Librarian clowning around
Northeast Texas Community College Librarian Heather Shaw knows how important it is to hold on tight to your dreams.
Though Shaw — otherwise known as “Violet the Clown” — is a successful librarian, her real love has always been “clowning.”
“I’ve always had an interest, even as a child,” said Shaw. “When I was in Girl Scouts a fellow Girl Scout and her mom dressed up as clowns and I thought that was really neat. And then I remember seeing a clown at Vacation Bible School. I was a little scared but then he showed me he was a real person.”
When Shaw was a junior at Berkner High School in Richardson, she was inspired by an art teacher to join an after-school clown troop
“We got a clown troop going and there were a dozen or more people who would show up after school every day. Mr. Bishop’s clown name was Corky.”
Corky the Clown taught Shaw and her fellow students the ropes when it came to juggling, balloons, magic tricks and all things related to clowning.
“I had a blast. I loved it,” said Shaw. “Our group did the Richardson Christmas parade. The goal was to cheer up others. We were door greeters at the Richardson Children’s Symphony. I dreamed of going to the Ringling Brothers Clown College. It was actually the ‘cream of the cream’ of clown colleges, but it closed down.”
Shaw went on to receive her Masters Degree at the University of North Texas and started her career as a librarian at NTCC on Oct. 1, 2012.
In 2014, Shaw attended a Texas Library Association gathering and ran into Kornpop the Clown.
“Kornpop reminded me of all the things I loved and missed,” said Shaw.
Later that year, Shaw decided to chase her childhood dream and was consistently clowning by 2015. “My strong suit is balloons. I learned balloon décor. Some of it was self-taught and some I learned from Kornpop,” she said. “I do balloon twisting. I can do centerpieces, arches, columns and a variety of animals.”
Shaw is vice-president of the Rosey Nose Clown Alley, a Tyler-based group that loves clowning, helping others and sharing smiles. The group is affiliated with the Clowns of America International and the Texas Clown Association.
Shaw hopes to pursue hospital clowning — think “Patch Adams”. Shaw is available for clown acts at any event, or to decorate for grand openings, weddings, proms and other events.
Find Shaw on Facebook or contact her at 903-423-8071, or firstname.lastname@example.org.