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Remembering Heather Winchell, 1991-2021

DATE:  September 8, 2021     CATEGORIES:  Community, COVID-19, Friends of Artisans, News

My heavy heart is burdened with the news that Heather Winchell passed from us last week. You may remember Heather as a quiet, brightly lit Deskie who supported the Asylum in so many more ways. Her family shared this in memoriam earlier today. I hope you will take a moment to remember Heather with me. She will be missed.

A celebration of Heather’s life is being planned in the Boston area; if you would like to be involved, email ed at artisansasylum dot com.

I’ve known Heather for about a year and a half – she came to us (Artisan’s Asylum) at a time of transition in her life. Such a brightly lit person, I remember she was struggling with workplace culture and looking for a place to find like-minded creatives. I am so proud that she found us, and elected not only to stay, but to deepen her involvement and chose the Asylum as a place to put her shoulder into community service.

Not long after Heather joined us, we were shut down due to Covid-19. But this didn’t deter Heather – she quickly rallied around a team of members and volunteers who figured out a way to leverage our resources to produce non-surgical isolation gowns to protect front line workers and service providers – hospice workers, dentists, and hair stylists among them.

My goodness Heather was a hard worker! As I recall things, she took on so many shifts and became so skilled in the work that it was easy to tap her to become a trainer. Heather never struck me as someone to brag, and few would know that with her spirit and energy contributing to the lift, Artisan’s was able to produce over 40,000 gowns for local and eventually national distribution. She may have shared this story about the effort with her friends and family: https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2020/07/21/a-pop-up-business-for-these-times-welcome-to-gowntown (I’m pretty certain that is her at the top of the photo).

Heather was such a remarkable young person. With a degree from MICA, she was unusually proficient in a range of technical tools – and she contributed her talent to our community as an online animation instructor as well. Through it all, Heather was always a humble and personable volunteer – her wave and smile made everyone who passed by feel welcome and just a little more positive. Heather was – and remains – a gift and a light.

With fondest remembrance,

Lars Hasselblad Torres

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