Story of the Shift: Shawna Barnes

Episode 40

Shawna N.M. Barnes is a ceramic sculptor living in coastal Maine with her husband, Justin, and her son, Caden. She creates sculptures that engage, entertain, and invite conversation in her basement studio at their home.  Her signature anthropomorphic style of giving animals humanistic personalities is a favorite among her collectors.  She creates pet tribute/memorial sculptures, favorite animals, animals as memorial for a loved one, a series based on animals of war, and her latest exploration – a steampunk animal series complete with backstories.  Shawna is an advocate for “art as therapy”; she knows first hand just how therapeutic the simple act of creating can be.  She teaches these art as therapy classes at a local non profit for disabled Veterans and their families – the Travis Mills Foundation.

Shawna is a retired differently-abled Iraqi war veteran. She served for nearly 4 years in the US Army as a combat medic. She overcomes myasthenia gravis (a neuromuscular autoimmune disease), a seizure disorder, cervical dystonia, peripheral neuropathy, degenerative disc disease, PTSD, and several other obstacles on a daily basis. She uses these challenges to help others as she shares not only her struggles but the solutions she has developed that allow her to continue to pursue her passions.

Shawna has such a compelling story and one many of us can relate to. Not the military so much as the experiences around it. She is amazing in her strength and courage. Her passion for helping wounded vets is inspiring and her story about how she helps them will bring a tear to the eye. She is open and vulnerable and whew, can you feel it. Bring your tissues.

You can find Shawna on her Facebook page or at her website, 

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