Again this year, I'm sharing my stream of consciousness collage with images that speak to me on the cusp of the New Year. They might be symbolic, evoke a feeling I'd like to feel more of in the imminent year, or be something that may inspire new art. Past collages and a yearly reflection can be found here: 2021, 2020. This is such a fun and easy exercise to explore thoughts and feelings visually. Let Pinterest take you where it will, collect and then choose the 12 strongest to combine. In this one I feel aging and impermanence, magic of the unknown and a wish for more abandonment.
Hello from Jan. 1, 2023! I’m glad to be knocking on this new door, however symbolic. Our family is once again together and we’ve spent some easy time together walking, eating and sitting by a fire and playing cards against humanity when we tire of Roland winning at Scrabble yet again. This afternoon we watched The Banshees of Inisherin. Damn! So heavy and also so much to think about. The boundary setting, the friendship woes, the insanity of smallness. The accents and scenery of Ireland is also just stunning… and there’s a mini donkey. Do yourself a favor and see it. A great movie for a book club type discussion.
I’ve enjoyed reading other artist’s end of year wrap-ups and new goals. I notice that the trend is no longer a word for the year, or a list of unrealistic shoulds— yeah, let’s get past that. I like what artist Zaine Vaun did with this list of “ins and outs” So I’m going to make a short list here of MORE & LESS:
More creativity / Less screens
More phone calls / Less texting
More immediate action / Less overthinking
More unplanned small escapes / Less inflexibility dictated by casita schedule
More artist to artist collaborations / Less isolation
More writing / Less projects that don’t serve me
My talented jeweler pal Caitlin of Aguja y Clavo Jewelry is offering writing prompts for artists with the goal of building community by doing more creative storytelling that's not Instagram-based. You can find her New Year’s manifesto here.
Manifesto: A statement that tells your audience what you stand for/believe in.
Thoughts about my own creativity call up a need for more spontaneity and experimentation. I’ve got great art supplies I don’t use enough and ideas I don’t make the time to explore. I believe my More/Less list will help me to prioritize this time. And instead of wondering how to monetize such work, I’d like the action of making to be the “payment”—to fill my cup with the satisfaction that comes from trying new things and being true to my word.
This year I intend to develop 3 new bandannas. They may or may not be a related collection. Themes of the mystical and spiritual are in the cauldron. They may also need to be produced and paid for in a different way as the economy swings— like pre-orders or limited run. This is a hard reality as I don’t like disappointing customers when I’ve run out of something.
I’m a huge hoarder of ideas. I’m realizing that the way my brain works I need screenshots for just about everything. My digital (and actual) file folders bulge with delicious snippets of graphic imagery that are calculated to spark a thought or theme for a future product. If I had all the time and money… But another calculation needs to be considered, which is the weight of commitment. I’ve long ago decided that this business will not grow much. I’m not keen to manage employees, stress over giant orders for big box stores, nor take on responsibilities that further limit my freedom by feeling like an unfair trade. Anti-capitalism or pro-sanity, I’ll leave this here— it’s a gray area.
If you’ve been with me for a while you know I’m committed to domestic production. I strive to offer products that have been made by other small businesses I want to support, and that create jobs in the USA— especially in the manufacturing sector. I also champion anyone who wants and needs to leave their home country for better work opportunities in the United States. We need good workers and immigrants built this country we often take for granted.
And lastly, in my business I believe in SHARING. Especially the work of other artists who are friends old and new; my stockists; and people of color! My motivation is not based in reciprocity but in the idea that my very-easy-to-do-sharing may help spark some interest in a potential customer or inspire another creative to explore something I’ve shared. I won’t use the word ENERGY but there is a special spirit in this cycle of giving. If you know me well, you also know I’ve always made it a point to meet interesting people I want to know more about, consider this step 1.a in sharing.
My dear artist friend Suzanne Sbarge had a birthday recently and she asked those gathered to speak about one or two high points of their year. What a joy! I will cut to the Cliffs Notes version to say that 90% of the answers had to do with travel (TAKE NOTE!)… but what a great way to understand your friends more and remind yourself that it was a good year.
EIGHT OF MY HIGH POINTS IN 2022:
Bi-monthly face time calls with a dear friend and life mentor who lives in Coos Bay, Oregon.
Getting to finally, finally see and experience New York City!
Graduating as a parent who gets to see my young adult thrive in college and the big city.
Meeting and hanging out with the bold artist and dynamic person Amber Doe IRL!
A fun and informative presentation by Helen in Spanish to a class of High School students about family tesoros, or treasures.
Getting my life back after what felt like a paralyzing legal matter that shadowed most of the year.
Special shout outs to extra long phone calls with good friends I miss in the Bay Area; shorter visits with other CA friends and family coming through (just some shown here); not one but TWO beautiful female cousins marrying their life partners; a family road trip to the Big Bend Texas area; a short trip with Helen to El Paso; this trip and photo session in the Ship Rock area; introducing Roland to spa life at Ojo Caliente Santa Fe; cheering a fantastic 4 hour World Cup with our movie club friends; visiting MANY a museum; celebrating local artist friends as they produced some of their best work to date (image: Eric Romero); and many fulfilling afternoons with friends and their kids poolside remembering why we need to get together in water for nothing more than floating and letting time pass as we observe, connect and find great joy in appreciating each other.
How I customized some holiday cards this year: