Random thoughts from the mind of an artist can be dangerous. What might i say, and where might the conversation go?
Growing older is not so bad – Steve and I have been noticing that mid 50s thing, where we are not as young as we used to be, not as nimble, or able to rebound from busy schedule weekends as quickly as we could. As we think about the aging process we recognize it is coming to every person alive…. but it is not the end. We have been blessed to meet some incredible people who have been determined to make a difference in this world even into their senior years. A week ago we took off on Colombus Day and drove to The Cabin in the Woods, a vintage log cabin set in the woods of Bainbridge (not the one in northern ohio) in Ross County, a few miles from Chilicothe. It was a crisp fall day with a hint of the fall foliage beginning to turn colors. Steve and I had been accepted into this log cabin which transforms into a Christmas/ Holiday gift shop for 2 1/2 month (from last friday through Christmas Eve). The cabin is run by Janice and Boone, a beautiful couple that have shared 60 years of marriage together, and have operated the cabin for a few decades. Boone and Janice are in the photo at the left with Steve, on the steps of their log cabin. Their steadfast resolve to make it work, and demonstrate for the world the possibilities of growing together for a lifetime encouraged us greatly. Delightful, and ambitious, they spoke of health scares, and overcoming them to continue on. And they showed us that life takes us on adventures that we did not anticipate, but it is all about the adventure, the courage to remain in the process, and allow the blessings to come.
I will be the first to say I admire ambition, and steadfastness. I admire the courage to continue on and to make something special that changes the world in small or great ways. Their log cabin has a huge following of people that come to visit, make it an annual part of the fall. How wonderful that is to see.
The week before our road trip to southern Ohio we were up near the islands for the Marblehead/Lakeside lighthouse festival. And there we had another beautiful example of perservierence, and faithfulness. The couple that run the Idlewyld Bed and Breakfast at Lakeside are both in their 70s, energetic, and passionate about being great inkeepers. Their rooms are spotless, their breakfast is renowned as the best in Lakeside (And i will tell you yes it is!!!). While many would have retired to a life of ease, these couples have taken their love of people, passion for cooking, and gift of hospitality to energize others…. and we love it.
Creativity comes in waves: I love the opportunity to create, but i also recognize there are waves of creativity, and it is not a consistent function that occurs every moment of my life. Each of us has times of great inspiration, and times when the “creative energy” is just not flowing. I am learning to flow with the ebb and tide of creativity. It flys in the face of the business side of me that drives production. One of the overarching themes of life is a balance between two sides…. and creativity is yet another of these themes played out in a balance with times of lack of creativity.
Sleep Deprivation: There are seasons of life when each of us face times where sleep is fleeting, whether because of a young baby, or stress in life, or simply the need to push hard at something and sacrifice the comfort of a long night of sleep for the greater good. I have come to understand this is not the best option, but at times it is a necessary one. Leading up to large shows I often find myself up late working on projects to get ready for the event, or for a special order. I would love to say this is the exception, however as we grow busier it is much more the norm. So when we have a weekend off it is sheer luxury to sleep in until 9am!
Acceptance: As you probably know, neither Steve nor myself are art school grads. We each pursued the trail of business school, and a career unrelated to art for most of our working life. As i dabbled in Shibori, and began to sell my work I had a perception in my head of a kind of “second class” insecurity because i did not posess the coveted fine art degree. And for a few years i struggled to put that aside in leu of accepting that I am accepted for who I am, and what i bring to the world through my art. It is probably a deeper work in my mind that is going on. But as i look back over the last 5 years I am seeing that my work is improving, and my acceptance in such prestigious groups as Textile Art Alliance is there. On my part i need to put aside the insecurities and feelings of inadequacy and embrace the acceptance given. It is a work in progress!
Our life is a big adventure: In my wildest dreams as i looked and planned my future I would have never forseen the thought that I would be working as an artist, visiting a different venue each week, and bringing my works to the market. I would not have imagined pitching my tent and having long conversations with perfect strangers. And i would have not imagined the depth of creativity that both Steve and I have found in our life. It is both rewarding and surprising. Steve’s most favorite saying is “When things happen in life it is not the event that defines you, but what you do with it – so do good.” I love the adventure of finding new territory to explore, loving the journey we are on.
None of us ever really know what our capabilities are: We don’t know until we are stretched, and expanded by circumstances. We would never have imagined running a business, writing the ecommerce for our website, or maintaining production of soap – but we have discovered new sources of energy and strength. This is possible. Anything is possible if we push on to make it so.
I have so many thoughts on my mind…. but these were what bubbled to the surface, and needed to be said. All of these topics run through a ribbon of a theme – change happens. And change is something that we all have to face. But change is not an easy topic. I will be the first to admit i once bristled at the thought that anything would be even slightly different…. but as i have grown older there was no sense in fighting it. People move on, change jobs, or the job changes, rules change, stores and restaurants we like close, or new ones open. Our lives must evolve, grow, adapt. And if we allow change into our lives we will know both joy and heartbreak. But the bottom line of all of this is what we do with what we have been given. I encourage you to do good, embrace change, and find the good in the new direction.