What do marbling paper, tombstone rubbings, dog show photography, handmade wedding invitations, and the Creative Hands Art Studio all have in common?
They represent a SAMPLING of Sherry Aikman's creative outlets.
Claudia here today bringing you the fourth of our four-part Women Who Inspire Us Wednesday Series, in honor of Women's History Month. I'd like to say we saved the best for last, but that wouldn't do justice to the impressive Aunt Cynthia, Grandma McDaniel, or Katie's former boss, Shingi. Let's just say, I'm no slouch and I upheld my end of the bargain by bringing you the Amazing Sherry Aikman.
First a quick rundown on how I know Sherry and then an overview of some of her many accomplishments.
Sherry and I met while I was working at Southern Methodist University in the mid-90s. She was tucked away in her corner of campus cranking out some of the most amazing graphic work I'd ever laid eyes on. She could take anything and make it look like a million bucks. And for someone who ascribes to the belief that, "packaging is everything," her talent did not escape me.
Before long, I had Sherry designing every stitch of paper that came out of my office. If I'm being honest, I actually dreamt up creative projects for Sherry to work on just so I could have an excuse to be around her. We were a dream team. I dreamt it and she turned my ideas into reality. Every where I moved Sherry moved with me - at least by email. When I moved to Georgia I still had her designing brochures. When I moved to Kentucky I had her busy creating logos, t-shirt designs, and since moving back to Texas I have tried roping her into as much HLA fun as possible.
She's done a couple favorites for me. First was the handmade wedding invitations she made for for Richard and me. Here's proof of how remarkable they were. Richard and I had a total of 45 people at our wedding (people, not couples). Of those 45 people, seven guests gave us framed copies of our invitation. If that isn't commentary on what a beautiful piece of art her invitation was, I don't know what is!
The other favorite was an invitation to my graduation reception. Every letter of every word of every page of my dissertation was written on the top floor of Starbucks in Athens, Georgia. So connected to the Starbucks staff was I that they agreed to shut down the top floor so I could host a reception of family and friends. I sent Sherry a black and white photo of me and she, in turn, sent back (from Texas) the most beautiful invitations made of earthy colors, a touch of green, and lots and lots paper layers. The invitations were nothing short of works of art. She capped the whole thing off by sliding each invitation into a cleverly cut Starbucks pastry bag - made to look like a vellum sleeve.
But Sherry's career as an artist is far more esteemed than hand making one-of-a-kind invitations for me. As noted in the opening, Sherry has dabbled in everything from marbling paper; paper weaving; rubbing tombstone faces to show their unique textures; photographing statuaries; photographing dogs at dog shows; and recently traveling to places such as Poland, Germany, Belgium, and Argentina to photograph (and video) past and present assaults on human rights. So versatile is Sherry, that she admits her other passion was her short stint running a kids art studio in Fredericksburg, Texas.
Sherry embodies everything I love about people born with the gift of artistry. She has an amazing eye for color and texture (and other important principles of art that I couldn't even begin to have a clue about) AND... she is generous beyond measure with her gifts. She finds a way to pitch in and help with any request made of her and everything she produces looks like it had her blood, sweat, and tears poured into it!
My intent initially was to share a template Sherry gave me years back that could be used to make a small treat box. Somewhere in my move I lost the template and Sherry couldn't put her hands on another copy in time for today's post. I have faith I will get another copy and when I do, I will pass it along to any interested readers (hopefully in time for Easter). In the meantime, I thought we could celebrate Sherry today by sharing excerpts of a poem called, "The Dash" by Linda Ellison.
Let there be no misunderstanding... Sherry has never been more full of life and verve than she is right this very minute. It is her intrigue with tombstone rubbings, photographing statuaries, and the way she lives her life, that made this seem relevant.
I read of a man who stood to speakat the funeral of a friend.He referred to the dates on her tombstonefrom the beginning... to the end.He noted that first came the date of her birthand spoke of the following date with tears,but he said what mattered most of allwas the dash between those years.So when your eulogy is being readwith your life's actions to rehash...would you be proud of the things theysay about how you spend your dash?
Sherry is my pick for a woman who inspires me and my creativity, in large part because of the way she lives her dash. By virtue of sharing her creativity, Sherry profoundly touches the lives of people around her. Sometimes it's by creating a handmade invitation so beautiful and so notable that it literally redefines the occasion. Other times, when applying her creativity to matters as important as human rights, her work gives voice to those who otherwise don't have one.
If my dash can be half as long and half as bold as Sherry's will be, I will render my time here on earth meaningful. How about you? Who do you know with a dash so inspiring you want to tell us about him or her?
Signing off until tomorrow...