When I started this blog almost eighteen months ago, we lived in a different world. Since then, the entire planet continues to be caught in the teeth of this pandemic. We have lost livelihoods, communities, and trust in our neighbors. Many of us also lost, or are still losing, friends and family to COVID. The numbers are numbing. And the cycles of grief just keep coming, with no end in sight.
After the tornadoes that struck Nashville and the COVID shutdown, I lost my mother to the disease. You may remember, we were also bombed on Christmas morning. Our house shook. One punch after another.
You know. I don't have to make this relatable.
To cope with *everything* I started spending a lot more time hiking and swimming. I had time to feel things, follow the lead of my body. When life slowed, it deepened--into caverns, dark, beautiful, and long-neglected. Writing felt impossible for most of the last year and a half. The words just evaporated before reaching a destination.
I managed one story and one poem. All year.
By the end of October, I was preparing a drive-thru music and arts festival, featuring several of the nineteen artists chosen to create a love letter to the city of Madison, Tennessee. It was called Madison On My Mind and was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. I was the Lead Artist and conceived the project. An inspiring and well-attended event followed in December.
I also rekindled a long lost love...weaving. I first learned to weave as a Camp Counselor almost thirty years ago. An opportunity to dive back in came to me in the form of a custom-designed workshop with a nonprofit partner. This was my fourth art collaboration with Conexion Americas. I created a large tapestry base and pre-cut materials. Participants were encouraged to think deeply about why the work they do matters. Each person then worked their pieces of yarn or ribbon through. I took the piece to my studio and finished it up. It is called In This Moment, We and it is currently on display at Casa Azafran.
I had such fun with the materials that I started making all kinds of décor for your home. I sold so many I opened an Etsy store. I also do a lot of custom work. It has been such a joyful experience, from finding the wood on my hikes, to looking for second-hand materials at places like Turnip Green Creative Reuse and Smart Art + Craft Supplies.
I've discovered that I can and must incorporate pleasure and purpose into everything I do. It must feel good to my soul and be in alignment with my values. And even in the midst of a global pandemic, I've been able to find delight in the process, inspiration in community, and resilience in creation. I hope you have too.