Do you recall an expression about someone having more talent in their pinky finger than you do in your whole body? If so, you’ll find there are plenty of residents of the Beaumont Commons, Dearborn senior living community with talented pinky fingers.
Their talents were recently on display at the community’s Artists, Crafters and Creative Writers Showcase.
“Our residents have many gifts. They are sometimes shy to talk about their work until it’s actually on display,” said Diana Davidow, marketing coordinator for Beaumont Commons, Dearborn.
Mary Ann Bassett displayed several pieces of her crewel embroidery.
“I’ve stitched all my adult life,” Bassett said. “I always needed ‘pick-up’ work while raising my four children. It was a favorite pastime.”
Displaying a variety of custom jackets, tops, scarves and other clothing, Sally Rausch said, “My mother taught me how to sew, and I always made clothes for my daughters and for their dolls. And then 10 years ago, I started sewing creatively for myself.”
One of Rausch’s most unique items is a jacket she made from old woolen sweaters she bought for 25 cents each from a church bazaar.
“I cut them into pieces, boiled them in the washing machine until the material was like felt, and sewed them together,” she said.
Resident Shirley Balger shared her realistic landscape oil paintings that included scenes from northern Michigan, which several people recognized. Balger, formerly of Lincoln Park, revealed how she always carried a camera wherever she went so she could capture and later paint the places she visited.
The community’s well known woodcarver, Bob Rock, showcased some of his most recent pieces, including a beaver made from driftwood. He revealed that Steve Berry, the community’s dining services director, was always finding wood from the river he thought Rock could use for carving.
“My son looked at one of the pieces of wood Steve gave to me and thought there was a beaver in it,” Rock said. “Sure enough, I started carving and there was.”
Resident Virginia Koehler, whose favorite pastime is oil painting, displayed several of the paintings that decorate her third floor apartment. She enjoys a scenic view of the wetlands and wildlife from her apartment, where she continues to paint.
Among residents who showcased their work was artist and former professor Paul Zenian, who taught art at Washtenaw Community College for 25 years. Zenian’s work was
featured at a one-man art show last September at the Frank Padzieski Art Gallery in the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.
Proving that not everyone has to be a skilled artist, several residents discovered their interests and enjoyment after joining the close-knit, friendly community.
“I didn’t know anyone when I first moved in,” said Florence Ingram, who had recently lost her husband. “Then I learned to relax doing adult coloring books. Today, coloring books and people are my enjoyment.”
Also on display were soft, colorful flannel blankets, called “Spread the Love.” Resident crafters make them for others who are going through difficult times.
In addition to viewing the work of artists and crafters, Showcase attendees and guests listened to the original short stories of three residents who are members of the Common Expressions workshop, led by creative writing instructor Michael Madigan.
Rock put pen to paper to write a music tale titled “Brahms for a Small Town Orchestra.” Resident Otherie Love, who has had several of her works published, read her original story titled “Lots of Surprises.” It was a love story about a couple during World
Beth Rager, who has quickly developed a reputation as Beaumont Commons’ songwriter and guitarist, read her original short story titled “Red Pop,” about a little boy named Jimmy who was thirsty for some Faygo Red Pop.
Madigan, who has taught the workshop for 10 years, encouraged other residents to start writing their thoughts and attend Common Expressions, which meets monthly. Along with prose, Madigan teaches poetry and read several lines of verse he wrote in iambic pentameter.
With the Showcase’s rich display of painting, sewing, crafting and writing, Beaumont Commons’ residents proved there are plenty of talented pinky fingers in this community.