Did time seem to expand and contract in 2020? It did to me. Some days I had surges of positivity and energy, emboldened by a studio full of art supplies, the promise of a new creation, only to settle in and binge watch a Neflix series.
When the pandemic started, I subscribed to MasterClass.com, a website where you can take courses from famous chefs, writers and directors. I was determined to become a genius in something by the end of the year. I made it part way through a writing course with David Sedaris, sort of learned to make a few cocktails, and I now know how to make an Italian-inspired hamburger so long as I can find wild boar somewhere.
Wanting to brush up on video editing, which I thought would come in handy, I started a pasta-making video series (Did you know I teach pasta making?). I never finished the series but I did learn enough to create a tour-de-force tribute to my cat’s second birthday. Hey, you gotta start somewhere.
I’d resisted the sourdough craze as long as I could. I never managed to make bread though, and, at one point, I feared my kitchen would be overtaken by discarded starter. The height of summer berry season in Oregon inspired a few eye-popping desserts, such as a four-layer green ombré cake topped with blueberries and mint leaves. Not exactly a show stopper but pleased my backyard guests.
One way I coped with anxiety was to dive into surface pattern design. Hours flew by on this detailed activity, and I was thankful for the distraction. You might be wondering, isn’t working on jewelry a good distraction? Yes and no. With shows cancelled, a major motivation to work was removed. I’m certain that many of us experienced the conflict between having more time on our hands and an inability to use that time wisely. Right?
I did dive deeper into the medium of polymer clay. The malleability of the material has been a real comfort. I respond very strongly to texture, which is why I shift between materials—metal, wood, glass, paper, wire, clay. Each material has its own texture and smell. Each one yields differently to drilling or shaping. Combining mixed materials remains an exciting challenge and one I plan to tackle more fully in 2021.
Speaking of challenges, I participated in an online exhibition to create a statement piece, not as in big, but as in making a statement. One thing about working alone is having to create your own structure every day. With no shows on the horizon, it can sometimes take all you’ve got to move forward. What a gift a prompt is.
Another prompt that kept me busy for a while was sawing tiny hands-as-medals to honor healthcare workers through the Hand Medal Project. To see healthcare workers being given their medals made the world seem like a smaller more connected place.
I agreed to be interviewed by Cherry Arts, the show I was most disappointed was cancelled (fingers crossed for this July), gave a couple business workshops for artists and makers (I plan to do more in 2021, so please join my other business list for updates.), joined a co-op gallery, and am thankful for this new community!
Looking ahead, I was invited to teach a workshop for Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft sometime in the Spring, which is a real honor (details to come). And if it weren’t for local polymer clay artist Laurel Swetnam for saving by bacon by loaning me some clay during a global shortage, I wouldn’t have much to work on! As such, I’m fully stocked and ready to roll (pun intended.)
Happy 2021 to you readers! Thank you for being here. Go make beautiful messes.