Meet a Westsider:
Karen Pierce

Profession/Occupation... I am a professional fiber artist and the owner of Willow Bend Studios. My husband, Marc Jenesel, is a ceramist and together we create multimedia vessels incorporating raku pottery, fiber, metal and other materials. I am also involved in the Pikes Peak Studio Tour and Safe Place, a Colorado animal rescue that finds homes for the pets of the terminally ill.

What I like most about the Westside is... our wonderful neighbors. We've become friends who take care of and watch out for each other. The Westside is almost like a town within a town, with many friendly people and shopping, library, post office and parks very close by. Maybe the sense of community that I feel here exists in other parts of the city, but I haven't heard about it. We're also lucky to have our own serious newspaper with serious investigative reporting on matters of importance to the neighborhood.

If I could change anything about the Westside, it would be... I would implement the long-promised “Traffic Calming Projects.” High traffic volume aside, motorists drive too fast and carelessly on many of our streets, even in the presence of children on their way to school. I would also build sidewalks so that pedestrians don't have to walk in the busy streets. Luckily most residents understand the safety issue and share the public easement in front of their homes, for which I am grateful.

A good movie I’ve seen recently is... It's a tie between “Outsourced” and “Slum Dog Millionaire,” both of which take place in Mumbai, India. Whereas “Outsourced” is more light hearted, “Slum Dog Millionaire” is heartbreaking and intense; both are eye openers. They show the struggles of daily life that many of us cannot even imagine, and how people can survive through imagination and perseverance.

I'd like to discover... I'd like to discover an easy way to lose weight, manage my time, make money, balance the national budget, achieve world peace... but it all takes hard work, patience and vigilance, doesn't it?

If I could meet someone famous, I’d like to meet... There are too many to name here. Whether I agreed with their politics or not, and if I were not dumbstruck by their greatness, I'd probably ask about the reasons behind their actions. We seldom know the whole story, and whether we want to admit it or not, everything we hear is filtered in some way by the source, through the storyteller and through the recipient's own life experiences.

The next time I travel, I’m going to... Vienna, Austria, which was my home for over twenty years when I worked for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. I haven't been back since I repatriated in 1995 and I hear the cityscape has changed a lot in the meantime.

My favorite childhood memory is... waking up one Christmas morning to see that my mother had secretly sewn beautiful doll clothes – tiny clothes with tiny buttons and snaps and seams – and hung them on the Christmas tree. My father had designed and built doll furniture from wood, upholstery and paint and had placed it around the base of the tree. It was magical, and I am still touched, especially now that they're both gone, to think that they went to such great effort to do something so wonderful. It's just one tangible example of the many things they did for me out of love.

My favorite winter pastime is... walking in the woods at any time of year. It is calming and grounding.

Something good I’ve read is.. “Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time.” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Plum series by Janet Evanovich.

My pet peeve is... the last two below-freezing days have reminded me of a big pet peeve of mine: The neglect and abuse of pets.

If I didn’t have to work for a year I would... travel all around the States with my husband and my dog, Babu, and visit friends, family, galleries, museums, The Biggest Ball of String, national parks, famous landmarks - staying longer in some places or moving on when we felt like it.

Meet a Westsider” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer. If you would like to be a Meet-a-Westsider (or know someone who should be), please give us a call at 471-6776.