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First-graders art a budding business

Mary Woodward student's art will be for sale at Holiday Bazaar
by: Barbara Sherman, BUDDING ARTIST — Suzie Noel Duncan-Wynn sits in her family’s dining room surrounded by some of the note cards, calendars and framed art she has drawn that will be for sale at the Mary Woodward Holiday Bazaar on Saturday.

TIGARD - Suzie Noel Duncan-Wynn is only a first-grader, but she is already an entrepreneur.

Bonnie Duncan and her husband Michael Wynn adopted the 6-year-old three years ago from the Oregon foster-care system and were told that she had a mild form of autism.

The couple have worked tirelessly with Suzie, who has blossomed under their care, including showing an extraordinary ability to draw.

'A year ago in June, I was coming back with Suzie on a plane from Denver, and I showed her how to draw on a napkin,' said Duncan, who is a substitute teacher in the Tigard-Tualatin School District. 'We got home, and I gave her sidewalk chalk to draw with.

'In July, I showed her objects like a tree and a bug and gave her paper, and she just started to draw. She sort of draws in a Strawberry Shortcake style.'

Amy Taylor, owner of Burnt Studio in Sherwood, made a postcard of one of Suzie's drawings and said, 'That little girl has real talent,' according to Duncan.

'She said she would like to make cards out of her drawings. Over the summer, Suzie's artwork got more advanced. She has a photographic memory. She didn't like to color inside the lines, but I showed how, and now she does some coloring and I do some - it's a joint project.'

Taylor and the Duncan-Wynns entered a partnership this fall, and Burnt Studio now sells packed sets of note cards plus calendars, framed prints and posters featuring Suzie's drawings.

'I'm the cutter, collator, binder and copier,' Bonnie said. 'I bring Amy the artwork, but she rejects some of it.'

Suzie attends Mary Woodward Elementary School, and her line of products will be for sale at the Mary Woodward Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, and 5 percent of the profits will go to the school.

'The rest is for her college fund,' Bonnie said. 'This will be the first time these have been sold except for what we've sold. Our goal is to have a Web site with links to adopting special-needs kids.'

For more information on the cards, contact Burnt Studio at www.burntstudio.com or at 503-347-9932.