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Washington Voices

The Verve: Artist shows anything is possible

Thu., March 26, 2009

Lynnette Lawrence never really decided to be an artist; it just happened like walking, talking, and finding one’s self eventually does.

“I was born into a family of artists and was encouraged to be creative in all forms of the arts,” she said. “I couldn’t escape it if I wanted to because art was in every room, finished and unfinished pieces adorned every surface and were even in the way for daily living. Art was and still is a way to express who I am.”

Lawrence’s childhood home was a feast for the senses, filled with music, color and shapes. Her father created elaborate sets for local theater productions. “My father made this out of cardboard,” said Lawrence, grabbing a violin off the fireplace mantel in her South Hill home.

The cardboard violin looks amazingly real and immediately enables one to come to an “aha” conclusion: Lawrence creates because she knows that anything is possible.

In her teens, Lawrence designed puppets and had a puppet troupe which she took around town, and she is still commissioned to create puppets, masks and costumes for theaters in the Pacific Northwest. Her way with fabric and unique designs then morphed into miniature “stages” on which fabric, yarn and found objects frolic.

When she isn’t working with textiles, Lawrence is drawing endearing cats, birds and the occasional moose in ink and colored pencils. “My work tends to be whimsical, fun. It is an expression of my personality, my way of looking at life. It is a journey we all must take, so I celebrate my life through my art. It is something I like to share with others so I am very open with it. I love to share my knowledge and teach what art skills I have learned. If I can get one person to realize that we are all artists, just on different levels, I have succeeded in my lesson.”

Lawrence has a graphic arts degree from Spokane Falls Community College and a teaching degree from Eastern Washington University. She is teaching a second- and third-grade combination class at Arlington Elementary School on the North Side in which she integrates all forms of art into her lessons whenever possible.

“Art is a way to reach all people, help them become involved in a personal way. Children respond especially well. It irritates me when people say art isn’t important. Art is the way all humans think, feel, express themselves and react to life,” she said.

Lawrence’s work evokes the notion that “anything is possible” with her use of impossible colors and implausible sculptural objects that somehow work and bring forth joy. She has had several art shows in the Spokane and Seattle area in theaters and small businesses and her goal is to continue to create and show her work.

Lawrence and her husband, Bob, plan to build a house in the Latah Creek area in the near future. “I am looking forward to having a house built where I can have a real art studio instead of a squished corner of a room. Ah, to make a creative mess and to be able to leave it that way will be heaven.”

The Verve is a weekly feature celebrating the arts. If you know an artist, dancer, actor, musician, photographer, band or singer, contact correspondent Jennifer LaRue by e-mail

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