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end of year reflection 2023

The world keeps spinning madly on. 2024 is upon us and here I am again, reflecting on my past year. I've shifted from the way I move into the new year, and while yes--I have goals for this new year, I am choosing to approach them as my new year's intentions.

I am asking myself what do I want more of in my life?

What do I want less? What do I need to let go of?

What will I carry with me into my new year?

What will I try to work into my life for the better?

This year has moved so quickly. I am so grateful to this whirlwind year for showing me what I am capable of. My year was filled with so many beautiful opportunities and also experiences I sought out for myself. So a glorious year of luck and choice.

Last year, I shared several goals for 2023. I am happy to share that I participated in 11 group shows this year, and it was the first year I was invited by other artists, versus applying solely to open calls. It felt really wonderful to know there were other artists, whom I admired, that were thinking of me and my work. I made a goal last year to "apply and get accepted into one thing" and on top of all these moments where I was able to share my work, I was granted the David C. Driskell Fellowship and Black Seed Studio Residency with Indigo Arts Alliance. I start my residency in mid-January. This was a huge honor. I feel like my year was building up to this and I am a little scared, and mostly excited to begin my time in January. What a way to start the year.

I had a goal last year to "take a class or two" and happily, this year I began taking ceramics classes at Mill Pond Ceramics Studio in Biddeford. I threw myself into ceramics classes back in June and I haven't stopped since. I'm so grateful for this space to learn and to create so freely. Not having a dedicated studio space has been a struggle for me, and being able to create and learn in the Mill Pond Studio has been such a lifeline for me as I moved through this year. I've met so many lovely people and I feel like I've found such community.

I started classes nervously and with the intention of being able to create an urn for my mother's ashes. Quickly, I realized that this was way beyond my skillset. But ceramics has asked of me to be patient and to learn to let go. There is a slowness to this process that I do not always embrace in my painting practice. I love the idea that "clay has memory" and that we are really just playing with dirt. How beautiful that we get to create vessels, and shrines, and altars; and touch our hands to these objects during the entire process, sharing them with others, bringing cups to our lips, and holding them in our hands. It's beautiful and sacred. Bringing this kind of sacredness into my practice is something I've yearned for and was not sure how to implement. And I feel like I have found that with this medium.

As I ease out of this year, I find myself in no rush. And, as I read back through my goals for last year:

take more instant pictures: I didn't

maintain a sketchbook through the year: kind of but not really? not like years past.

make a book: nope!

find comfort in my new studio space in my apartment: also... not really? working on it.

I see there are several things I did not accomplish, or merely began the journey of, and I am finding a lot of acceptance with that. I think years ago, I would have felt really disappointed, but this year I feel ok. I am in no rush.

As I move into 2024, I am thinking about how finding meaningful ways to sustain my practice is really just a dedication to myself and my life. I want to feel challenged, but I want to feel ease. My practice has always meant to be a source of healing and comfort. I want to be able to ask questions of myself and in my work, and for my work to answer me and help me understand.

  • This year, I would like to create a zine.

  • I want to unearth the unexpressed.

  • I intend to revive a writing practice, giving myself dedicated time to write weekly artist pages. (This past summer, I followed along with Marlee Grace's book study of The Artist's Way, where I was writing daily "night" pages. I want to revive a daily writing practice but I see that as more personal, and I want to dedicate time each week to sit down and write about my art practice. Naturally, these things will flow into one another, but I think it is about intention in both those moments).

  • Fill a sketchbook.

  • Plein air paint from my kayak.

  • Continue with ceramics.

  • Finish my quilt I started in Marlee Grace's Quilt Class: A Quilt is Something Human.

  • Write twelve newsletters! Maybe get some new subscribers...

  • Continue to share my work.

  • Make a set of postcards.

There are many other intentions I have for the year, but I feel good about sharing these.

I hope this new year brings you joy, laughter, love, solitude, beautiful sunsets, radiant sunrises, a shooting star, ice cream, warm showers, a book that makes you cry, dancing with your friends and by yourself in your kitchen, slowness, patience, trust.

Cheers sweet friends ✿

Here are some moments from this year:

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