Art photography

Brush Prairie woman redefines herself with art, photography

Journalist Joanna Michaud

Although Donna Torres, 54, has gone through many hardships in her life – divorce, car crashes and loss – the Brush Prairie resident hasn’t let that stop her from pursuing her dreams. In fact, these difficulties are part of what drives and inspires her today.

After spending several years maneuvering through life’s obstacles, Torres has found solace in several hobbies, writing, photography, nature, and jewelry making. She has since pursued these passions and they have become a big part of her life.

An artist reception will showcase Torres’ jewelry and photography on Wednesday, July 24, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mill Creek Pub, 1710 SW 9th Ave., Battle Ground. There will be free light aperitifs and the event will feature a taste of the wines of the region. There is a recommended donation of $ 15 per person or $ 25 per couple, which includes two tasting tickets per person. This event will benefit the regional programs of the YWCA and the Battle Ground Rotary Club.

Participants will have the chance to meet Torres and talk with her about her book of photographs, Dragonfly dance, and his works of art and jewelry inspired by the Dragonfly Dance.

As a child who grew up in a small farming town in northern Ohio, Torres always loved photography, animals and writing. She said she’s also always been artistic in that she enjoys doing things from food to jewelry. After meeting her second husband about 10 years ago and getting married, Torres believed she had a fairytale life, with a good job, a nice house, and her three children from her first marriage. However, her seemingly perfect life was quickly turned upside down by several traumatic events, including two serious car crashes just six months apart that left her with medical problems and a complicated divorce.

Torres felt like he had lost almost everything – financial stability, his home, and the ability to work due to the complications of his car accidents. She said her life around this time was very dark at best and retired from everything, even her friends.

However, unbeknownst to Torres, something positive was about to emerge from his grief.

“During my moments of reflection and grief, I spent a lot of time reflecting on the rest of my life,” Torres said. “Fascinated by these creatures (dragonflies) as I spent many hours daily in a friend’s private pond photographing nature, I began to research and learn more about them, which fascinated me even more. I began to associate the change that happened to me to like that of the dragonfly.

As she focused on honing her dragonfly photography skills on a daily basis, Torres said she started writing and the result was her book, Dragonfly dance. The book is suitable for all ages and presents his photographs of landscapes and dragonflies with his poetry. The end of the book has a Myths and Legends section that explains what dragonflies mean in different cultures.

“During my journey to find myself, I discovered that life is a magical dance and that the dragonfly teaches us to enjoy dancing,” Torres said. “We can find courage and strength in the devastation and dramatic events in our lives that are meant to destroy us. The dragonfly taught me this and inspired me to create and be the person I was born to be and I would like to say fearless, but I’m still scared, I’m still learning to dance regardless of what people think. “

In addition to his photographs of dragonflies and nature, Torres also began to create exquisite Dance of the Dragonfly jewelry using Swarovski crystals, which are high quality Austrian crystals. After writing her book, Torres said that she wanted to wear something with a dragonfly on her, possibly jewelry, because of the meaning of dragonflies to her. However, she said she couldn’t find anything she liked.

“Most of the jewelry I found made the dragonfly look like simple insects,” she said. So I made myself a piece of jewelry and used Swarovski crystals in the tail of the dragonfly with polymer clay.

From there, one of Torres’ friends suggested that she bring her photograph and book to the Christmas Expo last year and when she saw her necklace she suggested he do more. . So Torres made 30 necklaces for the exhibit and ended up selling all but two of them.

Torres’ newest jewelry collection, Dragonflies Across the Sand and Sea Collection, will be showcased at the artists reception on July 24. This collection is inspired by her visits to the coast and where she stays along an estuary where she likes to take photos. The new collection features Swarovski crystal starfish with dangling dragonflies, Hill Tribes sterling silver and gemstones.

Torres has three children from his first marriage. Her parents reside in her hometown in northern Ohio with her (paternal) grandmother, who is 93 years old. She is very close to her family and said that although her (paternal) grandfather passed away over 31 years ago, not a day goes by that she does not feel it is by her side, inspiring her . She actually inherited one of her cameras, which she still owns.

“My dad is the greatest dad a girl can ask for,” Torres said of her dad. “He played baseball with all the kids in the neighborhood, swam with us, taught us how to fish and was a hard worker. He liked to create things and to work with his hands. My mother loves to sew, knit and make ceramics. She also likes to create things. I think from my parents and grandparents I received the gift of creativity.

Torres’ jewelry, artwork, book and photographs can be seen on his website, www.danceofthedragonfly.com. It also has the following items available for viewing and purchasing at the following locations:

Mill Creek Pub, 1710 SW 9th Ave., Battle Ground: Her artwork will be on display in the restaurant, complete with necklaces, wine charms, serving boards and jewelry, following her artist reception on July 24.

The nest, 619 SE 1st St., Battle Ground: Torres has a small storefront here where some of his jewelry, artwork, wine charms, bracelets, granite serving boards and more.

Caves of the Seventh Son, 120 N. 3rd Ave., Ridgefield: Torres Granite Wine Charms and Cheese Boards are available here.

Serenity Well-being & Nails, 105 E. 25th St., Suite C, Vancouver: A work by Torres with his inspiring lyrics is available here.

For more information or to learn how to purchase jewelry, artwork, photographs and more from Torres, visit www.danceofthedragonfly.com or email [email protected]


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