Healing through inking

Sequim artist, featured in First Friday Art Walk, finds solace in art post-car wreck

Japanese women adorn this ink drawing that took Erica McClain hundreds of hours to draw with a toothpick and ink.

Following thousands of intricate ink strokes, Erica McClain may have found her path to healing.

The former leather worker and hat maker recently took up ink drawings but moving from mediums McClain must go to great efforts physically and mentally to finish a piece nowadays.

McClain said she sustained a traumatic brain injury after a 2008 car wreck that forced her to slowly regain her speech and movement.

After the wreck, McClain said she didn’t feel like the same person as before.

But now McClain’s art seems to have reinvigorated her and to promote healing among those with similar struggles.

So far, she’s completed several pieces that will be featured during the First Friday Art Walk on Jan. 2 and for the month of January in Colors of Sequim, 139 W. Washington St.

Her most recent piece, “Untitled” featuring two Japanese women in a field of flowers, birds and bugs, took hundreds of hours using a toothpick and Chinese ink.

Her pieces, she said, are all large, very detailed but all very different.

“I love the details,” she said. “It is healing to me and not overstimulating.”

She took up drawing with bamboo sticks before gradually working to smaller wooden tools.

“I just did it one day,” she said about her current artistic path.

A few days a week she’ll ink 3-5 hours on a piece before taking a break in between.

“I only paint when I feel good,” she said. “If I don’t feel good, then the lines aren’t as straight.”

She dabbled in leatherwork and accessories in Sequim but found her ability just wasn’t the same as before, she said.

To go away from leatherwork and her past interests was hard, McClain said, because before the car wreck she had just attended a wearable art show and was readying a storefront to sell her handmade goods.

At her family’s suggestion she moved to Sequim 3 1/2 years ago to pursue new ventures. She moved into The Vintage at Sequim apartments and befriended many people.

“I feel I was re-birthed and re-raised by the women at The Vintage,” she said. “I’ve met some incredible women there.”

At one of her friend’s suggestions she approached Sky Heatherton of Heatherton Gallery about her art and soon learned some of her work would go for sale.

Her interest in the ink and wood medium only blossomed from there and with more encouragement she agreed to her first ink-only showing in Colors of Sequim.

“If at all possible, I want to make a difference in the lives of those with traumatic brain injuries and disabilities,” she said. “I would love to sell my artwork but I’m not looking to make a million dollars. My heart is to help people.”

For more information about McClain and her work, call 808-4723.


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