We had the good fortune of connecting with Tiffany Starrett and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tiffany, why did you pursue a creative career?
My about the artist story is more than just words. In 2017, I experienced a tragedy that forever changed my life. My daughter, Ally, was murdered at the age of 18. Through all the emotional madness, the only obvious thing to me was finding a way to thrive in life again. However, my path of what that meant was unclear. Through my survival, I’ve realized that being an artist from a young age would show me the way. Better said, a long-time hobby had been preparing me all along, teaching me a healing art. My life journey is now re-directed into teaching others that turning tragedy into triumph is possible and helping others capture a special memory, or an echo, through life or death.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When my daughter Ally died, I didn’t know what to do with her ashes. I’m not a spread them somewhere kind of person, and burying them didn’t make sense to me either. And none of the keepsakes out there spoke to me. So, I put her ashes in her bedroom until the answer would show itself. One day, I had a crazy idea to make an art piece out of them. Why not? What would be so weird about having her not only spiritually with me but also physically? And so I did. Creating the piece was so fulfilling, and then turning around to receive it is almost indescribable. I knew at that moment, designing memorial keepsakes was what I wanted to do.
I believe what sets me apart is that I genuinely understand the intention of wanting a keepsake. Because of that, I will treat their loved one’s ashes, photos, or both with the utmost care as a guest in my studio and create a timeless one-of-a-kind piece they’ll be sure to love.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, being a Colorado native, one would think I’d answer skiing or snowboarding for the wintertime. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’ve tried either; however, I don’t mind finding a good hill around almost any high school for some tubing. If anything, I’m really more of a walking trails type. I’ve found the Highline Canal and Deer Creek Canyon to hold beautiful scenery and the intensity and distance are what you make of it. But my favorite thing is to have a picnic along the way.
The other thing I’d recommend is participating in an online scavenger hunt of Downtown Denver. My family and I did it a few years ago, and we had a blast. Admittedly, I felt a little sheepish not knowing all the history and cool things we have right in my backyard.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Beth Parks, www.bethparkscounseling.com, Karen Storsteen, www.karensinsight.com, and The Parents of Murdered Children (POMC), https://pomc.org, each played a significant role in my recovery with their specialized backgrounds. Beth’s approach isn’t for the faint of heart – she’s serious about putting the scuba gear on and diving right in, and I loved it, well, most of the time (lol). We explored my learned behaviors from childhood to adulthood and identified my core values to create a positive strategy to manage everyday life with my unique grief and PTSD.
Coupled with that, Karen’s guidance helped me reveal what fill’s my “spirit cup.” Through her rare combination as an intuitive counselor and psychic medium (amongst other talents), her abilities led me to understand my life’s purpose – to teach. This belief influenced me to write my first book, Through Her Mother’s Eyes, which will launch in 2022. And between you and me, I’d be lying if I didn’t say getting to connect with Ally wasn’t a bonus too.
Last but not least, the POMC. As a support group designed “for the families and friends who’ve died by violence,” I’d never in a million years thought I’d be joining such a club. Let’s be honest – it’s a membership you’d never want. But, without the respect, care, and understanding we have for one another, I don’t know where I’d be with them.