The first set of images you’ll see below, were made during a studio visit in late February. Raven and I were lucky to share these moments together while she was working on her most recent series, ‘Tulips’. A few weeks later, we became aware of the fact that we wouldn’t be able share the same space to make the final photos for the series. She entrusted me with the keys to her studio, and I created this set of images with just myself and the pieces.
It was humbling to go into the empty studio, which is normally alive with creative energy, laughter, conversations with the other studio members, and simply embrace the situation at large. I couldn’t run from it. And in the quiet that came with making photos by myself, I felt more emotional. I looked at the pieces in a way I don’t normally get the chance to. It was like we all got to talk to each other.
I want this part of an artist’s story to be told, as novel and strange as it is. Even on the best days, an artist is poised to bend to ways of nature. Whether it be the subject, your own psyche, the climate, or a virus - something will change the outcome you may’ve intended and that’s okay. We keep going because for most of us, art is the through line. It’s the one thing we don’t have the option of not doing, so whatever the circumstances, we will find a way to create. And that’s what we did.
I’m continuously impressed by Raven’s imagination and ability to innovate. Since the start of quarantine, she’s been hosting live IG drawing series every Thursday, which is something that’s brought me and many others a lot of joy. I’m thankful for her trust, and despite the circumstances, we were able to make something beautiful separately, yet together.
We made these photos for our friends at J.Stark before the pandemic pause slowed us, and I delivered the final images about a week into quarantine. I remember feeling some sadness over the fact that I was to deliver images during such a bummer of a time. But there was a moment following the sadness when I felt my spirit remind me what a gift it is to hand over something that I feel truly excited about. These images bring me so much joy and I’m convinced that joy translates. We made these images with friends, in a style that we’re really proud of. We hope you enjoy.
Chris and I are big fans of front yard grilling. It’s a move we grew fond of when we realized that our backyard is swampy and no fun to hang out in in the summer time. The front yard, however, is perfectly perched, with a stoop, and great visibility for people watching / talking with neighbors. It’s a win win win. We’ve been really living into the front yard lifestyle since quarantine has evolved, and thankfully had the time and resources to make some images and videos for Red Clay while we were at it. Featured in the images is the time we tried to make pizza on the grill (spoiler: it didn’t turn out that great, but you can’t really tell in the photos) - as well as the snack + aperó hour with Abundant Seafood fish collars, and oysters. And my favorite video, which highlights Chris’ and I’s breakfast routine / preferred way to eat eggs :) We had a fun time making these, hope you enjoy! xx
We’ve landed. Here - in the middle of a global pandemic. And a big slow down… and I’m grateful. I’m extremely grateful to have my husband and best friend with me. I’m grateful for our home, the neighborhood, the little stoop outside our front door. And restaurants and people that are keeping their / our spirits high even while serving at a distance, or in a totally new format.
We’ve gotten closer to our neighbors - in an emotional sense :) by leaving cookies and bread starter, and recipes for each other at the door. Our yard looks better than ever, and our neighbor even started a compost bin for all the scraps of cooking that we’ve been doing. There’s a lot of good moments. We’ve been calling to check in on parents and friends with more frequency than I’ve ever known. We’re learning the art of the five minute conversation to just say hello, I’m thinking of you, and we’re here for each other. That is a blessing indeed.
We have learned to be better at taking things one day at a time, and enjoy the very small things that make us happy along the way. Pretty window light, fresh coffee, good breakfast, listening to the breeze, squinting into the sun.
On any day, We explore, check in with friends, send a few notes of encouragement. I remember to pause - ask myself, “How do you feel? Do you need to step outside? Are you worried or afraid? Do you need to talk with someone?” These are sensitive times and we’re learning how to be more sensitive to ourselves. How do you listen to the “inside you”. The quiet you. What do you need when no one is watching. The answer most of the time is: close the computer and breathe. Sit on the stoop. Go for a walk. Pray. Say Jesus’ name out loud. You’re good.
And then it’s the afternoon, and it might be time for popcorn, which takes a lovely amount of my attention to make and eat. One piece at a time. Without spilling all the toppings on myself. A book, more stoop time, and later - a glass of wine. Or whatever Chris wants to experiment with on the bar shelf. Sip slowly, we have no where to be. And I’ll say what I feel out loud. Or say the opposite - knowing full well I’m joking. Like when I say, “this sucks” to the 73 degrees and breeze that surrounds us. To the golden hour, and the just-got-off-a-great-phone-call-with-a-friend feeling. And we laugh, because we are fiercely aware that this, this very moment, most definitely does. not. suck.
These days have been slow, of course. And the reason I’m writing this post right now is because I have no other photos to edit, no emails to send, and no tasks to run out and complete. The funny thing is - I like this place. It’s scary, but it’s damn refreshing. It’s a rare thing to have the to-do list completely blank and to be given space to wonder. To trip around the corners of my mind and see what’s going on. Today, I don’t want to worry, so I’m going to choose not to. I’m going to remind myself that God is big and he sees all the things we need. He meets us and our needs, daily.
Today I’m going to let myself wander in my brain and let my head drift up to the clouds. I don’t need to be anywhere else.