Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Omak mother, daughter on parallel paths

teresa and kayla sheeleyKayla and Teresa Sheeley are both artists.

When her daughter enrolled at Washington State University Pullman, Teresa Sheeley felt restless. She’d attended community college, but always regretted not finishing her four-year degree.
     Teresa lives in Omak, Wash. She’s widely known for her artwork, which tends to be in the cozy home décor category: tea towels, warm paintings, designs you might see in a French countryside café. She sells her work online and at arts and crafts shows, such as Farm Chicks.
     A friend recommended WSU Online, so she enrolled as a social sciences major and plans eventually to earn a master’s. “I want to teach art to little ones,” she said.
     “I was really proud of her when she decided to get her four-year degree,” said her daughter, Kayla Sheeley, who is also an artist. Kayla had her bachelor of fine arts exhibit in April at the WSU Museum of Art. Teresa and her husband, Dave, came to Pullman for the show. More...     “Teresa’s a very, very smart person,” said Dave, as Kayla set out food for exhibit guests. “But if it weren’t for WSU Online, she wouldn’t be getting a degree.”
     Studying online is a lot of work, Teresa said. “But I would recommend it, because it’s so enriching. It makes you a better person, because you’re learning and growing. When I was in high school, none of that stuck. Now it does. I get it, and I enjoy it.
     The courses are “awesome,” she said, but, even so, how does she find the time? She laughed. “I cram because I have to work all day at my business,” she said.
     Visitors began to arrive to see Kayla’s work. Teresa got up to check on the food. Dave kept talking about Teresa’s intelligence and accomplishments.
     “I’ve been absolutely thrilled with what she’s done,” he said. “It’s not only the fact that it opens doors, but what it does for you. What it does inside you. It puts you in a different category; it puts you in a different place. When someone has the capacity she has, not to take advantage of it, well, that’s …” He ended with a chuckle.
     “He just likes to talk,” Teresa said.

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