Let’s open today’s newsletter with a hearty thank you for such an overwhelming response to Saturday’s edition. For me, the joy of writing includes your comments and emails letting me know my words have provoked pondering, offered new perspectives, or eased a burden. There are 140 of you reading—small potatoes for some, but I’ve never actually met about 90% of you so that’s a bit thrilling for me. Your comments bring a fresh angle to what’s bouncing around in my head, and I’m glad you’re here.
I’ve mentioned that my husband and I own a 119-year-old building that we operate as an event venue.Our much-needed slow period is waning as we hit the final few weeks of the year (can’t you just feel 2022 slipping through our fingers?), and I’m devising a game plan to ensure I keep a consistent writing schedule with my growing business chores. Having you here motivates me to send these words into the world and your inboxes.
When we opened our business, we knew we wanted to offer non-profit events for the community to enjoy this wonderful space. Christmas events, occasional vendor markets, art classes, storytime events, songwriter nights—we did all of those in the first couple of years, but the pandemic kept some people away, and then 2022 hit, bringing with it a crescendo in the story of our son’s drug addictionand several trips out of town to help my brother whose Acute Myeloid Leukemia had returned. We had too much on our plates and calendars to continue community events this year; it’s been a season of stepping back to take care of our family and ourselves.
But that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped considering all of the possibilities this place holds.
Lately, my musings have landed on art as an avenue to conversation and connection and a balm to our troubled spirits. Music, writing, painting, cooking, photography—how many conversations are happening around these forms of art? How many diverse humans are connecting over them? What children are forgetting their troubles—if only for an hour each day—while playing an instrument or crafting?
It’s time, I thought last week. It’s time to open the doors once again for the mission—serving the community.
Three Things Weekly #036 arrived Sunday, featuring “Night Time in the City,” by artist Beth Izatt and serendipitously kindling the flame.
“I love the beauty and naivety in her illustrations.
When I was a kid, my being an artist was as true for me as my name was. At some point (maybe as a teenager), I got some pretty inane ideas about art having to have deep earth-shattering meaning to be ‘real art’. And almost every adult I meet now questions or outright denies their creativity.
I’m not really sure what happened to us there. But I’m grateful to have come across Beth’s work, as it reminded me of a much simpler and more joyful relationship with art.”
Those art classes I held all those months ago were either marketed for kids or for adults, but never both. What would happen if I offered art evenings for all? I’m no expert, but I can create collage art,stencil designs, paint kindness rocks, assemble wreaths, and lose myself in mandala dot painting--all things I owe to many hours spent crafting and creating as a child growing up in the middle of nowhere.
Stella Kalaw’s Groundlessness landed in my inbox on the heels of Co-Create’s post, and it featured collage art. It was a sign.Stella took collage art to a therapeutic and digital level by going glueless.
“I started this peculiar habit of eliminating the use of glue when I revived collaging during the Covid 19 lockdown two years ago. I pulled old magazines from the shelf and selected images to cut out. Once I accumulated a bunch, I created loose collages on a colored 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. I’d photograph each composition with my iPhone and then move things around. I reiterated ideas by reusing the same elements until I was satisfied with 3 to 5 compositions at the end of the session. The process was so gratifying that I abandoned the conventional approach of choosing one final assemblage to glue down on paper. I just kept at it a few hours a day and the next thing I knew, I’d developed the habit.”
I was blown away by her cool collages, but it was what Stella said next that drew my mind to the therapy that art affords us.
“Gluing down is holding on to permanence. The rearranging of objects is practicing flexibility, being comfortable with uncertainty, and freeing the mind to generate more ideas….
I’d like to think that foregoing the glue has subconsciously helped me in my own life while I’m in a period of transition. I’ve noticed that I’m less anxious about the future, enjoying most days, and more open to possibilities than I’ve ever been in my life.”
If you haven’t dealt with transition, anxiety, and uncertainty in the last couple of years, you must be reading this from Mars. Where I live, anxiety and uncertainty are a way of life for many, and I think it would be beneficial and cool to help others reacquaint themselves with the childlike creative wonder that can help us release some of the burdens we carry.
Yesterday, Mark over at The Fyve Spot published Something’s Sketchy Around Here…, which included some sketches he drew as a project during COVID isolation.
“I spent a lot of my childhood drawing and, while I don’t do much of it these days (the story of my life), I figured it would be the best and easiest outlet for me to express myself.”
“It’s never too late to follow a passion,” Mark said.
Right he is. It’s also never too late to discover one.
I’m planning to resurrect art evenings at The Historic Planters Building after the first of the year. I’ll keep you posted on how things go. If you’ve hosted or facilitated similar events, share your ideas and tips!
In addition to our day jobs in IT. Yeah, we’re nuts.
Answering the phones, mopping the floors, trying not to let QuickBooks beat me, scrubbing toilets, meeting clients, washing linens, arranging tables—so lucky Mike and I are in this thing together!
Like what Austin Kleon recently showed us Starting from scraps.
Or perhaps a whisper?
I see I'm not the only one who wondered how you did all this and kept your sanity. It looks like a great venue. I like all this art you're talking about. Just signed up for Three Things Weekly. I'm going to be posting about my art coming up this weekend. I think you'll be surprised!
Your post reminded me how much I used to love making things with my hands... I used to paint a bunch but, you know, life. There’s something so grounding about working with tactile things (as opposed to ideas). So, thank you for this much needed reminder!