Eycke (Laabs) Strickland is an educator, ceramic artist, writer and translator. She was born in Germany the year Adolf Hitler rose to power and eventually drew the world into the maelstrom of World War II. As a young child, Eycke became a witness to extraordinary events while living only 11 miles from Auschwitz, Poland, where her father, Karl Laabs, an architect, risked his life and the lives of his family by rescuing Jews during the Holocaust.
Eycke survived the chaos of World War II and the post-war years, which were marked by hunger, sickness and deprivation in Germany. She attended a Gymnasium and studied languages in Germany and Switzerland followed by a year of work/study in the United States. Upon her return to Germany, she worked as a translator/interpreter and teacher of conversational German.
After marrying her American-born husband Charles, she emigrated to the United States in 1958. While Charles completed his PhD studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Eycke researched and translated archaic medical literature for an NIH project at the Medical School. Soon after Eycke gave birth to their son Nils in 1963, the family moved to Atlanta which would become their home for 34 years. Both Charles and Eycke taught at Emory University, he in history and she ceramics in the visual art program. Their daughter Kirsten was born during the years in Atlanta. In 1997 Charles and Eycke retired and realized their dream of living on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.
“These days — from the windows of our house on the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula we look upon forested foothills and snow-capped mountains to the South, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to the North. When, in the evening, my husband and I sit side by side to celebrate the Feierabend, watching the sky turn crimson as the sun sinks in to the water of the Salish Sea, I feel blessed beyond words.”