A move to an eighty-acre farm in western Michigan from Detroit suited Janet Richardson Baughman to a tee. She and her three siblings loved country life and relished the many humorous adjustments to their new surroundings. The one-room schoolhouse she attended, for example, contrasted sharply to her earlier city school. Sports programs had been fairly sophisticated in the city. Rural sports consisted of her teacher piling everyone in her car, including the trunk, and then driving the children to another one-room schoolhouse for games. When Janet reached the sixth grade, a chapter in American history closed because all of the one-room schoolhouses were annexed by the nearest cities, but that unusual educational experience is something janet fondly remembers.
Growing up in a family that was very artistic, it is not surprising that Janet loved drawing. She and her brothers and sisters would make Christmas decorations for the Christmas tree and had ongoing art projects all year long. Her architect father was an artist in his free time. As the children have become adults, they are all involved in artistic eneavors from carving to sculpture.
Janet's high school years were spent riding and showing her horses. "That was my life," she says. Living on the farm allowed her freedom to indulge her love of animals including the dogs that were so special to her. Active in 4H, Janet became an accomplished seamstress and an excellent cook. She took no art classes in high school although she sometimes helped her father with drafting.
Starting in college with the intention of majoring in speech and drama, Janet took an art class only because it was required. She found art classes so appealing that she took one after another. Eventually, having taken every art class offered, the university had to design independent studies for her.
With her beloved horses back on the farm, Janet discovered a new passion, and that was ceramics. First working as a waitress during college to earn income, Janet later became a Student Assistant and lived at the ceramics studio. As an assistant, she would make clay and glazes, fire the kiln, and assist the instructor however she could. At first, she had planned to become a high school teacher, but she was encouraged to earn her graduate degree and pursue her artistic endeavors, in addition to teaching.