In the fall of 1993, I started college and became friends with Marianne Brown. Through Marianne, I was introduced to many things that would become mainstays of my adult life — art galleries, thrift stores, and jewelry making. She helped form my concept of joy and she is a huge part of who I am today. She once made me laugh until I peed. Under Marianne’s direction, I first held a pair of jewelry pliers and put beads on a string. I recall that I had given her some old costume jewelry of my mom’s and those components came back to me over and over again having been re-purposed into new creations.
Marianne has an endlessly creative mind. She is true artist. She is an artist in a way that I am not — she cannot stop being an artist, she cannot stop being creative. She cannot stop being who she is. I admire that more than she’ll ever know. Her soul positively glows with the need to sculpt, draw, paste, string, or otherwise give birth to things that did not previously exist.
Her artwork lives somewhere in the neighborhood of folk art but with an edge. When she makes a piece depicting a face — human or angel — I find that I can’t look away.
Today, she is Marianne Clouser, mother of two, and continues to meet life with both bravery and style that, frankly, puts others to shame. Today, I am sorry to report that she is also very sick. While I am very far away, my heart and soul are with her.
She told me on the phone, “My plan is to live.” Do you hear that Universe?