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Finding Space and Light

In the summer of 2018, my husband sat across the kitchen table and told me that he had an opportunity to work on a big film project in China. He was excited to travel, work in another part of the world, and expand his career. His creativity seemed ignited. While he wanted my support, I knew that he was planning to take the job regardless. He would be away from home for nine months.


In those next months, I also traveled briefly to London, Mexico, and China while working full-time as a mental health worker, parenting, and maintaining life at home. Yet somehow, I had more space to contemplate my life and what I wanted.



I gave away the living room furniture, cleared out space in our Brooklyn house, and created a dedicated studio space. I had always envisioned my life as an artist who was able to work part-time as a psychotherapist. Yet as I approached my 60th year, I realized that I had not yet made a commitment to truly live this vision. A part of me was claiming another part of myself.





For many years, I had maintained an art making practice by working with collage, watercolor, and mixed media, but now I had a strong desire to experiment with textile processes, traditionally domestic craft, and women’s work. I began sewing on my collages, inspired by Lenore Tawney’s work. I was being drawn to the women in my life and they guided me. Through social media, I found several inspiring artists who stitched, felted, and wove fibers together, furthering my desire to learn through tactile exploration.


Gees Bend Quilters https://www.soulsgrowndeep.org/gees-bend-quiltmakers


The metaphor of mending, literally attaching pieces together with thread, seemed to mirror and be an antidote for my work in the mental health field. Stitching and needle felting quieted my mind and provided me with more internal space. It allowed me to listen more deeply. In 2020 when I found myself in the epicenter of the Covid pandemic, my fiber practice further guided me in holding, processing, and mending grief and loss, both for myself and others.



After a year of living an extremely interior life, I began to feel pulled to the open spaces of the seaside. One autumn evening while visiting a friend living on the Jersey shore, I watched the moon rise over the Atlantic Ocean. It’s fullness and expansive light changed me.



“Let yourself by silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.

It will not lead you astray.”

Rumi


By the spring, I had decided to move my studio to the seaside. It was time. After years of dreaming about living by the ocean and making art, I rented a weekend apartment two blocks from the boardwalk. I call it my Sea Studio.



Walking by the sea in the morning fills me up with spaciousness. The light and the color got inside me. I acknowledged my need to practice my craft in a dedicated way. Perhaps there is a point of no return that is reached, at some moment in one’s life, when nothing matters except the dance you are in with a piece of wool or fabric, a box of colors, and a needle and a thread. This is what I found by the ocean, in my small studio, under the big sky.




The Way It Is


There’s a thread you follow. It goes among

things that change. But it doesn’t change.

People wonder about what you are pursuing.

You have to explain about the thread.

But it is hard for others to see.

While you hold it you can’t get lost.

Tragedies happen; people get hurt

or die; and you suffer and get old.

Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.

You don’t ever let go of the thread.


William Stafford (2014)









I am grateful to the humans and beings of the earth who have helped me to be here now. Everything is attached and interconnected. We are never truly alone. One person’s movement shifts another. The moon pulls the tides. The waves smooth the pebbles. The sun warms the skin and sand.


Hold on to your thread.




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