Art Teacher: Lori Chase

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Art Teacher: Lori Chase

Chase in her natural habitat, her art room.

Chase in her natural habitat, her art room.

Isabel Brown

Chase in her natural habitat, her art room.

Isabel Brown

Isabel Brown

Chase in her natural habitat, her art room.

Carolyn Fenske, Staff Reporter

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Lori Chase is a unique, interesting person on staff at our school and teaches the Jewelry & Metals and Drawing classes. Many students who know her believe she is an incredibly fun person with awesome stories. In 1959, at the age of four, Chase was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer. “The kind of cancer I had a used to be like a death sentence,” Chase said. Organ transplants weren’t around yet and the future of cancer patients wasn’t bright. However a new option became available to patients and their families, that option was chemotherapy. Chase’s family took a gamble with chemo and it paid off.  Chase received chemo at Children’s Hospital, one of the three hospitals in the United States that used the new technology. “I never really felt afraid…I baked my nurses easy-bake cakes with my light bulb oven,” Chase said. With little knowledge of the effects of chemo, doctors introduced about three times the amount of radiation current chemo patients. Because of the high amounts of chemotherapy given to her, Chase has lived with some side effects of the treatment such as stunted growth.

 

Another thing that makes Chase unique is her family. Everyone in the Chase family became teachers with exception to one dentist.  “The only thing I knew [when I was younger was that] I wasn’t going to be a teacher,” Chase said. After graduating from Snohomish High School, Chase was given two options, either go to college or find a full-time job in one week. She dreaded the thought of a full-time job, so she decided she would head off to college. During her time at Western, she found a love for art. “You should always have one class you look forward to,” Chase said. She soon fell in love with art, that passion still burns strong in her heart. Chase has three children. Chase is a strong believer in doing things you love and she strived to teach her three children that. Her children are now grown and from what she can tell they love their jobs. Currently, her daughter just finished her design certificate at Seattle Central College and works for a high-end tent company and repairs them. On the other hand, her middle child, Palmer, enjoys his time on the set of major movies and television productions such as “Bad Moms 2” and “The Vampire Diaries” as an extra. One thing you might not know is that her son is also autistic. Chase adds, “I’m thrilled that he’s doing what he’s interested in,” Chase noted. Her other son is busy finishing an internship of 2500 hours. After completion, he will become a real estate appraiser “What I’m most proud of is that they are all doing something they are interested in,” Chase adds on.

 

Of her many interests, Chase also enjoys entertainment. “I used to really really really really love Bumbershoot, but in 2014 that all changed,” Chase said. In 2014 the owners of Coachella bought Bumbershoot. This lead to new attractions at the event which took away one of Chase’s favorite parts, the art. Without the art, Chase didn’t want to go to the event that she had been attending for 25 years. She loved that it was a Seattle arts festival, and she noted that if the current Bumbershoot provided things like that she would continue to pay the high prices of a ticket. With tickets ranging in the high $200-300’s this made the decision of not going that much easier.

“Being the one that can encourage kids to kind of figure out that they’re always is a really [rewarding experience], I feel really thankful that I get to do that and see the light go off in people’s head all the time,” Chase said.

 

Outside of school, Chase enjoys going to museums, unlike most high schoolers. She admits she doesn’t always love the art itself; rather she enjoys the overall layout and design of the exhibit. Chase has her own collection of art at her house and spread throughout SW. She loves African masks. These were worn during religious and social events to represent the spirits of ancestors or to control the good and evil forces in the community. Chase finds a certain draw to these and has been collecting these masks for 40 years. “I’m a terrible but happy collector,” Ms.Chase noted. If you’ve ever been inside of her room you’ve probably noticed she has a lot of things in her room. Granted, yes she is an art teacher and there are certain things associated with that profession, however, she doesn’t mind it. She uses a bunch of it for her classes. If you’ve ever noticed the art near the student store, you’ve seen part of her collection of Oaxacan Carvings. Other collections of hers include Hawaiian shirts (45 years of collecting), hula girls that wiggle, and tacky postcards (40 years) which she loves receiving in the mail because it entails her postman having to see it.

 

Ms.Chase wasn’t dealt the best hand in life but she has been very lucky. She inspires people every day in her classes and she really cares about each and every one of her students. “I do love my job…and I love my students too, and although it’s not my own words, I live by the motto ‘They may not remember what you taught them, but they’ll never forget how you treated them” Chase noted.

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