Inseparable in education. Intertwined in art.
For years, Debbie and Rachael Lambin attended classes together at Western Nevada College. In fact, mother and daughter, along with Rachael’s brothers, John-Henry and Jeff, graduated collectively from WNC in 2012.
Since then, mother and daughter have discovered a new way to enjoy each other’s companionship and put their diversified degrees from WNC to work — through their book sculpting business called My Thousand Words.
“I can’t tell you enough about how grateful we are to have one another,” Rachael said. “We are a creative team and so happy that we work together so well.”
Added Debbie, “Rachael and I have always shared an interest in the arts: I play the violin and she sings, I build websites and she builds sculptures, and we both create our book sculptures and paint.”
The WNC grads’ unique art form was borne from Debbie folding a book into a variety of shapes and then investigating what the design would look like with one of Rachael’s sculptures on top of it. They decided that a paper sculpture complemented the origami-like book designs better and soon they were in business.
“Our name, ‘My Thousand Words,’ comes from the saying that a picture, or in our case, a sculpture, is worth a thousand words, and books are comprised of thousands of words,” Rachael said.
They’ve created sculptures for all seven Harry Potter books and they enjoy the challenge of creating what a customer visualizes for their custom-made book sculpture.
Home-schooled with her brothers, Rachael began attending WNC at an early age. A former systems analyst with Federal Reserve System in Chicago and a software salesperson in Los Angeles, Debbie wanted to participate in her children’s education and not turn them into latch-key kids, as was her experience as a young girl.
“They all entered WNC at young ages and I decided to take classes with them to continue the family bond and to make sure they were in a good place in relationship to the other students,” Debbie said.
Rachael earned an Associate of Arts degree from WNC in 2009. A year later, she had aspirations of becoming a geological engineer so she completed an Associate of Science degree in geosciences. Her passion then turned to medicine and she earned an Associate of Science degree in chemistry from WNC in 2012.
“My brothers and I were home-schooled and continued our middle school and high school with WNC,” Rachael said. “My mom started attending classes, as my younger brother was only 12, and she went with him to make the transition easier for him. She was a student and liked it so much that she signed up for many classes. It was really nice that all four of us got to walk in 2012. That was a wonderful time together.”
The siblings are all still involved in higher education. Jeff has earned two master’s degrees and is working on a doctorate degree in theology. Meanwhile, John-Henry has been accepted into the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and will start in the fall. Rachael is hoping to join John-Henry in UNR’s School of Medicine.
In 2012, Debbie completed her Associate of Applied Science degrees in Graphic Information Systems and Graphic Communications at WNC.
From studying together and earning their multiple degrees, Rachael and Debbie learned what they always knew. They love art and love being in each other’s company.
“Working with my mom is such a wonderful experience! We have always been extremely close, and I believe that I got most of my artistic side from her,” Rachael said. “The days that we get to work side by side, brainstorming projects, gluing, cutting, sculpting and staging our book sculptures and experimenting with new techniques are such great times. It is great to work with and be challenged by someone who is passionate about art, and it is even better when that someone is your best friend.”
Debbie interjected, “I do not know if the love between a mother and daughter grows, but it certainly evolves and matures, and that is where Rachael and I are today. The older she gets, the less of a parent I become and the more I become a partner in life and best friend.”
Their artwork can be found in the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Artsy Fartsy Gallery in Carson City, Eye Hook Photographic Gallery in Reno, Elegant Avenue Decor in Reno and Benko Art Gallery in South Lake Tahoe.
For those interested in having a book sculpture made, go to www.MyThousandWords.com and fill out a contact form.
“I would ask that they go onto our website and view the sculptures that we have made for others,” Rachael said. “It would be wonderful for them to find their favorite book and figure out what they would like to see and how they want their book to come to life!”
A growing number of home-schooled students in the area are becoming involved in WNC’s Jump Start College. For more information, phone Maureen Ford, WNC Jump Start specialist and home-school liaison, at 775-445-4462 or Maureen.email@example.com.
“We are thrilled from our experiences, being part of such an incredible school and how it shaped us,” Rachael said.