Growing up in rural Iowa, I remember always looking at objects—pieces and parts, wondering how they could all fit together. I would venture into the yard with a paper bag and fill it up with rocks, bark, discarded household objects, and anything else I could find and glue together. Inspired by my grandmother, who patched together fabric and by my mother, who built with wood and other found objects. Both designed something useful and pretty. My creations always ended up displayed on my grandpa’s TV cabinet. Today, I continue to be a collector and a creator, in both the analog and digital realms.

   I prefer the term creative to artist—“artist” always seemed a bit lofty—something one must attain, rather than be. Everyone is a creative in some way or another, and as a teacher I strive to encourage others to follow their instincts and their vision to form their own path. I once asked a mentor if there was a difference between having an imagination or a vision. She told me there was no difference. I wondered why people with visions are considered a bit crazy, while we compliment others on their imagination. I have visions all the time. I always have. I am just now learning how to take what I see and make it real—it’s a slow process, but a worthwhile journey. Technology has been another mentor, allowing me to explore my visions in a way I never thought possible.

   While my photography training helped me to see the world more closely and allowed me to previsualize the canvas I saw in my head—Photoshop allowed me to take the vision in my head and fill the gap between my imagination and the limits of a camera. I would love to run film through one ear and out the other and record what is happening in between. Until I can do that, I will continue to collect rocks, bark, abandoned buildings, and piece them together. While no longer displayed on my grandpa’s TV cabinet, my hope is that someone else will be inspired to display them and that another creative or collector may be encouraged to seek ways they too can express their visions.