Crawling Out From Under

Here we are at the beginning of March and the weather has been just as tumultuous as our political atmosphere. The combination of heartbreak in watching the levels of hatred our country is capable of being revealed daily, mixed with the hope that has come from seeing others rise up and resist is emotionally exhausting. Meanwhile, spending a full day every week in class with incredible individuals from across the world who are directly affected by the inane policies concocted by this administration on behalf of our "national security" has made me more acutely aware of my privilege than ever. I will never understand the choice for our country's economy over basic human rights and dignity, nor can I grasp how anyone can equate what our current administration demonstrates as being in line with their Christian values. It is hard not to feel paralyzed by the easily assumed feeling of powerlessness. I have no answers for where we go from here, but have tried to remain open, aware, and willing to find common ground in these most uncertain times. 

Along with spending time outdoors, creating has always been one of my main coping mechanisms and now is no exception. While I have mostly stuck with my commitment to say no more this year (hey, I'm human after all!), I have tried to focus my creative efforts on completing outstanding projects that have been hanging over my head for much longer than I'd like to admit. And of course there are always birthdays to celebrate and sweets to make!

January birthday gifts. Left: aged & hammered copper. Right: hammered brass & glass.

My most generous husband donated a 6-course meal for 12 people to the Collins Center's annual Disco Gala, and the recipients decided to redeem it in January. While I can't take credit for much other than moral support and the tiniest amount of help with preparations, I did make all of the desserts, pictured on the left below. 

In February, I completed my first commissioned dessert for a friend wanting to celebrate her vegan coworker, pictured on the right below.

Left: Raw, vegan carrot cheesecake topped with candied ginger dipped in dark chocolate

Right: Raw, vegan tiramisu cheesecake

More raw goodies, from right to left: chocolate chip cookie balls, chocolate chia pudding with bananas and granola, upscaled no-bake cookies with coconut oil and maple syrup, white chocolate vanilla bean truffles and giant peanut butter cups.

It would appear the only thing that can get me through these times is a mass quantity of "healthy" sweets.

On to those projects hanging over my head...

My parents commissioned me several years ago (yes, years) to create a piece for their living room in their new place in Virginia. My mom didn't give me too many specifics other than wanting a piece with four trees to represent their four children. I began working on the piece immediately, completing the background and the dark tree on the far left and then came to a screeching halt while I tried to conceive of the rest of the project. A large part of deciding to say no more this year was a hope that I would stop putting off completing things I had committed to long ago. I'm generally quite good at follow-through and this was becoming embarrassing, especially when most of these outstanding projects were for my family, those I love the most in my life. I finally found the inspiration to complete this piece, using wire my brother-in-law had given me some time ago, a twig I found on a hike, and sheet music my mother had passed along. I snuck into my parents' house while they were away, hung the piece, and recovered a small shred of my integrity.

Offspring | 30" x 40" | mixed media | sold

I can't even remember how long ago I promised my sister a painting for her birthday. I lost count after 5 years and am too embarrassed to ask for clarification at this point. In my most tiny defense, I did ask her what she wanted and had to wait at least a couple of years for any direction, but beyond that, I take full responsibility for my pathetic inability to get my act together. She wanted something large, colorful and representative of hope and love, so I repurposed last year's 6x6x30 display board and created the piece below. 

Flight | 36" x 48" | acrylic & plaster on wood | gifted

My last in-process piece is for my dear friend, Keith, one of the most courageous and generous people I have had the honor of knowing to date. More to come on this one, as ideally it will be completed by my next post.

And in other news, most of Jon and my creative energies and time have been occupied with designing (Jon) and dreaming about (Rhoda) the house we plan to build this year. I am discovering there is nothing this man does not excel at. Here's a snapshot of our land and the view I anticipate enjoying for a long, long time.