A little about Shawna...
Shawna has found a great therapy in clay upon her discharge from the military. Her love of making functional pottery (coffee mugs and bowls) transitioned into an immense passion for sculpting. With her hands in clay bringing her imagination to life in 3D, nothing else matters; not the pain, the emotional turmoil, the frustration... none of it. It all goes away, and she is at peace. Her current project is a series of sculptures that center around jobs animals had during various historical conflicts – “Animals of War”. You can see the different sculptures she's made in this series by visiting the PORTFOLIO section.
Once Shawna realized just HOW therapeutic and cathartic the simple act of creating can be, she has made sharing this revelation a large part of her artistic practice. She donates her time and leads/teaches and art tile class at the Travis Mills Foundation - a place for severely wounded Veterans and their families to enjoy a week of pampering without having to worry about accessibility. When the opportunity presents itself, Shawna explains the benefits of how much just the simple act of creating can help ANYONE overcome and cope with adversity in their own lives.
Shawna N.M. Barnes is a retired differently-abled Iraqi war veteran. She has served for nearly 4 years in the US Army as a combat medic. Right around her seventh month in Iraq, her health took a drastic turn; she began having seizures and has been on a downhill slide ever since with more health issues arising as time continues.
In summer of 2017, she finally received a working diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis - a neuromuscular autoimmune disease. There is no cure, but lifestyle changes and treatments can provide a livable life. In addition to MG, she also has to work around/through a seizure disorder, cervical dystonia, peripheral neuropathy, degenerative disc disease, "brain fog", hypotension and vertigo, and PTSD.
She continues to strive and push forward every day, always looking for that silver lining and the upside to any/every situation. The eternal optimist - that's Shawna! You can read more about her story and how she overcomes the daily struggles by following her BLOG.