After experimenting with different writing styles for years, local artist and photographer Joyce Wilkens found in poetry an inspiring new world of expression.
To celebrate the release of her first collection, “Poetry Pie,” Wilkens will host a socially distant open house Sunday and Monday. The event also will feature various examples of her visual art.
In writing “Poetry Pie,” Wilkens desired to produce something that would inspire, she said, reiterating her passion to share art as well as her newfound love for rhyming poetry.
The collection represents “a journey through life,” which she hopes will “bring joy and happiness, laughter and thoughtfulness,” to her readers.
The collection explores humor, inspiration, observations, Spokane, travel and art theory. All of these subjects, Wilkens explains, are “baked in life (at) 360 degrees, sharing a colorful feast for the soul.”
A painter first, Wilkens has used her visual art to inspire and inform her written work.
“I’ve loved painting illustrations to make the poetry come alive and encourage thoughtfulness, laughter or shock,” she said.
An art lover as well as a creator, Wilkens was a docent at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture for 25 years. During that time, she developed her skills in a variety of visual media.
Her specialties include oil painting, watercolor painting, photography, creative sewing and walking stick carving, the last of which has become a particular favorite over the years.
She remembered first becoming interested in walking sticks and carving as she finished work on “Teacup Art,” a coffee table book.
“I loved how favorite tea cups held stories, (and) I was wondering what other things out there held stories for people,” she said.
“If you mention to a stranger that you love their walking stick, they will usually tell you the story about it – which will also include something about their life. And, then, voila! You’ve made a new friend.”
The exhibit will feature a collection of intricately carved walking sticks, which Wilkens and her husband have been adding to since 1982. One even doubles as a flute, Wilkens said.
Wilkens hopes that visitors will come away from the exhibit with a renewed sense that “connecting and sharing with people and finding faith keeps this life real and fulfilling.”
“We Are,” a piece from Wilkens’ “Poetry Pie” collection, emphasizes this sentiment.
The poem reads: “We are the movers and shakers and COVID tracers through rocky days. / We are the music makers from whom whispering hope plays. / We are seekers and believers and star-gazers, / Dreamers of dreams and Heavenly ways.”
For more information, visit joycewilkens.com.
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