A year has come and gone since I last wrote. A challenging year, a year of change, a year to adapt and accept, a year to let go. A lifetime of learning wrapped up in twelve months.
Last year began with the loss of my partner, Ellen, to brain cancer. I was lost for awhile, in sadness and a fog, unsure of myself and the direction I wanted to go in. In March I opened the studio and gallery and was able to go back to work, a decision which was a salvation for me. My work in clay has always been my center, my way to express emotions, my therapy rooted in the solitary routine. After almost two years of not working it felt so good to find comfort in the rhythm of my hands again.
The gallery was a welcome surprise. Friends came for visits at the "clubhouse" and business neighbors made me feel like a part of the community. Strangers walked through the door just when I needed interesting conversation and left me feeling uplifted. The gallery kept me engaged with the world, gave me something to look forward to each day and pushed me forward in my journey. It's been such a gift to have this comforting space where I can work and heal.
During the year I traveled to several shows around the country, selling my work and reconnecting with friends and clients I've known for many years. I've always appreciated these friendships, but this year more than ever it has meant a great deal to me. I've realized the interactions, the moments, the conversations I engage in with friends and complete strangers have taught me the most about myself these past months. The threads of conversation, the willingness to be open and trusting in sharing myself has made for some remarkable experiences. These threads woven between us, woven with trust, woven sometimes with tears, were my most valuable gifts last year.
So I begin again. A new year to draw from my experiences, to express them through my work in a thoughtful way, to honor their influence on my own journey. I don't know the direction the work will take, I never seem to know until I've found myself on the other side of completing the sculptures. I begin, which is the hardest, and find my way, which is most compelling, to learn the lesson, which is often painful, to realize clarity brought about in no easier way.
And so I begin again.