the story, but if not, I would like to tell you about the wonderful woman and artist who dreamed it all up- Tammy Welshon. I must tell you now that there is a sad side to the tale as Tammy unexpectedly passed away on October 29, 2015 before her artwork was completed.

Holiday window display by Tammy Welshon and family.

Holiday window display by Tammy Welshon and family.

I met Tammy through Two Hands Paperie. She was a dedicated customer who loved to share her ideas and enthusiasm for the creative process. You can get a look into Tammy’s creative life on her blog- A Need to Create. She worked in many different mediums from sculptural paper to large painted murals. Simply put, she was a loving and inspiring person to be around. Tammy was a regular at all the store’s free events, so if you have ever attended one, most likely Tammy was there too. If you did meet her you may have been lucky enough to peek inside one of her many sketch books that she carried around with her- what a visual treat!

Photo encaustic self portrait created by Tammy, Summer 2015

Fortunately for me my relationship with Tammy extended beyond the store’s walls. For the past two summers Tammy attended a Photo Encaustic class I taught at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado. Tammy was one of my students, and I should say I was one of hers too! I learned many new tricks and techniques by watching her work, creating art alongside her, sharing many meals, and learning about each others lives. Tammy and I became good friends during this time and we agreed that collaborative projects were in our future. Our first project was to generate ideas for a window display at Two Hands Paperie for the 2015 holiday season. Really it was Tammy’s vision and I supplied the decorative paper scraps for the project. Tammy began with the Tall Ship, which she completed. She then began work on the castle after the ship was complete, finishing about 1/3 before she passed away.

Tammy_ship_castle_collage

Tall Ship and Castle in the Sky

When Tammy passed it was a shock. I was mourning the loss of a dear friend not to mention the grief her family was going through. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how to continue on with Tammy’s vision and complete her project. I thought the window display could be put on hold for the time being and we would implement “Plan B” (whatever that was) and finish Tammy’s project at a later date. A week or so after Tammy passed, her son Ethan called me and said that he and his sister, Ellie, wanted to complete Tammy’s work, that it would mean so much to them and to their mom and we should continue as planned. So thanks to Ethan and Ellie that is what we did. Ellie completed the castle and created the moon based on Tammy’s sketches, Ethan wired everything so that it could be lit up at night, and my son and I assembled the collaged paper stars. Through this collaboration, working with our hands while remembering Tammy, our hearts began to heal bit by bit….

Tammy_window_night

Installation at night. Photo courtesy of Larry Welshon.

It has been bittersweet having Tammy’s vision hanging in the store during the holiday season. It reminds me of her on a daily basis, at times putting me through a roller coaster of emotions- from joy for getting the unique opportunity to celebrate her in a creative way, to the deep sadness I feel, missing her and knowing she never saw the work completed. I do find comfort knowing that she would have been thrilled with the final results.

If you haven’t had a chance to stop by or if you would like another opportunity to see Tammy’s Installation it will be up through the end of January.

Thank you Tammy for all that you have shared with me. Thank you to the Welshon family for having the strength to complete Tammy’s work during this difficult time.

With deep respect and gratitude,

Mia Semingson

Two Hands Paperie