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Gwen Frostic Left her Mark on Northern Michigan

- March 7th, 2002
Gwen Frostic passed from the earth one day shy of her 95th birthday last April 25, leaving a legacy of nature prints and verse which earned her the posthumous award of “Best Artist“ from readers of the Northern Express.
Born Sara Gwendolen Frostic on April 26, 1906 in Sandusky, Michigan, she was afflicted with a childhood illness which left her with a condition similar to cerebral palsy. She never considered herself handicapped, however; possibly because of a fierce streak of independence. That independence was nurtured in part by her embrace of Ayn Rand‘s philosophy of objectivism which exalts the individual spirit.
Frostic developed an early interest in art, growing up in the Thumb and the City of Wyandotte. She studied art education at Eastern Michigan University as well as Western Michigan University. Her work as a tool and die maker at the Willow Run bomber plant during World War II gave her experience with assembly line skills which were of use when she launched her Presscraft Papers company in Wyandotte in the late ‘40s.
A love of nature led her to Northern Michigan, where she established her studio and workshop in Benzonia during the early ‘50s. In 1964, she moved her printmaking operation to its hobbit-like home next to the Betsie River on River Road, where visitors still select from thousands of prints.
While Frostic had a gargantuan work ethic, she found solace and inspiration in nature. The 285-acre grounds around her studio/print shop resound with birdcalls as a result of the feeders and lush habitat along the river, and the vast bulk of her work is concerned with simply rendered depictions of birds, flowers, plants and animals, often with a tender, humorous touch.
She was, to quote her website:

“observer of - and part of - - -
the wondrous order of the universe
- - the rhythms of the seasons
- - the stars by night
- - sunsets and dawns
and all things that live and breath - -
wandered through fields and woods
stopping here and there to sketch a
blade of grass - - a bird - - - or a
leaf blown by the wind ...“

During the course of her lifetime she received many honorary degrees from colleges and universities around the state and country. In 1986 she was inducted into the Michigan Woman‘s Hall of Fame. Long before her death she wrote her epitaph:
“Here lies one doubly blessed.
She was happy and she knew it.“
 
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