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Participant Information

Betty Damron

Basking Ridge

Creativity, Serendipity and Parkinson's Disease

Imagine a career at age 70! Who would have thought these three words and what they mean could lead to a niche and maybe even a career for Betty!

I've always been somewhat artistic: making greeting cards and stuffed animals. Then to college studio art: a professor who "freed" my hand, and brush and outlook. This was the beginning of a "wake-up" call.

Now in a retirement village, my greeting card selector at the drugstore that delivered my meds moved. Should I try making birthday cards using only materials found around my apt? I pieced together a humorous collage; a juxtaposition or play on words and ideas which went over well. Place of home is the home."

That was 3 years ago. My skill has improved and I can take risks because I'm using recycled, donated, found cloth, cardboard (preferably colored), and exquisite classy paper bags. If I were using expensive materials I'd be stuck facing an empty page trying to make each stroke perfect so I didn't waste costly paper, paint.

Now, no more perfect, but fun, excitement, and passion trying to create a collage - mostly abstract, mixing purple, reds, pinks with abandon and making a coherent whole out of different parts. This challenge helps keep me going where the pain/cramps are bothersome.

Another side/aspect to this is that it involves other people; saving cardboard, frames, greeting cards, classy gift wrappings, a collage on their birthdays. It makes a good involvement.

As for the creative process, no longer is an empty page so empty. With these inexpensive yet interesting materials strewn about, something will catch my fancy. Ah, this "belongs" next to that -- and so the collage [further] expands until I feel it's "together."

Could this lead to a balanced lifestyle, with creativity in its larger sense of problem-solving leading to coping skills in other areas?

So, I lost my mobility to go on my favorite wildflower field trips. Through PD, I have found an artistic niche. I know the one about life & lemonade...well, that lemonade sure tastes good!