OAKHURST — To artist/sculptor Norma Rogers, turning 90 doesn’t mean she plans to slow down any time soon. In fact, she may just be hitting her stride.
Norma is the apex of what so-called “seniors” can achieve when they have the drive. After all, at 68, she entered California State University Fresno’s art program at 68 and earned a master’s degree at 73. She’s continued onward and upward ever since. And that’s after other careers at Douglas Aircraft Corporation, the Rand Corporation. In 1976 she and her husband John bought and ran Mountain Comforts in Oakhurst.
During those working years, art took a bit of a backseat to art, but in 1991, at nearly 60 years old, she discovered the art of bronze casting, which was just what she needed to reawaken her artistic drive.
“I took a bronze-casting class at Fresno City College and fell in love with the process,” she said. “I was much better working in three dimensions than I was trying to paint on a 2-dimensional canvas.”
She enjoyed the class so much that she signed up for a sculpting class next. Working with clay, wax, and sculpey (polymer clay) appealed to her detail-oriented side because she was able to control the process and the results.
Later she followed friend and mentor Ed Gillum to Fresno State. He introduced her to working with molten glass, and she discovered a new medium that appealed to her because of the unpredictability of the outcomes.
“You never know exactly how it will come out. A lot of times, what a piece becomes is just an accident,” she said.”But accident or no, the results are always fascinating.”
True to her adventurous spirit, whatever medium she’s currently working on is her favorite—until she moves on to the next piece and the next.
Happy birthday, Norma. I want to be like you when I grow up!