Awhile ago, at a Christmas cocktail party, a fellow artist and I were speaking about art-making and the things we’ve learned through both writing and art-making.
Like me, she’s written a blog for several years but recently quit as she wasn’t ‘getting anything out of it’, she said.
I thought about her response and my own experience of blog writing and suddenly, like fireworks lighting up the sky on New Year’s eve, felt this crystal clear thought burst into brilliant light within my mind. “Writing a blog every day has taught me to always trust in the process,” I said. “And making art has taught me to always keep going. To not give into self-doubt or criticism. To trust that if I’m not happy with it, it’s because it’s not done with me yet.”
The Memory Bowls I created for both my sisters this Christmas were an opportunity to lean into what art-making has taught me.
As I layered paper and medium and then painted the bowls gold I kept hearing the voice in my head hissing, “This is ridiculous. It’s going to be a disaster. Quit while you’re ahead.”
I’d never made a ‘memory bowl’ before and was making up the process as I went along. I wanted to give in. To heed that hissing voice but, the muse kept whispering back, “Push through. Keep going.”
I don’t think it’s wise to ignore the muse, so that’s what I did. I kept going, layering and painting and collaging in pieces of memory to create two bowls that tell the story of our parent’s lives.
My middle sister told me she’s going to keep it in her bedroom for her jewelry. My eldest sister wants to put it on a stand for show.
Regardless of how they display or use the bowls, I am grateful for the reminder that, while in life we can’t see what tomorrow may bring, or what will happen next, when we remain committed to the journey, when we stay the course and keep pushing through, we create space for magic, wonder, awe and beauty to appear.
As 2022 slips away and a new year bursts open upon the horizon, magic, mystery and wonder shimmer in the darkness of the unkown the future holds.
There will be trials and tribulations. There will be trauma and grief. And in the midst of it all, no matter how dark the night, or rough the road, magic, wonder, mystery, possibility and above all, LOVE, will also be present. In the midst of darkness, love whispers, “keep going”. In the depths of despair, hope chants, “keep going” and in the dimness of day becoming night, possibility calls out, “keep going”.
2022 art-making taught me to ‘keep going’. What is a lesson you learned in 2022?
I wish you all a beautiful and loving New Year.
These are some photos and a video of one of the memory bowls I made.