Art Therapy: One IT Student’s Journey to Finding Healing and Himself

Featured Artist: Daniel Erickson

This month’s featured artist in the library is Daniel Erickson, a Globe student pursuing his information technology degree. Librarian Dana Wallace said, “Daniel had some interesting art to display—woodturning.” This is Daniel’s story about reinventing himself through his art.

Daniel observing a fellow woodturner

Turning a New Leaf

Hello, my name is Daniel Erickson, and I would like to tell you the story of “Turning a New Leaf.” In 2008 I was diagnosed with degenerative facet syndrome, which affected my vertebrae and prevented me from being the active individual I had been.

I was going through some rough times, but in 2009 my family and I went to the Hickam Air Force Base Spring Arts and Craft Fair. There I visited the wood shop and watched a lady working on a lathe.

I was completely enthralled by what she was demonstrating; how to make a wooden pen. I watched her from start to finish, and asked if they offered a class on making pens. I was given a voucher for a free safety course at the Wood Shop.


A Healing Journey

A couple of weekends later I was able to get in for the safety course and then took the pen turning course. I still use that pen to this very day. I had found a new passion and reinvented myself, which is why I named my wood turning business “Turning a New Leaf.”

Anytime it was difficult to manage my pain, I stepped out to my shop and made something. I was able to clear my mind and create something beautiful.

After receiving offers on some pens I brought to work, I started doing custom orders. I have since expanded to making items such as bottle stoppers, pepper mills, bowls, and ornaments. You can see these items on my website,

I’ve since joined the Coulee Region WoodTurners (CRW), which is a group of about 100 members. They enjoy sharing ideas and doing projects to help different organizations such as Operation Homefront and the Empty Bowls Project.

Daniel displays a bowl he created by woodturning

Woodturning is becoming more of a lost art, so we promote it through events like Art on the Green and by visiting Norskadalen. I am also teaching my daughter woodturning.

Family Support

My family has also been invaluable in helping me turn a new leaf. My wife, Marie, and I have been married for almost 11 years now. She is also a student at Globe University and will graduate this June. We have two daughters: Natalie (7 years old), and Abigail (21 months).

Currently I am a full-time student at Globe in the IT program, and my goal is to pursue a future in one of many IT careers. I came back to school to achieve a goal because for me, going to school to better myself is the most important factor.


I’m happiest knowing the little things can bring smiles to those around me, and I live by the motto – “To try and fail is better than never trying at all.”  In ten years, I hope to be a Globe graduate working successfully in the software development field, but most importantly, enjoying life.

“We enjoy Daniel’s presence on campus,” Librarian Dana Wallace said. “He brings smiles to our faces here at Globe every time he is on campus.”

Now that you know the story behind it, please stop by the library this month and admire Daniel’s art.

This post was written by Dana Wallace, La Crosse Campus Librarian. Dana is the campus librarian for Globe La Crosse, and a native Iowan who returned to school to pursue her Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science after a long career as a paralegal/legal assistant.  She obtained her graduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee completely online while working full time, so she can relate to the busy schedules of the Globe students who balance homework and careers.  She loves the library and is passionate about helping the students become great investigators and researchers.  Dana was currently honored with taking over the reigns as the Creative Quill campus lead.