JANE-COLLIN-oil-portrait-by-artist-Elizabeth-Reed-FACeADE-Project-A portrait of diversity

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Jane Collin

Jane Collin
Painted on September 22 and October 11 in my studio

ER: What is your Name. What is your nickname? Do you have a childhood nickname?
JC: Jane Collin. My father called me Lady Jane.

ER: How old are you?
JC: 71!

ER: What is your favorite saying or quote?
JC: Creativity and rules are like lard and jello. They don’t mix.

ER: Where were you born? Where did you grow up? Where do you call home?
JC: I was born in and grew up in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Shawnee was a little town of about 25,000 people when I was young. My dad was English.
I moved to Ft. Lauderdale in 1971 and have been here ever since. I call this home. This is my community.

I am a cradle Episcopalian. There is only one Episcopal Church in Shawnee Oklahoma. It was gothic with huge stained glass windows. Gorgeous. My dad came from Church of England and liked very low church. Our church in Shawnee was very high church with smells and bells. You know the part in the service where the sacraments are blessed? You knelt AND bent down. It was extremely reverent.

When my grand daughter was baptised, we had 5 generations of either Church of England or Episcopal family members. It could be further back. Just 5 generations that I know of.

My parents made wine with blackberries. Oklahoma was a dry state at the time. They made it for the church. I was probably 12-13 when they opened state operated liquor stores.

ER: Where are your parents/grandparents from? How did they influence you today? (big question)
JC: My dad was from Liverpool in England. He was only 15 when he came to this country, by himself on a ship. I’ve seen the ship’s manifest. That was in 1910.His older brother was already living in OK so he went from Philadelphia to OK.

My dad was born in 1895. Daddy was in his mid 50’s when my sister, Mary and I were born. He was certainly old enough to be my grandfather. My mom was from a small town in southwest OK. They met at church. Mother was 19 years younger than him.

My dad had a canvas business. He made tents and awnings. Prior to that, he built houses. There are houses in Shawnee OK that he built. That was back in the time when you didn’t have to go to school to do this. He owned his own business. He and his brother worked together when they first came to America.

I learned to sew when I was little. I remember being 8 years old when we brushed kerosene on the machines to clean them. We were taught how to work with tools and how to sew. I would give anything to have his big cutting table. It was about 50’ long. We would help him cut fabric. He made circus tents.

We would go to the circus where he would sell his wares. The circus would come in on a train. There would be a parade of the animals in the cages. The elephants would carry the tent poles. They used the elephants to work. The train would arrive at about 4 am. They would go a few miles to the fairgrounds.
We would take a brown paper bag full of bread to fee the elephant. Her name was dixie cup. We saw the same animals every year. They were small circuses, not like Ringling Bros.

ER: What is your heritage (ethnicity)?
JC: English and Scottish.

ER: What is your favorite color?
JC: Blue, purple

ER: Do you have children? How many? How old are they? Tell us about them.
JC: Wendy is my oldest. She is 50. She used to live in Margate. She and her husband have a daughter, Deanna who lives in Boca and works for Starbucks. Wendy is employed by the Florida Democratic Party. She just took this new job. She works remotely. Comes here to the office and stays with me once a month.

Teresa is 46. She lives in Madison, WI. She is not married. She works for an electrical contractor as an accountant. She also makes lotion bars using WI bees wax and other oils.
Then I have all these extra children. Sarah Bruno calls me her white American mother. Tara Jampole and I taught sunday school together at St. M &M’s.She has become a bonus daughter and a very dear friend. She and Jason have a son, Luke, who is my Godson and I am his Grammy. Tara has two older children who consider me Grammy. I taught them in Sunday school. People just seem to find me. An extra mother. A lot of “aunties” going around.

What is your passion? What are you doing when you are most happy?
If I am doing anything creative and I am happy. I like the challenge of doing something new. I dabble a little here and a little there. I like the challenge of learning new things.

ER: Do you have a mission? A reason for doing that which is your passion?
JC: I really enjoy teaching. Teaching has helped my artwork. I would never want to get up and teach something I didn’t know enough about. I love my middle school kids. Often considered a tough group but when it comes to creativity they are willing to try something new. They’ll try something new and go back to drawing cartoons. They all think they will become animators.

We talked about our students. How because we lost Carmen at MSD we got to know Isabella as an art student. We celebrate Carmen’s spirit and all her goals and aspirations. Jane volunteers at the local Democratic headquarters inputting data – especially to promote more common sense gun control.

ER: What is / was your profession? Is this profession what you were meant to do? Why?
JC: My career was in non profit organizations. I worked for a bank for a short while. I worked hard to make stock holders rich. That is just not me. I was much happier knowing that my hard work would benefit a life even though I did not have direct contact with the beneficiary.

I really enjoyed working at Covenant House. I like their values. Covenant House is a shelter for homeless teenagers. it is located right next to the Bonnet House, about a block off the beach. We would eat with the homeless kids. I was the director of human resources. I worked there for 11 years. A lot of like minded nice people worked with me.

They had two layoffs. It was hard. I wasn’t part of making the decisions or get laid off. I did get burned out. I felt it was time to leave. I retired and started painting. I started teaching.

Teaching. I started out at Bonaventure in Weston. They had a club house where I taught art classes. I eventually went to ArtServe. I taught adults there. After about 8-9 years I worked on a grant with my friend Margie for Silver Trail Middle School. The first year was funded by a grant to get art back into the curriculum some how some way. We did it through the social studies classes that the kids took. Trying to relate whatever they were studying in Social Studies to art. (BRILLIANT!)

Margie approached the principle and asked why can’t we have an art club? He was sceptical but she pulled together an art club with a friend of hers. Structured like band booster club. The parents pay for the kids to come to art club. I have been teaching these kids a long time.

ER: What are you really good at doing? Why?
JC: Listening.

ER: What makes you feel like part of a community? Why?
JC: When we get to know each other. Spend time together and listen to each other and hear people’s stories. I love our community at St. Mary Magdalene’s. It comes from being there for a long time. Getting together. I remember years ago at St. Benedict’s when we were looking for a rector. One of the questions was how many of your friends attend church here? Are you social with people at this church. I had to say no. That has changed a lot.
Jane and I met at St. M and M’s. People you go on mission trips with become close because you don’t go to remote places without gaining friends. Navajo, Honduras. You get out of your comfort zone. Get out of South Florida.

ER: What is the most interesting thing you have ever done?
JC: The trip to Italy. We had a blast! We did a lot! The most interesting part of the trip was the Bevilaqua
Velvet Factory in Venezia. The velvet looms were from the 1700s. The looms wove the jacquard velvets. Only a few people know how to create this beautiful fabric now.

ER: What is your greatest accomplishment?
JC: Being a self taught artist. Earning signature status in a state and regional watercolor societies.

ER: What are your regrets?
JC: Jane and I are old friends. We discussed getting older and some of our decisions that from this perspective seem very poorly thought out. Jane had a wonderful take on this discussion. I know the poor decisions I made were made without God’s input.

ER: What are your struggles?
I struggle with resting. Even God rested. I feel guilty just sitting, not being productive.

ER: What are your greatest adventures?
JC: Going on the Navajo Mission trips.

Practicing for Nyeopi in Bali

"Art hurts,

art urges voyages,

and it is easier to stay home."

Gwendolyn Brooks



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