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Bill Wright
Who Are They?
Cathy Coulson-Keegan and Bill Wright create Shoji lanterns of their own
design, such as the one pictured on this issue’s cover, through Touch the
Earth, the graphic art design studio Cathy formed in 1972. Bill later joined
the business in 1994. They also produce silk prayer flags, mobiles and
large hanging lanterns. All are intended to be used outdoors and to last for
many years. Items should be kept under overhanging cover, ideally;
however, people often put them in trees and leave them exposed for many
years. They weather the sun and wet and moss, very gracefully. The Shoji
lanterns are sturdy and fire-resistant, with designs screen-printed on
fiberglass and set on a resin base. Tealight candles fit into the base.
Larger, hanging lanterns are made with stainless steel braised frames and
silk covers. Cathy creates the designs and does the screen printing; Bill
does all the wood and metal work, makes the bases and constructs the
pieces. Cathy has used silk as a medium for many years, since she learned
of its hardiness. Silk has no oxygen in the fiber; moths don’t eat it and it
resists fire. Japanese and Chinese kimonos, as old as 3,000 to 5,000
years, have endured the centuries under less than favorable conditions and
are a testament to the durability of silk. Touch the Earth’s products remain
reasonably priced, as well. Shoji lanterns are priced between $18 and $45
and, along with the prayer flags, are the bulk of sales. Much of the business
is catalog orders via the internet. Smaller orders carry them through
between large ones. Lots of people place a small order initially then follow
up nicely and steadily. Most sales to individuals result from Touch the Earth’
s annual appearance at the Country Fair in Veneta and Eugene’s Holiday
Market. Cathy and Bill literally recreate a bamboo garden around their booth
at Country Fair every year from the plants they grow at home. It gives to
customers a vision of how the items might be used and the sense of peace
and serenity that the lanterns and flags impart. They enhance the natural
setting, the environment in which they are placed.
    Photos by Paul Neeval are shown of their Country Fair booth on Touch
the Earth’s web site at Cathy and Bill are also
pleased with their products’ representation on another site, wholesalecrafts.
com, which they recommend to artists and shoppers in general. Items are
also featured in DharmaCrafts’ printed catalog and in at least 200 galleries
across the nation.
     Cathy Coulson-Keegan and Bill Wright have been involved in the
Country Fair since the 1980s. Cathy serves currently on its Craft
Committee. The two married in 1991; then moved to Lorane for a couple of
years, and later to Veneta. They work in a studio adjacent to their home
near the town’s core, within walking distance to parks and businesses. They
are also active in the community as members of Neighbors for Responsible
Growth (N4RG).
      Touch the Earth may be contacted at (541) 935-9596 or

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Index of Groundwaters contributions:
Volume 4 Issue 1 - Cover art
... the inside "scoop" on some of your favorite writers and artists
... the inside "scoop" on some of your favorite writers and artists