Monday, May 23, 2016

Moving from beginnings full of doubt, to endings filled with doubt

As I sit here in a place of solitude, that I have been longing for, I find it so difficult to put into words and process the feelings I have had, and the experiences I have encountered these last 5 months. The hummingbirds are more energetic than I have ever seen them tonight, and I feel like they are cheering me on.

It has been months since I have felt inclined to write. The incredibly rich, busy, intensity of my partnership with my wonderful AIR Gallery family, left little room to do much else, but totally immerse myself in the opportunity and experience of a lifetime. Four had the energy, excitement and at times overwhelming demands of four years. As stressful as it was to not only create and finish the work, take down the prior show, prepare and hang the new show, promote our event, keep it fresh and exciting, "show up" at the openings, and digging deep to find the energy to carry on, I wouldn't have had it any other way! I would not have changed a thing!

Being primarily a sculptor, the time element is only one of the challenges I faced. You are at the mercy of Mother Nature, as you slowly build your sculpture (hoping it doesn't collapse), patiently wait for it to dry, (this cannot be rushed), and then pray that she survives the firing. Then to finish the surfaces, and attach the found objects that I so lovingly collect, to complete my story. So much was out of my control, and this is not a place I am used to being. This is far outside my comfort zone, to say the least.

I recently came across a quote by T.S. Eliot that said, "If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?" This was how this experience was for me. I never believed I had the emotional stamina, physical strength and creativity, to rise up and meet this challenge. It brought up a tremendous amount of self doubt, and my vulnerabilities and insecurities were palpable. I didn't want to let my partners down. I did not want to let myself down. I would only move forward, if I could do it with integrity, and stay true to myself. I would pinch myself and think, am I in the right place, am I cut out for this? And yet I moved forward, struggling yet smiling inside and out. I was overjoyed.

I owe such gratitude to my incredible family of artists, lead by an extraordinary man of vision, that feels like nothing less than beloved family. I dove into this experience head first. We held each other up. I heard our fearless leader, reminding me to just pause, breathe and jump off. 

The trust in my team and myself, astounded me. I would never have believed that this was possible. I have cherished every single moment of this amazing AIR journey. I have grown as an artist, a person, a friend, a colleague to my partners, and become part of an amazing art community. Most of all, I have astonished myself.

Although it has only been a month since we were suddenly forced to close our brick and mortar in Pioneer Place, it seems like a lifetime ago, as if this was merely a dream. Flying and feeling like I truly was up in the AIR, was a place from which I did not want to land. 

But here I sit, my feet on the ground, yet feeling anything but grounded. Finding the resilience to begin again, to create work at "normal" speed, to feel purposeful, to remember what it was like to be on that wild ride, is what I am reaching for. 

It truly was a glorious carousel ride, and now that I have stepped off, the brass ring seems so far out of reach, that I cannot even see it. I am not sure where the next incarnation of AIR will go, and how I will show up for it, or where my next creations will take me, but I am present.

My sculptures are put away. My boxes are broken down and recycled. My clay sits dormant, as do my hands and my kiln. I am trying to process this loss of something so wonderful. I am trying not to "cry because it is over, but to smile because it happened". Sometimes that is easier said than done.