in 2005 Janetmarie Valiga was an accomplished lacemaker, poet, editor and teacher with a Master’s degree in Interdiscipliary Arts Education. Then, in an instant, everything changed. Janetmarie suffered a stroke while driving, and her car crashed into a gas pump.
Thankfuly, her external injuries were not severe. But she lost most of her fine motor skills, and her words. Seemingly insurmountable obstacles to a life as an artist and writer. Not to Janetmarie. She dived into rehabilitation, spending endless hours at the computer. It helped, but she was still “a poet who kept losing words.” Lacemaking was a thing of the past.
Then she learned about BARN, from Jane Martin, BARN Jewelry Studio Lead. “I jumped in with both feet,” Janetmarie says. She began with large-format objects such as wood projects and jewelry, and moved on to printmaking and glass arts. “I have now taken more BARN classes in more studios than anyone else!” she said. Slowly but surely, her motor skills returned. Recently, she became a teacher again, teaching BARN’s first-ever lacemaking class. And she has written a book of poetry, Seeds to Signatures, a Wood Journey as a thank you to the teachers in the Woodworking Studio. “There are so many people to help you (at BARN), and they never make fun of you if you make a mess of it,” she said, smiling.