- Editor’s note: Though I did not know Namaste well, whenever we conversed, she always had a warm smile and uplifting presence. She contributed greatly to the fabric of life in the Yelm area. Blessings to her wonderful husband Dan, who I know well, and beloved daughter Nayomi.
In Memory of Doris Kanz (known as Namaste)
by Dee Carson, Executive Director Emerita, NWAA
“One of the heartbreaking impacts of Covid-19 is the loss of the life-enriching connection between artists. As challenges remain and cancellations continue, Northwest Art Alliance is committed to helping where it can to keep that connection alive. It is in that role and with profound sadness that we say goodbye to Doris Kanz, whom most of us knew as Namaste.
“In the fall of 2018, Spectrum notified the community about a challenge Namaste was facing. In 2014, she had been diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. She underwent successful treatment and found herself in remission. In late summer of 2018, however, on her way to the Boise show, Namaste experienced shortness of breath and promptly went to the ER. It was then she learned that the cancer was back, had metastasized and she was now in Stage 4. She canceled the balance of her show schedule for the year and set her sights on the battle ahead.
“Namaste was warm and approachable, with an infectious positivity. It was with that indomitable spirit that she met the challenge. She was born in Germany, grew up in Sweden and lived in Europe and Jamaica before making her way to Washington state in the mid-90s with her daughter Nayomi, then 6 years old. In Washington, she met her partner of 22 years, Dan. She loved the ocean, camping in Olympic National Park and enjoying the beauty of the natural world around her. Her creative gifts were equally diverse. She began her artistic career in the areas of photography and fashion design. After a return to Germany from Jamaica, she crafted ceramics as well as beautifully complex candles in a traditional German style and built a successful business with the Christmas fairs in Europe as her principal market. Here in Washington, she was encouraged by Dan’s mom to try quilting, where she earned recognition for her artistry. After that, she tried her hand at silk painting, where she once again succeeded. It was with felting, however, that she found her passion. As a third generation felter, we suspect it was simply in her genes. She has produced beautifully original works of wearable art to the delight of patrons in the Northwest and Southwest ever since. “
“Namaste, Doris. You are cherished and will be remembered, by Dee Carson, Executive Director Emerita, Northwest Art Alliance, NWAA.