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A piece created by Nashua's Victoria Tane was chosen for Parkinson's calendar

Monday February 04, 2013

Simon Rios

New Hampshire.com - For Victoria Tane, having Parkinson's disease is more of a pest than a dreaded foe.

"I try and keep perspective on it," said Tane, 61, a Nashua jewelry artist who was recently chosen to be featured on the Parkinson's Disease Foundation's annual calendar.

"It's degenerative. It's not fun knowing you have a degenerative disease, but I am hopeful . that they will find a way if not to cure it, definitely to arrest it, hopefully in the next five years."

Since 1983, Tane's jewelry business has been her life. In addition to painting, she works with recycled objects, anthropomorphizing the most obscure thingamajigs and saving them from the landfill.

The items are multifarious - machine parts, driftwood, antique glass beads, old coins, peach pits, ribbon, pencil tops and chandelier crystals - to name a few, all of which become components of her assemblage works.

Tane was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2010. Her father also suffered from the disease, so when she felt the first tremors she knew, even before her doctor, what was happening to her body.

When asked how it has impacted her artistically, Tane made light of it.

"I struggle creatively without Parkinson's," she said. "Anybody who knows me will know that my standard line is to say I don't know if I'm ever going to have another good idea again."

Others, such as the PDF's Creativity and Parkinson's Project, would beg to differ. When she posted images of her work on an artists with Parkinson's page on the foundation website, Tane was selected from some 300 artists to be one of 13 featured on the calendar.

Tane's piece, entitled "Bits and Pieces - Six Geometrics Bracelet," is on the February page. Typical of the "green and sustainable" artist she is, the bracelet is made entirely out of recycled items, from paint swatches to antique sequins, business cards to bingo markers to dyed coconut shells.

The calendar is distributed to 20,000 people.

Tane describes her condition as a "squatter in my apartment building." She considers it a factoid not central to her existence, though she can't deny that it has begun to slow her down and hinder the execution of her designs.

"It was one of these things that I was living with long before I had integrated the fact of it into what I was doing with my life," she said. "It didn't affect my art so much, although now it has."

Though she's been a professional artist for 30 years- showcasing her work at shows throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic-only eight years ago did Tane anoint herself with the title.

"Here's the thing: I always thought that an artist was a fine artist - a sculptor, a musician, a writer. But what I did I considered more assemblage and design."

But because of a craft party with her lady friends, she took to drawing, something she'd never really done before.

"I came out with a series of maybe 10 pieces that I did, and they were really artful, and they were art, and I was inspired to make them because it was like I had to," Tane said.

She continues doing craft shows-nearly 20 every year. She said she's constantly having to explain her shaking to her customers, and it's a diversion from what she's really about.

Robin Elliott, executive director of the Parkinson's foundation, said the Creativity and Parkinson's Project explores the therapeutic value of creativity in Parkinson's.

"(Victoria Tane's) works, the other 12 featured in the calendar and the more than 300 in our online gallery, are a source of inspiration and hope to others affected by Parkinson's disease," Elliot said.

For a free copy of the calendar or to learn more about Tane's work, contact the Parkinson's Disease Foundation at (800) 457-6676, email info@pdf.org or visit pdf.org/creativity.

"Being an artist is part of the respite, the refuge and the reason that I am able to deal with Parkinson's disease in a pretty positive way," Tane said.

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