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Finding love's inspiration in natural wood

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Posted: Monday, February 13, 2012 4:00 pm

Valentine's Day will be extra sweet this year for Rosecrance residents and art therapist Jada Miller, thanks to Jada's parents, James and Pam Milner, of 9014 E. Little Lane, Clinton. 

The Milners found their daughter a unique heart-shaped tree stump which will be sanded, varnished and placed in Rosecrance's upcoming Heart Art Show for patients and staff. The show features art depicting the essence of love.

"It was just ironic how they found it in time for my heart art show and being this close to Valentine's day," Jada said.

Jada, 27, who lives near her parents in Beloit and hangs out with them every chance she gets, was reflecting on the mysterious wooden heart her parents sliced for her. With her parents coming up on a 38-year anniversary this year, Jada will be thinking of them and their treasure trove of farm machinery and salvage materials this Valentine's Day.

Jada was searching for something with a heart theme for the upcoming art show. Her parents were chopping wood for their wood stove when they spotted the heart-shaped tree in their pile of wood. Jada decided she wanted to use a part of the mysterious stump for the show, so her dad got out his chainsaw and cut up the tree for his daughter.

It wasn't the first time Jada's parents found something that inspired her. Jada said they've provided wood, wire and even antlers for her artwork over the years.

There is an hourglass shaped-log in the Milner home, retrieved up north when Jada was just a baby. She said the mysterious beaver-nibbled log had been placed in the family's trunk and helped keep their car on the road during a snowstorm. Today the beaver-licked stump serves as an end table, something she hopes her little heart slice will one day become.

Jada is a graduate of Clinton High School, and attended the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and Mount Mary College. This will be her second year at Rosecrance as an art therapist.

She said growing up in the farm town of Clinton surrounded by machinery and nature has given her a unique edge in her artwork. She specializes in painting and photography, and imparts her talents of expression to residents on Rosecrance's adult campus. She said art helps residents explore their recovery and identity in a visual way.

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